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The Gospel of Jesus Christ

1. Do you believe that everything that exists just hap-pened out of nothing, no air not even a vapor?

The Hubble Constant (a factor used by some scientists to measure (es-timate) supposed expansion of the universe) has hovered around 50, which implies that the universe is about 20 billion years old. In 1999 the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) estimated that there were 125 bil-lion galaxies in the universe, and recently with the new camera HST has observed 3,000 visible galaxies, which is twice as much as were previously observed with the old camera. Even though we cannot actually count the number of stars in the galaxy, we can estimate the number of stars in the galaxy as roughly 100 billion (100,000,000,000). The sun is just an ordinary star. Its energy makes all life and surface processes possible. Minor changes in its energy output can have a major impact on the earth. Our earth is one of eight planets and a large number of smaller objects orbiting the Sun. Does it appear possible that something so large and complex and so per-fectly integrated to fit together could just happen and be formed from nothing?

The Bible states "In the beginning God ('elohiym-plural - divine ones, gods, rulers, judges) created the heavens and the earth and … male and female." (Genesis 1:1 … 28) But man was created in God's like-ness "in our image and in our likeness." He was different from all other creation. Have you ever wondered about God's image or like-ness? We learn in the Bible that God is love, truth, faithful, merciful, just, peace, holy, righteous and able to decide or make choices. How is it possible for a reasoning mind to coordinate the complexities of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch without some minute, detailed planning and design?

Is it easier to believe such complex development occurred by design or by accident? Which do you believe, everything just happened or God created everything?

2. Do you believe the Bible is God's message to man?

The Jews referred to the law, the prophets and the psalms as the scrip-ture. "He [Jesus] went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his cus-tom. And he stood up to read. The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 'The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor [humble, meek]. He has sent me to pro-claim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.' [Isaiah 61:1-2] Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the atten-dant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fas-tened on him, and he began by saying to them, 'Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.'" (Luke 4:16-21 NIV) Timothy stated "All Scripture is God-breathed [inspired (ASV)] and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV) "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For proph-ecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:20-21 NIV) "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning." (John 1:1-2 NIV) From the above we can conclude that the Bible is the inspired Word of God.

Do you believe God speaks to us through His Word, the Bible?

3. Who controls man's actions?

Does God prevent man from sinning? Is man forced by Satan to sin without him being able to do anything to stop? Or does man control his own life choosing to sin or not to sin? The answer to these ques-tions can be found in the study of Adam and Eve in the third chapter of Genesis.

God placed man, Adam and Eve, in Eden [paradise]. He then put him to work instructing him to tend [take care of, dress] and keep it. Just think, at this moment in man's life, he was in the perfect place and in a perfect relationship with God, his creator. Remember man was made in God's image and likeness, probably with many of the same characteristics as God. Did you notice that God talked to him?

Taking care of the Garden of Eden was not the only thing God re-quired of Adam. God instructed, commanded, them not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden. But you must never eat from the tree of the knowl-edge of good and evil because when you eat from it, you will cer-tainly die." (Genesis 2:16-17 GWT) If God had not made man with the ability to make decisions, He would not have given him this in-struction in which he could choose to eat or chose not to eat of the fruit of the tree.

Now Adam and Eve may have looked at the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil many times. It was not a sin to look at the tree. But, when Satan, the deceiver, in the form of a serpent asked "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1) they looked at the tree differently. This time it was with the desire to become as wise as God. Notice God did not tempt them neither did He prevent them from desiring to be wise. In fact, it was all up to them. They could have said "I will not eat." But they chose to satisfy their desire to try to be as wise as God and yielded to their desire. "Let no one say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God,' for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires. Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death." (James 1:13-15 NET) James was right. Adam and Eve's sin lead to death just like God said when He commanded them not to eat of the fruit of the tree of good and evil.

So they looked at the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they wanted to become wise as God and they knew what God had commanded. Their choice was "should we eat of fruit or not"? Were they created with the ability to make decisions? Whose choice is it? Did Satan force them to eat? Did God prevent them from eating the fruit?

Did they yield? Will we yield when tempted?

They yielded to their desire to be as wise as God. They rebelled against God by not honoring His command! They sinned! This sev-ered that perfect relationship with the eternal all loving and merciful God. The consequence was harsh but just. Their guilt was heavy and there was not a thing they could do to earn a return to that relation-ship. God gives a hint of something He had planned to occur in the future, something that would allow man to return to that relationship with God. "And I will put enmity [hostility] between you and the woman, and between your offspring [seed] and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." (Genesis 3:15 NIV)

What would it take to atone for their foolish rebellion to get man back into that perfect relationship with God?

4. God becomes angry with the wickedness of man.

Years passed and man's relationship with God grew worse. In fact it became intolerable. "The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the LORD said, 'I will blot out [destroy (ASV)] man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.'" (Genesis 6:5-7 RSV)

But there was hope for mankind for "Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD." (Genesis 6:8 RSV) "By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, took heed and constructed an ark [boat, ship] for the saving of his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness which comes by faith." (Hebrews 11:7 RSV) Noah did what God desired not what he wanted to do even while all those around him continued to live wickedly. I am sure you took note that God punished the rebellious and wicked but had mercy and saved the righteous.

So far we have seen that God planned for man's seed, at some time, to crush the head of the great deceiver (aka the accuser and Satan). He promised also, but not necessarily at the same time, to punish the wicked and have grace and mercy on the righteous.

The question is how would He accomplish this.

5. A covenant established with an individual for the purpose of bringing atonement.

About 350 years later, a few years after Noah died, Abraham was born. Seventy-five years later God called Abraham. "The LORD said to Abram, 'Leave your land, your relatives, and your father's home. Go to the land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation, I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a bless-ing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse. Through you every family on earth will be blessed.' (Genesis 12:1-4 GWT or "In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" NKJV). So Abram left, as the LORD had told him." "He [Abraham] believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." (Galatians 3:6 NIV)

When He stated all families of the earth, obviously He was not refer-ring only to the nation of Israel which was yet to come for it states all families of the earth. "The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abra-ham: 'All nations will be blessed through you.' … The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say 'and to seeds,' meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ." (Galatians 3:8 … 16 NIV)

Hundreds of years passed and the descendents of Abraham, estimated to be over 2 million men, were slaves in Egypt. "A man from the fam-ily of Levi took a woman also descended from Levi as his wife. When she conceived and had a son, upon seeing what a fine child he was, she hid him for three months." (Exodus 2:1-2 CJB) "Then Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. 'This is one of the Hebrew babies,' she said. Then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter, 'Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?' 'Yes, go,' she answered. And the girl went and got the baby's mother. Pharaoh's daughter said to her, 'Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.' So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, 'I drew him out of the wa-ter.'" (Exodus 2:5-10 NIV)

"By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin." (Hebrews 11:24-25 NKJV) "But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well." (Exodus 2:15 ASV) Having been trained in the luxuries of Egyptian royalty Moses was 40 years old when he fled Pharaoh and Egypt. For the next forty years of his 120 year life he was a lowly shepherd, a profession de-spised by the Egyptians but honored by God who is the chief shep-herd.

"Now Moses was pasturing the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the west side of the wilder-ness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. The angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed. So Moses said, I must turn aside now and see this marvelous sight, why the bush is not burned up. When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, 'Moses, Moses!' And he said, 'Here I am.' Then He said, 'Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.' He said also, 'I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (Exodus 3:1-6 NASU) Then the LORD said, 'I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters; I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians … Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring forth my people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt.'" (Exodus 3:7-11 RSV)

"When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, 'If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.' So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea." (Exodus 13:17-18 NIV) But Pharaoh, desiring to keep the Israelites as slaves, changed his mind and pursued after them with his mighty army. "Moses answered the people, 'Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.'… But the Lord said 'The Egyp-tians will know that I am the LORD when I gain glory through Phar-aoh, his chariots and his horsemen.' … The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen - the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived." (Exodus 14:13-14; 17; 14:28 NIV)

As they continued their journey toward the land God promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they came to Mount Sinai. When they left Egypt they were slaves living under Egyptian laws and leadership but they now needed to become a nation. Here God through Moses gave them many commandments (including those commonly referred to as the Ten Commandment), rules and regulations to govern them as they took their place among other nations. These laws created an aware-ness of sin. Thus "the law was our schoolmaster [tutor-(ASV); custo-dian-(RSV); guardian-(ESV)] to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Galatians 3:24 KJV)

Is this law giver, Moses [Abraham's seed], the person that would bless all families of the earth?

Moses died not being allowed to enter the land promised to Abraham. He did not bless all nations - only the nation of Israel. Joshua became God's leader for them. One can read all about the trials and tribula-tions of the Children of Israel, Abrahams descendants from the son of promise, Isaac. It was a constant battle for them to live faithful to God. They constantly allowed their desires to lead them astray. Their law, the Law given by God through Moses, did not offer any forgive-ness; it only pointed to a redeemer, a messiah, someone who was to come. But God always welcomed them back when they became aware of their wickedness, repented and turned back to keeping his com-mandments.

Are you like the Children of Israel? Are you constantly being bombarded with temptations, sometimes yielding and in need of forgiveness?

6. A New Covenant

"'Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah - not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt.'" (Jeremiah 31:31-32 NKJV) "You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the media-tor of a new covenant…" (Hebrews 12:23-24 NIV) "Therefore he [Christ - (NIV)] is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance…" (Hebrews 9:15 RSV)

How is one called and what must be done in order to receive this promise of eternal life?

"It is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, 'Sacri-fices and offerings thou hast not desired, but a body hast thou pre-pared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings thou hast taken no pleasure.' Then I said, 'Lo, I have come to do thy will, O God,' as it is written of me in the roll of the book. When he said above, 'Thou hast neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings' (these are offered according to the law), then he added, 'Lo, I have come to do thy will.' He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sancti-fied [made holy NIV] through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:4-10 RSV)

"Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, try-ing to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things." (1 Peter 1:10-12 NIV) "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6-8 NIV)

"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.'" (Luke 22:19-20 NIV) - Therefore, the pouring out of Christ's blood, his giving of His life and body as the atoning sacrifice by crucifixion, and His resurrection from the grave, physical death, established the New Covenant. This blood sacrifice of the incarnate God provides what the blood sacrifice of bulls and goats of the covenant given by God through Moses was not able to do. He did not remain dead (His physical body did not see corruption i.e. decay) as God raised Him from the grave thereby overcoming the only hold Satan had on man. Therefore Christ, the seed of Adam, crushed the head of Satan when He was brought back to life, resurrected, thereby becoming victorious over death. "And I will put enmity [hostility] be-tween you and the woman, and between your offspring [seed] and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel." (Genesis 3:15 NIV)

Does Christ's atoning sacrifice provide forgiveness to everyone or only to those who choose to accept Him and His free gift?

God promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that their descendants would be given a land flowing with milk and honey, an earthly Promised Land. This promise was fulfilled following their leaving slavery be-hind and accepting God's covenant through Moses with the sacrifices of the blood of sheep and "bulls and goats." However, only those who put their trust in God through obedience were allowed to enter in. For hundreds of years they reached great heights while faithful to God by keeping His commandments and sank to great depths when they re-belled against God by following the ways of the world around them. However God was always faithful to accept them back when they ac-knowledged their sins, repented of their wickedness and asked for God's mercy and forgiveness.

God's promise to Abraham that his "seed" would bless all nations ar-rived with the birth of Jesus by the Holy Spirit through Mary. The ful-fillment of all prophecies, His life, miracles and eye witness testi-mony, and some secular, non-Christian or Roman, witnesses leaves no doubt about His claim to be the "Son of God and the Son of Man."

Moses' teachings with their yearly cycle of sacrifices were only a shadow of the good things in the future. They were not an exact like-ness of those things. They could never make those who worship per-fect. If these sacrifices could have made the worshipers perfect, the sacrifices would have stopped long ago. Those who worship would have been cleansed once and for all. Their consciences would have been free from sin. Instead, this yearly cycle of sacrifices reminded people of their sins. (The blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins.) This covenant given by God through Moses was only a type, model or shadow of a new and better covenant established by God through Christ, God incarnate in the flesh. "For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said, 'You did not want sacrifices and offerings, but you prepared a body for me. You did not approve [no pleasure (RSV); not pleased (NIV)] of burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin.' Then I said, 'I have come! (It is written about me in the scroll of the book.) [Psalms 40:6-8] I have come to do what you want, my God.' In this passage Christ first said, 'You did not want sacrifices, offerings, burnt offerings, and sacrifices for sin. You did not approve of them.' (These are the sacrifices that Moses' teachings require peo-ple to offer.) Then Christ says, 'I have come to do what you want.' He did away with [their animal] sacrifices in order to establish the obedi-ence [living sacrifices] that God wants. We have been set apart as holy because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do by sacrific-ing his body once and for all. Every day each priest performed his re-ligious duty. He offered the same type of sacrifice again and again. Yet, these sacrifices could never take away sins. However, this chief priest [Christ] made one sacrifice for sins, and this sacrifice lasts for-ever. Then he received the highest position in heaven. Since that time, he has been waiting for his enemies to be made his footstool. With one sacrifice he accomplished the work of setting them apart for God forever. The Holy Spirit tells us the same thing: 'This is the promise that I will make to them after those days,' says the Lord: 'I will put my teachings in their hearts and write them in their minds.'" (He-brews 10:1-17 GWT)

"Then he adds, 'I will no longer hold their sins and their disobedience against them.' When sins are forgiven, there is no longer any need to sacrifice for sins. Brothers and sisters, because of the blood of Jesus we can now confidently go into the holy place." (Hebrews 10:17-19 GWT) The New Covenant came with the blood sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth, a man without the spots or blemishes of sin, the "The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"

7. Accepting the Free Gift of Salvation

As shown by Adam and Eve, all mankind were given the ability to make decisions and choices. This is also borne out by the constant rebelling and repenting of the people God chose to bring Christ into the world. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23 KJV) Those who choose to become part of this New Covenant receive salvation, for-giveness of sins, the promise of continual forgiveness through right-eous living by the cleansing blood of Christ and a spiritual Promised Land. "No one else can save us. Indeed, we can be saved only by the power of the one named Jesus and not by any other person." (Acts 4:12 GWT) "For I am not ashamed of the gospel: it is the power of God for salvation to every one who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed." (Romans 1:16-17 RSV) So, all of us have sinned, Christ is the answer to for-giveness and His Gospel is the power unto salvation.

A. Are you absolutely sure that you would spend eternity with Jesus in Heaven if you were to die today/tonight?

  • I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)
  • For this reason I [Jesus] told you that you'll die because of your sins. If you don't believe that I am the one, you'll die because of your sins. (John 8:24 GWT)
B. Then who is this Jesus?
  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 NKJV)

  • He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. (John 1:10 NKJV)

  • The Word became human and lived among us. We saw his glory. It was the glory that the Father shares with his only Son, a glory full of kindness and truth. (John 1:14 GWT)

  • Although he was in the form of God and equal with God, he did not take advantage of this equality. Instead, he emptied himself by taking on the form of a servant, by becoming like other humans, by having a human appearance. He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8-GWT)

  • The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Be-hold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who is preferred be-fore me, for He was before me.' (John 1:29-30 NKJV)

  • When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. (Matthew 3:16 NKJV)

  • When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" They answered, "Some say you are John the Baptizer, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He asked them, "But who do you say I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God!" Jesus replied, "Simon, son of Jonah, you are blessed! No human revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven revealed it to you. (Matthew 16:13-18 GWT
  • )
  • For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all. (1 Timothy 2:5-6 NKJV) For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9 NKJV)
C. Why does man need a mediator?
  • Your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:2 NKJV)
  • I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness … For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:19…23 NIV)
  • All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Je-sus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. (Romans 3:23-25 NIV)
  • Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites [sexual perverts (RSV)], nor thieves, nor covetous [greedy (NIV)], nor drunkards, nor revilers [slanderers (NIV)], nor extortioners [swindlers (NIV)] will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV)
  • My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our de-fense - Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacri-fice for our sins. (1 John 2:1-2 NIV)
  • The gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16 NKJV)
D. What is the Gospel of Christ?
  • Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:10-12 NKJV)
  • In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. (Ephesians 1:7-8 NKJV)
  • [All] are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atone-ment, through faith in his blood. (Romans 3:24-25 NIV)
  • Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you - unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins ac-cording to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corin-thians 15:1-4 NKJV)
  • Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconcilia-tion: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)
E. How is one reconciled back to a relationship with God?
  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1-2NKJV)
  • Peter said to Jesus … While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him [hear him (KJV)]!" (Matthew 17:4-5 NIV)
  • How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? (Romans 10:14 NKJV)
  • So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. (Acts 8:30-31 NKJV)
  • Without faith [belief in action] it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a re-warder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV)
  • You will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (John 8:24 NKJV)
  • But if you don't turn to God and change the way you think and act [repent (NKJV)], then you, too, will all die. What about those 18 people who died when the tower at Siloam fell on them? Do you think that they were more sinful than other people living in Jerusa-lem? No! I can guarantee that they weren't. But if you don't turn to God and change [repent (NKJV)] the way you think and act, then you, too, will all die." (Luke 13:3-5 GWT)
  • 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart' (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, [when he puts his trust in God through obedience] and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:8-10 NKJV)
  • Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved). (Ephesians 2:5 KJV)
  • "
  • Don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? When we were baptized into his death, we were placed into the tomb with him [we died to sin and were buried, immersed]. (Romans 6:3-4 GWT)
  • As Christ was brought back from death to life by the glorious power of the Father, so we, too, should live a new kind of life. If we've become united with him in a death like his, certainly we will also be united with him when we come back to life as he did. We know that the person we used to be was crucified with him to put an end to sin in our bodies. Because of this we are no longer slaves to sin. The person who has died has been freed from sin. (Romans 6:4-7 GWT)
F. Living the New Kind of Life In Christ
The following teachings of Christ as recorded in Matthew 5-7 reveal much about living in Christ (no attempt has been made to list everything recorded).
Contrasts between Old and New Covenants - 6:21-48
1. Do not murder -vs- Do not nurse anger, abuse, sneer at or hate
2. Tithe -vs- Set matters right with others before giving to God
3. Do not commit adultery -vs- Do not look upon someone with desire for sexual pleasure
4. Do break an oath -vs- Oaths are unnecessary if one's integrity is sufficient
5. Get even with offender -vs- Allow God to avenge
6. Hate your enemy -vs- Do good to all including your enemies
Contrast between Traditions of the elders and the New - 6:1-18
1. Display your righteousness -vs- Worship and honor God in your Heart
2. Call attention to giving -vs- Give in secret, honoring God
3. Pray to impress -vs- Prayer is to be between you and God
4. Call attention to your righteousness -vs- God is Holy
A More Spiritual life - 6:19 - 7:27
1. Know you need God
2. Maintain a gentle spirit
3. Strive to see justice maintained
4. Show mercy
5. Keep thoughts pure
6. Promote peace
7. Accept persecution for doing right
8. Allow your relationship with God to be obvious
9. Teach others to observe all God's teachings
10. Be careful to refrain from teaching tradition as God's word
11. Rely upon God not on accumulated wealth which perishes
12. Be careful what you take into your mind through your eyes
13. It is impossible to rely on God and self, ones wealth.
14. Life is more than things
15. Put righteousness and justice first - God takes care of the rest
16. Do not be critical of others - you too are stained with sin
17. Those diligently seeking righteousness will find it
18. God gives to those who ask
19. Know God and you will recognize the hypocrite and his works
20. God recognizes those who do his will - not those who say they do
Since the gospel is the power of God unto salvation and since it is IN Christ that one receives the blessing of forgiveness, how does one get into Christ?

Hear
  • Study diligently and read what Christ and apostles preached for they are the Words of life.
Understand
  • All men are sinful, having disobeyed God's righteous commands.
  • I have sinned and am not living according to God's commands.
  • My sins will result in my eternal death.
  • I must be forgiven to have eternal life with God.
  • Christ is the only way for me to be forgiven of all my sins. Believe

  • Jesus was and is God who came to earth in flesh as Jesus of Nazareth and lived among men.
  • Jesus willingly gave His physical life as the perfect sacrifice for my sins, being crucified.
  • He was buried, rose from the grave on the third day and appeared to hundreds of his disciples.
  • He ascended back to heaven with the Father.
Repent
  • Change my life from sin and disobedience to trust and obedience.
Confess
  • Acknowledge before others that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and Lord.
Die
  • Put to death my old, sinful, worldly life.
Be Buried
  • Bury my sinful life that I put to death in the grave of baptism by water immersion.
Receive
  • A new spiritual life and the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come
  • .

Live
  • Continue to live steadfastly and obediently to Christ and the apostles teachings as the blood sacrifice of the "Lamb of God" will continue to cleanse all who have accepted His offer of forgiveness by their action - obedience through faith and trust from a contrite heart. Following their death to sin and burial in water immersion (baptism) they are resurrected a spiritual being IN Christ. By becoming a member of Christ's body (also referred to as His church) they are to live from then on a life based upon Christ's and the apostles' teachings.

Are you completely sure where you will spend eternity?

The Decision is Yours! You must Choose!

Life
Those who listen to what I say and believe in the one who sent me will have eternal life. They won't be judged because they have already passed from death to life. "I can guarantee this truth: A time is coming (and is now here) when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who respond to it will live. (John 5:24-25 GWT)

or


Death

He will do this when the Lord Jesus is revealed, coming from heaven with his mighty angels in a blazing fire. He will take revenge on those who refuse to acknowledge God and on those who refuse to respond [obey (NIV)] to the Good News [Gospel (NKJV)] about our Lord Je-sus. They will pay the penalty by being destroyed forever, by being separated from the Lord's presence and from his glorious power. (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10 GWT)

Today is the day of decision!


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