But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (1Pet 3:18)

Jesus Christ is more than a good man who said and did good things a long time ago. Understanding who Jesus is, what he has done for us, the nature of our relationship with him, and the influence he wants to have in our lives is the essence of the Christian faith.

His story is the heart of the gospel. His teachings are the foundations of our lives. His example is our primary guide. Get Jesus right and everything else about the Christian life falls into place. Get Jesus wrong and nothing else matters.

By growing our roots deep into Jesus—reading about him, studying his life, recognizing his priorities and mission, meditating on the principles that guided his life—we connect to a major source of spiritual nutrition. If you want to grow into a mature, Christ-like disciple, you will make intimate knowledge of Jesus a priority.

At North Central, we believe that Jesus is God-in-the-flesh, Son of God, Creator of the world, Teacher, Life, Truth, King, Lamb, and Word. But perhaps the two most important roles he fills (in terms of nurturing our growth as disciples) are Savior and Lord (notice Peter’s use of these very words in the passage above).

Jesus came into the world to save us from the awful consequences of sin. Through his sinless life, his godly teachings, his sacrificial death, and his miraculous resurrection, Jesus rescued and redeemed us, justified and reconciled us. We are no longer condemned by God’s righteous judgment. We don’t have to live in fear and slavery. Appreciating what Jesus did to save us—the extent of his love, the depths of his sacrifice—lays the motivational foundation for all Christian living: gratitude and love.

But Jesus did not save us without expectation or obligation. He intends to be our Lord, to guide our lives, to make us holy and fit for God’s purposes. Salvation from past sins, yes. But also sanctification, transformation, mission. To accomplish this, Jesus must have control of our lives. His will must take priority over our own desires. His wisdom must be trusted more than ours. Acknowledging the nature of our relationship with Jesus (he is Lord and we follow where he leads) sets the basic posture for all Christian living: obedience and trust.

To that end, the North Central Church will encourage you to become intimately familiar with the story of Christ, confess him as both Savior and Lord, and follow his lead in all of life. Trusting Jesus, listening for his guidance, following his example, knowing his mind are priorities for this congregation and for our members.

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