Gospel

Another Year with Jesus

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What a privilege it is to walk into a new year with Jesus. The year is sure to bring the usual difficulties, disappointments, and crises, but Jesus will be right there with me through all of them, as He will with you, if you know Him. And if we should not make it to 2019, it will mean that we have gone to our true home with Him.

One of the themes that is often at the forefront of my mind and turns up frequently in my sermons is that, when we are with Him in eternity, all of the things that beset us in life–things that cause some to walk away from Him–will prove to have been worth enduring with Him and for Him. May we who know Jesus not wander from the path this year. May we not step off of the firm Foundation. May we not let any deep darkness that may seem to enshroud us along the way keep us from seeing the light beyond the darkness–the light that is Jesus Himself.

And to any who read this who do not yet know Him, may you sense His tug at your heart and come to embrace Him as your Savior. For He died to pay the penalty for your sins against God, and He rose from the grave to conquer sin and death. He holds out a gift to you: the gift of eternal life, and He beckons you to receive it by faith.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

 

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“Why do Christians try to get me to believe in Jesus?”

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QUESTION: Why do Christians share the gospel with people? Is it a political thing? Are we just trying to increase our numbers?
ANSWER: “In Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making His appeal through us. WE IMPLORE YOU ON BEHALF OF CHRIST, BE RECONCILED TO GOD. For our sake, He made Him (i.e., Christ) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:19-21).
Telling people how to be reconciled to God through faith in Jesus is an act of love, though it is not always taken that way (and sometimes, we don’t do it that way). It is like leading a person in a burning building to the fire exit. It is one beggar who found bread showing another beggar where to find bread. The point is not to bug people; the point is to share what we have found and hope that you will want it, too.
The Bible calls the message of salvation through faith in Jesus (for what He did on the cross in dying to pay the penalty for our sins) “the gospel.” It’s a word that means “good news,” and when we share it, we are just trying to spread that good news (though, sometimes, we fail in our delivery and it doesn’t always come across as good news). But despite our sometime-frailty as deliverers of this message, the intention is not to corral you into some movement or anything like that. It is simply that we have received God’s gift of salvation (which is accessed only through believing on Jesus Christ), and we want others to have that gift, too. After all, according to the Bible, the alternative to God’s gift is God’s judgment, and that will be an eternal, unpleasant situation (Revelation 21:8).
There is one other reason we share the gospel: it is God’s calling upon those who have believed in Jesus. As the Bible passage above says, God has entrusted to believers the message of reconciliation (i.e., of being made right with God), and so we are ambassadors for Christ, with God making His appeal to unbelievers through us. And so, to echo the passage above, I implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. Christ became sin for you so that you might become the righteousness of God in Him. Seeing that become a reality in your life requires an act of faith on your part (John 3:16). It requires you to believe.