GOOD NEWS of Christ:
(see also Forgiveness, Hypocrites, Evidence)
Profound enough for any PhD
Simple enough for any Child
FIRST PLEASE THINK ABOUT A FEW QUESTIONS:
Is it possible that some source of pure unselfish love exists?
Is it possible that the source is not a force, but a person, your Creator?
Is it possible that the Creator has revealed himself through evidence?
(evidence of history, legal logic, science, personal experience, etc.)
Is it possible that the Creator offers to be your Rescuer and Rehabilitator?
Your Good Shepherd?
My old tiger "friends", Akela and Rakshi
"Wild" or "Tame"? "Lost or Rescued?
Back when I served as a zookeeper and rescuer/rehabilitator for "wild" animals, my goal was for them to learn that I was their friend who loved them. Only then could we develop a deep and intimate relationship of trust. But for that to fully happen, they needed to be transformed into "tame", submissive friends under my authority. Why was it important for me to be the boss? Things don't go well when the animals are boss over the human. Especially when I had the privilege of caring for (serving = Hebrew "abad", see Genesis 2:15) elephants, lions, tigers, bears, leopards, wolves, hyenas, raccoons, opossums, squirrels, owls, hawks, etc.
Why transform them from "wild" to "tame"? Natural or Super-natural?
Taming made it possible for me to provide comfort and healing for them, protect them from dangers they could not understand, and train (discipline) them as a loving father over his children to know how to get along peacefully. We were able to play together and rest together. We enjoyed a supernatural life together that was higher and more rewarding than their natural "wild" life of violent competition, survival of the fittest, hunger, disease, pain, fear, suffering, and an eventual horrible death. Our new supernatural, "tame" relationship was like Adam in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2). It was also like God's New Creation that is coming where the wolf will lay down with the lamb and the lion, leopard, and bear will eat grass like the cow (Isaiah 11; Romans 8).
In the same way, we humans are all naturally "wild", living in selfish competitive struggle for survival, and need God through Christ to be our personal RESCUER and REHABILITATOR - our GOOD SHEPHERD.
JESUS could not have been merely a good moral teacher. He claimed to be God, our Creator who entered space and time, prophesied and promised as Messiah (Christ), the one and only God/man (John 8:58). He claimed that the history recorded in the Bible is his-story. And he predicted he would prove it by resurrecting from death. If he believed he was God incarnate but was not, then he would have been deluded. If he knew he was not God incarnate yet claimed he was, then he would have been deceptive. Historians have verified his life and that he claimed to be God. Psychological experts have verified that his personality and character displayed maturity, clarity, and humble honesty. Therefore the most logical conclusion is that he is who he claimed to be: DEITY, our Creator, the one and only purely Good Shepherd.
His-story recorded in His Word reveals that the original Garden of Eden he created was "very good", without suffering and death. His-story reveals that the infection of sin caused separation, disorder, dysfunction, disease, and death in his creation. His-story reveals that this infection was due to the freewill rebellion of man and angels. His-story reveals his wise and loving guidance, training, and ongoing discipline over his followers throughout the centuries leading up to his death, resurrection, and now the current church age. His-story reveals that he will return and recreate a New Heavens and New Earth (a New Universe), that will mirror the image of paradise in Eden - the image of His Good Shepherd character - even among the animals.
SUMMARY of His Good News:
Profoundly simple - as 1, 2, 3
Jesus is God's promised & predicted Messiah/Christ,
who became a human to do three necessary things for us personally:
# 1 - Jesus, God incarnate, lived a sinless human life, that we can't live. He earned, for us, the right for humans to enter into His pure Kingdom. He is the Word (GK - Logos), our Creator, our Good Shepherd, and Sustainer.
# 2 - Jesus (Yeshua) is God who personally paid our deserved consequence for human rebellion against His Law of pure Love. Our selfish choice to separate from Him and His Way is the cause of all suffering.
# 3 - Jesus resurrection and ascension overcame death, proving He is the Savior, the Rescuer/Rehabilitator, Good Shepherd, for anyone who will submit in faithful trust to Him and His Way of Holy Love.
The 1, 2, 3 of His Good News EXPLAINED:
# 1 - We can't be good enough
Have you ever done anything wrong?
Lied? Thrown a fit? Said hurtful words to another person? Lusted after another person's spouse? Thought or wished for hateful things?
Jesus said, "You must be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:48
James said, "If you keep the whole Law and yet stumble in one point, you are guilty of all of it." James 3:2
Paul says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
So the Bible, God's Word, says that none of us can live good enough to earn the right to enter God's perfect Kingdom that will have no sinful selfishness. Jesus, however, came and lived it for us.
"Jesus the Son of God, . . . . was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." Hebrews 4:15
Sin is an attitude of the heart that chooses to be its own authority, its own god, rejecting the full authority of our Creator. It is a choice to place oneself out from under the protective provision of God's loving hand of authority and guidance. This infected heart attitude of sin is the source of all sins, whether thoughts, words, or actions.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked;
Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart,I test the mind,
Even to give every man according to his ways,
According to the fruit of his doings." Jeremiah 17:9-10
# 2 - Our rebellion has consequences
What do you think is God's response to our rebellion against Him and His Way of Holy Love? God, the Creator, holds all things together. He is the only self-existent Being.
"[God/Christ] . . . holds all things together." Colossians 1:17
So, when He lets go of anything, it falls apart, including you. And to what ever degree he lets go, that is how much it falls apart. The whole world is falling apart; physically, biologically, socially, psychologically, and morally.
Scripture says: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23
The "Second" Death is separation from God's Kingdom of goodness. Separation from the only self-existent Being results in destruction of both body and soul.
Jesus emphasized that the effect of the Second Death would:
". . . destroy both body and soul in hell."Matthew 10:28
"These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power . . ."
2 Thessalonians 1:9
"Then the Lord God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever - therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life."
"Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."Revelation 22:14
"And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." 1 John 3:23
Dr. John Piper on the consequence of total separation from God:
"If all that is not God came into being at the word of God then it follows that every second of our existence is owing to the word of God. The Biblical teaching is that no creature has a principle of ongoing existence in itself apart from God's perpetual preservation. Hebrews 1:3 says that Christ "reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. If God should ever cease to address your body and soul with the command, "Be!", you would cease to be. The only barrier between you and nothingness is the word of God. Have we even begun to plumb the depths of that saying "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4, Deut. 8:3)!" [Emphasis added]http://www.soundofgrace.com/piper81/100481m.htm
Dr. Jonathan Sarfati on God holding the Universe together:
"At the same time that God judged sin with death, He withdrew some of His sustaining power. Romans 8:22 tells us that the whole of creation is groaning and travailing in pain. Everything is running down because of sin. God has given us a taste of life without Him—a world full of violence, death, suffering and disease. If God withdrew “all” of His sustaining power, the creation would cease to exist. Colossians 1:16–17 tells us that all things are held together, right now, by the power of the Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ. However, in one sense He is not holding it together perfectly, as He is deliberately letting things fall apart to give us a taste of what life is like without God. In other words, God is allowing us to experience what we wanted—life without God (cf. Romans 1:18–32).” [Emphasis added]
Jesus loved us so much that He bore the punishment of separation for us. God's Son was separated from God the Father for the first time in eternity, to pay for our selfish rebellion.
Romans 5:8 says, "For God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Isaiah 53:5-6 says, "He was wounded for our transgressions . . . .
All we like sheep have gone astray, everyone to his own way,
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
Self-serving rebellion in the heart says, "I don't need a Savior from sin". God will honor even that prideful choice and will separate absolutely at the final judgment from all who reject His free gift of salvation:
"The Lord is not slack concerning [His] promise, as some count slackness, but is patient toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 2 Peter 3:10.
"Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness....”
2 Peter 3:11-12
The final judgment is described in the Revelation as the Lake of Fire:
"And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:14-15
The old creation will pass away and God will provide a new creation without sin and suffering for those who chose Him and His way of unselfish, holy love.
"Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away." Luke 21:33
"Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature:
old things are passed away; ... all things are become new."
2 Corinthians 5:17
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away ...." Revelation 21:1
Beware and don't wait till it's too late. You do not get a second chance after you die. This life is your only chance to choose.
"For it is appointed for man to die once,
and then comes judgment." Hebrews 9:27
"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, casting all your worries on Him because He cares for you. Be sober and careful for your enemy the Devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking someone to destroy." 1 Peter 5:7-9
# 3 - We can't be our own boss (authority) or Rescuer
That's how Adam and Eve got into trouble in the Garden of Eden.
"Then the serpent said to the woman, You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it [the tree of the knowledge of good and evil independent of God[ your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
The rebellious angelic creature, Lucifer, offers a lie, claiming that we can be our own authority, and choose for ourselves what we think is right and wrong. But God alone is pure enough to be worthy KING/LORD/AUTHORITY. He is the only Being with the wisdom, power, and goodness to KNOW what is truly right and wrong. Therefore, the only way to enter His KING-DOM is to let go of pride and humbly, submit to Him, and trust His self-sacrificial work on the Cross as His way to reconciliation.
Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but it's end is the way of death."
Jesus said, "I AM the Way and the Truth, and the Life.
No man comes to the Father, except through Me."
Just intellectually believing some things about Jesus is not the same as believing in Him.
James 2:19 says, "even the demons believe . . . and shudder."
The demons believe a lot about Him, but won't submit to Him in love. The Greek New Testament term for submit is hypo-tasso, meaning "under-rank". The issue is one of authority - who rules - you or your Creator.
1 John 5:13 says, "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life."
"And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Revelation 21:4
"Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."Revelation 22:14
"And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." 1 John 3:23
The "NAME" of Jesus refers to His authority. His name, "Yeshua",
in Hebrew means God-Savior. So believing in His name means to submit to His Lordship, trusting His perfect human life, His finished payment on the cross, and His promise to save all who call on Him. Jesus claimed to be equal to God, the Son of Jehovah, YHWH, the only self-existent, "I AM". In John 8:58 Jesus said, "Before Abraham existed, I AM." Therefore, the CROSS was God's personal loving SELF-sacrifice for us. The one who died for our sin was not an angel and not just a man. Neither could have endured absolute separation from God who alone is self-existent.
Dr. John MacArthur says about Christ's separation for us:
". . . Philippians 2:5-8 . . . . [Jesus] did not empty Himself of His deity or He would have ceased to exist." [Emphasis added]
So how can you be rescued from your sinful selfishness. It's not enough to simply want to avoid the final judgment. You must genuinely want Jesus to be your authority, your boss. It means to ask Him to save you from your own sinful selfish nature and transform into His image and character (Romans 12:1-3 Greek term = metamorphosis)? Do you genuinely want Him to take over your life and begin the work of transforming you? This includes wanting Him to apply the discipline you need here on this old earth to help you turn away from old habits? (Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 12:1-12)?
“My child, do not despise the disciplining of the Lord,
Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6 For whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And disciplines every son whom He receives.”
7 If you endure discipline, God deals with you as with children; for what child is there whom a father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without disciplining, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not [His] children. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who disciplined us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in submission to the Father of spirits and live?"
"Repent for the King-dom of Heaven is at hand." Mat 4:17
To repent means to turn the direction of your heart away from self as king, to Jesus as LORD (King/boss/authority) over your thoughts, words, & actions - now and forever. The choice is yours - its simple but not easy for our pride.
Will you submit in faith
as your Rescuer,
and your King ?
will go to heaven.
They cannot sin.
BUT, the big question is,
will YOU be there
with them and with Him