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The Most Influential Life Ever Lived

Some say He was a prophet . . . some say He was a man who became a God  . . . some say he was just a man and nothing more . .

Over 2000 years ago there was a man born contrary to the laws of nature. As in infant he distressed a king. At the age of twelve he amazed Jewish leaders. As a man he walked upon billows like they were pavement. He healed multitudes without medicine and charged nothing for his service. He is talked about more than any of other person ever born. His name stands higher than any heavenly host. He is acknowledged by angels and feared by devils. You can visit any part of the world today. Talk to people of any religion and no matter how committed they are to their religion, if they know anything about history, they will have to admit that there has never been a man like Jesus of Nazareth. He is the most unique personality of all time.

 

Some say he was a prophet. Some say He was a very wise man. Some say He was a man who became a God. Some say he was just a man and nothing more, or even that he never really existed at all, but was merely a part of a great hoax to control the masses. Some go as far as to acknowledge him as the Son of God, but by no means equal to or God himself. Some cannot decide or do not care. And then there are those who wholeheartedly exclaim, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God, (Mat. 16:16) my Lord and my God! (John 20:28)

 

During a short three-year public ministry, he changed the world, even the date on the calendar testifies to the fact that Jesus of Nazareth lived on earth 2,000 years ago. BC means before Christ; AD Anno Domini, the year of our Lord.

 

Looking at the life and influence of Jesus throughout history you will see that Jesus Christ was and is in fact the living Son of God. His message has always produced great change in the lives of men and of nations. Wherever His teachings and influence have gone things have changed. For instance, laws to protect children have been made, slavery has been abolished, and women now have rights and voice in society and even preach the Word of God. Schools and universities have been established and a multitude of other changes have been made all for the good of mankind.

 

Who is Jesus of Nazareth? What makes Him so unique? Why is it even important to understand who and what Jesus Christ is? While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. But Jesus said, I and the Father are one (John 10:30). That means that He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh. He was God and He was man. He was fully human, and He was fully God. Even today many people do not understand that Jesus claimed to be God. However, His enemies understood very well His claims to deity. That is why they tried to stone Him to death and eventually had Him crucified.

 

Jesus asked His disciples the very same thing: Who do you say I am? (Matt. 16:15). Our answer to that question is crucial to our faith in Christ and to the way we communicate that faith to others. Our eternal destiny depends on who we believe Jesus Christ to be and how we respond to His words I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)

 

It is easy to explain away the words found in Scriptures or even discredit the Bible itself, claiming it is just another book. If this view is correct and one does not adhere to what is found in its contents, there is nothing to fear. However, if this view is incorrect and the Bible does indeed contain the true revelations of God; and if Jesus is indeed who he says he is, The Way, then not adhering to these truths will lead to a destination of such eternal pain and torment that one can not imagine.  With the final destination of our souls at stake, these questions become truly the most important ones we will ever seek answers to.

 

The Bible tells us that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified on a cross, buried in a borrowed grave, and three days later rose from the dead; Christianity is unique in this regard. All other religions were founded by human beings and are based on man-made philosophies, rules and norms for behavior. Take the founders of these religions out of both their disciplines and practices of worship and little would change. But take Jesus Christ out of Christianity, and there would be nothing left. Biblical Christianity is not just a philosophy of life, or an ethical standard, or obedience to religious ritual. True Christianity is based on a vital, personal relationship with a risen Savior.

 

The Resurrection

Jesus Himself foretold His death and resurrection - and His death and resurrection came about exactly as He had predicted (see Luke 18:31-33). The resurrection is the only plausible explanation for His empty grave. A careful reading of the biblical story shows that the grave where they laid the body of Jesus was closely guarded by Roman soldiers and sealed with an enormous boulder (Matthew 27:62-66). If, as some have claimed, Jesus was not dead, but only weakened, the guards and the stone would have stopped his escape - or any rescue attempt by His followers. Jesus enemies would never have taken the body, since His body missing from the grave would only serve to encourage belief in His resurrection.

The resurrection is the only explanation for the appearances of Jesus Christ to His disciples. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared at least ten times to those who had known Him and to as many as 500 people at one time. The Lord proved that these appearances were not hallucinations: He ate and talked with them and they touched Him. (see I John 1:1)

 

A Living Lord

Because of Jesus resurrection, His true followers do not merely observe the ethical code of a dead founder, but rather have a vital, personal relationship with the living Lord. Jesus Christ lives today and faithfully blesses and enriches the lives of all those who trust and obey Him. Throughout the centuries, multitudes have acknowledged the worthiness of Jesus Christ, including many who have greatly influenced the world.

 

Jesus is Holy

As God, Jesus embodied every element of Gods character. Colossians 2:9 says, In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form. He was perfectly holy. Even His enemies could not prove any accusation against Him. Jesus even challenged His enemies, Which one of you convicts Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? (John 8:46). God requires holiness of us. The Bible says, you shall be holy, for I am holy (I Peter 1:16).

 

Our failure to obey God places us in danger of eternal punishment. The truth is, we are by nature rebellious toward God. The Bible calls our rebellion sin. According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: There is no man who does not sin (1 Kings 8:46). All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Furthermore, we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil. The apostle Paul said, we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). In other words, we are helpless. That is not a compliment, but it is a statement of reality about our spiritual condition.

 

That does not mean we are incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or public-spirited activities. But we are utterly incapable of understanding, loving or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one (Romans 3:10-12).

 

Gods holiness and justice demands that all sin be punished. The soul who sins will die (Ezekiel 18:4). That is hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale. We assume some sins are less serious than others. Some think that lying is not as bad murder and backbiting is not as bad adultery. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That is why simply changing our patterns of behavior can not solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a).

 

Jesus is the Savior

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us. He alone can deliver us from the power and penalty of sin: There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). Even though Gods justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: Christ . . . died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God (I Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of Gods justice. Now He can forgive and save those who place their faith in Him. The Bible says, That He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus (Romans 3:26). The Apostle Paul tells us God made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (II Corinthians 5:21). John 3:16 says, God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. He alone is our great God and Savior (Titus 2:13).

 

Jesus Is the Only Acceptable Object of Faith

Some people think it does not matter what you believe as long as youre sincere. However, without a valid object your faith is useless. If you take poison as if it is medicine all the faith in the world will not keep you from dying. Similarly, since Jesus is the only source of salvation, and if you are trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless. It will not save you. Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. However, Jesus said, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me (John 14:6). Jesus did not claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God. Jesus claimed to be the only way to God-then and forever.

 

Jesus is Lord

Some think man is the product of evolution. However, the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve and enjoy endless fellowship with Him. The Bible reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything. All things came into being by Him; and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being (John 1:3). Colossians 1:16 tells us, For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created by Him and for Him. Therefore, as the Psalmist says, He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience and worship.

 

Romans 10:9 says, If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority. The apostle Paul said, . . . at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection.

 

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is a change in mind toward God that results in a change in our attitudes and behaviors. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness. Jesus said, If you love Me, you will keep My commandments (John 14:15). Moreover, He said, If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine (John 8:31).

        

It is not enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they do not love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience to Him. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).

          

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That does not mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him. Will you respond to Gods free offer of salvation today?

 

Jesus is the Judge

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge. God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead (Acts 17:30-31).

 

II Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. Again the Bible says, For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).

Lets suppose for a moment that you were to die before this day is over. Lets suppose you would stand before the Lord God, and He would say to you, Why should I let you into My heaven? What would you say? What do you think you would say to Him? What do you think of Jesus? What is your response to His offer of the free gift of eternal life? What will you do with Jesus?

 

How Will You Respond?

Who do you think that I am? With that brief question Jesus Christ confronts mankind in every generation with the single most important issue they will ever face.

 

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you, free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose.

French physicist and philosopher Blaise Pascal spoke of mans need for Jesus when he said, There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every man, which only God can fill through His Son Jesus Christ.

 

Can you sense that vacuum in your own heart? Would you like to know Jesus Christ personally as your living Savior? As bold as it may sound, you can! Jesus is so eager to establish a personal, loving relationship with you that He has already made all the necessary arrangements.

 

It is not enough just to know these truths. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know God personally and experience His love. You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Prayer is simply talking with God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer:

 

Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving me of my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

 

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If it does, pray this prayer right now, and Christ will come into your life, as He promised.

 

If you prayed this prayer with a sincere heart, then you have just received Jesus Christ. He has come into your life as your Friend and your Savior and you now have eternal life. Do not depend on feelings. The promise of Gods Word, the Bible, not our feelings is our authority. The Christian lives by faith (trust) in the trustworthiness of God Himself and His Word. Thank God in prayer right now for what He has done for you? By thanking God, you demonstrate your faith.

 

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