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Topic-icon Now is the Time to Get Serious - By Stephen du Bord -

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2 months 2 weeks ago #60 by Born Again Christians

Now is the Time to Get Serious - By Stephen du Bord -
www.raptureready.com/2019/01/04/now-time...ous-stephen-du-bord/

Do you ever wonder where you might end up if you died today? Or if there really is a life beyond this one? Most of us, while living on this Earth, pursue the usual goals in life such as a career, strong income, a healthy family, close friends, status, and the like. But very few of us give thought to what might happen if we were to breathe our last breath today, and even fewer of us are really prepared for whenever that day may come.

Maybe we'd rather not think about those things, because who really knows what lies beyond this life? Can anybody know? Is there really nothing? Or is there something very real? There is no shortage of opinion (and fascination) on what lies beyond this life, and the mysteries thereof.

What are we to think, or feel, or say when our loved ones exit this life and we experience the mourning and grief of their absence? Is there anything anyone can say or know to really give us comfort over whether we'll see those we love again? And what about when the time comes for us? How will we cope with the reality of dying when it knocks on our door?

There's no shortage of empty platitudes such as, "They're in a better place," trying to comfort us in vain, with no real offer of tangible hope.

Is there any real hope to be found on this issue?

I believe there is, and this assurance is the only real and certain hope mankind is given in this world - a true hope of life beyond death, and the ceasing of all pain, suffering, evil, and mourning forever.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

The Bible's response to death is that it has been defeated! How? By none other than the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Isaiah 25:8 declares: "He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people's disgrace from all the earth. The Lord has spoken."

He is the One who took our sins upon Himself - He died a substitutionary death on our behalf, took our place, died the death that we deserved, bore the punishment that was ours to suffer. Jesus took the wrath of God on Himself, for all of us who choose to put our trust in Him.

Jesus proclaims: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live" (John 11:25).

According to Jesus, this life is not the only life we have, and the end of this life is not the end by any means... if we place our trust in Jesus, the resurrection and the life.

If you haven't ever truly given your life to Jesus Christ, then now is the time to consider His free gift of Eternal Life by accepting the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, on your behalf.

Isaiah 55:6-7 says, "Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near."

In other words, life is short, and you have no idea when yours might come to an end, and that door to salvation, closed. If God truly offers the solution to death being the end of all things, and instead flips that notion on its head, telling us that death is actually a doorway to a future more glorious than we can even imagine, well, then we really need to open our ears and hearts to hear what He has to say!

2 Corinthians 6:2 says, "Indeed, the 'right time' is now. Today is the day of salvation."

If death came to your door today, you need to be sure you've made the most important decision you'll ever make - trusting in Jesus Christ to cover your sins and restore your relationship with God. He wants you to be one of His own more than anything!

One of the parables Jesus uses to illustrate God's love for us, as we wander through this life without Him, is in the parable of the lost sheep:

"Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent"
(Luke 15:1-7).

Another similar parable Jesus uses to make this same point is that of the Prodigal Son.

God loves you, and He wants to spend Eternity with you - this He has made very sure to communicate, and He has even offered Himself in Jesus Christ as the solution to our estrangement from Him.

Romans 5:8 confirms this: "But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

We need Jesus to save us from ourselves and to bring us back into a rightful relationship with God.

Romans 3:23 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..."

The Bible says that we are born into sin (Psalm 51:5); it's in our nature.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 says: "Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins."

Romans 3:10 says: "As it is written: 'None is righteous, no, not one.'"

What this means is that none of us are qualified by God's standard of righteousness to enter into His Kingdom because of our sins, and ALL of us are found guilty of the death penalty and everlasting separation from God.

This is the essence of what makes Hell - separation from the Source of life, joy, happiness, love, relationship, contentment, peace and any other good thing. None of that will be present, because any connection to the Source of it all, God the Father, will be cut off forever if we enter Eternity apart from Him.

None of us will enter into Heaven, God's dwelling place, if left to our own devices. Let's examine this condition, of which we all will be found in if we exit this life without having placed our trust in Jesus Christ.

On this topic, Revelation 21:27 says, "But nothing unclean will ever enter it [the Kingdom of God], nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life."

Who is the Lamb of God? None other than Jesus Christ.

In John 1:29 we are shown what John says upon seeing Jesus coming near to him: "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'"

Jesus tells us in John 3:3, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."

So how do we get our names written in the Lamb's book of life and become born-again?

1 John 1:9 gives us the solution: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

By admitting our sinfulness (our inability for moral perfection, and to meet up to God's standard of righteousness), and by admitting our deep need for a Savior, who is Jesus Christ, we open ourselves up for God's healing Grace to be poured upon our souls, cleansing us from all unrighteousness.

John 14:6: "Jesus said to him, 'I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"

Accepting Jesus' perfectly lived life (which satisfied God's requirement for a life of moral and spiritual perfection in honor of Him), and accepting His death on our behalf (as the only perfect, spotless human being to have ever lived, which satisfied God's requirement for spotless, pure sacrifice to be made for sin), and accepting His bodily resurrection (which ensures that death has been defeated, and that we will one day be resurrected too: as in 1 Corinthians 15:20)... this the only way we can be redeemed from the darkness that infects our heart, mind, body, and soul, and which separates us from God who is perfectly clean, holy, and righteous.

Read that paragraph again.

Romans 10:9-11 is where this Truth and assurance of salvation is revealed to us:

"If you declare with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, 'Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.'"

If this admission of our sinfulness, and this belief in our hearts of Jesus Christ's life, and death, and resurrection saving us, and by this confession with our mouths that He, Jesus, is Lord and God and our Savior - if this is a genuine and heartfelt one, we WILL be saved.

God assures us of this, that we need not doubt we are saved. "If we confess our sins, He is FAITHFUL and JUST to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

All this is all done in recognition that we cannot earn our way into God's Presence. We cannot earn our redemption and reconciliation. But only by the Grace of God through our faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ:

"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, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

This is the only way we can enter into that joyous, glorious Everlasting Kingdom, into which nothing unclean will ever enter, and within which no pain, nor sorrow will ever be felt again.

Faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation is the way-the ONLY Way to salvation and reconciliation to God. Nothing we do, no matter how good, can earn us a spot in Heaven when we exit this life. Recall John 14:6 in which Jesus proclaims, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

Remember the two verses from Romans 3:23 and 6:23 quoted earlier? The verses which proclaimed our dire predicament and eternal death sentence? At first glance, they're pretty bleak, but that's only if they're read in isolation of the surrounding context!

If we read just beyond those verses, the outlook shifts dramatically. The darkest night becomes the brightest day that ever dawned!

Let's see those two verses again, but now with the glorious solution that follows:

Romans 3:23-24: "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

Romans 6:23: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

The Bible says in Romans 10:13, "Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved."

Jesus is the spotless Lamb of God, sent at the appointed time for our redemption (Galatians 4:4-5; Romans 5:6) and He holds the key to life (John 14:6) and death (Revelation 1:18), being the one who overcame the grave and is now resurrected and glorified in Heaven (Mark 16:19).

He is also the same One who is coming back soon (Revelation 22:7, 20), first in what's commonly referred to as the Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52; John 14:1-3; Revelation 3:10), to redeem and snatch away to Heaven those who accepted Him into their lives, and later at the end of the Tribulation (time of God's wrath/judgment against sinful humanity) to finally judge a wayward and rebellious world whose inhabitants have repeatedly denied, rejected and fought against Him (Matthew 25:31-46).

The Bible says that, if we look for it, we can see the time of Jesus' return drawing near, and that there are many signs which we will be able to see as we near the season of His return (read Matthew 24).

We are told in the Bible that there are specific signs to look for, such as the rebirth of Israel as a nation (Ezekiel 37; Isaiah 66:8), which is undoubtedly the biggest sign of them all (refer to the study on Israel's rebirth linked below), as well as the Gospel of Jesus Christ being preached to the whole world (Matthew 24:14), the rise in Globalism and calls for World Government, and the setting up for the Battle of Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38), as indicators of the nearness of the End.

We are also told of general signs of the times, which are seen in ever-increasing apostasy, false prophets/charlatans claiming to be Christ, or of Christ, wars and rumors/threats of wars, earthquakes, and famines throughout the world, to name a few (again, read Matthew 24). These are all likened as "birth pains" in Matthew 24:8, as they will increase in both frequency and intensity as the end gets nearer; and the statistics show that they are.

Be sure to refer to the links at the bottom of this write-up for more information on all these signs just mentioned, which explain them in more detail - they are easy-to-read, lay-friendly, and incredibly timely - please take some time to read them over.

All of this should give you a pretty clear picture of our situation in this world at this given point in history: a) time is running out, and b) things are soon going to change dramatically. The most important question to ask yourself is: in whom (or what) do I put my trust? In people? In money? Or perhaps in Jesus Christ?

Ultimately, the only thing that will really matter is if you've put your trust in Jesus, to reconcile you to God by His atoning blood on the Cross, and to also "keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth" (Revelation 3:10). There isn't much time left. None of us is guaranteed tomorrow.

If you died today, or Jesus returned today, where would you find your eternal home to be? In separation from God, the Source of all good things? Or in His very presence forever, free from all evil, pain, suffering, and sorrow for all eternity?

This world is filled with darkness, decay, and death - we all are confronted with it daily, but we are not left without any hope. Even as the end of this age draws close, and each passing year brings each of us nearer to the end of this life, we can rest in the assurance of God's promises to those of us who trust in Him for Eternal Life, beyond when this earthly one ends.

By placing your trust in Jesus Christ for reconciliation to God, you will be saved and set apart for a place in His Eternal Kingdom, which is drawing ever nearer.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:3-5).

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