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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Gospel Opportunity - Please Pray

We have had the privilege of meeting a young man that worked at one of the local businesses.  He's no longer in town, but I send out daily encouragements from Scripture.  Yesterday he responded to one of the Scriptures with a question.  This prompted a great discussion over What's App.  Please be in prayer for this young man as he evaluates his faith and his relationship with God!

J: But how sure can I be that Jesus really exist?

Louis: Great question!
L: The fact that there was a historical Jesus is almost completely without dispute, except by the most unreasoning critics of Christianity. The fact that His life and death are without reasonable disagreement. That settled, what is then called into question is His resurrection. In a court of law, 100% proof is never required. What is required is proof beyond "a reasonable doubt." I believe his resurrection can be demonstrated beyond a reasonable doubt. A good book on this subject is by J. Warner Wallace, a former Cold Case detective. The book is titled "Cold Case Christianity."
2014/10/18 1:13:13 PM: Louis O'Tool: Hopefully this is helpful. I'd love to discuss this further sometime! How's Navy training?

J: I grew up in a church tho, I'm supposed to know this,  guess that makes me that small boy always playing and never pays attention..  Its goin fine, I actually believed that it would be much harder than it is.. I'm enjoying it

L: Glad to hear you're well. What you described about your church experience is really not all that surprising, unfortunately. This is a shared experience by people young and old the world over. Regrettably, our churches are doing a very poor job preparing Jesus-followers to live in our "post-modern" society. That's why your question about Jesus' authenticity is such a good one. Many people drop Jesus and run at the first obstacle to their faith. So here are some questions to ask yourself (and research from credible sources, if necessary):
1. Was Jesus a true historical figure?
2. If yes, who was He? He claimed to be God, so that leaves us with 3 options: Either He was a complete liar, or He was a deranged lunatic, or He was (is) in fact Lord.
3. Did He really rise from the dead? People don't do that. With every advance in medicine and technology we'be been able to enhance and prolong life, but never create it. Death is the one thing that every man, woman and child faces. Our mortality is an unescapable fact. But according to Christian teachings, Jesus overcame death. If you read 1 Corinthians 15 you'll see that Paul teaches He not only overcame it, but has power over it and will one day eliminate it for all. If Jesus resurrection is true, everything changes. So any well-reasoning adult must, I repeat MUST, decide what they believe to be the truth about His resurrection.
That's where I'd encourage you to do some research and thinking. Consider these points:
-If Jesus' resurrection was a sham perpetrated by His followers, why did they all give their lives, and in fact DIE for what they would have known to be a lie?
-How has Christianity survived and grown as it has if Jesus was not, in fact, Lord of All, as He claimed to be? One of His earliest opponents, Gamaliel, spoke on this very topic, recorded in Acts 5:33-39
-Ancient law required at least 2 witnesses to demonstrate the veracity of an eyewitnesses event. Jesus, in His resurrected body, was seen by over 500. This would provide ample evidence in any court of law.
A good article online is found at www.desiringgod.org/articles/historical-evidence-for-the-resurrection
Hope God strengthens your faith and that you come to know Him in the most intimate way possible! Remember John 17:3 "This is eternal life - that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent."
1 John 5:12 "Whoever has the Son has life. But whoever does not have the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

J: Are you guys Jehova's?

L: I assume you mean Jehovah's Witnesses. No way!!! JW's believe Jesus is an angel, not God. No doubt in Scripture that Jesus is God!

J: Good. I want to have a braai some day with you louis, I want to know all about the bible,  want to start all over,  or is it to late to start over?

L: Id love that! Let me know next time youre in town. Or maybe we'll make it to Cape Town;-) Never too late to start over! Read Luke 18:9-14. The reason the whole Bible was written is not to give us a list of Do's & Don't that will make God happy. The Bible was written to show us what God's character is...perfection. And since God is perfect, He also requires perfection from us. But we can't do it, can we? I mean, look at just the 10 Commandments. How many have you broken? I know I've shattered all 10...let alone just one! And so I stand guilty before God and deserve His judgement. So do you. So does everyone. But here's the beauty of God's Word. Not only does He show us He requires perfection, He sent His own Son to live the perfect life on our behalf. But we killed Him, right? That was part of God's divine plan. See, Romans 6:23 tells us that death is the penalty for sin. And when Jesus died, He took the penalty I deserved on Himself. God poured out His anger against my sin on His own Son. Jesus took my place. But He didn't stay dead because Death had no power over Him. The power of death is sin, and since He hasn't sinned the grave couldn't hold Him. He rose the third day with power over sin and death. And since the price had been paid He offers His infinite righteousness to me. To you. To all mankind. Since we have sinned we have no righteousness of our own. But when we recognize our sinfulness, our rightful destiny to suffer the wrath of God for eternity, and we beg God for mercy a divine transaction takes place. God accepts the full payment of His Son and transfers Jesus righteousness to our account. That's what the word "justified" means. That's what Luke 18 is referring to.
Do you recognize that you are a sinner?
Do you see that God would be entirely just sending you to Hell for eternity?
Do you see that you can't earn His favor through your own good works?
Then call out to Jesus. Ask God for mercy. He'll give it every time. Read 2 Corinthians 5:14-21. He'll make you new, give you that new start!!! Your sins will be gone. You'll never have to face God as Judge, only as Father (Romans 8:1)!!!

J: Doesn't God get tired of forgiving your sins everyday?

L: God is an infinite God. Jesus righteousness is infinite. When He died He paid the penalty of all sin, for all time. Once For All! When Jesus died all my sins were still in the future because I hadn't been born yet. So when I repent of my sins He forgives them all on the basis of His Son's payment.
L: That's not to say we now have a license to sin. On the contrary. When Jesus makes us new He also empowers us to live a new life. Paul describes this in Galatians 2:20. Not that I'm now sinless. But I'm forgiven. The joys that sin used to offer don't seem so attractive anymore. Because the beauty of Jesus is more beautiful than my sin.
L: "All who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God." Romans 8:14
Not only does He save us, He empowers us to live a new life.

J: So that means I can do anything and Jesus wil forgive me?

L: If you're sincere in repentance.

J: Yes but see what does that mean?  I'm sorry my english is poor

L: Sorry. Repentance means a complete change of mind. As in, I used to love _____ (power, money, sex, etc...), now I've found a greater love. What was once attractive is less attractive because my heart has been captured by a greater beauty. Think of it this way: kids love hot dogs, but once you taste a good steak fillet the hot dogs don't taste as good anymore. I used to love my sin because of the glory I thought it offered. Now I love Jesus because His glory is greater than what sin promises but doesn't deliver.

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