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What We Want You to Know

 

 

You can find purpose and meaning for your life - a reason for living.  Often the pursuit for meaning and purpose still leaves one empty and unfulfilled, and that is because there is a spiritual emptiness in each of our lives, deep within our soul that only God can fill.  Though many have tried possessions, or success, or relationships, or even moral living, all of these efforts cannot satisfy or fill that void.  Not even religion can fill that emptiness (John 4:13-15; 5:39-40; 6:63-65).

 

There is only one way to fill that void in your life, and this way will not only help you to enjoy a life that is abundant here on this earth, it will also provide for you the absolute hope of spending eternity with God.  However, before you can truly appreciate this Good News, it is important that you are aware of the bad news – which is a serious problem that we all have.

 

Our Problem: Sin

This is clearly identified in the Bible.  Sin is not just an act, but the actual nature of our being.  You see, we are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners.  We are born with a sin nature.  In the Old Testament, we read that King David said in Psalm 51:5; “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”  Since we are born a sinner, sinning comes to us naturally.  In fact Scripture tells us that; “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”  (Jeremiah 17:9)

 

We are not basically good, we are basically sinful.  Our sinfulness effects everything we do, in fact, every problem we experience in our society today can be traced back to our refusal to live God’s way.  After God created everything and placed Adam and Eve in the Garden, Adam and Eve made a choice to disobey God, and as a result they suffered the consequences of their sin and set a pattern that all humanity would follow.  We read in Romans 5:12 and 18; “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned ... one trespass led condemnation for all men.”  The end result of man’s sin is death – separation from God.

 

You see, God has given man a free will to choose between two separate paths: the path that leads to life and the path that leads to death.  In spite of all of this, God understands our sin problem and knows we can do nothing about it.  So, because of His great love for us, God sent His own Son, Jesus Christ to earth to bridge the gap of sin that separates us from Him (John 3:1-16; 6:47; 8:24).

 

Our Solution: Jesus Christ:

There has never been anyone like Jesus.  Jesus was not conceived in the womb of His mother through natural means.  Instead, He was supernaturally conceived in the womb of a young virgin named Mary.  Because of this supernatural conception, Jesus, who is fully God, also became fully man.  And, though Jesus is God, He chose to set aside His privileges of His deity to live on earth as a man.  The Bible, describes it this way; “Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  (Philippians 2:6-8)

 

Though Jesus did not cease to be God, by laying aside His divine privileges, He was able to walk the earth as a man and experience the same emotions and temptations as we do.  His main objective in coming to earth was to bridge the gap between us and God that is caused by sin.  Jesus came to earth specifically to die for our sins – the sins of all humanity.  Though falsely arrested and betrayed by one of His own disciples, it was no accident that He was crucified on the cross.  If humanity was going to have the barrier of sin removed that separated us from God, that is what had to be done.

In essence, with one hand Jesus took hold of a Holy God and with the other hand He told hold of the sinful human race.  As the nails were pounded into His hands and feet to nail Him to the cross, He bridged the gap for us.  Then, three days after His crucifixion, Jesus rose from the dead.  He had conquered not only sin, but also death.  This is Good News - the offer of eternal life that is available because of the finished work of the cross.

 

Our Response:  Accept God’s Offer

What Jesus did, He did for you.  To know Christ personally and to have your sins forgiven, you must believe that you are a sinner separated from God and that your only hope is Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to die on the cross for your sins.  There are two things that you need to do now to enter into a personal relationship and to bridge the gap with the God from whom you’ve been separated.

 

First: Turn from your sins.  As Jesus began His public ministry, Mark 1:15 records His message that was that man needed to “repent” – to acknowledge their sin, change their minds, and change the direction of their lives.  As we stated earlier, we have been blinded because of our sin, causing us to run from God.  To repent means that you make a “U-turn” and start running towards Him.  You see, it’s not enough just to be sorry for our sins, we must also change our lifestyle.  If we are truly sorry for our sin it will result in a change in our actions.

 

The apostle Paul summed up this change clearly when he quoted Jesus who said; “...turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”  (Acts 26:18)  It’s important to know that there are some things that only God can do and only some things that you can do.  Only God can remove your sins and give you the free gift of eternal life, but only you can turn from your sins and receive Jesus Christ as your Savior.  Which leads us to the second thing you must do to respond to God’s offer ...

 

Second: Believe and Receive Jesus Christ into your life.  Once you’ve acknowledged the depth of your sin and have decided to turn away from it, you must then believe in and receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.  Becoming a Christian is more than trying to live by a certain set of standards, Jesus said “You must be born again.” (John 3:3)  This spiritual rebirth happens when we personally believe in Jesus Christ and receive Him by inviting Him into our life and turn from our sins.  In doing so, we ask Him to take charge and move in us to make the changes necessary.

 

The salvation that Jesus offers is free for the asking.  There is nothing you can do that is good enough – you cannot try to clean up your life before making this life-changing decision.  Jesus has accomplished it all for you and the Bible reminds us of that; “... the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23  The good news that follows such a life-changing decision is that when you are willing to believe and receive Jesus Christ as your Savior, by faith, you then become a child of God and enjoy a relationship with Him that completes your life and gives it mean and purpose like you never experienced before.  There is a new hope and purpose for living now and into eternity.

 

The time is now to receive Jesus Christ into your life.  Paul said in Romans 10:13; “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  If you are ready to turn from your sins and trust in Jesus Christ to receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life, then the time is now to bow your head and pray a prayer like this:

Heavenly Father, I am sorry for my sin.  I want to turn from my sin.  I believe Jesus Christ died for my sin and rose again to give me eternal life.  Thank you for sending Jesus to provide the salvation I so desperately need.  Lord Jesus I ask You to some into my life right now.  I want you to be my Savior and Lord and Friend.  Help me to follow you all the days of my life as Your disciple.  Guide me in Your Word to live for You.  Thank you for forgiving me and receiving me right now.  Thank you that my sin is forgiven and that I am going to heaven.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

The time is now to rededicate your life to Christ.  If you’ve already received Christ as your Savior, but you have strayed from Him and aren’t serving Him as you should, know that God will forgive you if you will return to Him.  In 1 John 1:9 we learn; “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  And, we are reminded in Jeremiah 3:22 (NLT); “My wayward children," says the LORD, "come back to Me, and I will heal your wayward hearts."  If you need to return to Him and rededicate your life to Him, you may want to pray like this:

Heavenly Father, I am sorry for my sin and sorry that I have wandered away from You.  I repent of my sin and ask you now to forgive me.  I don’t want to live like a prodigal any longer.  Renew and revive me as I seek to follow you as my God.  Thank you for your restoration and forgiveness, I pray this in Jesus’ name, amen.

 

You’ve made the right decision!  Whether you prayed to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior or prayed to recommit/rededicate your life to Christ, you’ve made the right decision.  Be confident and know that God has forgiven you and received you.  Know that your relationship with God through Jesus Christ will bring radical changes.  This is described in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT); “... anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  Not only is that Great News, more importantly God has changed your life both now and for eternity.  Instead of fearing eternal punishment and separation from God in Hell, you now have the peace and joy of spending eternity with Him in heave!

 

If you made a decision either to receive Christ as your Savior or to rededicate your life to Christ, please contact us here at Lake View Church  at 527-567-8529 or email Pastor Steve at: steve@lakeviewch.org.  We would love to pray with you and even disciple you as you step forward in your walk with Christ.

 

Portions of this are taken from material by Greg Laurie in the NLT Bible introductory pages

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