A. WHAT IS CHRISTIANITY?
Christianity is not a list of dos and don't s. Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is a personal relationship with the God of the Universe--the God who made heaven and earth and all that is in them.
The Holy Bible (the Scriptures) tells us how to receive that personal relationship. But wait a minute! How can we know we can believe the Bible?
Well, let's examine it. First, let's look at II Timothy 3:16: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God can be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Secondly, John 10:35b says, "And the Scripture cannot be broken--" Thirdly, II Peter 3:16c tells us that if we distort the Scriptures, we do so to our own destruction.
All Scripture was written by holy men, inspired by the Holy Spirit of God. It is our Owner's Manual for life, like your Owner's Manual for your automobile. Men have delved into the Scripture with the idea of defaming it and proving it false but instead were convicted by it of their need for a Savior and a personal relationship with God Himself through the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. Just to name one--C. S. Lewis, the prominent author. Those of us who have turned to Scripture to know how to live this life we have been given have found the true purpose of living--loving and pleasing Jesus Christ, our Lord.
B. WHY DO WE NEED A SAVIOR?
God is a holy, righteous God and cannot abide with sin. Therefore, we are separated from Him by sin. We cannot have a personal relationship with Him if sin exists in us. He is one God in three persons (the Trinity--God the Father, Jesus (God) the Son and the Holy Spirit (God the Spirit). He is eternal. He always was, and He always will be. Genesis 1:1,2 tells us that in the beginning He created the heaven and the earth and His Spirit was hovering over the waters that He made. He created everything in the world out of nothing in six days and rested on the seventh day. We see in Genesis 1:1,2 God the Father was present there in the beginning with His Holy Spirit. John 1:1 tells us that Jesus, God's Son and God's Word, was also there and that nothing was made without Him. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made." John 1:14: The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." God made man and woman on the sixth day. (Gen. 1:24-31.) In this passage we see that God told them they could eat every seed-bearing plant on the face of the earth and every tree that had fruit with seed in it; but in Genesis 2:17 God told them (Adam and Eve) that they must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. However, we see in Genesis 3:6 that they disobeyed God and did eat of this specific tree. This was disobedience and is known as "The Original Sin." Disobedience is sin, and sin is disobedience.
Adam and Eve were not the only ones to sin. Sin is in our DNA. Romans 3:23 tells us: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Solomon in Ecclesiastes 7:20 states, "There is not a righteous man on earth who does what is right and never sins." Isaiah 64:6 -- "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away." Romans 3:10a - There is no one righteous, not even one. Isaiah 53:6 -- We all, like sheep, have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
That leads us into our next segment.
III. GOD'S PLAN FOR SALVATION
The entire Bible sets forth God's plan for salvation of fallen mankind. God made us with free will to choose either Him or evil. God, who is omniscient (all-knowing) knew that people would sin before He created them. However, He loved everyone so much that before creating them, He already had a plan for salvation. Let's look at several verses which depict God's plan for salvation of his greatest creation--mankind. When Adam and Eve sinned, God said (in Genesis 3:15) "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel." This statement refers to His Son, Jesus, who was born of a woman. This is the first promise in the Bible of a Savior and Messiah. Moses in Exodus 15:2 sings, "The Lord is my strength and song; He has become my salvation."
Throughout his psalms, David declares the Lord God to be his salvation; e.g., Psalm 27:1 --"The Lord is my light and my salvation." Psalm 62:1,2a - "My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation." In Jonah 2:9 Jonah exclaims that "Salvation comes from the Lord."
When Jesus was eight days old, His mother Mary and His earthly father, Joseph, took Him to the temple in Jerusalem where they met a man named Simeon, to whom the Holy Spirit had revealed that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ (which in the Greek means "Anointed One"). When Simeon looked upon the baby Jesus, he said (in Luke 2:30) "My eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel." One of the most famous verses in the Bible--John 3:16--states,"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John the Baptist declared when he saw Jesus coming to him to be baptized, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29).
Jesus, Himself, in the Upper Room, at His Last Supper with His disciples, the night before His death on a cruel, crude Roman cross, told His disciples: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6). In John 14:23 He says, "If anyone loves Me, he will obey My teaching. My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him."
The apostle Peter, on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus' followers, told the people assembled there that "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Acts 2:21). Peter also said in Acts 2:38: "Repent and be baptized everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." In Acts 4:12 Peter told the Jewish leaders in the Sanhedrin that "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name (Jesus Christ; see Acts 4:10) under heaven given to men, by which we must be saved." In Acts 16:31 Paul, an apostle and missionary of Jesus Christ, told the Philippian jailer, in response to his question of "What must I do to be saved," "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household."" Paul also says in Romans 10:9, "That if you confess with your mouth 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
In the last book of the Bible, the Revelation, the great multitude before the throne and in front of the Lamb (Jesus Christ) cried out, "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." (Revelation 7:10). In Revelation 19:1 the great multitude in heaven shouts, "Hallelujah! Salvation and power and glory belong to our God."
There are many more verses which show there is no other way to salvation, to the Father and to heaven than through Jesus Christ. Through the precious blood of Jesus, we are saved, forgiven of our sins and cleansed from the stain of sin. The Holy Spirit indwells us, teaches us, counsels us, leads us in the way we should go and changes us to become more and more like our God. We are "works in progress," and someday Jesus will come to take us to live forever with Him.
If you do not have a relationship with Jesus today, ask Him to forgive you of your sins against Him and come into your heart and abide with you forever. TODAY IS THE DAY OF SALVATION!!!