A message worth dying for:
There is only one God. He is all-powerful, all-knowing and the creator of everything.
The one and only true God loves you. He loves you more than anyone ever has or ever will. He made you to be his friend. He thinks about you more than you think about yourself. He wants you to know him, like he knows you.
He has a beautiful and important plan for your life.
"God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16 NIV).
"How precious concerning me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. . . " (Psalms 139:17-18)
[Christ speaking] "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" [that it might be full and meaningful] (John 10:10).
But most people aren't living a meaningful life as God's friends. We have a big problem. God is all things right and righteous. He's love and truth. He's holy and perfect. We're not.
We've done wrong things; it came natural to us . . .
Our wrongness separated us from God. Now we can't hear him when he calls; our guilt makes him turn his face away when we pray.
"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).
"The wages of sin is death" [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23).
". . . the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." (1 Peter 3:12)
We might try to convince ourselves that we're okay. We can compare ourselves to others and say, "See? I'm not that bad." The world is filled with false religions, psychology and philosophies that tell us we're good enough; we may believe and try each one.
But they won't set us free.
No, not even religion can save us - we've already broken one law; we might as well have broken them all. We can't be good enough to make up for it. Even if we're good compared to most people, there's still a canyon of guilt between us and a perfect God. Our soul remains hopeless; our spirit lifeless and lonely.
"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." (James 2:10)
"My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear. My wounds fester and are loathsome because of my sinful folly. I am bowed down and brought very low; all day long I go about mourning." (Psalm 38: 4-6)
But God loves you, and he made a bridge over this canyon.
". . . the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22)
God sent a savior to suffer and pay the penalty for our sins.
Jesus Christ was the only person who ever lived a perfect and sinless life. He claimed to be God in human form. He proved it by fulfilling hundreds of prophecies, healing sick people, casting demons out of others, bringing dead people back to life and by rising from the dead himself.
His death was an acceptable substitute for yours, because unlike everyone else, he was not dying for his own sins. He was dying for yours.
There are many false beliefs and useless religions. But (this is important!) there's only ONE bridge to God! Jesus Christ is God's ONLY provision for forgiveness from sin. Through Him you can know God's love and plan for your life.
He Died in Our Place
"God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
He Rose From the Dead
"Christ died for our sins...He was buried...He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures...He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred..." (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).
He Is the Only Way to God
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me'" (John 14:6).
"Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
If you don't know Jesus, you are not God's friend, yet. You're still stained by the things you've done wrong. You're separated from God who is perfect. You can't be good enough.
But you can cross over on the bridge God worked so hard to give you.
"Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses." (Acts 13: 38-39)
". . . a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified." (Galatians 2:16)
You can be God's friend. You can be set free from your sins, guilt and shame. You can accept Jesus' payment for your wrongs and his "goodness" because he wants to share it with you. And what does he ask for in exchange?
All of you: heart, mind, body and soul.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength." (Mark 12:30)
You must believe. You must surrender and let Jesus reign as your LORD - he died for you; you die (to your life) for him. You must ask Jesus to take away your guilt, give you a clean heart and carry you over the bridge and into friendship with God.
[Jesus said] "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (John 5:24)
"He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he [Jesus] is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." (Acts 10: 42-43)
'If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:8,9)
If you believe, are forgiven and ask, God will send you his Holy Spirit to live in your heart. This spirit will explain spiritual things to you, give you the power to change and help you discover the important plan God has for your life.
"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:7)
"I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, [the Holy Spirit] that He may abide with you forever" (John 14:16)
If these Bible facts are new to you and you believe or want to understand them better, talk to God about this. Ask him to forgive your sins through the work Jesus did. Ask him to fill you with his Holy Spirit and open your eyes so you can understand him. Begin to read the Bible and pray that he will explain it to you.
~ SWEETWATER STILL ~
"All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.
God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins." Ephesians 1:3-7 NLT
* (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
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