When we were kids, everything we did was a game. When we finished an apple we’d yell: apple core, Baltimore, who’s your friend…whoever was named got the apple core thrown at them. We required much less to entertain ourselves back then.
The apple grows from the inside out. The central motor of that growth is its core. The core sustains the development of the apple and contains the seeds which can reproduce another tree. The core is vital to the life within the apple.
In 1975 we had the World’s Strongest Man come to our church in Rusk, Texas. To demonstrate his strength, Paul Anderson tore a phone book apart, which in Rusk, only had 23 pages. More convincingly, He got underneath a table with half a dozen students sitting on top and lifted it off the ground. He wasn’t chiseled like muscle men today. Instead, he was a short, round man. But he said what looks like fat was actually muscle. He pointed at his gut and said, “To be as strong as I am you have to have massive stomach muscles.” Today, that’s called your core.
Your core is your midsection and it involves all your muscles in that area including the front, back and sides.
Think of your core as the central link in a chain connecting the other parts of your body.
Reaching for a cup of coffee, getting out of a chair, picking up a shoe, brushing your teeth all begin with the muscles in your core. Swinging a club, casting a lure, running a race, swimming a lap, lying about how good we used to be. All movement goes through the core. Your core is vital to the life within your body.
There are also CORE values. The basic statements of what you believe and how you operate. Companies print these to remind their employees this is who we are. These are the essential expectations and responsibilities the public can count on. What that company does comes out of who they are.
Chick-Fil-A is known for their commitment to service. When you thank them for serving you, they return with “My pleasure.” That response flows from Chick-Fil-A’s CORE value: To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A.
Well, what is a Believer’s core value: 1Jn 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God...
Being born of God is a designation for salvation. Jesus used the same idea when He spoke with Nicodemus in Jn 3: Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' (Jn 3:5-7)
But John wasn’t telling them how to be saved. He’s writing to those who have already been saved, crossed the line of decision, gone from darkness to light, death to life.
They believed Jesus was the Christ – Messiah, Anointed One, the Promise of God. Wrapped in that belief was their salvation, their life, their future, their hope. It was an all-in belief.
In John’s day, your beliefs defined you. Beliefs separated you from everyone else and collected you into a group with like-minded people. If you were a Pagan, you announced your position and lived as a Pagan. If you were a Jew, you announced your position and lived as a Jew. Those were the two standard groupings for religious people.
It was like the duck. If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck, then it must be a duck. Beliefs were worn and much as possessed. A Pagan looked and acted like a Pagan. A Jew looked and acted like a Jew. It was not hard to tell them apart.
Now we have a new group identified as Christians—Christ Ones—People of faith who are now defined by a single belief in who Jesus is. But more than just professing their beliefs, they wore those beliefs. Their belief didn’t simply change the way they thought about life, they were immersed into a brand new life and new lifestyle.
This single statement was their Core Belief out from which all else in their lives would flow. If Jesus was the Messiah, the Savior, the Lord, and I declare Him so in my life, my whole life would now reflect that belief, giving Him room to influence every facet of my life.
When they said Jesus was the Christ of God, they were making a statement about God, Jesus and themselves that no one else could make. This specific belief was not an add-on but a life-transforming commitment. They thought differently. They lived differently.
CS Lewis “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
He is who He is or He is not. He is Lord or He is not.
If I declare Him Lord of my life, as the core belief upon which all that I am is then defined, how do I then live? Just like the core of the apple, the core of your body or the core values of Chick-Fil-A, everything I am and do comes from that vital core belief.
We have no choice of the family we’re born into. We just have to take what we get. But in being born again, we are now part of a new family and get the advantage of belonging to the Lord who created life itself. The One who even the wind and storms obey, now has power in our lives.
1Jn 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith.
1Jn 5:5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
John promises that overcoming the world is doable for those within the family of God because, by believing Jesus is the Christ of God we get to transfer that belief into faith. So that from our core belief we have a response to whatever we face.
When I go through trials, struggles, disappointments, discouragements, pain, terror, loss, fear…things that might so dominate my life that they can oppress me, paralyze me, change me…my belief in Jesus as Lord can lift those burdens.
Faith is the acting out our beliefs. From what we believe come our actions of belief.
1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
From worldly thoughts come worldly desires. From worldly desires come worldly actions. Worldly actions result in a life overcome by anxiety. Anxiety steals our peace.
But what did Jesus promise? Joh 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
The world tries to overcome us, take away our peace and leave us with a defeated life. But Jesus promised: Joh 16:33 "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
Where’s the connection? 1Jn 4:4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them [the false things in life, things urging us to deny our belief in who Jesus is]; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”
By His presence in our lives, He brings His power to overcome into our situations. Because He lives, we live. Because He rose, we can rise. Because He overcame, we overcome.
Belief in Jesus as the Christ of God living in our lives, places us into the unique category of benefits to those who belong to God. We don’t have to submit to the world’s anxiety and despair.
Does the Jesus you believe in have power like that in your life? Is He the same Lord who calmed the storms, commanded the winds, stopped the rain?
1Jn 5:9 If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son.
1Jn 5:11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
1Jn 5:12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
What is the life we have? The specific life full of the promises of God given to us when we became children of God when we confessed that Jesus is our Lord.
· Guilt – forgiveness
· Condemnation – freedom
· Rejection – compassion
· Fear – Perfect love
· Grief – comfort
· Loneliness – companionship
· Lostness – direction
· Defeat – victory
· Doubt – faith
· Anxiety – peace
Can you imagine what life would be like without Him?
We all come to Jesus with baggage. Things that have messed us up or misshaped our thinking.
· Our religious upbringing
· Our life experiences
· Our education
· Our network of friends and influencers
· Our DNA
Whenever our baggage interferes with a clear picture of who Jesus is and what He can do, our lives are minimized and we are prime targets for being overcome. A great exercise to strengthening our Core involves lifting those bags and chunking them as far away as possible.
1. We are what we believe, which makes having the right belief essential.
2. We can sincerely believe the wrong the things.
3. Wrong beliefs are not able to produce right results.
4. If we believe Jesus is Lord of all, our whole life comes under His rule.
5. Within His rule all the promises of God are YES!