Where Do You Want to Go,
Some people want to go to oblivion. They want to die, and that is the end. Some people want to go to heaven. They want to be good enough. Logically, it doesn't really matter what we want. The only thing that matters is what is true.
What if heaven and hell exist? Can you be good enough to go to heaven? Here's a quick self-quiz to find out where you're going:
Have you ever:
For more, visit the 10 Commandments Project, and read the Guidelines .
So, what if you (like me) have broken God's guidelines in the 10 Commandments? The Bible says that those who are guilty of breaking the Ten Commandments--even one time--will die.
If we can't be good enough, how can we be saved?
To find out, read
the following out loud:
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23
For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23 (This scripture does not refer to physical death, which every person will experience. "Death" here is spiritual death, or eternal separation from God in hell.)
Hell is a real place. There is fire, smoke, flesh-eating parasites and eternal torment. Mark 9:43-48
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16
Jesus said to him, "I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6
The name of Jesus Christ...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 4:8-12
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:12
"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." John 3:36
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. Acts 16:31
It's your choice. Heaven or hell. Faith comes from hearing the Word of God.
Pray this prayer, and mean it with your whole heart:
Father God, I am sorry for my sin. (Confess any wrongs done against God or other people.) I am especially sorry for being in rebellion against You. I want You to be the Lord of my life. Thank You for sending Jesus to die on the cross to forgive me and cleanse me from my sin. Please help my faith, give me wisdom, and keep me from evil. I love You and praise You. In Jesus name. Amen
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8,9
The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Taste and See...
At a Divinity School each year they have a day when the public is invited to the school because they want the dollars to keep coming in. On this day each visitor is to bring a lunch to be eaten outdoors in a grassy picnic area. The school would invite one of the greatest minds to lecture in the theological education center. One year the speaker spoke for two and one-half hours proving that the resurrection of Jesus was false. He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection the religious tradition of the church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact,never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions.
After about 30 seconds, an elderly preacher stood up in the back of the auditorium. "Docta, I got one question," he said as all eyes turned toward him. He reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it.
"Docta..." CRUNCH, MUNCH..."My question is a simple question, "CRUNCH, MUNCH... "Now I ain't never read them books you read..."CRUNCH,MUNCH..."and I can't recite the Scriptures in the original Greek..."CRUNCH, MUNCH..." I don't know nothin' about Niebur and Heidegger..."CRUNCH , MUNCH...finished the apple. " All I wanna know is : This apple I just ate-was it bitter or sweet?"
The speaker paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: " I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven't tasted your apple."
The white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up, and said calmly, "Neither have you tasted my Jesus."
The 1,000 plus in attendance could not contain themselves. The audience erupted with applause and cheers. The chagrined speaker thanked his audience and promptly left the platform.
Have YOU tasted Jesus?
Critics charge that Jesus never claimed to be God, and was just a good man. However, Jesus did claim to be God—in fact, He’s the only leader of a major world religion to claim to be the one true God—and the written testimony of eyewitnesses prove His claim.
Although neo-pagan religions lay claim to multiple gods and goddesses, these are only legends, stories. None of these have contemporary eyewitness accounts of resurrection from the dead. New Testament accounts were original within the lifetime of the witnesses, and corroborated by outside, enemy testimonies. In addition, who else but Christ testifies to His own Godhood, offering proof through fulfilled prophesies, miracles performed, and a perfect, sinless life? Who else but Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice in our place, to pay the price for our sins? The answer is obvious—no legendary deity or historical figure even comes close to the life of Christ.
Lee Strobel, in his book, The Case for the Real Jesus, refutes the following challenge to the claims that Jesus is God: “Christianity’s Beliefs About Jesus Were Copied from Pagan Religions.” Strobel summarized evidence from author Ronald Nash, to demonstrate the uniqueness of Christianity. Nash explains that apparently uncritical readers of internet sites and books such as The DaVinci Code and The Jesus Mysteries think that there is historical evidence to back up the flimsy claims to “similarities between the life of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels and mythological gods like Mithras, Osiris, Adonis, and Dionysus…Writers cite beliefs and practices that postdate the first century in an attempt to argue that they influenced the first-century formation of Christianity. Just because a cult had a belief or practice in the third or fourth century A.D. doesn’t mean it had the same belief or practice in the first century…unlike mystery religions, Christianity is grounded in actual historical events.”
Strobel notes that “The accounts about Jesus in the pages of the New Testament weren’t distilled from fanciful stories about mythological deities. Peter wasn’t reporting rumors or speculation, and he certainly wasn’t trusting his future to the likes of Zeus or Osiris. He was only interested in the real Jesus.”
“We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” he declared, “but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16)
Jesus Claimed to be God
New Testament writers report that Jesus claimed to be God on multiple occasions. For instance, in John 8:58 Jesus said “…before Abraham was born, I AM. Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple. “
I AM is a clear reference to God’s name, given to Moses in Exodus. Jesus also said, in John 10:30, “I and the Father are One.” The Jews clearly understood that Jesus was claiming to be God; that is the only reason that they picked up stones to stone Him, and ultimately, crucified Him.
Furthermore, Jesus claimed to be omnipresent—clearly a divine trait--in Matt. 18:20 (For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst.”)
He also claimed to have existed for eternity. He claimed to have the power to forgive sins, resurrect from the dead, and give eternal life.
At His trial, Jesus claimed to be the Messiah (Mark 14:62.) He claimed the Messianic titles of Son of God and Son of Man. In John 3:16, Jesus said He was the only begotten Son of God, making Him one of a kind with God. Jesus was not convicted and crucified for what He did or said He did. He was convicted for who He said He was—God. He provided proof through His life, works, and resurrection.
Jesus Performed Miracles
In America today, few can claim ignorance to the recorded miracles of Christ—from turning water into wine, to raising Lazarus, a dead man for days, back to life. These miracles defied the laws of nature and had multiple witnesses.
“As a last resort, non-believing critics try to refute Jesus’ nature miracles by dismissing them as myths or legends. However, the evidence is overwhelming. First, the miracles were done in groups of varying sizes, either the disciples (one can argue they are not objective) or a crowd of several thousands. Second, five of the nature miracles are recorded in multiple gospels, one even in all four gospels. Third, Jesus’ opponents never denied or even disputed his miracles. They admitted Jesus performed miracles and tried to claim Jesus had teamed with the devil: “But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons’” (Matthew 12:24). Or they tried to destroy the evidence: “So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him” (John 12:10-11).”-- Windmill Ministries, http://www.windmillministries.org/frames/CH14-2A.htm ,
Jesus performed miracles as evidences of His claim to be the Christ, the prophesied Messiah. Christian disciples gave their lives, because of what they had personally seen and experienced. They were convinced that Jesus was the Messiah, the risen Son of God. They willingly died as martyrs before denying His resurrection. St. Justin Martyr wrote: "I can wish no better thing for you, sirs, than this, that, recognizing in this way that intelligence is given to every man, you may be of the same opinion as ourselves, and believe that Jesus is the Christ of God."—St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho, http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-dialoguetrypho.html
Jesus Fulfilled Prophesy
Jesus fulfilled the following prophesies (and many more), predicted by the Old Testament:
*Tribe of Judah: Genesis 49:10--Fulfillment: Luke 3:23, 33
*House of David: Jeremiah 23:5--Fulfillment: Luke 3:23, 31
*Enter Jerusalem on a donkey: Zechariah 9:9--Fulfillment: Matt. 21:1–8
*Born at Bethlehem: Micah 5:2--Fulfillment: Matt 2:1
*Introduced by a messenger: Isaiah 40:3--Fulfillment: Matt. 3:1–3
*Body pierced in crucifixion: Zechariah 12:10--Fulfillment: John 19:34
*Laid to rest with the rich: Isaiah 53:9--Fulfillment: Matt. 27:57–60
*Endure wounds and bruises: Isaiah 53:5--Fulfillment: Matt. 27:26
*Teaching and healing ministry: Isaiah 61:1, 2--Fulfillment: Matt. 9:35; Luke 4:17–21; Isaiah 32:3–4; 35:5
*Arrive before the Temple and Jerusalem destroyed: Daniel 9:26--Fulfillment: Temple, Jerusalem destroyed AD 70
*Labeled Lord and God: Jeremiah 23:6--Fulfillment: John 20:28, Luke 2:11; Isaiah 9:6
*Killed 483 years after decree to rebuild Jerusalem: Daniel 9:25–26--Fulfillment: Gospels, history (cross, about AD 30)
*Silent before accusers: Isaiah 53:7--Fulfillment: Matt. 27:12
What is the possibility that these prophecies were fulfilled by chance? According to Dr. Mark Bird:
"We have only listed 13 of several dozen prophecies fulfilled by Jesus. A very conservative estimate of the probability of these 13 prophecies being fulfilled by chance is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (one in 10 to the seventeenth power)...This is the same probability as if we covered the entire state of Texas with silver dollars two feet deep, marked one with a red “X”...”sent in a blindfolded man and told him to pick up one coin whenever he wished, and he picked the one with the red “X.” --Defending Your Faith, Dr. Mark Bird
Norman L. Geisler explains further:
“So-called psychic predictions cannot compare to those of the Bible. For example, the People's Almanac (1976) did a study of the predictions of twenty-five top psychics. They found that 66 of the 72 (or 92 percent) were dead wrong. Those that were correct to some degree were vague or could be explained by chance or by a general knowledge of world circumstances...By contrast, some of the Bible's predictions are hundreds of years in advance where future circumstances could not be foreseen without divine help, and all of the Bible's predictions have proven to be 100 percent accurate.”--I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, Norman L. Geisler
Jesus Rose from the Dead
The Resurrection of Christ is the most significant event in all of history. One could reasonably argue that there is more evidence that the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ impacted history, than any other historical facts we teach in classrooms today. Let’s examine some of the evidence.
Romans soldiers knew their job; they made sure that Jesus was dead and securely buried in His tomb.
Geisler, in I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, noted that Gary Habermas “collected more than 1,400 of the most critical scholarly works on the Resurrection written from 1975 to 2003….virtually all scholars from across the ideological spectrum—from ultra-liberals to Bible-thumping conservatives—agree that the following points concerning Jesus and Christianity are actual historical facts.." including:
· Jesus’ death by Roman crucifixion
· The burial of Jesus
· Empty tomb of Jesus
· Disciples had transforming experiences that they believed were actual appearances of the risen Christ
· James, brother of Jesus, who had been a skeptic, was converted when he believed he saw his brother risen from the dead.
In The Case for the Real Jesus Lee Strobel quotes Michael Licona, M.A., PH.D. :
“…if God exists and wants to raise Jesus from the dead, then I would think that could be the most probable explanation. It really comes down to a person’s worldview: Is he or she going to allow for the existence of God and the possibility that he could raise someone from the dead?” Regarding the Gospel accounts, Licona says: “We’ve got early accounts that can’t be explained away by legendary development, we’ve got multiple independent sources, we’ve got eyewitnesses, and we have a degree of corroboration from outsiders. We’ve also got enemy attestation; that is, affirmations from people like Saul of Tarsus, who was a critic of Christianity until he saw the evidence himself that Jesus had returned from the dead…For instance, the historian Tacitus said Jesus “suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius.’ The Jewish historian Josephus reports that Pilate “condemned him to be crucified.’ Lucian of Samosata, who was a Greek satirist, mentions the crucifixion, and Mara Bar-Serapion, who was a pagan, confirms Jesus was executed. Even the Jewish Talmud reports that ‘Yeshu was hanged…Yeshu is Joshua in Hebrew; the Greek equivalent is translated as Jesus. And in the ancient world to be hung on a tree many times referred to a crucifixion.”
Jewish historians contemporary to the time of Christ did not dispute the empty tomb; instead, they attempted to explain it away. However, there was just too much evidence, as there was more than just an empty tomb. Multiple eyewitness accounts have been reported, that Jesus was seen eating and drinking, and even touched, after His Resurrection. The New Testament writers as well as other contemporary accounts confirmed that Jesus’ followers believed in the empty tomb and resurrection of Christ. Witnesses testified that the risen Jesus was seen by as many as 500 people at one time!
1 Corinthians 15:3-7 (dated from A.D. 30s—50s), says:
”For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”
Licona states that 1 Corinthians 15:3-7 contains “one of the earliest and most important creeds…Many scholars believe Paul received this creed from Peter and James while visiting with them in Jerusalem three years after his conversion. That would be within five years of the crucifixion.” (Information for skeptics on 1 Corinthians 15:3-7, Christian Cadre, http://www.christiancadre.org/member_contrib/cp_interpolation.html )
If the New Testament accounts were made up fables, the writers would not have recorded women as the first witnesses to the empty tomb of Christ. (See the account in Mark 16.) At that time, women were not afforded the same status as men, and their testimony would not have been admitted or trusted. Only the truthfulness of the writers would compel them to record such facts. This and other embarrassing personal details (such as Peter denying Christ) corroborate the truthfulness of the New Testament.
History records the transformed character and martyrdom of many of Christ’s disciples, including the following:
Andrew was crucified, Matthew was killed by the sword, James the son of Alpheus was crucified, Philip was crucified, Thaddaeus was killed with arrows, James the brother of Jesus was stoned, Thomas was killed with a spear thrust, Bartholomew was crucified, James the son of Zebedee was killed with a sword.
These men and hundreds more men and women, claimed to be eye-witnesses to the risen Christ. Someone might die for something they believe, that they have just been told. However, no one would willingly die for something if they thought it was a lie. These men, and countless others, were absolutely certain of events that they had personally investigated and witnessed. They sealed the trustworthiness of their testimony with their very lives.
Multitudes of modern skeptics have converted to Christ after honestly examining the evidence. Josh McDowell, writing in More Than a Carpenter, have concluded that “the claims of Christ stand firm as solid historical facts, confirmed by the evidence of history, prophecy, and reason.”
Lord Lyttleton and Gilbert West, friends at Oxford, tried to prove Saul was never converted, and that Christ never rose from the dead. After each independently looked at the evidence, both became Christians.
Lord Lyttleton wrote: "The conversion and apostleship of Saint Paul alone, duly considered, was of itself a demonstration sufficient to prove Christianity to be a Divine Revelation." He concludes that if Paul's twenty-five years of suffering and service for Christ were a reality, then his conversion was true, for everything he did began with that sudden change. And if his conversion was true, Jesus Christ rose from the dead, for everything Paul was and did he attributed to the sight of the risen Christ.--A Ready Defense, http://www.greatcom.org/resources/areadydefense/ch43/default.htm
Simon Greenleaf, "one of the principle founders of the Harvard Law School, originally set out to disprove the biblical testimony concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He was certain that a careful examination of the internal witness of the Gospels would dispel all the myths at the heart of Christianity. But this legal scholar came to the conclusion that the witnesses were reliable, and that the resurrection did in fact happen…” Greenleaf stated, “If the evidence for the resurrection was set before any unbiased courtroom in the world it would be judged to be an historical fact—Jesus Christ rose from the dead!”—Simon Greenleaf Testimony, http://www.bibleteacher.org/sgtestimony.htm
Jesus Is God
Numerous resources document that Jesus fulfilled dozens of Messianic prophecies. Jesus’ Resurrection and fulfillment of prophecy show that He was who He said He was: the Messiah, the Son of God, and God in the flesh.
Because Jesus is God, He is infallible— what He says is absolutely trustworthy. Jesus Christ taught that the Bible was the Word of God (Matt. 5:18, 15:4; Mark 12:36; Luke 24:44–46). He also taught that He was the only way to God (John 14:6).
If I said the things that Jesus said, such as “I am the way, the truth and the life…”--you would think I was crazy. However, Jesus didn’t just claim to possess divine attributes. He demonstrated them, through His sinless life, fulfillment of ancient prophesies, miracles, and resurrection from the dead.
So, why does this matter? Consider this:
“A prognosticator predicted 50 things about you. They all came true except one. The last one was conditional: If you drive down a certain street on a certain day, you will die in a fiery car crash. Would you drive down that street? In light of the fact that Jesus fulfilled at least 49 prophecies of the Bible (they all came true), are you going to ignore one more prophecy that says that if you don’t receive Jesus, you will be separated from God forever?”—Dr. Mark Bird, Defending Your Faith: A Twelve Lesson Series on Apologetics
Conclusion: Jesus is God. What Jesus said has eternal consequences for each one of us.
We should believe Him and receive Him as Lord.
Bibliography for Further Study:
· New American Standard Bible, Moody Press, Chicago, 1960.
· Bird, Dr. Mark, Defending Your Faith: A Twelve Lesson Series on Apologetics, 1:1 answeringenesis, Hebron, Kentucky, 2006. Free student workbooks and power point presentations, http://www.answersingenesis.org/PublicStore/product/Defending-Your-Faith-Leaders-Guide,4580,225.aspx
· Geisler, Norman L., I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, Crossway Books, Wheaton, Ill., 2004.
· McDowell, Josh, More Than a Carpenter, Living Books, Tyndale House Publ., Wheaton, Ill., 1977.
· Strobel, Lee, The Case for the Real Jesus: A Journalist Investigates Current Attacks on the Identity of Christ, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Mi. 2007.
· A Ready Defense, http://www.greatcom.org/resources/areadydefense/ch43/default.htm
· Christian Cadre, http://www.christiancadre.org/member_contrib/cp_interpolation.html
· Rob and Jacoba VandeWeghe, Windmill Ministries, http://www.windmillministries.org/frames/CH14-2A.htm , Quilcene, WA, 2010.
· Simon Greenleaf Testimony, http://www.bibleteacher.org/sgtestimony.htm
· St. Justin Martyr, Dialogue With Trypho, http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/justinmartyr-dialoguetrypho.html
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