Thursday, March 13, 2008

The sole, all-important, urgent message of highest priority and ultimate consequence

Do you consider yourself to be a good person?

Most people do. The Bible says that God is good, and the Ten Commandments are His standard of goodness. Ask yourself if you have obeyed the Ten Commandments. Most would answer the question, "Well, I've broken one or two, but nothing too serious, like murder, etc." So, let's go through them and see how you do:

1. You shall have no other gods before Me. (Have you always loved God above all else?)

Is God first in your life?

Many years ago, a man purchased a T.V. for his children, but the first evening they had it, the man arrived home from work and found that his children didn't even bother to greet him. They were too busy watching television. The man turned it off and explained to them that if they ignored him because they preferred to watch T.V., they were setting their love on the gift rather than the giver---a wrong order of affections. In the same way, if we love anything—husband, wife, children or even our own lives—more than we love God, we are setting our affection on the gift rather than the Giver, which is a transgression of the First Commandment.

We are also commanded to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. Jesus spoke of a man who found an injured stranger, bathed his wounds, carried him to an inn, gave money for his care and told the inn-keeper that he would pay for his expenses. We call him the good Samaritan, but in reality he wasn't "good" at all, he merely obeyed the basic command to love his neighbor as himself. That is a picture of how God expects us to love our fellow human beings. We should love them as much as we love ourselves...whether they be friend or foe.

Have you loved God with all your heart? Have you loved humanity as much as you love yourself? You be the judge. Will you be innocent or guilty on Judgment Day of breaking that Commandment?

2. You shall not make for yourself an idol. (Have you made a god in your mind that you're more comfortable with, a god to suit yourself?)

This means that we shouldn't make a god to suit ourselves, either with our hands or our mind. Is your God the One revealed in Holy Scripture, or is your god merely an “image” that you shaped to suit yourself? If you have made your own god to suit yourself, then you have committed the oldest sin in the Book. Scripture warns that no idolater will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

3. You shall not take God's name in vain. (Have you ever used God's holy Name as a curse word?)

Have you ever taken God's name in vain---instead of using a four-letter word to express disgust, you've used His name? Even Hitler's name wasn't despised enough to use as a curse word. If you have used His holy name in that manner, you are a blasphemer and will not enter the Kingdom of God.

4. Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. (Do you set aside at least one day a week to worship God?)

5. Honor your father and mother.

Have you always honored your parents in a way that's pleasing in the sight of God? What about sins of your youth? Did you disobey or dishonor your parents when you were small?

6. You shall not murder. (God considers hatred to be as murder).

Jesus warned that if we get angry without cause we are in danger of judgment. If we hate our brother, God calls us a murderer. We can violate God's Law by attitude and intent. God sees our heart, not just our outward actions.

7. You shall not commit adultery. (Jesus said that "Whoever looks upon a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart"; and of course adultery also includes sex before marriage).

Who of us can say that we are pure of heart? Jesus warned, "You have heard that it was said to those of old, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery already with her in his heart." Remember that God has seen every thought you have had and every sin you have ever committed. The day will come when you have to face His Law, and we are told that the impure, fornicators (those who have had sex before marriage) and adulterers will not enter the Kingdom of God.

8. You shall not steal. (Have you ever stolen anything? The value of the item is irrelevant. If so, then you are a thief—you cannot enter God's Kingdom.)

9. You shall not lie. (Have you lied even once? Including answering these questions).

Have you ever told a lie? A person who lies is called a liar. How many lies do you have to tell to be a liar? Just one. The Bible warns that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire. You may not think deceitfulness is a serious sin. But God does!

10. You shall not covet. (Have you ever jealously desired what belongs to others?)

The Bible says that God will punish all murderers, rapists, thieves, liars, adulterers, etc. He will even judge our words and our thoughts. On Judgment Day, will you be found to be guilty or innocent of breaking His commandments? Based on God’s Law, the Ten Commandments, will you go to Heaven or Hell?

Perhaps you think that God is good, and will therefore overlook your sins. But it is His goodness that will make sure that murderers, rapists, thieves, liars, etc. receive justice. He would be a corrupt Judge if He turned a blind eye to injustice. Have you kept the Commandments…ALL of them, ALL of the time?

Isn't it true that the best of us have lied, stolen, lusted, hated, failed to love God above all else, and failed to always love our neighbor as ourselves?
The Bible says that the Law is perfect. It commands you to be perfect. Are you perfect (in thought, word, and deed)?

Will you make it to Heaven? You may say that you’re still good, but God says you're not, and the Scriptures tell us that it’s impossible for God to lie. Remember that all liars will be cast into the Lake of Fire. God's Law demands justice, and the penalty for sinning against Him is death and Hell.

How can we then, live a "good" life if we have already sinned against God? At best we are reformed liars and thieves . . . but still Lawbreakers.

Think of it this way - would you sell one of your eyes for a million dollars? Would you sell both for $50 million? I'm sure you wouldn't. Your eyes are priceless, yet they are merely the windows of your soul. What then must your life (soul) be worth? With these thoughts in mind, what would be a fair price to pay for everlasting life? It is utterly without price. Yet, if we trust in our own goodness to enter Heaven, we are saying to God, "I should enter Heaven because I have done good - I have earned my way in."

Imagine if you wanted to give me a brand new (very expensive) car, but I said, "I can't take it! I feel embarrassed receiving such a gift . . . here's 10 cents for it." I'm sure you would be very insulted by such a pathetic offer of payment. Besides, if I pay for it, it is no longer a gift, it's a purchase . . . it's mine by right.

When we talk of entering Heaven by being good, by trying to keep the Ten Commandments etc., we are tossing God 10 cents of "self-righteousness," which is a terrible insult to Him, in the light of His sacrifice.

But there is hope! God Himself made a way where His justice and His goodness could meet. We broke the Law, but He became a man to pay the fine. Jesus suffered and died on the cross to satisfy the Law. God can forgive us and grant us the gift of everlasting life! But its not an automatic thing, nor is it a ‘blanket’ salvation where everybody in the world is automatically saved.

The only thing we can do is humble ourselves, repent of (turn away from) our sins, and receive the gift by trusting Jesus Christ alone. Almighty God demonstrated how much He loves you when Jesus suffered for you on the cross. If you want to trust in your own goodness, then you are saying His agonizing death on the cross was in vain. The Bible says, "For by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." You cannot earn a gift.

When Jesus said to "believe" on Him, He was saying we should have faith in Him, in the same way you would trust a parachute to save you when you jump from a plane. You don't merely believe in the parachute - you put it on. Please don't "jump" without Jesus. If you die in your sins there is NO second chance. God will give you justice, and you will end up in Hell forever. Any troubles you have at present are dwarfed by the trouble you are in with your Creator. His wrath abides upon you (John 3:36). God doesn't want you to go to Hell. Neither do you want to go there, so confess your sins to God right now, put your trust in Jesus to save you, and you will pass from death to life. Then read the Bible daily and obey what you read. (See John 14:21). Your obedience to God is the proof of your love. Have faith in God. He will never fail you.



Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."

We all have sin in our hearts. We all were born with sin.
We were born under the power of sin's control.
- Admit that you are a sinner.

Romans 6:23a "...The wages of sin is death..."

Sin has an ending. It results in death. We all face physical death, which is a result of sin. But a worse death is spiritual death that alienates us from God, and will last for all eternity. The Bible teaches that there is a place called the Lake of Fire where lost people will be in torment forever. It is the place where people who are spiritually dead will remain. The Bible calls this the Second Death.

- Understand that you deserve death for your sin.

Romans 6:23b "...But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

Salvation is a free gift from God to you! You can't earn this gift, but you must reach out and receive it.

- Ask God to forgive you and save you.

Romans 5:8, "God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us!"

When Jesus died on the cross He paid sin's penalty. He paid the price for all sin, and when He took all the sins of the world on Himself on the cross, He bought us out of slavery to sin and death! He paid the ransom with His own holy, perfect life. The only condition is that we believe in Him and what He has done for us, understanding that we are now joined with Him, and that He is our life. He did all this because He loved us and gave Himself for us!

- Give your life to God... His love poured out in Jesus on the cross is your only hope to have forgiveness and change. His love bought you out of being a slave to sin. His love is what saves you -- not religion, or church membership. There is no one else Who can save you except Jesus Christ Who is God the Son. God loves you!

Romans 10:13 "Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved!"

- Call out to God in the name of Jesus!

Romans 10:9,10 "...If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation."

- If you know that God is knocking on your heart's door, ask Him to come into your heart.

Jesus said,
Revelation 3:20a "Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him..."

- Is Jesus knocking on your heart's door?

Do you want to escape from Hell and from God’s wrath? Do you want Jesus to forgive you of all your sins---past, present and future? Are you willing to relinquish control of your life to Jesus, and follow Him as your Savior and as the Lord of your life?

Believe in Him.
Ask Him to come in to your heart by faith,and ask Him to reveal Himself to you.

Remember: there is no “magic formula” prayer, and merely repeating a bunch of words will not save you. ‘Being saved’ is not about saying some prayer, then going about your own way and living your life however you please. It involves following Jesus from now on and forever. It has to do with complete surrender and with a sincere heart attitude.

Just talk to Jesus in your own words. He knows your thoughts anyway. However, if you say, “I don’t know how to pray; I have no idea what to say,” then here is a sample guideline to help you:

Pray something like this:
"Dear God, today I turn away from all of my sins (name them). This day I put my trust in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. He is the only way for me to be saved. He is 'The Way, the Truth, and the Life.’ Please forgive me, change my heart, and grant me Your gift of everlasting life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."

If you have now surrendered and committed your life to Jesus, and have given Him full control of your life, then the Bible says that the angels in Heaven are rejoicing right now!

Not only that, but if you have asked Christ Jesus to come into your life and save you from your sins and from Hell and damnation and eternal suffering, and have asked Him to take over your life, then the Bible says that God the Holy Spirit has now come to dwell inside you! Therefore, you are now a living temple of the Holy Spirit (the third Person of the Trinity)! You are now a living temple of God!

Open the Bible to the Gospel of John and read what God says about Jesus, about you, and about being born again.

God will help you. He loves you.

You need to look for a local church where
God's word is preached. The Bible says that we are to desire God's word like a newborn baby desires mother's milk.
Aren't you hungry to know the truth?

Water baptism is one of the ways you first show that you have been joined to Jesus. This is an action, and actions will not save you. However, it is an act of obedience and a symbol of commitment.

The symbolism is this:
When you go down in the water you show that you have been crucified and buried with Him, and when you come up out of the water you show that you have been raised to walk with Him in newness of life.
(See Romans chapter 6)

You have been born again.
(See John chapter 3)

Your body has become God's temple.
Your heart is where He lives.

Forgiveness is yours in Jesus.
And you belong to Him.

You were sin's slave.
But now...

You are a child of GOD!

John 1:12
"As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name!"

2 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

John 1:12
"As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name!"

John 1:13

who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

NASB

In Christ, persons both believe and are chosen by God. Good use of verses, Jeff.

Jeff said...

Thanks, Russ.

Yeah, you can't become a true (i.e., born again) Christian by converting. You can become a Protestant or Catholic by simply converting, true. But going to church doesn't make a person a Christian any more than going into a garage makes you a car. To become a true child of God---a true believer---you must be REGENERATED, not just converted. You must be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, which probably occurs instantaneously after having been redeemed by the blood of Christ. Once the person has been cleansed of all sin (by the blood of Christ), they are then a holy vessel, and their body becomes a holy temple of God, because the Holy Spirit then moves in and indwells them. Not only that, but they receive a new nature, and they begin the process of being changed from the inside out. And if that person had previously been a very obvious sinner outwardly (i.e., a heroin addict, a mob member, a murderer, etc.), there will be a very obvious and dramatic change in them, which everyone will be able to see.