That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 (NIV)
Many people say a little prayer confessing faith in Jesus and then they are told they are saved and on their way to heaven. Often it is true.
A prostitute went to a church meeting and believed. She said a prayer receiving Jesus into her life and kept on going to church.
- In following weeks she tried to be kind and helpful to people, even in her unholy workplace. She began to give generous offerings in church.
Little by little she changed until the day came when she walked away from her life of prostitution.
Her faith saved her.
But evangelists can tell you that the majority of people who say a prayer of commitment in a meeting do not show evidence of a changed life a year later.
- Sadly it appears that conversion can either be a shallow ritual or it can be a deep redirection of a person’s whole life, beginning with a real conversion and transformation on the inside.
How did Jesus respond to faith? Sometimes He was excited.
Zacchaeus was a corrupt tax collector who became rich by ripping off his fellow Jews and sharing the spoils between the hated Romans and his own family.
When Jesus came to town, he climbed up a tree to see Jesus without being seen by the crowds. He know he was a hated man.
Jesus was always open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and He looked up and saw Zacchaeus hiding in the tree.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” Luke 19:5 (NIV)
Jesus saw what the Father was doing in this wretched man’s life.
If we are living in the Holy Spirit, we will also have spiritual sixth sense to know what is happening secretly inside people’s hearts.
When Zacchaeus saw how Jesus loved and accepted him, his change of heart was dramatic and powerful.
But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor,
- and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” Luke 19:8 (NIV)
And how did Jesus respond to this?
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:9-10 (NIV)
Jesus reached out in love. He always listened to the Holy Spirit and the Spirit of the Father showed Him when people’s faith was genuine.
- We can also operate in the power and love of the Holy Spirit.
- Through the gifts of the Holy Spirit we can also receive revelation and wisdom in practical situations.
If we are moving in the Holy Spirit, we can touch people and see lives changed like Jesus did.
- I was on a boat on a lake in Germany when I saw a lonely old woman sitting by herself. I went and talked to her. She told me the tragic story of her life and I wanted to help her. My wife and I talked to her and we listened a lot for hours.