San Bernardino victim had clashed with shooter over Israel, Holocaust
(RNS) Co-workers with opposing views of faith and Israel: one a radicalized Muslim, the other a Messianic Jew.
Obama’s claims on Islam evaluated
In an address on a ‘new phase’ in America’s war on terror, President Obama said committing acts of violence in name of Allah represents a perversion of Islam. His remarks drew response from evangelical scholars of Islam.
The World’s Most Popular Bible Verses, According to 200 Million YouVersion Users
Every second, 112 people open the Bible app. Here’s what they’re looking at.
Billy Graham’s Daughter Has a Message for World Leaders
Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of reknowned Christian evangelist Billy Graham, has a message for world leaders: If you forsake Him, He will forsake you.
Child Welfare Seizes Kids Because of Alleged ‘Christian Indoctrination’
Norway’s child welfare agency seized a Christian couple’s children on charges that parents subjected them to “Christian radicalization and indoctrination.”
5 Things to Notice When You Read Luke’s Christmas Story This Year
Look deeper beyond just the familiar story of Christmas and see that these verses are practically relevant for us even thousands of years later.
4 Conditions to Drawing Near to God
Hebrews 10:22 calls us to draw near to God, but, just how are we supposed to do this?
3 Things I Didn’t Understand about God as a Rebellious Teen
Growing up, my curiosity and need to push back often resulted in rebellion. I didn’t grasp my parents’ discipleship role over me, and I sure didn’t grasp these three essential truths!
by Crossroad, 11/15/15
This chart is an attempt to answer those who judge Christians by the atrocities committed in the name of “Christianity” through the ages — including our own times. Those wars, persecutions, and cruelties had little to do with Biblical Christianity. They had everything to do with man’s greedy, power-hungry human nature which seeks its own ways rather than God’s. The ungodly expressions of our human nature may change from culture to culture, but the result is usually the same: the people imagine a god that fits their new cultural wants and values, and they learn to see this distortion of Christianity as the true church. Biblical Christianity means being joined to Jesus Christ through faith in what He did for us at the cross, then allowing Him to live His life through us, so that others might know Him and see His love. (That love may include sharing His warnings as well as His promises with those in need.) The established Church, like Old Testament Israel, has always tended to drift away from its devotion to God and become just other institutions, subject to the same human impulses and painful consequences as the rest of the world. Please don’t blame human evils on a “straw-man” or a convenient cultural distortion of Christianity. Consider some of the differences between Biblical faith and today’s cultural deviations. Click here to read this chart!
Microsoft Removes God From ‘Let There Be Peace on Earth’ Lyrics in New Ad
Technology giant Microsoft has released a commercial in which the popular song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” is performed with the reference to God omitted.
A television commercial posted on YouTube last week featured Microsoft employees and a children’s choir singing the song to employees at an Apple store.
IHOP-KC Once Again Withholds Mention of Catholic Participation at Onething Conference
According to John Lanagan of My Word Like Fire:
Like the saying goes, It is deja vu all over again. In 2012, the Catholic Church was scheduled to participate in the International House of Prayer’s Onething conference. While this startling information was available on Catholic sites online, there was virtually nothing about it on the IHOP-KC and Onething websites.
In 2012, Catholic participation was canceled, and this spiritual partnership never took place. In 2015, the Catholics are once again scheduled to participate at Onething, and IHOP-KC founder Mike Bickle has determined yet again to keep this information off the IHOP-KC and Onething websites.
Our theme this week is, “It could never happen in America.” Of course, our great grandparents may have been able to say this with a little confidence but today, we are witnessing history most Christians would rather not see repeated! An openness to socialism has spread across the land, and moral relativism now rules our […]
On Catholicism and Islam
By Bill Muehlenberg If some folks – including many Catholics – have felt uneasy about some of the things the current Pope has said about Islam, they would be quite right to feel that way. Even allowing for a hostile secular media, when we read his actual words – sometimes from a speech, sometimes from […]
God’s New Sound
Kudos to Herescope’s researchers for their willingness to tackle topics many discernment ministries won’t touch. After reading “Part 11: The Physics of Heaven* A Serial Book Review & Theological Interaction” penned by Pastor Larry DeBruyn, you’ll understand why some researches shy away from esoteric topics such as the so-called “physics of heaven.” This is no easy […]
Nine Reasons People Aren’t Singing in Worship
Food for thought from Renewing Worship blog: Worship leaders around the world are sadly changing their church’s worship (often unintentionally) into a spectator event, and people are not singing any more. Before discussing our present situation, let’s look back into history. Prior to the Reformation, worship was largely done for the people. The music was […]
Bullets For All
“What painful irony!” notes Peter Jones of truthxchange. “Spiritually-ignorant young people, foolishly worshiping “the great Satan,” singing as they die; “I will love the Devil and his song,” butchered in cold blood by religiously-driven Islamist jihadists claiming to serve Allah destroying the “great Satan,” in actions of clearly Satanic inspiration.” Dr. Jones writes: What distressing […]
If we find that we struggle with a low self-image, we need to look carefully at it, because it may not be low at all. It may in fact be a frustrated inflated self-image.
Paul wrote this in Romans 12:3:
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.
What our world often calls low self-image, I think Paul would say is just another way of thinking too highly of ourselves.
Holy and Unholy Ways of Thinking Highly of Yourself
There’s a holy and humble way to think highly of yourself. If you are a Christian, you are a saint who is part of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for [God’s] own possession that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). You are a new creation in Christ and no longer that old condemned person (2 Corinthians 5:17). God intends for this to be part of your self-image.
But there’s an unholy, prideful way to think highly of yourself — being selfishly ambitious and counting yourself more significant than others (Philippians 2:3). This should not be part of your self-image as a Christian, and if it is, it usually results in “quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder” (2 Corinthians 12:20). This is probably the high thinking Paul had in mind in Romans 12:3.
Holy and Unholy Ways of Thinking Low of Yourself
Likewise, there are holy and unholy ways of thinking low of yourself.
If you see yourself as having once been the foremost of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), only being what you now are by the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:10), you look for the low seat at the banquet (Luke 14:10) because you consider others more important than yourself (Philippians 2:3), and the cry of your heart is “[Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). This is holy lowliness.
But if you suffer from a chronic sense of failure, underachievement, and shame because compared to others you just are not smart enough, attractive enough, competent enough, gifted enough, organized enough, educated enough, successful enough, rich enough, or prominent enough, that is almost always an unholy lowliness.
And this sort of low self-image also tends to result in “quarreling, jealousy, anger, hostility, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder” (2 Corinthians 12:20). Because, in truth, we are thinking quite highly of ourselves indeed, and are sad, ashamed, and frustrated that we can’t garner the admiration of others we desire. And we are ripe to tear down those we see above us.
Fighting Unholy Lowliness
We all battle this at times. It is a temptation common to man (1 Corinthians 10:13). And Paul helps us fight this inverted form of thinking too highly of ourselves in Romans 12.
He reminds us that “as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:4–5). We are meant to be different because we have different functions. This undermines envy and encourages our sense of stewardship.
And Paul tells us these different functions come to us as grace-gifts from God: “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them” (Romans 12:6). What we have, we have received from God, and he wants us to be content with what we have (Hebrews 13:5). And we are to use what we have received “according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Romans 12:3). The gifts come from God and the faith to use them comes from God. In fact, we “cannot receive even one thing unless it is given [us] from heaven” (John 3:27). This undermines covetousness and encourages our faith in God.
Unholy lowliness comes from comparing ourselves with one another in the spirit of the disciples who competed over “which of them was to be regarded as the greatest” (Luke 22:24). No doubt some felt clearly superior, while others felt envy due to their lesser giftings, opportunities, or attention.
But if we put this unholy lowliness to death by choosing to believe that all of us have been assigned by God sacred functions in Christ’s body, and humbling ourselves under God’s mighty hand, trusting him to exalt us at the proper times and ways (1 Peter 5:6). If we really seek to consider others more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3), and not trust our impulse to be first, and remember that the least among us often is the one God considers great (Luke 9:48), then we will be thinking with godly “sober judgment” (Romans 12:3).
Low self-image — unholy lowliness — which is in truth thinking too highly of ourselves, is weight we must lay aside in order to run our faith race (Hebrews 12:1). Let us look to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) who showed us how to do this by coming to us as one who serves (Luke 22:27) and humbling himself to the lowest place for us (Philippians 2:8)
The Paradox of Chronic Pain | TGC
“Only recently have I discovered that I’m not alone in this pain. About 40 percent of Americans suffer from chronic, persistent, and untreatable pain. Imagine this: in a congregation of 200 adults, about 80 of us are currently in pain. So how can pastors, churches, and ministries better understand and care for their suffering members? ”
4 Simple Responses to Science-Based Atheism | TGC
“You don’t need a degree in science to have something to say to those with scientific objections to faith. Here are four simple responses to those who claim science has either disproved God or has made belief in God unnecessary.”
Relativity, Moral Relativism, and the Modern Age | AlbertMohler.com
“Moral relativism and the rejection of absolute truth now shape the modern post-Christian mind. Indeed, relativism is virtually taken for granted, at least as an excuse for overthrowing theistic truth claims and any restrictive morality.”
The 2016 Reading Challenge
New reading challenge from Tim Challies. “Whether you are a light reader or completely obsessed, this 2016 Reading Challenge is designed to help you read more and to broaden the scope of your reading.”
Building Margin into Your Schedule | Thinking Out Loud
“About five years ago in a Sunday morning service our pastor was talking about the importance of having margin in your life. Margin to hear from God, to wait before Him and to expect miracles. That’s vital at a time of year when margin is slim because of the busy-ness of the season.”
Four Reasons Burnout Is More Prevalent in Ministry Leadership | Eric Geiger
“While the burden will be great, ministry leaders must care for themselves so that they can care for others over the long haul. When a ministry leader burns out, the whole body suffers.”
Enough is Enough | Gentle Reformation
“Enough is enough of believing no correlation exists between the violence of the shooter at the Planned Parenthood clinic and the violence within. The poor victims killed by the shooter were innocent and should not have had their blood shed and lives ended so suddenly and tragically. So what about the unborn being taken into the clinic to be aborted? As Hosea said, ”They sow the wind and they reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7).”
Martyn Lloyd-Jones: His Life and Relevance for the 21st Century by Christopher Catherwood , $4.99.
Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More – Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist by Karen Swallow Prior $1.99.
Jesus and the Feminists: Who Do They Say That He Is? by Margaret Kostenberger, $2.99.
The Mark of the Christian by Francis Schaeffer $3.67.
Evolution destroyed in under 5 mins: David Berlinski
“David Berlinski (born 1942) is an American philosopher, educator, and author.Berlinski is a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. A critic of the theory of evolution, Berlinski refuses to theorize about the origins of life, and describes himself as a secular Jew.”
Pope Francis, In a sermon preached in front of many muslims at a mosque in the central african republic, expressed very clearly his thoughts about islam he said that Muslims are our brothers and sisters. later that day he posted this on twitter.
Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters, and we must act as such.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) November 30, 2015
It is time for born again Christians to come to grips with the fact that this man worships a different God. There is simply no excuse for a born again christian to have any doubts about this anymore. It is not new for this Pope to say controversial things. Not too long ago he claimed that Atheists would go to heaven too. he said “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!” Roman Catholic theology, because it is works based, puts a great emphasis on doing good, and therefore is not evangelistic. For many centuries the devil used the Roman Catholic Church to murder anyone who didn’t agree with them, but now it seems he has shifted his strategy to being ecumenical, even Mother Theresa said,
“We never try to convert those who receive aid from Missionaries of Charity to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied. It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation.”
This is a common belief within Roman Catholicism, when a college roommate told me that he was becoming Roman Catholic because “faith alone is found nowhere in scripture” he went on to say that “of course, we will be shocked, by just how many people make it to heaven. The God of Roman Catholicism is much less likely to send people to hell” in response to a question about whether mormons and Jehova’s witness are saved. Muslims and Christians couldn’t teach anything more different. They deny Jesus is God and teach that he didn’t actually die on the cross. If this is true then Jesus never resurrected and in 1 Cor 15:12-19 paul says, “if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”. It is impossible to go to heaven except through Christ (John 14:6) but not just any Christ, the actual Christ that is sitting at the right of the Father as we speak. I totally get it, in our nature we seek to want to make God less just, we want to make Him into a God in our own image. We do this in what is masked as love and a desire for all to be saved, in an attempt to be liked by all people. In doing so we end up trashing Christ, and what He said.
When will Christians wake up? When will we start evangelizing our Catholic friends? How many more outrageous statements does this Pope have to make before you wake up to realize Roman Catholics and evangelicals cannot be together?
Today’s Kindle deals include The Upper Room by John MacArthur ($2.99); Jesus on Every Page by David Murray ($1.99); Compassion Without Compromise by Adam Barr ($1.99); Mormonism 101 by Mill McKeever ($2.99); 52 Words Every Christian Should Know by Kendell Easley ($0.99); Preparing for Jesus’ Return by A.W. Tozer ($1.99); The Big Idea of Biblical Preaching edited by Scott Gibson ($1.99); 131 Christians Everyone Should Know by Mark Galli ($2.99); A History of Israel by Walter Kaiser ($2.99).
Joe Carter asks (and answers) the question. “As Christians, we’re expected to take an eternal perspective, viewing events not just in their historical context but also in their eschatological context. But we can’t do that while focusing on the pseudo-events and social media outrages of the last 24 hours.”
Desiring God ran an article I prepared. “As Christians, we can think about productivity in the best and highest terms. We can be motivated to live for the good of others and the glory of God, and structure our lives to do this.” Also, thanks to David Murray for “Do Less Better,” his encouraging review of Do More Better.
David Murray has (finally!) begun selling his little Bible-reading booklets for children. “Each book has about 100 days of Bible reading, each day has a brief question, and each week has an area for prayer points.” My kids have used the older print-it-yourself version for a long time and have done well with them.
I’m looking forward to the rest of this little series from Mellisa Kruger. She’ll be writing about the value of reading God’s Word every day.
Al Mohler: “Moral relativism and the rejection of absolute truth now shape the modern post-Christian mind. Indeed, relativism is virtually taken for granted, at least as an excuse for overthrowing theistic truth claims and any restrictive morality.”
This Day in 1691 and 1934. Today marks the deaths of both Puritan Richard Baxter and missionaries John and Betsy Stam (324 years ago and 81 years ago respectively). *
Alex Chediak suggests a simple solution to the problem of student narcissism.
Just because God was silent for the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments doesn’t mean he wasn’t at work. Diane explains.
For those interested, a new issue of Themelios has been released with 193 pages of editorials, articles, and book reviews.
J. Warner Wallace, author of God’s Crime Scene, discusses the nature of the universe and the evidence for God’s existence. Did the universe have a beginning? If so, what is the best explanation? Can the beginning of the universe be explained from “inside the room” of the natural universe, or does the best explanation for the universe lie “outside the room”? For more information about this “inside” or “outside the room” approach to the evidence in the universe, refer to J. Warner’s book, God’s Crime Scene.
To see more interview videos with J. Warner Wallace, visit the YouTube playlist.
A Christian is a person who submits his or her whole life to the lordship of Jesus Christ. This is the polar opposite of the great movements of our time, both within our own culture and around the world.
What are the great things in the Bible that God does with regard to humanity?
- God brings about the beginning of life.
- God makes us male and female.
- God tells us what marriage is.
- God determines the timing our death.
Now think about the great social issues that are at the center of so much controversy in our time. One thing ties them together. We have been the assuming for ourselves the right to do the things that belong to God.
Why Are There So Many Fearful Christians?
We want to determine the beginning of life, which children should come to birth and which should not see the light of day. We want to make gender a matter of personal choice. We want to define what marriage is and who it is for. And with the same frame of mind, we want the “right” to determine the time and circumstances of our own death.
The same impulse is at work in each of these cases. We are putting ourselves in the place of God. We want to remove him from the throne, and we want to occupy the place of supreme authority over all things ourselves. We have welcomed and embraced the satanic proposal first put forth in the garden of Eden: “You shall be as God.” Precisely the same problem lies at the root of the violent terrorism that is causing so much fear around the world today.
When you can say, “To live is Christ,” then you can also say, “to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).
Think about who God is: God is the judge, and judgment belongs to him. He is the One who, on the last day, will bring the immoral and the unbelieving to judgment. But now we have people who see it as their job to bring justice and judgment to “the infidels.” What we have in the jihadists is just another example of man putting himself in the place of God.
What is the Christian response to a world in which men and women are increasingly putting ourselves in the place of God? The first thing to say is that the cultural Christianity that pervades our country can offer no response whatsoever. Why?
Because many of us have been raised with and shaped by a diminished gospel that says, “God loves you and all you have to do is say ‘yes’ to him and you will be safe, secure, and blessed forever.” So people say “yes” to God and then spend the rest of their lives in some degree of irritation or resentment that this God, to whom they have said “yes,” has not made their lives as they would want them to be.
Do you see what has happened: What is wrong with this picture? What is actually going on?
We see ourselves as the ones on the throne and God as the one who exists to serve us by making our lives as we want them to be. That is why I say that the church has, in large measure, been permeated by the same self-exalting spirit that is at the root of the landslide in our culture, and of the terrorism that is causing so much fear in our world.
The first word of the gospel is that there is a sovereign Lord who lays claim to the whole of your life. The second word is that you are a sinner who deserves nothing but judgment from God. The third word is that he has sent his Son Jesus Christ into the world as the Savior, who alone is able to bring peace and reconciliation between you and God. The fourth word is that this Savior can be yours, as you turn to him in faith and in repentance.
How Can Christians Overcome Our Fears?
Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord. (1 Peter 3:14-15)
Peter is telling us how we can overcome our fears. If you are the lord, everything that you cannot control will cause you to fear. What if there is a bomb? What if one of my children choose the wrong path? What if I get cancer?
But when Christ is the Lord of your life, you have reason for confidence. Your Savior is Lord!
Jesus Christ was sovereign over your birth. He is sovereign over your life, and he will be sovereign over your death.
Sovereign over your birth means that of all the millions of people who could potentially have come from the union of your father and your mother, God created you! In great love and mercy, he planned that you should be for all eternity!
Sovereign over your life means all that has a happened to you, the good you have enjoyed and the evil you have suffered, was known to God before the beginning of time. Life is full of surprises for us, unexpected twists and turns, but nothing ever comes as a surprise to him. Before a word is on my tongue, God knows it completely.
God’s sovereignty over your life means that God works through all that has happened in your past and whatever will happen in the future to advance the great purpose for which he brought you into being. This is what the apostle Paul is talking about when he says, “For those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). God’s good purpose is that a reflection of his dearly loved Son will radiate from you for his glory and for your joy forever.
Sovereign over your death means Jesus Christ is in complete control of the timing, the circumstances, and the outcome of your death, which for a Christian believer, whenever it comes, will be an immediate translation into glory.
In your book were written…the days that were formed for me. (Psalm 139:16; cf Job 14:5)
George Whitfield said, “We are immortal till our life’s work is done.” You can’t use that as an excuse for irresponsible behavior – driving down the wrong side of the road at 90 mph. That is an abuse of the truth. Satan tried that abuse when he suggested to Jesus that he should jump from the pinnacle of the temple, “Nothing bad will happen!”
Jesus said, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.”
Instead, use this truth when you struggle with fear. If you are afraid of flying on an airplane, this is a great thing to say to yourself as you put on your seat belt while they go through the pre-flight routine: “I am immortal until my life’s work is done.”
The freedom from fear that a believer under the Lordship of Christ enjoys is beautifully expressed in the Heidelberg catechism:
Q: What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A: That I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and in death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ…He also watches over me in such a way that not a hair can fall from my head without the will of my Father in heaven.
What This Looks Like in Practice
To honor Christ the Lord means that you hold all that you have in this life with an open hand. It means that you will use the word “my” tentatively, as if it were in parentheses:
- “My” house, means the house that God has entrusted to me for a time.
- “My” children means the loved ones who belong to God and are lent to me for a time.
- “My” work means the service that God has called me to do for a time.
- “My” money is the resource that God has trusted me to steward on his behalf.
- “My” friends are the people God has given as companions for a few laps of the journey.
- “My” life means the opportunity that God has given me to serve at his pleasure in this world until he calls me home.
I can talk like this because I’m not the one who is on the throne. Thank God for that! Otherwise, I’d be riddled with fear.
We will do much better when it comes to dealing with loss (whether that be the loss of a position, loss of a person, or loss of property) if we believe and remember that what we have belongs to God and is loaned to us for a time.
C.H. Spurgeon says,
A man does not cry when he has to return a tool which he has borrowed…He knew that he borrowed it, he never called it his own, and he hands it back thankful that he had it for so long. 
The last time Moses spoke to God’s people before he died, he said to them, “Behold I set before you two ways of living. One way is a blessing and the other is a curse. There is a way that will lead to life, and a way that will lead to death.”
I feel a bit like that today. We live at a time where the great movement of our culture is to crown self as lord. Go down that path and you will always be haunted with fear. There can be no greater curse than the curse of that path, and no greater misery than the misery that lies at the end of it.
I want to say with Moses, “Choose the path that leads to life, the path on which you crown Jesus the Son of God and the Lord and Savior of your life.” Friend, when you can say, “For me to live is Christ,” then you will also be able to say, “to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Here is the testimony: “If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord” (Romans 14:8). When this Savior is the sovereign Lord over your life, over your death, and over your eternity, what in all the world would you have to fear?
Say today to all of your fears, “I am immortal till my life’s work is done.”
 C. H. Spurgeon, Sermon #828, “Dying Daily,” August 30, 1868. http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols13-15/chs828.pdf.
Our Time is Short
What is The Gospel?
God made everything out of nothing, including you and me. His main purpose in creation was to bring him pleasure.
The chief way in which we as humanity do this is through loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
Instead of this, we have sinned against our loving Creator and acted in high-handed rebellion.
God has vowed that he will righteously and lovingly judge sinners with eternal death.
But God, being merciful, loving, gracious, and just, sent his own son, Jesus Christ, in the likeness of man to live as a man; fulfilling his perfect requirements in the place of sinners; loving, obeying, and enjoying him perfectly.
And further, his son bore the eternal judgment of God upon the cross of Calvary, as he satisfied the eternal anger of God, standing in the place of sinners. God treated Jesus as a sinner, though he was perfectly sinless, that he might declare sinners as perfect.
This glorious transaction occurs as the sinner puts their faith (dependence, trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ as their substitute. God then charges Christ’s perfection to the sinner, and no longer views him as an enemy but instead an adopted son covered in the perfect righteousness of his son.
God furnished proof that this sacrifice was accepted by raising Jesus from the dead.
God will judge the world in righteousness and all of those who are not covered in the righteousness of Christ, depending on him for forgiveness, will be forced to stand on their own to bear the eternal anger of God.
Therefore, all must turn from sin and receive Christ Jesus as Lord.
There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the gospel.
The gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness–or lack of it –or the righteousness of another. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.
The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith–and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him–and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.
If you picked up a hitchhiker (not that I recommend doing that) and he saw a Bible on your car seat and said, “I’ve heard about this thing called the Gospel – can you explain it to me before you drop me off in one minute up the street?” What would you say?
Can you explain the gospel in 30 seconds? In one minute? In five minutes?
Here’s one way I have found helpful. The five main components of the gospel can be remembered on 5 fingers of one hand. Here they are:
1) Jesus’ birth
2) Jesus’ life
3) Jesus’ death
4) Jesus’ resurrection
5) Jesus’ ascension
Obviously each point can be elaborated on depending on how much time you have. Here’s the short version:
1) Jesus’ birth – Jesus, God himself, the creator of the universe, the Messiah, became a human being – took on flesh, and was born of a virgin.
2) Jesus’ life – Jesus lived a life of perfect obedience to his Father. Though he was tempted in every way as we are, he never once sinned.
3) Jesus’ death – on the cross, Jesus himself took all our sins and paid for them. God the father counted all our sins to Jesus as if he himself had personally committed them. Then Jesus bore God’s wrath towards sin – the punishment we deserved – as a substitute for us.
4) Jesus’ resurrection – within 3 days, Jesus rose physically from the dead, proving that his sacrifice for sins have been accepted by God, since the punishment for sin was death. Jesus was seen by numerous people after he rose including 500 at one time (1 Corinthians 15).
5) Jesus’ ascension – Jesus ascended physically into heaven where he reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. And someday he will return to the earth.
That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life.
That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give you opportunities to share his good news today.
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
CanIKnowGod.com is a website inspired by LifesGreatestQuestion.com, with new content, images, audio and video that will help you understand more about who God is and how to know Him. The site is mobile responsive and has an infinite scroll which makes for a very user-friendly experience. After you indicate a decision on CanIKnowGod.com, you are directed to a page that details what it means to have a new and transformed life through Jesus Christ. There’s even a Facebook page for daily updates, encouragement and scripture sharing.
Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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