Why is the birth of Jesus “Good News”?

Why is the birth of Jesus “Good News”?

In a world where daily headlines shout bad news 24/7, there remains one story that is not just good news, but the best news for all of mankind for all time. That good news of Christmas dates back to the creation of the world by God and the creation of man, the only creature who was made in God’s image. God intended that the man and woman he created, Adam and Eve, and all of their offspring, would live in perfect harmony with Him. In this ideal world, humans would enjoy perfect fellowship with God by obeying His commands which would, in turn, allow them to experience perfect joy.

The problem is that man rebelled against God, breaking the fellowship and learning that what men and women thought would be freedom, turned into slavery to sin. That brought all the negative consequences that humans experience today–the bad news that that assaults us from without and the pain, suffering, broken relationships, lack of peace and death from within. This is the natural result of breaking fellowship with a perfect God who could not be in fellowship with imperfect humans. Their sins separated them forever from God and ensured that they would suffer throughout eternity for their continued rebellion from God. This is where the Good News breaks through.

God loved his creation so much that he provided a way for men and women to be rescued from the consequences of their sin. God asked his son, Jesus, to take on the sin of all mankind–a substitute sacrifice that would be acceptable to God. Jesus acceped the task, leaving the glory of his father in heaven to come to earth as a baby, live among sinful men, lay down his life on a Roman cross, rise from earthly death, and return to his fathers side.

Jesus, the baby whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, did all this so that that those who willingly accepted his substitutionary sacrifice might have their relationship to God restored. That brings with it the promise of an eternal life free of the consequences of sin. That’s the good news of Christmas, because Christmas is the celebration of the arrival of Jesus on earth in the form of a human. It’s the celebration of a life that culminates in death on a cross where the sins of all men and women–past, present and future–are paid for by the shedding of Jesus’ blood allowing us to be redeemed through the subsequent resurrection of Jesus.

What does God expect us to do with this knowledge that Jesus died in our place so we can be saved from God’s wrath against our sins? He expects us to accept the sacrifice of His son Jesus, turn away from our sin, and have faith that we will experience peace in this life and an eternity of contentment with Him. Christmas is a celebration of this good news, “For unto you a Savior is born who is Christ the Lord.” The final question is, have you believed it and accepted Jesus as your Savior? It is the most important decision a person ever makes.

If you would like to learn more about how you can enter into a relationship with the eternal God who sent his son, Jesus, we encourage you to read our blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

Merry Christmas!

Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

Why did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? Why is death the result of sin?

After hearing the story of creation and the Garden of Eden, youngsters at Vacation Bible School posed numerous questions including these two. Let’s start with the second. Sin is everything that is in opposition to God.

God, creator of the universe is the embodiment of love, justice and all that is good. Therefore, that which is unlovely, unjust and bad, qualifies as sin. But sin is more than that. Whenever we choose to put anything—job, possessions, family, wealth, career, personal aggrandizement, etc.—ahead of God, we are turning our back on God and therefore are sinning. God has proclaimed that this sinning separates us from God.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 6:23

When we lose our ability to hear God and to know how to behave according to his standards, we experience a form of spiritual death. This separation from God carries over into the afterlife where that death is forever, and heartache, torment and pain becomes an eternal punishment.

Why, then, did God allow Adam and Eve to sin? This answer is simple. God loved Adam and Eve just as much as he loves each of us. He loved us so much that he says that he made men and women in his image. (Genesis 2:1-25) He gave humans the capacity to think rationally, to communicate with one another and with God, and to love.

Everyone who has loved or been loved understands that love is a choice. God didn’t force man to love him, he offered him a choice. He created a paradise devoid of sin where Adam and Eve enjoyed perfect fellowship with God. They loved him because God love them so much that he provided for all of their needs. Unfortunately, the risk God took in giving humans free will (to love him or not) was that they might choose to reject his guidance as they did when tempted in the garden.

Listening to Satan and choosing to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree was the first act of sin and resulted in death coming to the first man. (Genesis 3:1-24) Spiritual death came first as man was separated from God and driven out of the garden. Physical death followed for Adam and Eve and everyone thereafter.

However, God didn’t give up on man. His love never stopped. In fact, he loved humans so much that he provided a way to restore fellowship with them. The death that came because sin had to be reconciled. Therefore, God performed an ultimate act of love. He sent his own son, Jesus, to take the punishment for the sins of you and me and everyone who has ever lived and everyone who is yet to be born. All he asks is that each of us who want to have a forever relationship with God, acknowledge that we are sinners in need of redemption and accept the gift of life he has to offer. To learn more about how to obtain this gift of live and turn your back on sin, we encourage you to  read our May 5th blogpost: How does one become a Christian?

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What does it mean to glorify God?

What does it mean to glorify God?

To glorify God means to recognize and talk about his magnificent and unfathomable attributes as creator of the universe and all life forms on planet Earth. Those attributes include his majesty, holiness, grace, love, omnipotence, omniscience to name just a few. Glorifying God also includes loving God, keeping his covenants and obeying his commands. This said, we will take a look at specific references to bringing glory to God from the Scriptures.

We need to first look at God’s glory as defined in Isaiah 6:3. It says, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” Psalm 19:1 says: “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.” And in Romans 1:20 we read: “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 people are without excuse.”

God created the world in all its splendor and beauty for His glory so He could communicate His glory to us and draw us to Him. Isaiah 43:6 says, “Bring my daughters and my sons from afar, everyone whom I have created for my glory.”

As you can see, God’s desire is to draw all men to himself. Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are told to shine their light before men reflecting his glory so men may look to him and discover the salvation he offers only in Christ Jesus. The Lord Jesus says in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”

The Westminster Catechism written in the 1600’s to clarify the Christian faith asks the question, “What is the chief end of man?” The answer: “A Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” It is very clear from the Bible that we are to be mindful of our thoughts, words, and actions and be about glorifying God and not glorifying self!

Was Jesus’ Resurrection real? Is He alive today?

Was Jesus’ Resurrection real? Is He alive today?

Few events in antiquity are as well documented as the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Anointed One. All of Christianity hinges on the answer to this question. If there was no resurrection, there would be no Christianity.

Consider this: there were over 500 witnesses to Jesus’ return to life after being crucified dead and buried. The Romans made no mistakes when they killed someone. They were expert at the art of death. Yet, three days later, Jesus appeared to his disciples, to several women, to two men walking on the road to Emmaus, to a doubting Thomas and two others. Jesus was definitely dead and he was definitely resurrected. But unlike others who were raised from the dead only to die again at a future date, Jesus was very much alive when he departed this earth in front of witnesses. He was and is alive today, but not in the human form in which he lived 2,000 years ago.

Today, Jesus reigns with His father, God, in heaven and is preparing a place for every believer to join Him there. But one doesn’t have to wait for the end of life on earth to encounter Jesus, because when he departed he promised to send his Spirit to serve as advocate, counselor, and comforter to those who believe in the resurrected Jesus and sincerely ask him to be his or her savior.

Jesus, who has the power and authority to hold together every atom in the universe, is the same Jesus who died for the sins of mankind and was resurrected to declare his power to triumph over death. One day Jesus will return to earth just like he left it to rule and reign as King of kings. Are you ready to meet him in this world or the next? If you would like to learn more, please visit our Next Steps page.

Why did Jesus talk more about hell than heaven?

Why did Jesus talk more about hell than heaven?

Jesus spoke more of Hell than Heaven but we do know He spoke a lot about both.You know God tells us that He loved us so much that “… while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8). So God’s purpose for each of us is to bring us into a present and future Heavenly relationship with Him. So warning us of the consequences of not giving our hearts and lives to Christ is a further evidence of this love for us. Jesus it seems wanted to make the choice simple and obvious.
It is similar to you and your children whom you love. If you see them entering a dangerous situation don’t you immediately warn and stop them and tell them of the danger?

Christ’s persistent warnings about Hell tells us that it is a real place and He doesn’t want anyone to go there. Remember, a person’s ultimate destination at death is either Heaven or Hell. The point is that Jesus is saying that there is existence beyond physical death and there are only two possible outcomes. The fact is that God would have all come to know and trust Him and gain eternal life, but He gave everyone the free will to choose.
So, how about you? Have you come into that life-transforming personal relationship with Jesus and now know for sure where you will be for eternity?

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9&10 (NIV)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9&10 (NIV)

Will I recognize my parents in heaven?

Will I recognize my parents in heaven?

Many Bible scholars agree that Christians will recognize Christians who have gone to heaven before them. That assurance is based on the example of Jesus who, after his resurrection appeared in his glorified body yet was still known to his followers. In Matthew 17:1-3 we have the record of Jesus meeting Moses and Elijah while Peter, James and John watched and they recognized them. These examples give us great hope that we will definitely know those we do on Earth who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. That is one reason why it is so important for us who believe to tell our loved ones and friends about Christ. 

What we will look like in heaven is somewhat a mystery. We are promised that we will have resurrected and glorified bodies like Jesus. But Jesus was killed in the prime of his life. He did not reach old age on earth as will many of us. So we don’t know what physical characteristics we will have in heaven. Will everyone be in the prime of life even though they died in old age? The Bible does not reveal this answer. However, in the book, Heaven is Real, a young boy’s near death experience suggests this as a possibility. And what about little children? Will they be children or have matured into young adults? Again, it is a question to which we will discover the answer once we are there. Certainly those who died as infants will be in heaven. While all who are born inherit a sin nature, infants, little ones, while in their age of innocence will be ushered into the throne of God. 

We will probably all be surprised at who we meet in heaven and who is not there. It is likely that Adam and Eve will be there. Others we might expect to meet would include Noah, Jonah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, Moses, Joshua, King David, Joseph and Mary, John the Baptist, the Apostles, the Prophets, and more recent persons like George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Andrew Jackson, Fanny Crosby, Charles Wesley, John Knox, Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan, Chuck Colson and millions upon millions of others who have put their trust and faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. And finally and most importantly each believer will have direct face-to-face fellowship with God and with Jesus Christ. 

If you are interested in reading more about heaven, we suggest The Heaven Answer Book, by Billy Graham and Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven. These books by notable Christian authors offer Biblically-based insights into heaven that are realistic and dependable.

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