Christian Walk - Part 1 Am I a Christian?
NOW IS NOT TOO LATE. TOMORROW MAY BE.
"Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence?" Luke 23:40
Travis Kidd, Jr., M.D.
All verses quoted from the New International Version Bible (NIV)
Mother Teresa and Princess Diana.
They tried to do good. One certainly gave her all for others. Within a week they both fell to the great common denominator. Death. We will all taste it, soon, alas, life is fleeting. For many of us it will occur suddenly as it did with Diana. Old age may never come.
Where are they now? Where will you be? NOT, where would you like to be? But...where will you be?
We are looking at things wrong. We are not in the land of the living looking at our death in the future. We are in the land of the dying, needing to see our place in life after death. Check the obituaries, people younger than each of us have died today. We plan for old age. Many of us we will not see it. It could be you.
WE ARE ON THE FAST TRACK TO DEATH. CAN YOU AVOID IT?
Who will listen?
Jeremiah 6: 10 To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it. 13 "From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. `Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace. 15 Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them," says the LORD. 16 This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, `We will not walk in it.' 17 I appointed watchmen over you and said, ` Listen to the sound of the trumpet!' But you said, `We will not listen .' 18 Therefore hear, O nations; observe, O witnesses, what will happen to them. 19 Hear, O earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law.
The above scripture written by the prophet Jeremiah is as true as it was in the past. Will you listen? Is it too late?
1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Do we really know Him?
Especially today each of us feel that I am not as bad as others and that a fair God would not condemn me. Is this our thinking or Gods? We have the Ten Commandments and the Law whose purpose includes convincing ourselves we have sinned against God. Who of us can say we have not violated the commandment "remember the Sabbath day and keep it Holy". We each have failed to keep these famous ten commandments. (Exodus 20) By failing at just one of the commandments God says we are guilty of them all.
James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
Just one 'little' sin can exclude us from God's presence for eternity. God demands perfection and none of us can achieve it. Only through Christ's blood can we have a relationship with God. For example, suppose you and 2 other individuals decided to swim from Los Angeles to Hawaii. Suppose one of the swimmers was the absolute best swimmer in the world. One may make it a few miles, you may make it some distance short of the target and the best swimmer may make it quite a bit further but still nowhere close to the target.
That is like God. With sin, we cannot approach God, no matter how 'good' we are. Christ cleanses us from sin and we make it to the target, eternal life in Heaven.
We must ask forgiveness.
Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1781:
God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just that His justice cannot sleep forever.
Isaiah 53: 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way;
Warning. Consider God. His judgement is coming.
What will happen to you after death? We each need to be certain of our place in the afterlife above all else we do. We all know life is relatively short with no guarantee of tomorrow. If God does exist, we need to know Him as well as we can. Are there a Heaven and a Hell? Is there a GOD? Christ said:
Luke 12: 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell . Yes, I tell you, fear him.
These are the most important questions we are required to answer. If Hell exists then we must avoid it with all uncertainty or be in eternal torment. The Holy Bible (New International Version) has 14 verses referring to hell (12 by Christ). It is real. Forty-six verses (14 by Christ) mention the name of Satan and 32 deals with the devil. Satan and his dwelling are real. Christ warns of the pending punishment for the ungodly:
Matthew 24: 51 He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
We consider ourselves a "Christian" nation. Why is there so much unrest and evil in our society? What will fix it?
George Washington wrote in his 1789 Inaugural address:
The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained.
There are so many religions and so many views of God. Who can be sure they are following the right god? Does it matter? Arent they all the same?
The purpose of this is to help clarify our thinking on this subject. View this critically and somberly.
Ask yourself Am I going to heaven? What if Im wrong? How can I be certain?
Your place in eternity depends on it.
This is put together as a witness for Jesus Christ who cares for you. Just imagine, suppose Princess Diana did not make it to heaven and actually went to hell? What a tragedy. What confidence do we have that she is in heaven? More importantly, what confidence did she have? Was it grounded on truth or guessing? I do not know where she is. That is up to God. What is infinitely more important to you is How is your relationship with the Almighty God? Who can imagine her eternally in horrible torment? As much as we loved her, it certainly is possible. It is important that we are confident in our disposition according to Gods Word. We cannot make up our own rules for we are only a small part of the creation, not the creator Himself.
Job 28:28 And he said to man, `The fear of the Lord--that is wisdom , and to shun evil is understanding.'"
John 3:16 "For 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. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world , but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world , but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
IS THERE A GOD?
This is a question that should not even be asked. Even the most primitive civilizations since the beginning of time have known there is a Creator. Due to the level of todays deception of self-righteousness and inflated beliefs of our ability, the question has some merit. The question is central to our existence. Either God made everything (including directing it/allowing it to happen), or He didnt. It is all or none.
Ecclesiastes 3:10 I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Stephen Hawking, the theoretical physicist who wrote in his book A Brief History of Time said "It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us" (p 127). Despite this, I understand he doesnt believe in God! We go out of our way to deny the patently obvious. This is true even for the most intelligent individuals.
You may be surprised the current evolution/creation controversy was predicted with incredible clarity in the Bible.
Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
According to that, we have no excuse! Simply by experiencing some of Gods creation, it is patently obvious that God does exist. To deny that is the pinnacle of foolishness. God warned we would deny His creation in those verses. Further, Gods wrath is coming.
Consider how we have developed science to the level it is today. Scientific thinking began as a means to understand our world and our existence. Many of the earliest scientists were, like we are, trying to understand God. Western civilization was largely advanced by objective Christian thought processes. This was instrumental in advancing our knowledge to where we are today. We can begin to know the mind of God through learning about those things He has made. He has shown His mind has an incredible degree of organization and complexity, much of which we cannot comprehend.
We think we are rather smart. We can play around with DNA and manipulate genes and do some pretty incredible stuff but still, WE HAVE NEVER MADE LIFE. The only reason we have been able to understand DNA is that (thankfully) God gave us brains enough to figure it out. Who could make a person as incredible as you, out of simply 4 base pairs (of DNA). Four base pairs form hands, fingernails, eyes, stomach, brain and all other systems as well as other organisms!!!!! Further, genes are extremely accurate. We have overwhelming evidence someone greater than ourselves made us.
Why should we believe life began simply by chance over millions of years? If life formed by chance and we are intelligent, why cant we make life after we already know so much about it? We have the cookbook and still we cant do it!!! By chance??? Astronomically impossible. How can we be so misled?
Look at a leaf. Can it be formed by chance? Evolutionists think so. Really. Get a leaf and carefully look at its color, texture, structure and vein system. Consider where it grew from and how dirt, gases, water and a tiny seed could make a tree. Consider how beautiful our world is with mountains, oceans, flowers, birds, fish and other plants, animals and humans. Consider how complex each living thing is. Consider how each living thing is beautiful on the outside and inside and how these microscopically maintain incredible order. The building blocks are incredibly simple, well organized and beautiful in their own right but the finished product is incredibly complex and likewise beautiful, such as atoms, molecules, tissues and even atomic particles!.
Years ago an early scientist (Francisco Redi) was battling the idea of spontaneous neogenesis of life forms believed to be fact at that time. People had observed the presence of maggots on decaying meat and had decided the meat was spontaneously forming the maggots as it decayed. Redi claimed that was not the case. He placed fine mesh cheesecloth over one piece of decaying meat in a container and left another uncovered. He then discovered the flies eating the uncovered meat and, days later, maggots were there. The other piece of decaying meat had no maggots, of course.
Did we learn from his experiment? Yes and no. We all know that spontaneous neogenesis was disproven. Why are we trying to implicate this with evolution today? Didnt we already prove it doesnt work that way? That experiment proved that life forms only from life. We have not been able to disprove this overwhelming truth. The primordial soup of precursor elements being espoused today could not have had better building blocks than that found in decaying meat consisting of protein, fats and some carbohydrates.
I know we remain asking where did God come from? I would much rather trust that one greater than I made this world than guessing that all life happened just by chance. At least in Redis time people were seeing meat as containing building blocks for life. Today some indicate fractals and chaos as a means with some sort of primordial soup. No way. That is a major leap of faith.
Something else to consider. We can look at objects people have made and as we zoom in to the scanning microscopic realm we find the structure has flaws that were not visible. As examples, the Titanic sunk largely due to sulfur impurities in the steel, making the structure more brittle in the icy water. Airplanes have crashed with similar imperfections in the jet fan blades and other minute problems. As one looks at life, organisms maintain incredible organization, as organized in the submicroscopic realm as in all other levels of observation. (It wasnt an accident that "organisms" and "organization" are similar words.)
Both views of creation (young and old earth theories) have some merit. Some believe the Genesis account with a literal 6-day time frame, as we know it. Others believe God could have taken 6 figurative years (millions?) to form the creation. The bottom line is, God did it.
So . Evolution occurs by chance or chaos? We could spend hours discussing the leap of faith and obvious fallacy demanded by such thought, as it is much harder to believe than to credit the obvious works of a creator. This has been wonderfully discussed by Professor Philip Johnson, an incredibly intelligent Christian from the Law School at Berkeley California who wrote Darwin on Trial. As advanced as our thinking is, if there was a Big Bang (a theory that strongly supports creation), what caused that to occur and why did we come about? There are many more questions than answers for those who choose to believe strictly in chance. When we decide to deal honestly with this issue, undoubtedly the scripture is right. Almighty God deserves the credit, how ever He accomplished His works. As His Word says, we have no excuse.
Daniel 12: 44 But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge."
We are in the end times. Christ said so and today we are 2000 years closer to the end. Yes, we have increased knowledge. The verse also implies we would be spinning our wheels trying to elevate ourselves. Does that verse seem to fit the world today?
There is a God. Which god is the right one or is there a right one?
Why should we believe that the God of the Holy Bible is the GOD? Why Christianity and not Judaism, Hindu, Buddhist, Heavens Gates and the Halle-Bopp comet, etc?
God reveals Himself to us today by the presence of the Holy Spirit and His Word (The Bible). Only God can prophesy (predict) things with incredible accuracy as He did. Take, for instance, Isaiah 53 (written over 600 years before Christ by the prophet Isaiah). This, and many other scriptures specifically refer to Christ who came many years later.
Isaiah 53: 1 who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her sharers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. 9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the LORD's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. 11 After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
I find this represents incredible evidence that the God of the Old Testament, whom I worship, is the only true God. Only God knows the future in such clarity, giving it to prophets as He saw fit. Isaiah was a Jewish prophet that was telling of events to come. He wrote this approximately 6-700 years before Christs birth. The verses above described Christ in incredible detail. Many other verses in the Old Testament portray Christ with clarity, giving more evidence each book was inspired by such a God, not manufactured by men.
He heals us by His wounds (Vs 5). When Jesus was led before His accusers He kept His mouth shut with the exception of one short answer. When criminals were crucified they invariably would go to a poor mans grave. Despite this, a wealthy man gave Christ his own tomb to be buried.
Many aspects of Christ are predicted in these verses from Isaiah. Christ was despised and rejected by man (and still is), He suffered because of His love for us, taking the punishment for our sin.
This seems like a strange concept that God would punish Himself (Christ-God the Son) for our sins. I have a friend who had a 10 yo. son. At that one time he felt the need to spank his son for a serious wrong. He had an interesting solution. He told his son that he had done wrong by not properly training him, allowing for this error. The father asked his son to spank him, his father. In response his son learned his lesson. We should feel the same. Our father took the punishment for our sins. As Christ said, we should therefore "go and sin no more" or we continue to drive nails in Christs hands.
Other prophesies are similar, scattered throughout the Old Testament scriptures. Here is another example that, as an ordinary man, Christ would have not have control over to causing the scripture to come true. The custom for those crucified was to break the legs so the person hanging on the cross couldnt push up, speeding up the suffocation. Especially when Christ was crucified, the Passover celebration was beginning (at the exact which time the Jewish Priests sacrificed animals without blemish a prelude to Christ being the ultimate sacrifice). No one could be on the cross during this holy holiday. Therefore, the Roman soldiers in charge of the crucifixion went to each of the 3 being crucified and broke the legs of the other 2. When they got to Christ, He had already died, but just to make sure, they pierced Him with a sword in the side (as in verse 5 above). This too is predicted centuries before in Psalms.
Psalms 34:19 A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all; 20 he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
Psalm 118: 22 The stone (Christ) the builders (Jewish nation) rejected has become the capstone ; 23 the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
This verse was verified in the New Testament with Christ:
Acts 4: 11 He (Christ) is "`the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.' 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
The prophet Daniel quite accurately told when Christ would be born and sure enough, He was, hundreds of years later. (Daniel 9) There were other traits of the Messiah (Savior) to fulfill the related prophecies.
His ancestry was from the family of David (Jeremiah 23:5-6)
The city of his birth was Bethlehem (Micah 5:1)
The manner of his execution was crucifixion (Psalm 22:14-17)
He rose from the dead (Psalm 16:10)
The time of his coming was before the destruction of Herods Temple in
70 A.D. (Daniel 9:26)
Many others (at least 48 specific prophecies)
(Copyright 1995 AMF International)
No other person fulfills the many necessary prophecies. Without Gods inspiration man cannot predict with such accuracy. If the Bible Code stuff happens to be true, that would be additional evidence why we should worship God and no other religion.
God Never Changes
Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
The inevitable conclusion is that only God can predict with such accuracy and only Christ can fulfill this same scripture. If you are skeptical, please prove me wrong. Look carefully at the scriptures. I must warn you. Gods Word is powerful and there have been many skeptics that have tried to prove the Bible wrong who changed their mind as the truth was revealed to them through their study. You owe it to yourself to prove it wrong, if you can.
A harder concept to relay is the presence of the Holy Spirit. I do not believe it is necessary to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit to be convinced and to believe that the God of Israel is the one true God. Given that, the presence of the Holy Spirit is an incredibly powerful sense that confirms Gods power and honor.
The Bible was written, without error, by God, directing men to put down the information. The scripture is as perfect today as it was when it was written. Today scripture has more complete meaning, as events in history have increased its understanding. When scripture does not seem correct to us, we must realize our degree of understanding depends on:
1. Our limited knowledge of the past customs and events
2. Our limited understanding of Almighty God.
3. Our lack of faith in God.
We can actually change the impact of each of the above. Prayer and study are the key ingredients to a more complete understanding of God. Faith comes as one studies the scriptures and hears Gods Word.
2Peter 1: 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2 Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell , putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)-- 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. 10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. 12 But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish. 13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.
As you can see, this scripture is as alive today as when it was written.
All seemed fine in Sodom. Lots son-in-law laughed when he was told the city would be destroyed. All was well, the city was flourishing similar to our current stock market.
Ezekial 16:53 "`However, I will restore the fortunes of Sodom and her daughters and of Samaria and her daughters, and your fortunes along with them,
Something else to consider. Why should God let you into heaven?
Many more liberal thinkers have the notion that they deserve heaven because they have concern for their fellow man and they get involved in charity work and are doing things with good intentions. Many of us believe we are kind, caring individuals and are not as bad as are some other people.
We can look at Mother Teresa and Princess Diana again. One gave up all, the other was helicoptered in to make some photo shoots, spread some money and soon left to go back to a life of luxury. I am no better. We all want to do good as Diana did. We dont want to sleep next to the people who we are helping. Christ did. He left unspeakable luxury to minister to us and to die by our hands. Interestingly, the Jewish leaders thought they were doing right. Our works are as filthy rags.
Unfortunately many will assume these works are better than those of their neighbors and therefore how can a just God exclude them? The key mistake is the idea that their efforts justify their salvation. What is not as evident to liberal thinkers is that is exactly the problem with legalism (which liberals generally abhor). Legalistic individuals also feel they must do good works to justify their place in heaven. In either case, therefore, their works are thought to justify them. What we need to understand is that our good works are useful to show love for God but without Christ it is hopeless and we continue to stand condemned before an Almighty, Holy GOD who accepts only perfection.
Isaiah 64: 6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
As politically incorrect as it sounds, we have only one way to heaven and a relationship with the real God.
The incredible bottom line is only the real God could predict these things so accurately and without error as they are. Christ is the only one who can fulfill the many prophetic scriptures. The Bible verifies itself. If the Bible can show itself to be a reliable predictor, we must believe the rest of the scripture in these proven books or else suffer the consequences God outlined in these same scriptures.
Scripture is in complete disagreement with the current New Age philosophy. Christ is - according to Gods word, the only way to Heaven. Only way. No other. The Bible makes this perfectly clear. As unfair as it seems to us, the Bible shows that believers of other religions are lost. It may seem unfair from our biased (self-centered) standpoint. It is clearly fair from Gods standpoint (who is really fair and loving, and made the rules). We must trust Him to be fair. I would rather trust my Creator to be fair than any person I know.
Suppose you were God and you saw that man couldnt, no matter how hard he tried, meet your expectations. Your response was to give man your son as a sacrifice that would bridge the gap. Suppose man then rejected your son and decided to do good works in place of accepting your perfect Sons sacrifice. Wouldnt you reject such arrogance on the part of man, thinking we could do better than His, Almighty Gods, own Son!!?
Consider this. A lot of people have died for lies.
The Heavens Gates folks are good examples. Hamas Muslims believe that if they take out some Israelis in a suicide bombing they will be rewarded in Heaven. It isnt too hard to be misled; believing a lie that you think is true.
What about Christianity?
Is Christianity different? If we look at the disciples, nearly all were tortured and killed for their faith. Were they deceived? Who deceived them? No, they each saw Christ risen from the dead and they personally knew it was real. Eleven men are not tortured and do not die horrible deaths for what they know to be a lie, and every one of them witnessed the resurrected Christ. They were not deceived since they each verified the truth and there was no leader who transferred his message to them. If it werent true, at least one would have changed his story and denied Christ as Gods son under the pressure they endured. If you remember Watergate at the end of Nixons Presidency, it was not difficult to find an informer when the pressure was applied. No other religion has such a reliable test.
As witnesses to the miracles were the accusers as is clear in the following scripture. Incredible as it may seem, the accusers were verifying the fact of the healing of a crippled man well known by everyone when they would have been first to deny it.
Acts 4:7 They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: "By what power or what name did you do this?"
Notice the accusers of the disciples agreed the disciples actually did work miracles.
The Jewish leaders were at a loss. They too had unwittingly become very credible witnesses to the name and power of Christ.
Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.
Acts 4: 16 "What are we going to do with these men?" they asked. "Everybody living in Jerusalem knows they have done an outstanding miracle, and we cannot deny it".
The leaders could not deny the obvious. If they knew that the disciples were lying, they would have exposed them and undoubtedly would have had them (Peter and John) destroyed. They would have vehemently denied their testimony. As ones trying to hurt the disciples, the leaders had no reason to confirm their claim. This is powerful evidence for the truth.
So .. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God who revealed Himself through it. The more one studies the scripture, the more He reveals of Himself. We know that from the message, the Holy Spirit leading us, and incredibly accurate prophecies.
The God of the Old and New Testaments has proven He is the true God. How does this relate to us now?
We need to deal with eternity. God really is in charge. There really is a Hell. We need to try to please Him if He really is in charge and we want to love Him. By reading His Word we see what He wants from us. The problem is simple. We really dont want to change for Him. We prefer to believe lies (such as if he is a good God he wont send me to Hell) since it fits what we want to believe. We, however, cannot make the rules. God is sovereign, He is more powerful than hurricanes. As Christians, if we really are the bride of Christ, dont we want to please Him, He who died on the cross when He didnt need to for us?
Luke 18:10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: `God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' 13 "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, `God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' 14 "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
How do we get to Heaven?
Only through Christs blood, our faith in Gods grace and not by being good (although He clearly wants us to work toward goodness). Repenting (asking forgiveness for when we sin with a trend of obedience in our lives).
Pretty simple, right? Nope. Tough. There is commitment. He deserves and expects to be first in our lives. We are required to put nothing ahead of God. Not your spouse, children, money, job, etc.
Go to Part 2
Copyright © 1999 Travis Kidd, Jr., M.D. All Rights Reserved.