A goose that lays golden eggs. King Midas and the ability to turn things to gold through “the Midas Touch.” A winning Powerball Lottery ticket. Confessing Jesus as your Savior and inheriting an irrevocable one-way ticket to heaven. What do all of these things have in common? First of all, they all sound really good at the outset as they all provide a way to find some kind of wealth without work. It sounds like fun, though if you know the stories of the goose and King Midas, things didn’t work out so well. Secondly, they are all not based in reality, even Powerball. With odds of winning placed at over one in 175,000,000, this translates to “not gonna happen, so don’t hold your breath.” Wait a minute; did I just imply that a one-way ticket to heaven is not based in reality? Yes and no! Let’s look!
We all do wrong. We all hurt other people. Sometimes the hurt we deliver is the result of oversight, ignorance or immaturity, or careless words and actions or sloppy and selfish thinking. We hurt someone, but we don’t really mean it. Sometimes the hurt we deliver is a result of anger or vengeance or jealousy and we absolutely mean to create havoc and turmoil. Either way we do hurt others and we therefore do need forgiveness. So how do we receive forgiveness from others and especially from God? What do we have to do or say or think for forgiveness to take hold? How can we truly know that we are forgiven? Is forgiveness really worth the effort?
Judgment Day! The very words strike fear into the hearts of many believers across the borders of many religions. After all, this world obviously does not dole out any form of true justice to its vast population, and whatever God you may believe in surely sees this and will soon balance those scales that are presently so skewed in their measure. Justice! For many believers there is a conviction that God’s justice will soon come to earth in the form of anger, wrath and fire and bring the result of a destruction never seen upon this planet! Judgment and Justice – are these images of mayhem and obliteration really what the Bible describes? Is this world in for a dark and miserable night of pain from the wrath of God from which there is no tomorrow or is there an entirely different meaning and result of Judgment Day? What does the Bible REALLY say?
It kind of funny how there is such a movement against the Bible and biblical principles these days, yet things like “Armageddon” and “Judgment Day,” which have their basis in Scripture, are common themes in our society. Of course, society dramatizes these things way beyond the reality of Scripture, so what we perceive is generally not what will happen. So, Judgment Day – it is coming! What does that mean? When will it happen? Who will be judged? Stay with us!
We as Christians all hold the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as the centerpiece of our faith. Without Jesus, we are nothing. One of the key factors about this sacred truth that actually divides Christianity is the application of the sacrifice of Jesus. Just who did he die for and who, if any, are excluded from the benefit of his death? Stay with us as we look into a variety of perspectives and try to find the biblical principles that seal the answer to this question.
It has been 2,000 years since Jesus walked the earth with the good tidings of the Gospel. When he finished his work, he left the infant religion of Christianity in the faithful hands of the twelve Apostles. These men “prospered and grew” Christianity. So 2,000 years later, in a world that is mostly non-Christian and largely secular, is the work of the Gospel still “prospering and growing?" Are we now achieving what our Lord Jesus set out for us to do? Stay with us as we look at the cold hard facts of Christianity in the world today.
Remember this past May 21st – according to Harold Camping the day that the rapture was supposed to happen? Since that “no show” all the air has gone out of Harold Camping’s “prophecies” and attention is no longer focused in that direction. The fact is that the “other half” of his “prophecy” was that the earth would burn up on this coming Friday, October 21st. While we won’t focus on Mr. Camping this morning, we will focus our time on God’s Day of Judgment upon this earth. Exactly what is the Day of Judgment, how does it work, what does it accomplish and when it might come to pass?
Salvation – it is at the very core of Christian faith. Salvation is something we all want and something that we as Christians all claim. That’s good...for us. Now the harder part. What about unbelievers? Where do they fit? Do all unbelievers have the same opportunity as we do? What about those who never heard of Jesus and died in that ignorance? Does the Bible give us concrete answers to these questions? Stay with us as we open and discuss an incredibly difficult question – can one who dies an unbeliever still be saved?
You would think that the formula would be simple – wake up one day and realize that your life needs spiritual guidance, pray a little and then step back and let Jesus come into your life so that all of your issues will now become molehills instead of mountains. Oops! It’s not so fast, not so easy, and not so simplistic! Finding Jesus – I mean really finding out who he is - what he is all about and how he can truly take root in your life as a life-giving source - is a process that requires much more thought, testing, faith and prayer. Further, it is never really the same for any two people. Stay with us as we investigate investigating Jesus!
I think that one of the danger areas as Christians is that of complacency. We can easily get into the frame of mind that says: we know God and Jesus, so it’s all good! Is it? What if you don’t believe in God – does God believe in you? What if you have doubts about God – does God have doubts about you? What if you are absolutely sure that you do not and will not ever need God? Will God ever need you? What if you are Hindu or a Buddhist? Does God have any use for you? What do we think? Are we just happy that we know God? DO we really know God? Are we more important than those others we just mentioned? Does God even need us?