Are you resolved to do something differently in your life in the new year? Some habit you’re tired of? Perhaps. Yet, we all know that most resolutions crumble within a few weeks! So what is the real answer? Why not have a life-changing experience?!
There’s no debate, Christians are suffering all around the world for various reasons! Yet, we ask, “Is it supposed to be like this?” “Is my life not supposed to be a happy one?” “Aren’t we supposed to be healthy all the time?” “Am I not to be well off financially?” Perhaps we’ve been told that, “As long as you have enough faith,” or, “Long as there is no sin in your life, all will be well”? For, again and again, we see plastered over our screens, messages saying that, we need only “pronounce,” or “tell God” the way it is, and all will be well with you! Now, it would be great if life were that easy, but is this actually the message Jesus gave us? Is this the message of the Bible? For many have begun to think there is something wrong with them when God does not seem to answer them. They think there must be a lack of faith or some sin in their lives, but is it true? Yes, it makes for a great message to preach such, but is it true? Let us see then where our real hope lies!
If we ever wonder what in the world is wrong with this world! – we quite possibly, need look no further than the church.
“HYPOCRITES!” the people cry out, when they see “Christians” today. Yes, that word “hypocrites” means actors, such as are in a theatre! Now, we know that when Jesus walked this Earth, there were those known as Pharisees. This people were a specific sect of the Jews. They were seen by other Jews, as the most righteous people on the planet! None could ever excel them! Yet, the non-Jew saw them very differently. They saw their hypocrisy, that they were just mere “actors”! Jesus also called them on it, saying, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.” (Matthew 23:27-28) Now, that is one scathing rebuke!
Now, Paul the apostle also has somewhat to aim at the actors of the Jewish teachers! Yet, the same could be said in respect to those in the church today. We read, “But if you call yourself a Jew…” Yes, we could just as well say, “But if you call yourself a Christian”! We continue, “…and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are living in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth – you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” It could just as well be said today, “The name of God is blasphemed among those who are not Christians because of you people acting in a theatre as Christians”! (Romans 2:17-24)
Perhaps, at some point in your life, you came to the realization that you didn’t like the direction your life was headed. Maybe at this point you decided that you needed to change for the better. This might have involved getting rid of certain habits in your life and attending church. Whatever the case, you felt the need to straighten out your life. Then again, you might only recently have come to see that you don’t like the way things are in your life, and you want change! Yet, how successful have you been in this endeavor? Has it been frustrating? How does God look at your attempts? How good does God want me to live? Well, we’re going to figure these things out today, and find the answers for a life of true freedom, joy, and peace! So let us get on with it!
The above is a most vital question. It is your own eternity that is at stake here! Where will you spend it? Are you absolutely convinced that you are indeed secure for your eternity? What gives you that assurance? How holy do you think you would have to be for God to accept you into His holy presence? What does God say about your sin? What does God say the penalty for your sin is? How does God say you are able to become a Christian? Are you ready to stand before Jesus Christ the Judge of the living and the dead? Let us now examine these things and make certain that you are indeed a Christian, someone fit for eternity in God’s glorious Heaven!
Rich in Jesus
a big problem!
My eyes were still closed as the sun’s rays began to peak through my window. Then suddenly, the thought struck my yet sleepy mind – mom made strawberry jam last night! Just like that, I was wide awake! I stuck my toes in my fluffy bunny slippers and dashed down the stairs to get out a deep red jar of freshly made jam! Oh, how good this was going to be on my toast!
I slipped two slices of bread out from the bag and eagerly placed them in the toaster! Then I pushed down the lever and waited. I put my plate on the table, a knife, and a glass of milk. After a few minutes I went to check on my toast – it was still white. I waited some more and still it was white. I waited a really, really long time, and still it was white! What was wrong?! I thought, surely the toaster must be broken. For the bread ought to be nice and brown by now! Oh, I wanted my toast so bad with mom’s fresh strawberry jam! I could just about taste its sweetness on my eager little tongue! But, it mattered not how long I waited – nothing happened. No, nothing at all!
How I Got Saved
I grew up in a religious home where it was normal to go to Sunday School and church. It was normal to see people praying and reading their Bible. The people in my family, were what most people would refer to as “good.” They didn’t drink alcohol, go to bars, smoke, swear, and so on.
The culture I grew up in was an Evangelical Mennonite culture. I know Mennonites are very different from one group to another! The group I belonged to did not live on a colony or practice a particular dress-code. In fact, we were relatively modern in our way of life!
As to myself personally, I adhered to the religious beliefs I grew up with. I regularly attended Sunday School and church. I was consistent in reading my Bible and praying. Every night before going to bed, I would confess all my sins to God, asking Him to forgive me of my sins. I was even baptised at the age of 15. I also tried to the best of my abilities to be good, as I was taught. You could say, I was very religious!