Well good Athenians and visitors to Athens neighbourhood I would like to tell you the Good News of Jesus Christ, this is the same message that was preached by Paul to the early Athenians in the days after Jesus's death, resurrection and ascencion.
God made the earth and everything you can see, and many things that you cannot see. If you want to believe in a "big-bang" that something just came out of nothing without a creator, well you have more faith than me.
As I continue this discussion I am going to give quotes from the Bible. Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God ie God inspired men to write words of God.
"All scripture is God breathed (inspired by God)" (2 Timothy Chap3 verse 16)
You may not believe this, but the verses are taken from the Bible.
God as part of creation, created man so that he could have a relationship with him. Relationships can only flourish with freedom, you cannot force someone to have a relationship with you. So God gave man free-will.
The story of the Garden of Eden shows how man disobeyed God, and so caused there to be a wide gulf between God and man.
"But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear." (Isaiah Chapter 59 verse 2)
From Adam sinning, sin has continued, everyone has sinned.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"
(Romans Chapter 3 verse 23)
The Bible describes sinning as going astray like a sheep
"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah Chapter 53 verse 6)
This verse also fortells the part Jesus will play in carrying and being punished for our sins.
We know in everyday life, break the rules, the law and get caught and there is a punishment. As sure as we get paid wages for our work, so for our sin we get paid the wages of death.
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans Chapter 6 verse 23)
People wonder what will happen to them after they die, some think death is the end of things, others that we will come back to this world in another living form.
This verse makes it clear that there is only one life, and that it is not the end, there is the day of judgement.
"Just as man is destined to die once and after that face judgement."(Hebrews Chapter 9 verse 27)
The bad news is that we have sinned and that we deserve to be punished. the good news is that when Jesus was crucified on the cross, he was bearing the punishment that we rightly should suffer. he was able to do this because he was sinless.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans Chapter 5 verse 8)
"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. he was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit." (1 Peter Chapter 3 verse 18)
One thing many religions have in common is "rules" you have to follow. the Bible has rules, I suppose the best known are the ten commandments and people can compare their lives with the commandments and think to themselves I do quite well in keeping the commandments I am good enough for heaven.
The truth is none of us is good enough for heaven. It is through faith in believing that Jesus died for us that we are saved.
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works (what we do), so that no-one can boast." (Ephesians Chapter 2 verse 8 and 9)
"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit." (Titus Chapter 3 verse 5)
OK have you followed things so far
What next ?
In USA and increasingly in the UK the terms "born-again believer", being "born-again", "asking Jesus into your life" are becoming more common-place expressions.
A fresh start with Jesus is needed, as though you were born-again, Jesus wants to be back in a relationship with YOU as he was with the first man before he sinned.
Here is how the Bible describes becoming a Christian:
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." (John Chapter 1 verse 12)
"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 him, and he with me."
(Revelation Chapter 3 verse 20)
If you ask Jesus into your life what's changed
"I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John Chapter 5 verse 13)
"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life." (John Chapter 5 verse 24)
So no longer condemned to hell, but assured of an eternal life
One verse that perhaps sums up the new Christian
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come !" (2 Corinthians Chapter 5 verse 17)
Well Paul when he spoke to the Athenians gave them plenty to think about and some wanted him to come back and tell them so more. Paul said he'd be back next week, I'll leave my e-mail address.
Author Michael Fowler 1999
Note: This article was first placed on a Athens neighbourhood website at geocities, hence the references to Athenians and visitors to Athens.
Please feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit my family web page http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Lake/2161
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