Christ, Our Passover

by John W. Ritenbaugh March 1996

Many people, even in the church of God, believe that Passover focuses on ou

The idea of human sacrifice is repugnant to our modern sense of decency and civility. We feel that those who practiced this act of appeasing the gods were ignorant savages of by-gone times. However, it is beyond question that Jesus of Nazareth, the only begotten Son of God, was crucified—sacrificed—for the forgiveness of our sins. He is the propitiation, the appeasing force, by which we can enter into God’s presence. God, the righteous Judge of all mankind, provided Jesus Christ to pay the incalculable price for sin.

God’s judgment is perfect. Notice how the psalmist describes the quality of His judgments in Psalm 111:2-4, 6-9:

The works of the LORD are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them. His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and full of compassion. . . . He has declared to His people the power of His works, in giving them the heritage of the nations. The works of His hands are verity and justice; all His precepts are sure. They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever; holy and awesome is His name.

God’s judgments are great! But only those who have experienced and deeply considered them know how truly great and exalted they are. In addition, all of His judgments and works are righteous, a characteristic that points to eternal rather than temporary effects. God’s judgments are not only right, they are eternally right! God does not deal in situation ethics—His laws, His morals, His ethics, work every time, all the time!

Further, He never makes decisions or exercises His power arbitrarily. Because His Word and works always harmonize with the immutable dictates of what is right, they are sure and trustworthy guides for us. Thus, trusting in them and making them a part of our lives will always be right. For this, among many other things, God should be reverenced.

The Word of God

When we compare God’s works with man’s, what a difference we see! The closer we look at man’s works, the more flaws we see. Yet, when we scrutinize God’s works, we just see more perfection. Man is finite; God is infinite. Man is mutable; God is immutable. Man is imperfect; God is perfect.

Consider how adept God is in using one creation to do many different jobs. Air, for instance, is invisible and appears to be weightless, yet it will support the flight of an airplane weighing many tons. In supplying the lungs with oxygen, it supports life. Air also supports combustion, but when separated into its component parts, some of its gases can put out a fire (carbon dioxide), while others greatly intensify fire (oxygen, hydrogen). Air conveys heat and cold, scents and sounds. It holds moisture, moves ships, and does many other things besides. In contrast, man must create special tools for every purpose, and our attempts are often quite clumsy.

Because we have been subtly trained since infancy to seek quick answers, our studies of His Word tend to overlook how profound He is. We often just accept what God says without really searching it out. But like His works, God’s Word is just as much His creation as air.

How infinitely deep and broad God’s Word is! Its uses are virtually inexhaustible. Consider how the ministry applies a familiar scripture to one subject, and a few weeks later, another will use the same scripture to illustrate a different subject altogether!

The writer of Psalm 119 waxes rhapsodic about God’s Word: “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. I am a stranger in the earth; do not hide Your commandments from me. My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times” (verses 18-20). He had the correct idea! We are pilgrims on our way to the Kingdom. We have no idea how long the journey will be, nor have we ever been this way before. If we ignore God’s Word, we will surely wander aimlessly; we will stray from the path.

So we cannot merely look on its surface—we must delve into the Bible! Digging is hard work! God’s instruction is scattered throughout His Book (Isaiah 28:9-10). Each section—even each verse!—may have multiple purposes, even as air does in the physical creation. From this principle, it is easy to see that we can understand the Bible on many levels and give them several applications.

What Is He?

Think of this principle in relation to Christ. Notice how the people of His own day perceived Him:

For even His brothers did not believe in Him. . . . And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him. Some said “He is good”; others said, “No, on the contrary, He deceives the people.” . . . The people answered and said, “You have a demon. Who is seeking to kill You?” . . . “But look! He speaks boldly, and they say nothing to Him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is truly the Christ?” (John 7:5, 12, 20, 26)

Even then, opinion was greatly divided about Him.

» To the average Jew, He was a mysterious fellow, a Man not really understood but liked. Jesus did fantastic things on behalf of the common man, which appealed to his curiosity and sense of wonder.
» The Pharisees and Sadducees considered Him an arch-rival, a competitor, the ringleader of a new cult, and a threat to their authority and popularity.
» Generally, the Romans saw Him at first as little more than a curiosity, a magician, but in the end they condemned Him as a troublemaker, a traitor. Pilate called Him “just” (Matthew 27:24) and found “no fault in Him at all” (John 18:38), yet to avoid a seditious riot, he sentenced Him to be crucified.

But what is He to us? It is very important to answer this because Passover is all about what He is. The Bible shows Christ as Creator, Prophet, High Priest, and King. He is the Redeemer of Israel and in a multitude of situations, Savior and Deliverer. He is Provider, Healer, Apostle, Judge, Avenger, and Forerunner. In all, the Bible gives Him over two hundred guises. At Passover, though, the focus centers on Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God slain for the sins of the world, a human sacrifice of the most sublime quality.

When we ponder what Christ means to us, we should include Romans 10:4: “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” In this regard, Paul says that Christ is the object of the Bible. The law, as one aspect that represents the whole plan of salvation, is the instrument that broadly describes God’s righteousness. Like everything in God’s purpose, the end—the goal—of the law is to bring us “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).

Jesus fulfilled the law in that He perfectly exemplified God’s desires in everything He did (see Matthew 5:17). He personifies perfect love and government. He is the perfect Man yet also God in the flesh. He is the Standard toward which men are to strive.

Not a Mystery to Us

Christ, Paul, and John use the term “mystery” to refer to Christianity itself or some aspect of it. Jesus uses it in Matthew 13:10-11:

And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.”

To a Greek-speaking person, a mystery was not a difficult puzzle to solve, but a secret impossible to penetrate. A biblical mystery is a teaching that is impossible to understand until the meaning is revealed, then it becomes plain. Greeks used the term to describe something that was crystal clear to insiders, but unintelligible to outsiders.

Only “insiders,” those who are obedient to God’s will (Psalm 111:10), can understand the fullness of Christianity. As a result of our submission, we understand the plan of salvation far better than any “outsider,” no matter how intelligent. Much of our enlightenment comes from keeping God’s festivals, which outline His plan and help us stay on course.

Despite this, we often develop “blind spots,” areas where we overlook weaknesses in our understanding and practice. For example, we tend to recoil in disgust at how “Christianity” presents Christ rather than how He truly is. The churches of this world depict Him as Savior in a maudlin, overly sentimental way that turns our stomachs because it makes Him seem weak. On the other hand, some of us have fallen into the opposite ditch. In the past, we have described Him as an angry, conquering Warrior, Lawgiver, and Judge who seems bent on taking human life.

Where is the balance point? What is His true nature? Is not the gospel of the Kingdom of God the totality of the message, life, works, and promises embodied in Jesus Christ of Nazareth? The gospel reveals Jesus as:

» The Creator, the One through whom the Father made all things.
» The very Son of God who revealed the Father.
» The Head of the church and Dispenser of the Holy Spirit.
» The Savior who was crucified and resurrected after three days according to the Scriptures.
» The Conqueror of Satan and the soon-coming King of kings.
» The High Priest of the rank of Melchizedek, who sits at our Father’s right hand to make intercession for us.
» The Firstborn, our Elder Brother, the Captain of our personal salvation, who loves us with an intensity we cannot fathom even in our deepest, most profound moments.

In short, Jesus Christ is everything we are not yet are striving to become! He is the Standard, the Example, to whose stature we are conforming ourselves. Therefore, we cannot ever allow what He was and what He accomplished, what He now is and what He will accomplish, to stray very far from our minds.

Though people could look at Jesus with their eyes and hear Him speak with their ears, they could not understand who He was or grasp the implications of His message to them personally. But a miracle has happened to us. God has opened our minds and revealed the truth to us.

Thus, Jesus says in Matthew 13 that His parables—in reality, most of the Bible’s teachings—are not just general illustrations of moral and spiritual truths, but powerful, life-changing messages! Grasping their fuller and deeper meanings depends on our active recognition and application of Jesus as Savior, King, and High Priest in our lives. He reminds us of this in John 15:5, “Without Me you can do nothing.”

Preparing for Passover

Every holy day requires some preparation, but a day that is not even a holy day—Passover—demands the most significant personal preparations. Passover itself is preparatory. It prepares us spiritually to participate in the rest of God’s plan as outlined by the holy days.

The apostle Paul gives these instructions regarding Passover:

And when He had given thanks, He broke [bread] and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (I Corinthians 11:24-29)

The “cup” symbolizes the blood Jesus spilled in sacrificing His life. God is saying that through the blood of Christ, He is “sealing” His agreement of salvation with us. Though He had already promised it, Christ’s blood certifies His agreement to justify us in preparation for salvation (Romans 5:9-10).

Such a monumental sacrifice must be fittingly remembered! If Passover becomes a mere ritual or pious habit, it loses its significance because Christ is not really being remembered with understanding and appreciation. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes the brethren as rushing through the service, their minds so focused on their own bellies that they were treating each other with selfish disregard. Passover’s purpose is not just to remember certain historical events, but to grasp the point of Christ’s death. If we fail to comprehend its meaning, we are much more likely to treat His death unworthily.

Though we will not deal with them here, Paul covers three major subjects in I Corinthians 11 and the chapters surrounding it: 1) our relationship with God, 2) our relationship with other members of the church, and 3) spiritual liberty. Their common factor—the unique means by which all three are made possible—is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Taking Passover Worthily

Understanding Christ’s sacrifice properly determines the quality of our observance of the Passover. To prevent taking it in a careless and unappreciative manner, Paul charges us to examine ourselves, discerning the Lord’s body (I Corinthians 11:28-29). Examine means “to test, prove or scrutinize to determine whether a thing is genuine.” Discern means “to separate, discriminate, to make a distinction for the purpose of giving preference.”

An example will help to illustrate what this should accomplish. I have twice had the opportunity to observe a day’s play of The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia. After a short time, I became aware that the spectators there were different from fans at other professional sporting events. Besides enjoying the professional golf, I began watching and listening to the spectators just as closely and found them to be the most appreciative spectators I had ever seen. I soon discovered why. They had, for the most part, personally attempted to make the same shots that the professionals seemed to do so effortlessly. And most of them had failed! This realization drove the spectators to appreciate deeply the professional golfers’ skills.

Our pre-Passover preparations should involve this principle. A major factor that enables us to take Passover in a “worthy” manner is seriously reviewing our spiritual and moral failures in contrast to the perfect glory of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This Man lived 33½ years without committing even one sin!

To avoid taking Passover unworthily, we should not take it without seriously considering its meaning. If we fail to do this, instead of honoring Christ’s sacrifice, we share in the guilt of those who crucified Him. However, awareness of sin should not keep us from taking Passover. It should drive us to it, for our grateful participation in eating and drinking the symbols enables our sins to be paid.

Despite our self-examination, the focus at Passover is not on ourselves but on the payment for our sins, the means by which we are forgiven. It is a time to concentrate on the most elementary precepts of our salvation, especially on the part Jesus Christ plays in it. Only by a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of any discipline, and energetically and skillfully using them, will we produce success in an endeavor. In this way of life, if we do not understand and use the fundamentals, we will not overcome sin.

Self-Examination

We understand that we are to examine ourselves in the weeks preceding Passover and Unleavened Bread. Sometimes, however, we miss the purpose of the examination. Consider these two scriptures in relation to self-examination:

» Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. (II Corinthians 13:5)

» For we dare not to class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (II Corinthians 10:12)

If we are not careful in this, we can easily fall into two snares, both of which center on the self.

The most obvious one, expressed in II Corinthians 10:12, is that we will judge ourselves in light of other people. This fatal trap deceitfully provides us with self-justification for the way we are. The result is that we will not change or grow because we will be judging according to our own standards—and why change perfection? Self-examination by our own code produces self-righteousness.

The other dangerous snare occurs when our self-examination is so rigorous that we become very depressed and feel salvation is impossible. This is just as utterly self-indulgent as the other! This “woe is me” approach is a not-too-subtle blast against God’s judgment and grace for calling us and making things so difficult for us.

Anyone who compares himself to others is not exhibiting faith in God. He is telling God that His Son’s life means little to him. Likewise, anyone who feels so morose with guilt that he threatens not to take the Passover is not exhibiting faith in God. He is telling God that He is unable to forgive that much.

At Passover, our focus should be on the payment for sin through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God in His grace is willing to forgive our transgressions on the basis of Christ’s death. During Unleavened Bread, the focus shifts to overcoming sin and coming out of this world through God’s power, which is also part of His grace. At Passover, it is the grace of God to justify us through Christ’s blood. At Unleavened Bread, it is the grace of God to sanctify us as we move toward His Kingdom and glorification.

The Value of Christ’s Blood

I Peter 1:18-21 adds more information as to why we should value the sacrifice of Christ.

. . . knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Jesus lay dead and buried three days and three nights. His resurrection is the foundation of our faith, and His glorification is God’s pledge to us that there is hope for our future. I Peter 1:20 emphasizes that “He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world” to be that sacrifice. That is not merely foresight, that is planning! God’s plan included redemption from the very beginning.

Verse 19 stresses the value of His sacrifice by using the word “precious,” translated as “honor” three times in chapters 2 and 3. The Greek word means “to place a value upon,” and this is exactly what we are to do in preparation for Passover. We are to assess the value of His sacrifice to us personally. What would we be willing to pay for His sacrifice?

On the ring finger of my right hand, I wear a gold ring with a small diamond in it. Its material value to a disinterested party would be minimal. But it has great value to me! My dad wore it all of his adult life, and when he died, I inherited it. It would please me very much to hand it back to him at the second resurrection. This ring, then, has value to me far out of proportion to its market value. Those who know Jesus Christ well place a similar, immeasurably higher value on His sacrifice than do others who are acquainted with Him only casually or intellectually.

Verse 18 emphasizes “knowing.” The Christian lives his life knowing the redemption Christ accomplished. The price of our redemption is the value we place on the Life given for our forgiveness. Our former lives were “aimless” because of the value we placed on possessions and our own satisfaction. Now our lives have direction because we count Christ’s sacrifice as priceless!

Perhaps Hebrews 10:26-29 can help us realize the awesome value God places on His Son’s sacrifice and provoke us to value it more highly.

For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

This is what the unpardonable sin ultimately accomplishes. Through willfully practicing sin, the sinner rejects the very basis of his covenant with God, the blood of Jesus Christ. If one deeply appreciates and values His sacrifice, he will not willfully practice the very actions that made that sacrifice necessary. God forgives with the understanding that the one forgiven has turned from sin and will continue to overcome it.

When God designed this creation, He considered His purpose along with our free-moral agency. He concluded that He had to devise a payment for sin so profound in its implications that the heirs of salvation, out of overwhelming gratitude, would drive themselves from sin. Such a price of redemption could not be the death of any common person or animal, for these have neither the worth nor the ability to pay for all sin. Only the sacrifice of the sinless God-Man, Jesus Christ, could meet these qualifications.

What we see in Hebrews 10:26-29 is the end of a person who, by the very conduct of his life, reveals his pitiful assessment of that sacrifice. The author makes a three-fold indictment against this person. First, he repudiates the oath taken at baptism. Second, he contemptuously rejects Christ. Third, he commits an insulting outrage against the merciful judgment of God.

The Lamb of God

Remember, the focus at Passover is on the Lamb, not our sins. Certainly, we should be aware of our sins to provide the contrast to the sinless, spotless, and unblemished Lamb, but we ought not wallow in them. On the contrary, we should rather glory in the unique One who makes our deliverance possible.

Under the Old Covenant Passover, the lamb was separated from the flock on the tenth day of Nisan, giving each family four days to observe it more closely. Perhaps, at its birth or purchase, only the father of the family saw and examined it. But from the time of separation until the lamb was slaughtered, the family came to know it more intimately.

Perhaps this sacrifice will have more impact on us if we realize that for many Israelite families, the lamb may have been the family pet. Most Israelites were not ranchers with large flocks, but farmers with very few animals for meat. In such a situation, their animals became much like members of the family.

How often have you killed an animal you love? Even if you have had to do so, you probably avoided putting a knife to its throat! God devised an object lesson in Passover to illustrate its price as forcefully as only the death of an innocent can.

Sacrifice—THE Holy Act

Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). He is everything to us. Words inadequately describe how much we need Him. He is our Savior, Lord, Intercessor, Brother, Teacher, Example, Strength, and King. Passover forces us to focus on our weakness and Christ’s strength, our need and His abundance, our sinfulness and His perfection, our sentence of death and His offer of life.

The Bible sees sacrifice as the holy act. It is the very essence of love. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16)—in sacrifice!

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said, “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—in the volume of the book it is written of Me—to do Your will, O God.'” Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:5-10)

Here, Jesus is recognizing His body as a gift given so that the Father’s will may be done. Animal sacrifices could not accomplish God’s will, but the sacrifice of the sinless God-Man, Jesus of Nazareth, could. It has the power to cleanse from sin so that a New Covenant, a whole new religious order, may be established based on a personal relationship—unparalleled in its intimacy—with our Creator.

A major weakness of animal sacrifices is their failure to produce a desire in the offerer to obey God. No animal life is equal in value to a human life. Though we may grieve at the loss of a pet, an animal’s sacrificial death cannot have a real impact because it will not motivate us to do anything. But when a human dies for us, we feel it! We feel we owe something in return; indebtedness arises from our gratitude for what the sacrifice accomplished.

In our case,the most valuable Life ever lived was given. Gratitude, worship, and obedience are the only appropriate responses to such a sacrificial gift as the body of Jesus Christ. There is no other acceptable sacrifice for sin that will allow us to continue living.

The theme of Passover is the awesome cost of salvation, which is manifested in the sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His was not a mechanical sinlessness, but He was sinless, innocent, even while encumbered with the frailties of human nature just as we are. His was sinlessness with sympathy, empathy, compassion, kindness, and concern for the helpless slaves of sin. Understanding this, we should feel revulsion that our sins caused such an injustice as His death to occur. At the same time, we should also express appreciation, indebtedness, and thanksgiving by departing from sin.

The works of the LORD are great, studied by all who take pleasure in them. His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever. . . . He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever; holy and awesome is His name. (Psalm 111:2-3, 9)

His name is Savior, Redeemer, and Lamb of God.

Human sacrifice? Just one, with the approval of the Father and the selfless participation of a unique God-Man, Jesus Christ, was enough for all time.

https://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/library/article/id/483/christ-our-passover.htm

The Door to Heaven is Narrow (Luke 13:22-30)

Pastor Joe Quatrone, Jr. Book of Luke

This is a message that will tell you how you can go to heaven when you die.

There are two doors after death: destruction or delight, and we choose which door we will pass through while we are alive; either the narrow door to heaven or the wide door to hell. Many of you are already believers and know you are going to heaven, so you may wonder why I’m speaking on this topic. The Bible makes it clear that many people think they are going to heaven, but they are mistaken. So it’s good to occasionally clear our minds of all of our preconceived notions and consider how a person can go to heaven. Heaven can only be entered through a narrow door. Have you found heaven’s narrow door? Let’s read about it in Luke 13:22-30.

Then Jesus went through the towns and villages, teaching as He made His way to Jerusalem. Someone asked Him, “Lord are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But He will answer, “I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Then you will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will reply, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!” There will be weeping there, and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God, but you yourselves thrown out. People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the Kingdom of God. Indeed, there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last.”

If we want to enter heaven, there are four important truths we need to understand:

1. There is Only One Door to Heaven and it is Narrow

These words of Jesus are not politically correct in our age of religious pluralism. If Jesus came to America preaching this message today, He would be labeled a radical and would probably be arrested. In fact, that’s exactly why the Jews arrested Him and executed Him 2,000 years ago.

To say there is only one way to heaven is an unpopular stance today. Most people think there are many ways to get to heaven. They think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are “sincere.” Well, those Palestinian suicide bombers are sincere in their beliefs, and they are wrong. You can be sincere – and be sincerely wrong.

A man told me he thought getting to heaven was like flying in an airplane. I could fly American Airlines, he could fly Delta, and somebody else could fly Northwest airlines, but we’d all get to the same destination. “Doesn’t that sound logical?” he asked.

I told him it sounded logical, but when you get on an airliner, you could never be 100% certain it would arrive at the intended destination; it could be diverted by weather, hijacked, have mechanical problems, or even crash. I told him I am booked to fly on Jesus Airlines and it’s the only one in the universe with a 100% on time arrival record! For Jesus (or any of us) to insist there is just one way to heaven seems too narrow-minded in this age of enlightenment. But look at His words again in verse 24: “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.” Jesus didn’t speak of different doors or different airliners. He didn’t say “enter through one of the narrow doors.” He spoke of the narrow door.

Other Scriptures confirm there is only one way to heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Now, let me misquote this verse the way most folks believe. They think Jesus said, “I am one of the ways, part of the truth, and one kind of life. No one comes to the Father unless they are religious, good, kind, and sincere in whatever it is they believe.” But Jesus didn’t say He was one of the ways or even the best way; He said He is the only way.

For five decades, Billy Graham had been filling stadiums around the world preaching Jesus is the only way to heaven. He always had a banner with John 14:6 placed in a prominent place. Many people thought his position was too narrow-minded. Several years ago, after he conducted a crusade in Australia, a woman wrote a letter of complaint to the newspaper. Her words are typical of many who do not appreciate our insistence that Jesus is the only way to heaven. She wrote, “After hearing Billy Graham on the air and viewing him on television, I am heartily sick of the type of religion that insists my soul (and everyone else’s) needs saving–whatever that means. I have never felt that I was lost. Nor do I feel that I wallow in the mire of sin, although his preaching insists I do. Give me practical religion that teaches gentleness and kindness and acknowledges no barriers of color or creed, that remembers the aged and teaches children about goodness and not about sin. If, in order to save my soul, I must accept such a philosophy as I have recently heard preached, I prefer to remain forever damned.”

Sadly, Jesus confirmed that millions of people share her attitude. He pointed out that only a small percentage of the entire population are going to be saved and He was dogmatic about it!

What’s wrong with being dogmatic about some things? If you go in for surgery, you wouldn’t want your surgeon to say to you the night before the surgery, “I don’t want to be dogmatic about the way to do this surgery. I think I’ll try a different approach this time. I may try going in from the other side for a change. After all, there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” You’d say, “But I’m not a cat and I don’t want to be skinned! Do the surgery the way you were taught to do it!” How far do you think the surgeon would get if he did it the wrong way?

We can’t bend God’s rules either. The people in this passage were at the door; they were even knocking on the door. But almost getting into the door won’t get us into heaven. When it comes to our eternal salvation there is only one door. What is it?

2. Heaven’s Door is Knowing God by Knowing Jesus

A few years ago, I conducted a survey. One of the questions on the survey was: “In your personal opinion, what do you understand it takes for a person to go to heaven?” As you can imagine, I got a variety of interesting answers. Everybody has an opinion. The most common incorrect answer to the question of how to get into heaven was: “Do good or be good.” Wrong. Access to eternal life in heaven can only be gained when we have a personal relationship with God.

In verse 25, Jesus describes people who will be pounding on heaven’s door after it is shut. They will be hollering, “Let me in! Open the door! I went to church; I even went to Sunday School! I gave my money to the church. I even worked for You! Hey, let me in!” Notice the reply of the Master of the house. He says, “I don’t know you.” It’s all about knowing God. Do you know Jesus Christ? Does He know you? He said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice; I know them and they follow Me.” Do you recognize God’s voice when you hear it? Do you know Jesus and does He know you?

All of us in this room know about President Obama. Maybe you’ve met him or shaken his hand, but do you really know him? Have you visited with him enough that you are known by him? The same can be said about Jesus. Everyone here knows about Jesus, but some of you might have had casual contact with Him. Others of us have met Him and we know Him intimately because we talk with Him regularly (by the way, it’s easier to gain access to Jesus than it is to President Obama, so feel free to get to know Him).

Eternal life is knowing Jesus. Let me call your attention to the verse that best defines what eternal life is: “Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent” (John 17:3). Eternal life is knowing God. That’s the door to heaven and it is the only way to get into heaven.

I love to read fables because they are like the parables of Jesus. Many of them teach practical lessons that can be applied to spiritual truth. There’s an old Russian fable about a cat and a fox. The fox bragged to the cat about how clever he was. He claimed he had hundreds of ways of escaping from the hunters who chased him. He could hide in a hole, or backtrack in a creek, or lie flat in tall grass. He was proud of his big bag of tricks. The cat replied she only had one way of escape, but that seemed to work.

At that moment, they heard the sounds of the hounds coming toward them. The cat scampered up the tree and hid herself among the leaves. She said to the fox, “This is my plan. What are you going to do?” The fox first thought of one plan, then of another. While he was debating the best plan the hounds came closer. At last, in his confusion, the fox was caught by the hounds and soon killed by the hunters. The cat witnessed the whole scene and provides the moral of the story: “Better to have one safe way than a hundred by which you cannot be sure.”

God is Spirit and no man can see Him without dying. That’s why Jesus came to this planet. God took on human flesh and became one of us, so we can relate to Him. Jesus said, “I am the door; whoever enters through Me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture” (John 10:9). The narrow door into heaven is Jesus Himself. There is no other way to get to heaven than by trusting in Jesus as your Savior and Lord.

Maybe you have heard of the name, “Ivan the Terrible.” He was crowned the first Czar or Caesar of Russia in 1547. He was cruel and ruthless. He gouged out the eyes of the architects who built the beautiful St. Basil’s Cathedral, so they would never be able to build anything more beautiful. He had seven wives and abused them all. He even killed his own son in a fit of anger. There were many reasons why people called him “terrible.”

When he died in 1584 the leaders of the church followed his strange instructions. They shaved his head and dressed him in a Monk’s robe. Ivan the Terrible knew he was such a wicked man that he was hoping God would mistake him for a monk and let him into heaven. But you can’t get into heaven by disguising yourself as someone and hoping God will mistake you for him or her. There is only one door and that door is Jesus.

3. There are Only Two Doors Leading to Eternity – Choose Your Door

Each of us faces these doors. Behind one is eternal life and delight. Behind the other is death and destruction. There is no mystery involved in these doors. The doors are clearly marked and Jesus tells us what is behind each door. Beginning in verse 28, Jesus describes the fate of those who don’t enter through the narrow door. He says there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” That means there will be hopeless sorrow and unending pain. It makes me shiver in revulsion just thinking about it. Jesus said these people will “see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the prophets.” One of the worst parts of hell is the ability to realize others are in heaven and you aren’t. What a terrible place hell will be. In his epic, Inferno, Dante described hell as having different levels and circles of torment. He created minute details you never find in Scripture, but he got it right in one respect. He inscribed over the gate to hell these words: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”

Then Jesus contrasts that awful scene with the delightful glories of heaven. People from all four points of the compass, from all over the planet will gather for a feast! The Kingdom of God is like a feast, not a funeral. So, how do you get to enjoy the party and miss the pain? Choose the right door. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lets us know there are actually two doors that lead to two totally different destinies. He said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Consider the two doors. The one leading to destruction and hell is wide, and easy to find. Jesus said most of the world is on the pathway that leads to that door. But the door that leads to the delight of eternal life is narrow and only a few find it. God loves us so much He has made a way for us to know Him and to spend eternity with Him. But He also loves us so much that He has honored us by giving us the capacity to choose.

4. Heaven’s Door is Open Now, But Someday it Will be Shut

I can tell you on this very day, God’s door of grace is still wide open. But in verse 25, Jesus says one day the Master of the house will get up and close the door: “Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.” The door could close for you today. You could die today and that would close the door. Or, Jesus could return today and that would close the door of grace as well. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know things are heating up to a new level in Israel. All of that is a clear indication we are in the season of the return of Christ. So, if you haven’t trusted Jesus yet, do it today. Christian, if there is someone you know and love who hasn’t walked through God’s narrow door yet, don’t let another day pass by without lovingly urging them to trust Jesus alone for their salvation.

You can choose to enter heaven’s door today. Jesus said it’s a narrow door. Think about that for a minute. It’s so narrow only one person can walk through it at one time. In other words, you can’t walk through heaven’s door holding someone else’s hand. I thank God my parents raised me in church and sent me to Christian school, but when it came time for me to give my life to Jesus, I walked through that door all by myself. Some of you think because your grandfather was a preacher or your mother was a godly saint that you can walk through the door with them, but you can’t. The narrow door to heaven says, “One person at a time.”

Do you know what else it means because it’s a narrow door? It’s so narrow you can’t bring a bunch of excess baggage with you. In fact, you’ve got to unload all your “stuff” before you walk through it. I read once about a hiker who got trapped in a cave. He found a small opening to escape, but he couldn’t squeeze through with his backpack. So, he removed his backpack, and then his canteen, and then his jacket before he could slip through the opening. When you walk through the narrow door of heaven, you’ve got to leave your backpack of sinful habits and sinful attitudes behind. As the old song says, “Nothing in my hand I bring, Only to your cross I cling.”

Have you discovered heaven’s narrow door? Jesus is inviting you to come to Him today. Is there a need in your life? Does there seem to be an unquenchable thirst in your soul you haven’t been able to satisfy by anything this world offers? On the last page of the Bible, God extends an invitation to all of us. He says, “Is anyone thirsty? Come! All who will, come and drink. Drink freely of the Water of Life!” (Revelation 22:17).

The Bible speaks about another kind of door: it’s the door to your heart. And the way you walk through heaven’s door is by asking Jesus to come into the door of your heart. The most famous painting of the 19th century is by English artist Holman Hunt and is called “The Light of the World.” It’s a dark picture because it is night, symbolizing that the night has come and the day of salvation is almost over. Jesus is wearing a crown of thorns and standing at a door with a lantern in His hand. He is knocking on the door and His message is hard to miss. Jesus says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with Me” (Revelation 3:20). Art critics looked at the painting and pointed out that Holman Hunt made a mistake–there was no latch on the door. His reply silenced the critics. He said the door of our heart only has a doorknob on the inside. We are the only ones who can open our hearts to Jesus.

Right now, Jesus is standing at the door of your heart. He’s knocking. Do you hear His voice? Will you open your heart to Him? When you do that, you will have found Heaven’s narrow door.

https://joequatronejr.wordpress.com/2015/04/30/the-door-to-heaven-is-narrow-luke-1322-30/

Unto You Is Born This Day a Savior

By David Jeremiah

For some reason, lots of people want to strip Christmas of its historic and spiritual heritage. But I just want to remind you today that it’s a little hard to get Christmas out of Christmas. Recently, I read this.

If they want to call it Christmas, great, let’s point out that the first six letters of that word spell our Savior’s name, Christ. If they want to call it a holiday, that’s their right. We’ll simply remind them that the word ‘holiday’ is derived from the words ‘holy day,’ and it refers to the holiness of the birth of Christ. If they want to call it Yuletide, that’s fine. That’s the old phrase for the 12 days of Christmas, which people in olden times called the feast of the Nativity. If they want to talk about the seasonal holiday, we’ll tell them how Jesus came in due season and in the fullness of time. If they want to talk about Santa Claus, we’re happy to explain that there really was a Christian leader named Saint Nicholas, who lived in the city of Myra, Turkey in the fourth century, and was famous for his generous gifts to the poor. If they want to talk about gift giving, I’ll tell them about the Magi, who brought the first Christmas gifts to Christ. If they want to talk about the songs and sounds of the season, I’ll tell them about the first choirs that filled the Bethlehem skies on the night that Christ was born. If they want to talk about Hanukkah, we’ll talk about the Christ who is the light of the world, the personification and fulfillment of the Jewish menorah that stood in the ancient temple. And if, perhaps, they want to use the phrase ‘X-mas,’ we will just point out that the X in the Greek letter is the word ‘chi,’ C-H-I, which is the first letter and the symbol of Jesus Christ.

So I’m just saying that it’s a little hard to get Christ out of Christmas. Christmas has always been about Christ, it always will be. The Bible uses more than 300 different names and titles to describe him. But Jesus can no more be contained in the number of his names than the ocean can be bottled up in a collection of beautiful containers. The names of Jesus, if we could understand them all, still fall short of declaring his glory. We love the name Jesus, it’s the name of our Lord’s personality. We love the name Emmanuel, it reminds us that he is God with us. But the name we should be most in love with, if we stop and think about it, is the name Savior. It’s the name of our Lord’s purpose, and his mission on this earth. Jesus and Emmanuel were names given to the parents of our Lord by the angel, but the name Savior was announced first to a group of shepherds on a hillside.

The record of it is in the famous Christmas chapter, Luke 2, and this is what it says. “Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.'” Israel in her history had had many so-called saviors. Nehemiah refers to that in his Old Testament book. He says, “Therefore you delivered them into the hand of their enemies, who oppressed them; and in the time of trouble, they cried out to you. You heard from heaven, and according to your abundant mercies you gave them deliverers who saved them from the hand of their enemies”. They had many physical saviors. But Israel had never had a Savior like the one who was about to be born. Jesus took the title of Savior and gave it new and eternal meaning.

In the New Testament, the title Savior is found five times in the writings of Peter. I smile when I read that. If ever there was a man who needed a Savior, it was Peter. Even after he got saved, he needed a Savior to save him from himself most of the time. When he tried to walk on the water and he lost his faith, Peter cried out, “Lord, save me”! And Peter’s whole life, like most of ours, was one long cry for a Savior. When the angels gave Jesus that name, they defined his life and his death. First of all, in Luke 2:11, we have this wonderful promise of the Savior. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”.

This is the fulfillment of a promise made through Isaiah the prophet over 700 years before the record of Luke chapter 2. Here is Isaiah, speaking into the future these words about a coming redeemer. “For unto us a child is born, and unto us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, prince of peace”. This is the promise the angel had made to Joseph just a few months earlier. Here is Matthew 1:21, “And she will bring forth a Son, and you will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins”. Just when the people needed hope, God sent spokesmen to offer a foretaste of a better future. Throughout the words and the works of the prophets, there were glimmers of a Savior, a king, someone who would come and rescue and restore the people of God.

In fact, there were more than 300 specific prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures about the promised Messiah, as they called him. No, in Luke chapter 2, verse 11, where we are introduced to the title of Jesus as our Savior, it is all the pinnacle of the long-spoken words of the prophets of old that one day, God would send someone to redeem his lost people. The promise of the Savior. And then verse 11 tells us about the purpose of this Savior. “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”. There never was a time in Jesus’ life on this earth when he was unaware of his purpose. In fact, I doubt if ever a man walked on this earth who knew more of his mission from the beginning to the end than did Jesus. One of the reasons we know this is because the Lord Jesus described why he had come. His words are definitive. His words are clear. And all of them point to the one particular reason why he was born.

In Matthew 9, we read, “I have come to call sinners”. In John 5, we read, “I have come in my Father’s name”. In John 6, we read, “I have come to do the will of him who sent me”. In John 7, “I have come from him, and he sent me”. In John 12, “I have come as a light unto the world, that whoever believes in me should not abide in darkness”. If the written record is any clue, there is no sense of mission that has ever burned brighter than that which burned in the heart of the Lord Jesus. But perhaps his most moving statement came on the day when he encountered a strange little man named Zacchaeus. When I was growing up, we used to sing a chorus, and it had in the lyric these words, “Zacchaeus was a wee little man,” and he was.

Yet, when Jesus passed through the town where Zacchaeus was, this wee little man ran ahead of the crowd and climbed into the branches of a tree. And Jesus called him by name, and invited him to lunch. And when the townspeople reacted to Jesus inviting Zacchaeus, a hated tax collector, to lunch, Jesus responded with this word, “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost”. When we celebrate Christmas, we’re celebrating the fact that the God of heaven has sent a Savior to this world, not just a little baby for us to fawn over, not just a pageant for us to celebrate, not just a long-held time of buying and giving and receiving, but of acknowledging the fact that Almighty God cared enough for us that he would save us from our sin.

It is here that the ancient Jews and the modern religious people have misunderstood the purpose of his coming. In the days of our Lord’s birth, the people of Israel were looking for a savior, but not like the Savior who was sent. Oh, they wanted to be saved, all right, from the Romans primarily. They wanted to get out from under the bondage of Roman dominion. They wanted their savior to set them free physically. And Jesus came to set them free spiritually, far more important, but they didn’t know it then, and it’s so sad that many times they do not know it now. We’re not far behind them in many respects. We want a savior too, don’t we? We want someone to save us from our bad marriages. We want someone to save us from our indebtedness. We want someone to save us from our boring jobs and our meaningless lives. And he came to save us from our sins.

We want him to save us from the sins of others. We’d like very much for him to forgive the sins of our spouses, for instance. “Lord, please come and save me from the sin of my husband, or the sin of my wife, or the sin of my boss”. But in spite of the fact that many modern messages pander to that kind of gospel, that is not the gospel at all. Jesus came into the world to save us from our own sins. And you see, we needed a Savior. A Savior is needed to seek the lost because the lost will not seek the Savior. “The Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost”. Why do we not seek for a Savior? Because we believe we ourselves are the savior.

I remember some years ago, actually back in the late 90s, the media mogul Ted Turner, founder of CNN, established the United Nations Foundation with a pledge of $1 billion. And a CNN reporter asked him what prompted him to make such a donation. Was he hoping for some reward from God? “I’m not looking for any big rewards,” he said, “I’m not a religious person. I believe this life is all we have. I’m not doing what I’m doing to be rewarded in heaven or punished in hell. I am doing it because I feel it’s the right thing to do. Almost every religion talks about a savior coming. When you look in the mirror in the morning, when you’re putting on your lipstick or shaving, you’re looking at the savior. Nobody else is going to save you but yourself”.

How glad I am that that is not true. We do need a Savior, all of us, every one of us. We understand that. We’ve all tried to save ourselves, and we are pitiful at it. Oh, we can make things a little better here and there, but when it comes to the deep, dark issues of our soul, we have no power to make it any different than it is. Because, you see, we were all born with the same disease. We inherited the old nature from Adam and Eve. And in our sin, we are incapable of saving ourselves. We will not come to God unaided. In Luke 15, there are three stories that are put together about something that was lost: a lost coin, a lost sheep, and a lost son. It’s interesting that in that story, the lost sheep didn’t come and find the shepherd, the lost coin didn’t come and find the owner, and the lost son didn’t come and find the father.

They were all pursued and had to be sought. The Lord God sent Jesus Christ into this world to seek after us. And this Savior, who was born in Bethlehem, is particularly and wonderfully suited for your salvation. He’s come to seek and to save you because you were lost. Oh, not lost in the sense of that you don’t know your way, but when we think of being saved, we usually think of pictures of sailors clinging to the wreckage of a ship, or helicopters hovering in the night sky, shining their beacons on the sea, and looking for the living who must be saved. We think of a collapsed mine, where workers are trapped beneath the earth. We think of a little girl at the bottom of a well, or even the favorite word picture of a single stray sheep trapped on a perilous slope. The Coast Guard will find those lost sailors, no taxpayer will complain about the expense. The miners will not be abandoned, the little girl must see the sunshine once more, and that one sheep must be rescued from danger.

These situations are urgent. And when we see them on television, we stop, and we pray, and we wait. But these temporal situations are transcended by the true tragedy of men and women who are lost in their own rubble of sin and darkness and pain, often without even knowing what they are longing for. Our world’s inhabitants cry out for a Savior. We don’t need to be saved from the sins of others. We need salvation from our own sin. And until we are willing to acknowledge that, the Savior cannot help us. When we open our hearts and receive his offer to save us, he never, ever turns anyone away. There is no one, no matter who they are or what they have done, who is ever rejected by the God of heaven. In his Word, he says that he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The Savior’s coming, you see, is a fact of history. He did come on a special day, at a special time. It is not only a fact of history, it’s a fulfillment of prophecy. He came to a special place. You say, why in this little verse does it say that he came to Bethlehem? So that you and I would know it was an historic event. Bethlehem was unknown when the prophecies concerning it were made. But in that little city, in the city of Bethlehem, Jesus Christ was born. On a certain day, in a certain place, a Savior came to this earth. He’s the Savior for the whole world. He’s my Savior. And he wants to be your Savior if you will just allow him to do so.

Sometimes, people say, “Oh, I believe that Jesus is the Savior of the world,” but that’s not enough. You must believe that he is your Savior. You must believe that Jesus has come to save you, and then you must ask him to be your Savior. You must open your heart. He doesn’t force his way in to anyone’s life. But I promise you today what he did when he died on the cross was sufficient payment for anything you have ever done, or will ever do. And he wants you to be forgiven. He wants to save you.

I remember, one day, seeing how people mocked the term “being saved”. I notice in our evangelical language, we don’t use that word very much anymore. We talk about coming to Jesus, or being converted, or giving our lives to Christ. But when you need a Savior, you need to be saved. When you need a Savior, you need someone to rescue you, to get you out of the situation you’re in. And that’s what Jesus came to do. And the Bible says that if you have the Savior, you have life everlasting. The only way you can get from here on this earth to heaven where the Lord is is to be saved. You must repent of your sin, you must ask God to forgive you, and you must acknowledge that Jesus Christ was born to be your Savior. He was the Son of God, perfect in every way, the son of man, human in every way, God the Son, and the son of man, the only one who could ever do what needed to be done, for he’s the only one who ever was God and man.

And in his deity and in his humanity, he brought together a holy God and a sinful man, and on the cross outside of Jerusalem, when he hung there dying, he paid the supreme penalty for all the sin we would ever commit. And he says, “If you will believe that I am the Son of God and that I am your Savior, I will forgive you, and I will give you the gift of eternal life”. In this day in which there is so much being promoted about how we can pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, how if we just dig our feet in a little deeper in the trenches, we can make it different, there needs to be a re-emphasis in our churches about the importance of being saved. I hope, as you hear that, it brings confidence and affirmation to your heart. But if it doesn’t, let me tell you it’s never too late to be saved. Wherever you are, how many years you’ve spent on this earth, if you have never trusted Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sin, the Savior of Bethlehem is waiting for you just to say yes.

There are so many stories. And as you know, during the seasons of Christmas and Easter, I love the stories that illustrate the truths. Dr. R.G. Lee was one time the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, one of the great preachers of the generation before mine, many years the pastor of a wonderful church in Memphis, Tennessee. Just about every year at Christmas, he would tell some version of the following story. The story takes place in the mountains of Virginia, in a one-room school that was so tough, no teacher ever lasted more than a few weeks. It was a school populated with mean-spirited mountain boys, who thought their main objective in life was to run off every new teacher who dared to enter their classroom.

One day, a very young teacher applied for the job. The director of the school actually tried to talk him out of it. He said, “Young man, you are not ready for this. You are going to take an awful beating because you’re so young. Even the most experienced teachers never last more than 2 months”. “Well,” said the young teacher, “I’m going to give it a risk,” and he took the job. On the first day, as he walked into the classroom, he noticed that the kids were gathered in the back of the room, and there was one big old fella in the class whose name was Tom. Big Ol’ Tom they called him. That’s what they called him because he was the bully of the class.

Loud enough so that the new teacher could hear him, Big Ol’ Tom said, “I’ll take care of this one by myself. I won’t need anybody’s help, he’ll be gone by the end of the day”. When the young teacher got to the front of the class, he said, “I have come to conduct school, but I confess I can’t do it without your help. I think we need a few rules, and I’m going to let you make the rules. What rules do you think we should have in the operation of this classroom”? Well, that was a new one for this class. Nobody ever asked them to make the rules before, all they did was break them. As the teacher went to the blackboard, one kid hollered out, “No stealing”. And the teacher wrote it on the board.

And by the time he finished, the teacher had ten rules, including don’t be late. And everybody agreed on these ten rules, and everybody agreed, and they were all laughing out loud as they agreed. “Now,” the teacher said, “there’s no such thing as a good rule without a penalty if the rule is broken. What should be the penalty if the rule is broken”? And Big Ol’ Tom stood up and said, “Whoever breaks one of the rules gets ten licks across his bare back”. This is obviously a story from a different time. The teacher thought the rule was a bit severe, and obviously the story is dated, but he reluctantly agreed.

So they went to school the next day. And as you can well imagine, the morning had not ended before a rule was broken. Big Tom showed up at the teacher’s desk and said, “Somebody stole my lunch”. So the teacher held court and said, “Class, one of the rules is no stealing. Somebody stole Big Tom’s lunch, and I want to know who it was”. After everyone had been questioned, a little 10-year-old boy stood up and said, “I stole his lunch. I was so hungry, I couldn’t help it, I stole his lunch”. Well, the teacher said, “You know what the rule is. You know that you get ten licks across your back without your coat on”. And the little boy began to beg, “Teacher, please don’t do that. And whatever you do, don’t make me take off my coat”.

Finally, the teacher, knowing he was on trial at this moment, made the young boy unbutton his coat. Underneath, there was no shirt, just the suspenders that were holding up his pants. The teacher was thinking, “How can I whip that child? How can I do that? But if I don’t, I will have forever lost control of this classroom. What will I do”? He said to the boy, “Son, how is it that you don’t have a shirt on”? And the boy answered, “My father died, and my mom’s real, real poor, and I only have one shirt. On the day that she washes my shirt, I wear my brother’s coat so I don’t get cold. I’ll have my shirt tomorrow, but I don’t have it today”.

The teacher got the paddle, and as he was hesitating, trying to get the courage to inflict the punishment, Big Ol’ Tom jumped up and walked over to where the teacher was and said, “If you don’t object, I’ll take Jim’s licking for him”. The teacher made some philosophical statement about there being the right for substitute punishment, and off came Tom’s coat. And after five hard strokes, he paused and realized that everyone in the classroom was crying, especially little Jim. And by the time had come, little Jim ran up to Tom and had him by the neck, hanging on for all he was worth. He was saying, “Tom, I’m awfully sorry I stole your lunch. I was so hungry. I will love you till I die for taking my licking for me”. And it broke the heart of those hard-nosed kids. Tom had become Jim’s savior.

More than any story I’ve ever heard, that tells you what the Bible means when it calls Jesus your Savior. You and I have broken the rules. We deserve to be punished. But one day, the Lord Jesus came into this world of ours, and he took off his coat, and stretched out across a wooden beam and said, “I’m going to take the punishment you deserve”. And he paid the price I deserve in full. He is my Savior. Is he your Savior? Have you ever put your trust in this Savior? Is that not a wonderful truth? “For unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”. As we prepare for the final busy days before Christmas, let us pause as we are able to give thanks to Almighty God, that one day, he took what we deserved so that we could be saved.

https://sermons.love/david-jeremiah/226-david-jeremiah-unto-you-is-born-this-day-a-savior.html

Is It Written?

 

Dear friends,

Today, I want to invite you to do some research in your own bible.

Someone said to me today that they had been a Christian for almost all their life and then they discovered that there is some sort of a higher source, but it is not the GOD of the bible and Christianity doesn’t have the truth. They went on  – and I didn’t interrupt them, which was not because I didn’t want to fight for my beloved SAVIOR or because I denied HIM or anything, it was only because I saw the obsession in their eyes and knew they wouldn’t listen to me, at least not in this moment, so I just let them rant – this is a person I see regularly and I will have an opportunity to speak to them about this again very soon, most likely tomorrow…

In fact, they will most likely (have to) tell me that they were wrong…

Maybe not about GOD, or at least not so quickly – even though I do believe that this is the purpose of them speaking to me, because THE HOLY SPIRIT wants them to return to GOD!!!

Consider that THEY opened this conversation, even the topic, they had no idea they were talking to a Christian, let alone a passionate evangelist 🙂

So I will most certainly keep you posted about the journey back to THE LORD of this person – like I said, I don’t think I will have to say or do much, they came to me to convert themselves back  – if you want to put it like that… they are of the kind which speaks to you without ever letting you say anything, finishing your sentences for you, telling you what you will say next and what your objections are and I have learned to just let them, because there is no point in stopping them – even if they ask you something, you need to wait for a really long time to find out if they are truly asking YOU what they are asking you or if they are just having a conversation with themselves in your presence and will answer the question they asked YOU shortly afterwards themselves… I am sure you have met a person like that…

What I wanted to share with you though, so that we can all consider it, is their claim that there was a verse missing in the bible and that that’s why the bible is wrong and the entire book is a lie.

They said they thought it was Matthew 18:11.

I suppose they instantly regret what they had said when I opened my bag, took out my bible and said: “let’s have a look, shall we?”

You who know me wouldn’t be surprised to learn that I never, ever go anywhere without a bible, now, would you?

But this person had only just met me… so they were not prepared.

So I let them take a look in my bible, and what can I say, lo and behold, Matthew 18:11 was there!

HALLELUJAH!

And what a great and important verse it is!

MATTHEW 18:11
FOR THE SON OF MAN IS COME TO SAVE THAT WHICH IS LOST.

They read their own fate and future out loud – this is one of the moments when I LOVE MY FATHER’s sense of humor soooooo much!

Of course they have no idea yet.

Even if they never speak to me ever again, me, I KNOW that THE HOLY SPIRIT arrested and convicted them today and that it will only be a matter of time until they are a Christian again.

GOD is GOOD!

They don’t know yet and they may never admit it before me, but their life has already been changed for good – trough their own words, because me, I hardly said anything.

What they said when the verse was there in my bible was that they will ask the person about the verse that is missing and tell me next time.

They did give me a little chance to say what I had to say about it.

What I said was that I knew that for instance in the “Jehova’s wittnesses’ bibles”, some verses had been taken out and that I had taken note of them in my phone and that I had told some of them once when they had come to my house – and that they had been baffled…this person though will not give up.

They believe that the bible is a lie.

And this is also “because King James was a person” that’s why they believe the bible is a lie…

When I said that I wouldn’t doubt the entire bible only because there was a verse missing and that I had learned that certain books were kept out of the bible because there had not been as many thousand matching historic reports and proofs for them as for other books, they said “ah, this is what you believe about it”. They said it with a lot of disdain and I found out shortly after that it is their mother who is the “fanatic Christian” in their life… I hear the bells ringing…

At least they asked me if I had been a Christian for a long time and when I said that I had been into many things which are very similar to what they had mentioned BEFORE I had become a Christian, I could see that there was a lot going on in their brain – in fact, they were getting angry. They couldn’t tell me, because I had not said anything to trigger them, but they were angry because they were smart enough to realize that the excuses they had found before, the accusations they had had towards other people weren’t working on me…

For me, it is clear that this person is brainwashed by the enemy.

Well, they will come back and it will be interesting what they will do when all the scriptures they will have on their note will NOT be gone, but will be there in MY bible.

I had done some research on the various versions of the bible a while ago and also on why certain books were not included in the bible or only in the bible of  some other cults… I did it again today and found that it is not only the JWbible which has taken out verses, also the NIV – and I want to invite you to compare for yourself – perhaps you have different versions of the bible at home or you can compare the different versions online.

Me personally, I only read in and rely on the King James Version of the bible, simply because it came out shortly after printing presses had been invented and it seems the oldest version of a translation made available for the masses and also, I prayed about it and this is what I personally heard when asking MY FATHER which version of the bible HE says I should use and rely on.

Everyone must make this decision for themselves.

Me, I sometimes like to look at a verse in a different translation in order to understand it better. But reading and meditating on GOD’s word is happening in King James English for me and also, when I hear the voice of MY FATHER speak, which happens sometimes, it is always King James English HE is speaking…

Perhaps you’ll want to check out the verses in your bible, the ones which are there in the KJV and are not there in the NIV for instance (perhaps also elsewhere, I didn’t check).

  • Matthew 17:21
  • Matthew 18:11
  • Matthew 23:14
  • Mark 7:16
  • Mark 9:44 & 9:46
  • Mark 11:24
  • Mark 15:28
  • Luke 17:36
  • John 5:3–4
  • Acts 8:37
  • Acts 15:34
  • Acts 24:6–8
  • Acts 28:29
  • Romans 16:24
  • 1 John 5:7–8

Me, I wouldn’t want to be without them… would you?

Curious to hear which version of the bible you are using, my friend, and why you prefer this translation and if you checked the above scriptures and found them in there…?

I hope and pray that this would inspire, bless and heal you and that THE LORD will bless you richly in all areas of your life and that HE will keep you and shine HIS face upon you and bring you peace. In JESUS’ name I pray. AMEN.

 

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