THE STRAIGHT GATE
"Everything that happens to us is for the growth and refinement of our soul"
For as long as one can remember, the world has been somewhat patterned enough to have reasonable expectations of future conditions; this has changed. Today we live in a world where things once hidden are being revealed; sometimes to our benefit, more often than not to our complete shock.
Do our lives have meaning? Why were we put here? What is going to happen to us when we die?
If I had not given my life to the Lord Jesus Christ, I would probably be dead today. He has taken the broken pieces of my life and has made them into a beautiful thing, and He can do the same thing for you.
If Christianity is true, then it is possible to have eternal life.
I am not just talking about living for millions of years or billions of years.
I am talking about living for eternity.
If you had the opportunity to live forever, would you take it?
Many people would respond by saying that they are not sure if living forever in a world like ours would be desirable, but what if you could live forever in a world where everything had been set right?
What if you could live forever in a perfect world where there is no more evil or suffering or pain?
Would you want that?
The truth is that is exactly what God wants for you. He loves you very much and He wants to spend forever with you.
If you could, would you want to spend forever with Him?
If God is real, and there really is an afterlife, who wouldn’t want to spend eternity with Him?
To be honest with you, if eternal life really exists, there is not a single issue of greater importance to every man, woman and child on earth.
Who would not be willing to give up everything that they own to live forever in paradise surrounded by people that love them?
All over the world people perform all kinds of religious acts, desperately hoping that they will gain favor with God. Some religious nuts even blow themselves up during suicide attacks, hoping that their “sacrifices” will earn them favor with God. But are those really ways to get to heaven?
What does the Bible have to say?
The truth is that the plan of salvation described in the Bible is very simple.
It starts with God.
The Bible tells us that God created humanity and that He loves us very much.
In fact, God loves you more than you could possibly ever imagine. The Scriptures go on and on about how great the love of God is and about how deeply He cares for each one of us individually.
But there is a huge problem.
The problem is that humanity is in deep rebellion against God.
Humanity has rejected God and is continually breaking His laws.
Most people like to think of themselves as “good” people, but the truth is that none of us are truly “good”. Each one of us has broken God’s laws over and over again. We are lawbreakers and criminals in the sight of God. The Scriptures call us sinners.
Perhaps you think that you are a “good person” and that God should let you into heaven based on how good you are.
If that is what you believe, ask yourself this question…
Have you ever broken God’s laws?
Are you guilty of violating His rules?
Posted below is a summary of the Ten Commandments.
You shall have no other gods before Me. (There is only one true God – the Creator of all things. Have you ever served a different God? Have you ever expressed approval for a false religion just because you wanted to be polite? Have you ever participated in activities or ceremonies that honor other religions?)
You shall not make any idols. You shall not bow down to them or serve them. (The Scriptures tell us that we are to love God with everything that we have inside of us. Even if you have never bowed down to an idol or a statue, you may have created a “god” in your own mind that you are more comfortable with. That is sin. In fact, we are not to have any “idols” in our lives that we love more than God.)
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. (Have you ever used God’s holy name as a profanity or as a curse word? Have you ever failed to give His holy name the honor it deserves?)
Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. (Is there anyone alive that has kept this commandment perfectly?)
Honor your father and mother. (Have you ever been rebellious or disrespectful to your father or your mother even one time? If so, you have broken this commandment.)
You shall not murder. (Even if you have never killed anyone, it is important to remember that Jesus considers hatred to be very similar to murder.)
You shall not commit adultery. (Sexual promiscuity is absolutely rampant in society today, but you don’t even have to sleep with someone to break this commandment. In Matthew 5:27-28, Jesus said that “whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart”.)
You shall not steal. (Have you ever stolen anything from someone else? It doesn’t matter if it was valuable or not. If you stole something, you are a thief.)
You shall not lie. (Have you ever told a lie? If so, you are guilty of breaking this commandment.)
You shall not covet. (Have you ever jealously desired something that belongs to someone else? This sin is often the first step toward other sins.)
The first four commandments are about loving God. In the Scriptures, you are commanded to love God with all of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind and all of your strength.
The final six commandments are about loving others. In the Scriptures, you are commanded to love others as you love yourself.
Have you always loved God and loved others like you should have?
Sadly, the truth is that we are all guilty of breaking God’s laws.
In fact, if we took an honest look at how guilty we truly are we would be horrified.
Take a moment and imagine the following scenario…
One of the biggest television networks has decided to do a huge two hour prime time special about your life. It is going to be heavily advertised, and tens of millions of people are going to watch it.
Doesn’t that sound great?
But instead of a two hour documentary about how wonderful you are, the network has discovered all of the most evil and horrible things that you have ever thought, said or did and they are going to broadcast those things to tens of millions of people all over the world for two hours during prime time.
What would you do if that happened?
Sadly, the truth is that whoever that happened to would be utterly ashamed and would never want to be seen in public again.
Because we have all done, said and thought things that are unspeakably evil.
We are sinners in the eyes of God, just as the Scriptures tell us…
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
God created us to have fellowship with Him, but He also gave humanity the ability to choose. Unfortunately, humanity has chosen to be in deep rebellion against God and we have all repeatedly broken His laws. When we broke God’s commandments, our fellowship with God was also broken. By breaking God’s commandments, we decided that our will would be done instead of God’s will. And if you look around the world today, you can see the results. Evil and suffering are everywhere. God hates all of this evil and suffering very much. In the Bible, our rebellion against God is called sin.
As a result of our sin, the Scriptures tell us that we are separated from God…
“The wages of sin is death” [spiritual separation from God] (Romans 6:23).
So what can be done about this separation from God?
Why doesn’t God just forget about our sins?
Well, the truth is that God cannot just sweep our evil under the rug. If God did that, He would cease to be just.
For example, how would you feel about a judge that decided to issue a blanket pardon for Hitler and all of the other high level Nazis for the horrible things that they did?
Would that be a “good” judge? Of course not.
There is a penalty for evil, and because God is just, that penalty must be paid.
Fortunately, Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins by dying for us on the cross. He took the punishment that we deserved…
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8).
We were guilty, but the Son of God, Jesus Christ, died in our place.
Being fully man, Jesus could die for the sins of mankind.
Being fully God, Jesus could die for an infinite number of sins.
He was mocked, he was beaten, he was scourged ruthlessly and he was nailed to a wooden cross. He was totally innocent, but He was willing to suffer and die because He loved you that much.
Jesus paid the penalty for your sins and my sins so that fellowship with God could be restored.
Not only that, but Jesus proved that He is the Son of God by rising from the dead…
“Christ died for our sins…He was buried…He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
You see, if there was any other way for us to be reconciled to God, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross. He could have just told us to follow one of the other ways to get to heaven. But there was no other way. The death of Jesus on the cross is the only payment for our sins and He is the only way that we are going to get to heaven. In the Scriptures, Jesus put it this way…
“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).
But it is not enough just for you to intellectually know that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins.
The Scriptures tell us that we must individually commit our lives to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. When we give our lives to Jesus, He forgives our sins and He gives us eternal life…
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12).
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” (Romans 10:9).
So exactly how does someone do this?
It is actually very simple.
The Scriptures tell us that it is through faith that we enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ…
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
If you are not a Christian yet, then Jesus is standing at the door of your heart and He is knocking. He is hoping that you will let Him come in. He loves you very much and He wants to have a relationship with you…
[Jesus speaking] “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him” (Revelation 3:20).
Jesus asks that you give Him control of your life. That means renouncing all of the sin in your life and making Him your Savior and Lord. Just to know intellectually that Jesus died on the cross and that He rose from the dead is not enough to become a Christian. Having a wonderful emotional experience is not enough to become a Christian either. You become a Christian by faith. It is an act of your will.
Are you ready to make a commitment to Jesus Christ?
If you are ready to invite Jesus Christ into your life, it is very easy.
Just tell Him.
God is not really concerned if you say the right words. What He is concerned about is the attitude of your heart.
If you are ready to become a Christian, the following is a prayer that can help you express that desire to Him…
“Lord Jesus, I want to become a Christian. I know that I am a sinner, and I thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I believe that you are the Son of God and that you rose from the dead. I repent of my sins and I open the door of my life and ask You to be my Savior and Lord. I commit my life to You. Thank You for forgiving all of my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life and make me the kind of person that You want me to be. I will live my life for You. Amen.”
If you are ready to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, then I invite you to pray this prayer right now. Jesus will come into your life, just as He has promised to do.
If you do invite Jesus Christ to come into your life, you can have 100 percent certainty that you have become a Christian and that you will go to heaven when you die. In 1 John 5:11-13, the Scriptures tell us the following…
“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life”.
Do you understand what that means?
It means that you can know that you have eternal life.
The Bible says that if you have invited Jesus Christ into your life, your sins are forgiven and you now have eternal life.
What could be better than that?
But your journey is not done.
In fact, it is just beginning.
The Christian life is not easy – especially if you try to go it alone.
There are four keys to spiritual growth for any Christian…
The Bible – If you do not have a Bible you will need to get one and read it every day. It is God’s instruction book for your life.
Prayer – Prayer does not have to be complicated. The truth is that prayer is just talking with God. God wants to hear from you every day, and He will fundamentally transform your life as you pray to Him with humility and sincerity.
Fellowship – The Scriptures tell us that we all need each other. Find a fellowship of local Christians that believe the Bible and that sincerely love one another. They will help you grow.
Witnessing – Tell others about the new life that you have found in Jesus Christ. Helping even one person find eternal life is of more value than anything else that you could ever accomplish in this world.
Our story starts with the lord.
Our purpose is bring you the truth and spread awareness. To be a positive force and to lift people up to the lord. Because a simple word of encouragement can change people’s lives.
You do your best, and god will do the rest.
The Twist Team