This week Phil Vautier, one of the 6pm associates, helps us ponder Sunday night's sermon on John 4:43-54

What is real belief? What does it mean for us to believe rightly?

These were the massive questions we were thinking about on Sunday evening.

Dwelling on this over the last couple of days, and joining it up to what we have seen so far in John, I’m beginning to grasp why this is the question that John tackles.

Not least because we’ve already seen Jesus make enormous claims in John; that everyone is under God’s condemnation (John 3:18) and belief is the only way out of this condemnation. The stakes are massive!

I felt like my idea of belief was being pulled apart and remoulded as Charlie explained the passage. The belief that leads to eternal life is belief in Jesus’ words, and a willingness to trust him as he continues to speak to us, even when what we hear challenges our current thinking.

That might feel like quite a daunting prospect, but here are two reasons I think it’s really encouraging that this is the case:

1. In sharing the gospel with our friends, we know that all that really matters is helping them to hear Jesus words. In some ways this takes the pressure off, because we know that we don’t need any special gifts or magical phrases. We just need to get people looking at the Bible, whilst praying that the Spirit will help them to hear God speak!

2. We can trust that we’ve got all the information we need to believe. If sign-belief were the way in, belief wouldn’t have been possible for us, having not been around to see Jesus’ miracles. Our ability to belief would be impaired and restricted! As it is, we do have Jesus’ words preserved in the Bible, so we know that we have what we need to believe.

These are two great things to hear just before hundreds of people; colleagues, friends and family, join us for Carol Services over the next couple of weeks.

We can have great confidence, knowing we don’t need to take their breath away with an amazing spectacle (although the singing will be pretty spectacular). Rather, the thing which will bring them to life will be their response to Jesus as he reveals himself in his Word! That’s super encouraging!

Image by Flickr user used under CC BY-NC-SA 2