Many have been put off Christianity by hypocrisy displayed in the sinful actions (sexual, physical and emotional abuse) of some so called church leaders on vulnerable trusting children. Let me say, this is not peculiar to Christian leaders, but is found in all religions and is a telling example of how deeply rooted sinful selfish desires are in the human heart, regardless of what these people appear to represent. Jesus spoke up against hypocrisy in church leaders in his day, “Alas for you, you hypocritical scribes and Pharisees! You are like white-washed tombs, which look fine on the outside but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all kinds of rottenness. For you appear like good men on the outside—but inside you are a mass of pretence and wickedness” (Matt 23:27) and they crucified him for it. His message was simple but true. You do not find God in temples or so called church buildings, no matter how fancy they look, you find Jesus by seeking him out through personal experience, seeking him out by reading about him and what he says and then responding in prayer (talking to him with an honest trusting penitent heart).
Jesus said “Ask and it will be given to you, Seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened up to you.” – Matthew 7:7
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” – Matthew 5:6
How do I know that the Bible is true and that Jesus Christ of Nazareth actually lived over 2000 years ago?
The amazing thing about the Bible is that it is made up of 66 individual writings (known as books) which include history, law (from which our modern day law is based upon), prophecy, poetry & song, letters to churches and eyewitness accounts. These were written by over 40 authors all from various walks of life including kings, shepherds, musicians, doctors, tax collectors, fisherman, occasional millionaires (by today’s standards, prophets and warriors to name a few, but covering a period of some 4,000 years. The amazing truth about the Bible is its credible authenticity attested to by historians both believers and non believers. The above facts make the chances of collusion and falsification impossible. The historicity and accuracy of translation is supported by many documents and scroll discoveries including the Dead Sea Scrolls and many other historical writings. The great thread that flows through all the books is God’s love for mankind and his plan to restore mankind to relationship to Himself through His Messiah or Christ (anointed one). The history of man is traced from our original ancestor known as Adam to the end of time when God will destroy the earth and gather his people to himself in the new heaven and earth. As this is a brief introduction, further information on any of the aspects mentioned can be found searching the internet.
The Old Testament speaks about the coming Messiah in prophetic terms, the New Testament tells the story of Jesus of Nazareth whom his followers attested to as the Messiah Christ, the Son of God. The historicity and accuracy of the Gospel according to Luke is acclaimed as one of the most historically accurate documents ever. Luke was a medical doctor and wrote in Greek a very technically exact language. Josephus a Jewish historian and non Christian, wrote about Jesus and how he attracted much attention due to his miraculous signs. The most astounding fact that I have found after reading the personal accounts of several ardent atheists, was how they ended their research attempts to discredit the death and resurrection of Jesus, convinced that Jesus did exist and had died and been raised from the dead. A lawyer who set out to deliberately discredit Jesus and his death and resurrection, only to be convinced by his findings of its authenticity due to the compelling evidence, was led to believe and receive Jesus into his own life. You can read Frank Morison’s account in Who Moved the Stone . This book is easily available from Koorong and Amazon. The amazing truth about Jesus is that he actually fulfilled all the prophesies spoken about for his first coming which is an amazing credential for his authenticating Jesus as the Messiah, and mathematically beyond any shadow of doubt to be authentic fulfillment. Our modern day world history (in particular Israel and the surrounding nations) is also spoken of in the many prophecies referring to these last days before Jesus returns in power to finalize life as we know it now and bring in the new age (Read in Revelation 21). It is also interesting that the current history of the world is calculated around the birth of Jesus Christ, BC (before Christ) and AD (after his birth ‘in the year of our Lord’).
Throughout history man has continually ruined the simplicity of the Father Creator God’s message. A message of acceptance, love and compassion to all who come to him. Man has made laws, like the Pharisees of Jesus day, which have perverted and added to what Jesus has made so simple. True hunger for love and relationship leads us to a true encounter with him. However, many have tried to fill this God sized love void in life through countless means, and many forms of addiction resulting in spiritual, physical, moral and emotional poverty. This was my own personal experience, outside of traditional Christianity or church buildings. God put curiosity in my heart and he led me to simply read an easy reading account of his Gospel message in the New Testament. His Holy Spirit started showing me how important Jesus is to living a truly peaceful, joyful and fulfilling life.
This simple presentation is an introduction to Good News about Jesus the Christ, Son of God Almighty, and how coming into relationship with him, positions one’s life for the very best of what life has to offer. Why can I say this? Not just because this has been my own experience, wonderful as it has been, but because it only stands to reason that the Designer and Creator of you and everything else around you, has a much better understanding of how you are to live, than you do yourself. Stay with me while I briefly explain. If you would like to read the message of Jesus for yourself on your computer try www.biblegateway.com and choose an easy reading translation such as the Today’s English Version or New International Version.
“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” – Genesis 1:27
If God is real and has Created me in his own image or likeness, ‘Why don’t I know him?’
The reason we are all born without knowledge of God is that it was meant to be taught to us by our parents, through their loving relationship with God and each other, but over the many thousands of years man has turned away from the righteous loving God their Creator to follow his own selfish sinful way of life, in whatever form that may take. The Christian Bible shows us that man has created his own empty deceptive gods, and in his attempt to replace God in his life, has formed various religions and belief systems. Secular humanism and the so called theory of evolution have become new godless belief systems that are eroding respect, dignity and understanding from our present day society, as neither of these give any hope or contribute any moral good to our lives. They think we have outgrown belief in God, yet they fail to realize that the benefits and freedom of western society came historically essentially from a Christian era.
The so called Great Enlightenment, was but an attempt to explore science and human behaviour by cutting God out of the picture, including all responsibility to him. Sinful behaviour is justified by choosing to believe that us and everything around us was formed without any intelligent design. It takes more faith to actually believe this, than to believe in God, considering their is no solid evidence to support this case. Removing God, his love and hope from life has caused the counselling industry to boom as people medicate their lives to try and fill the faithless fearful sense of empty living formed from a life that was made to have God in its centre. This is why in recent years a considerable number of atheist scientists have become Christians, purely from examining the evidence and trying to make it fit the philosophical framework of Darwin’s theory, which Darwin himself, realised before his death, he did not have enough evidence to support it. The overwhelming evidence points to Intelligent Design and not some random process.
Both Christianity and Evolution are faiths or philosophies. Science is observable fact examining and testing theories in the present. We can not validate or test a theory if it was in the past where no one has recorded or witnessed what actually occurred. All we can honestly do is see how well the observable scientific facts, of what we do know for sure, fit into their belief systems. The problem is that historically there has been a significant amount of false reporting by the evolutionist (atheist) scientists seeking to influence others and to gain personal prestige. These lies have never been corrected in the text books, as it would bring to light the falseness of the foolish idea, that everything just happened of its own accord.Dr Gary Parker an eminent doctor of several degrees including paleontology, sheds interesting light on some of the so called ‘science’ of today, since he knows personally the scientists that are attempting to prove evolution to be true. You can watch his most interesting videos from the link above. Interesting enough, even Charles Darwin himself in his own personal diary, after his many explorations in search of evidence to support his hypothesis, concluded before he died: that he in the light of the wonder of the world around him, remained a Theist and eventually after much spiritual struggle held a view that Theism and Evolution could exist together. However if you would like to explore even further read this link.
” For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.” – Romans 1:21-25
So what has been done to fix the problem between us and God? How can a person like me know God in a personal way?
The history of mankind clearly shows a repeating pattern as kingdoms rise and fall and man seeks his own selfish pursuits, plundering, exploiting and controlling and destroying not only the world around him but more so his fellow human being. The one sure thing that each one of us knows, as we grow and mature, is that one day we will die. Our soul (our living person or spirit) will leave our body and our body will rot and cease to exist. The older we become, the more we recognize how very fragile and vulnerable our life is, and how sickness, pain and infirmity are very real possibilities. The Bible tells us that the sin of disobedience against God’s law of love and trust. Mankind’s original ancestor brought this about and thus we are born with a selfish (sinful) nature. You may find explanation reading the apostle Paul’s letter to the Roman church, found in the New Testament section in the Holy Bible. Sin (human selfishness) and its effects on the human life is a self perpetuated cyclic bondage pattern, represented below:
‘for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ – Romans 3:23
‘So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned.’ – Romans 5:12
‘For the payoff of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ – Romans 6:23
‘For if, by the transgression of the one man, death reigned through the one, how much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, Jesus Christ!’ – Romans 5:17
‘He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin on our [put your name here] behalf, so that we [put your name here] might become the righteousness of God in Him.’ -2 Corinthians 5:21
Man has tried for centuries to please God by good behaviour, doing good things for people, being good children and spouses etc but all of our efforts fail and fall short of perfection, of loving perfectly all the time, as God does and Jesus did on our behalf. That is why Jesus came to earth as a man, just like us, but had God’s Spirit in him and he lived the perfect life for us. At any time he could have chosen to be selfish and sin, but he chose to trust and love his Heavenly Father the whole time. When Jesus was punished on the cross for being who he was (The Son of God), having committed no crime or evil, he did so for each one of us. so that we can be friends with God simply by trusting in his righteous and loving act on our behalf. Because Jesus took our punishment on the Cross for us, as an act of loving sacrifice, God now forgives and restores us to the loving relationship our original ancestor enjoyed before he sinned and was separated from God.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. – John 3:16-18
‘And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 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, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.’ – Ephesians 2:1-11
This is the Good News (The Gospel) of Jesus and is received simply by believing and receiving God’s love gift for yourself. It is a free gift, which can not be re-payed, but simply received with humble thanksgiving. The fact is that receiving God’s gift of grace and forgiveness, through accepting Jesus and his offer of salvation from sin’s penalty and power over our life, brings freedom from the sin cycle. Jesus died in our place, on our behalf and was raised back to life, on our behalf, so that we can be set free to return to God as his friend, and no longer fear him as an enemy or condemning judge. This is represented in the self perpetuating cycle assisted and empowered by the indwelling gift of the Holy Spirit presence in the believer’s life:
‘There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.’ – John 1:9-13
Those who receive Jesus into their life and come to know God as true Father receive the promised Holy Spirit who leads, teaches and guides, connecting the believer to God in their new life of faith. The Spirit brings freedom, faith, love, joy and hope and much wisdom for living the best life possible. The Spirit stays in the life of the believer for ever. and God promises He will never leave the one He loves.
I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.” – John 14:16-21
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13
Of course this is but a brief introduction to Jesus, but there is so much more to discover. Believing in Jesus is a personal experience which until one commits their life to God by faith in Him will never know the reality of a personal love relationship with God as Father. I personally did not have a good relationship with my earthly father, which impaired my understanding of God, as it does to many of us, since our earthly mothers and fathers are meant to portray an example of selfless love to us (God’s love). However, it was through knowing God’s forgiveness that I was able to forgive and love my dad and understand why he was like he was. If you would like to explore faith in Jesus more do what I did and start reading the New Testament for yourself. You can get a free version to read here.
Visit a church or search online for podcasts and Bible teaching material, ask God by simply praying, He hears you all the time. Ask him to reveal himself to you as you seek him out.
“The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist” – Acts 17:24-28
“Heavenly Father ‘Dad’ I ask that you will bless the seeker who has read this message about your son the Lord Jesus Christ, and how he came into this world to save us from the effects of our disobedience and death to grant us as your free gift of eternal life. May you reveal yourself to this seeker and connect them with the wonderful life you have waiting for them. I ask that you will grant them faith through the gift of your Holy Spirit and that they may repent and confess their sins and selfish state. That they may receive your forgiveness through the shed blood and death of your son the Lord Jesus Christ, who died on their behalf, so that they may live forever with him. May they start new life today as a beloved child of God. In the powerful name of my Lord Jesus Christ I ask these things.