What’s your excuse?

Why haven’t YOU placed your faith in Jesus Christ? Your eternal destiny is at stake! Heaven or Hell, for Pete’s sake! What POSSIBLE excuse could you have for not guaranteeing the next millions of years in paradise instead of permanent solitary torture?

   * Well, I believe in Heaven, but I don’t think Hell really exists. I think it’s just a fairy tale people tell to keep you from doing bad things…

People like Jesus Christ? My friend, Jesus preached about the realities of Hell more often than He talked about Heaven! What would be the purpose of a Heaven if there wasn’t a Hell? Why would Jesus have spent His Ministry preaching about the perils of Hell if it didn’t exist?

   *Yeah, but Hell’s just for the really bad people, y’know? You gotta have a place for Hitler and Martin Skrelli and those terrible people, right? But the rest of us are going to Heaven, so why worry about it?

You haven’t read the Bible, then. At least read the Gospels, please – the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The four biographies of Jesus’ life, which together create a three-dimensional portrait of the Man. During His most famous speech, the Sermon on the Mount, He talked about that “ratio” of Heaven-sent to Hell-bound in Mt 7:13-14

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

If anything, the ratio is reversed from what most people think it is. Heaven is the place with the “vacancy” sign on it; Hell is packed to the rafters, and yet there’s always room for one more. You, unless you change.

   *You’re just trying to scare me. None of that is real. There was no Jesus Christ. There was no crucifixion. And there sure wasn’t any resurrection from the dead! It’s all a myth.

Jesus Christ is an historical figure, the majority of Whose life has been historically verified by archaeologists. (Remember, He was very well-known, not just in Jerusalem but throughout the region.) His crucifixion has been verified as well. His burial was officially recorded. And most crucially, He was witnessed alive (and usually preaching) following His resurrection by at least 1200 people. Jesus Christ is probably the most researched human being Who lived before the advent of mass media in the newspaper era. If His life isn’t proven, then virtually nobody who lived before about 1500 can be said to have been verified.

   *I get all that. Jesus Christ was real. I’ll even grant you the whole “son of God” stuff. But I can’t stand the idea of hanging out with all those church people! They’re all a bunch of hypocrites! They say they follow Christ, but they sin almost as much as us non-Christians!

And do you know why? Because they’re not dead yet. My friend, NO one is perfect, except Christ. Christians aren’t perfect. They were often the worst sinners to start with, and have the farthest to go to reach Christian “perfection”. But they’re trying to improve – more to the point, they’re trying to let the Holy Spirit improve them, bit by bit. Ever hear the expression, “The church isn’t a museum for saints; it’s a hospital for sinners”? YOU, too, are a sinner. We all are. Do you want to grow and improve as a human being? Come join us.

   *But isn’t the point of being saved going to Heaven when we die? So, as long as I get saved before I reach my deathbed, I’m good.

So, you must know exactly when you’re going to die, then? (Silence.) Right. There’s the most obvious flaw in that plan. Here’s flaw number two – 

Jesus is coming back VERY SOON. It could be as early as IMMEDIATELY. You need to be saved IMMEDIATELY. There won’t be a second chance.

 Flaw three is more subtle. The advantages of salvation are almost as valuable in THIS life as they are in the forever after. Having the Holy Spirit living within you as a guiding hand is the most amazing and wonderful feeling you will ever know this side of the pearly gates. If you’ve ever felt like you’ve screwed up your life somewhere along the lines (most of us have felt that way once in a while, I’ll bet), pray for God to come into your heart right now:

Lord Jesus – I know that I am a sinner. 

We all are. And we all owe a penalty of spiritual death for those sins. 

But I know that You offer a better choice. 

You have already come and paid the penalty for our sins, 

in order for us to be free and spend eternity with You, Lord.

So, Lord Jesus, I accept Your Sacrifice on my behalf, 

and I acknowledge You as my Lord from here on.

Holy Spirit, come live within me and help me live the life Christ intends for me to live. 

Congratulations. If you say and mean that prayer, you’re now a Christian. It’s that simple. The training program comes after you’ve signed up, not before. (And flaws one and two are the reason why, right?) Romans 10, verses 9 and 10 guarantee this. And remember, it’s not going to be your doing – it’s going to be the Spirit and Christ Himself Who will make this happen. All you have to do is pray, read your Scripture, and listen to your fellow dedicated Christians. THEY will do the work WITHIN you!

But YOU must know what Jesus said, because that’s how we must live our lives! Don’t lapse into becoming a “Christian-in-name-only”, like the “pew potatoes” who think sitting in church one hour every Sunday morning makes you a Christian. 

IT DOESN’T

What makes you a Christian is trying to live your life like Christ lived His. You won’t succeed completely – that’s why God grants you His Grace: so you can make mistakes with the freedom to realize that you’re still okay.  Have a relationship with Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, with God the Father.

 

And do it now. Time is running out.

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