11. Act Now! Limited Time Offer Now It's Getting Personal ------------------------- You cannot be a disinterested bystander or merely an observer on the sidelines. Like it or not, you are an active participant, and God's plan for the world revolves around you. Every verse in the Bible which talks about humanity applies to you personally. So here is what you can find out about yourself by reading the Bible: 1. You are a sinner, and you can never satisfy God's standard of holiness (Romans 3:23). 2. The consequences of your sin mean that you deserve the penalty of eternal death (Romans 6:23). 3. Christ did something for you that you could never do for yourself:He paid the penalty for your sins by dying on the cross (Romans 5:8). 4. You can be saved from the penalty of sin by believing in Jesus (Romans 10:9). 5. That's all that is required of you. There's nothing else. Salvation is God's free gift (Ephesians 2:8). 6. There is no other way for you to have eternal life with God. It can only come through Jesus (John 14:6). Knock, Knock. Who's There? -------------------------- We hope you have the correct impression about God. He is not some stuffy, old cosmic curmudgeon who will make you come crawling and begging to be accepted by Him. It is just the opposite. He is politely (but anxiously) waiting for you to invite Him into your life. In the Book of Revelation, the apostle John describes a very poignant vision of Christ standing at the door of our life (Revelation 3:20). Christ is waiting for you to respond to His offer of salvation. In fact, the apostle Peter said that God is holdiong back the events of the end of the world in order to give you an opportunity to respond (2 Peter 3:9). THE WHOLE BIBLE IN ONE VERSE ============================ If we had to pick one verse to summarize the whole Bible, it would be John 3:16. Look at how it covers all the key elements about sin, salvation, and eternal life in the future. Knowing Your Future (Absolutely, Positively) -------------------------------------------- Your sin condemns you to hell. There is no doubt about that. But if you believe in Christ as your Savior, then your sins are forgiven by God and you are bound for heaven at the end of your life. That result is equally certain. But what if you sin again after you have believed in Christ? Have you suddenly derailed off the track to heaven? Will your "gift of salvation" be snatched from your grasp and given to someone more deserving? First of all, no one deserves God's gift of salvation. So you don't have to worry about someone else being better than you. Secondly, you don't have to worry whether you are going to sin again--you will. Thirdly, God is not going to revoke your salvation once He has given it to you. Think about this:If a sin can cancel a believer's salvation, then Christ's sacrifice on the cross wasn't sufficient to cover that sin. But Christ's death on the cross was great enough to cover all the sins of all people for all times. Once you are saved, your membership in God's family cannot be broken. Your eternal life is sealed forever (Romans 8:38,39). It Isn't Just About the Future ------------------------------ Eternal life with God in heaven is not the only benefit of believing in Christ. There is also a "here and now" benefit. Through the Holy Spirit which lives inside every believer, your life will be transformed to manifest the very characteristics of God himself (Galatians 5:22,23). Being a Christian Means... -------------------------- Being a Christian means being a fully devoted follower of Christ. Here are a few other terms which might be helpful to you: 1. Belief. Christianity means believing in Christ. But believing is more than merely giving intellectual assent to God's existence. (Even Satan and the demons beieve that Jesus is God's Son.) It means being convinced that His death on the cross was sufficient to pay the penalty for your sins. 2. Faith. A Christian is one who has faith that God knows what is best, so a Christian turns ownership and control of his or her life over to God. We don't become robots, but our perspective changes from being self-centered to being God-centered. 3. Repentance. Being sorry for your sins isn't enough. A Christian has a sincere desire to refrain from sin in the future. True repentance means that you turn away from a life-style which is not pleasing to God. Being a Christian doesn't Mean... ---------------------------------- A lot of people base their opinion of Christianity on a few poor examples. But you should evaluate something by a good example of it, not a bad one. Don't be turned off to Christianity because you think it means you have to be... 1. Fanatical. Thumping people on their heads with a Bible is not required. You should expect to be enthusiastic, but all God asks is that you be genuine. 2. Brain-dead. When you become a Christian, you don't have to kiss your brains good-bye. Christianity can easily withstand an intellectual investigation. God wants you to love Him with your heart and your mind. 3. Superreligious. You don't have to live in a monastery. You can have fun and enjoy life. You don't even have to use "thees and thous." What in the World Are You Waiting For? -------------------------------------- How are you going to respond to Christ's invitation of eternal life? The Rejector (Romans 1:19-20) ============ Maybe you're saying, "Nope! This Christianity stuff is not for me." We respect your right to choose for yourself. And so does God. After all, He was the One who gave you a free will in the first place. The Debater (1 Corinthians 1:18-20) =========== Maybe you have some objectons. Perhaps you have argued a few points with a Christian who crumbled under your cross-examination. Don't make the mistake of thinking that Christianity is flawed simply because there are parts of it that seem foolish to you. Remember that your eternal salvation does not depend upon God explaining everything to your satisfaction. If you could figure out everything about Him, then you would be God. The Deliberator (James 1:6-8) =============== You are in this category if you have "analysis paralysis." You just can't make up your mind. 1. You want to turn your life over to Christ, but you don't want to lose your freedom. 2. It all seems to make sense to you, but you don't know where it will lead. 3. You are afraid of going to hell after death, but you are afraid that Christianity might kill your life-style now. The Procrastinator (Luke 12:20) ================== You're the one who says, "I've got plenty of time to decide. I'll make the decision later." This category may be the most dangerous of all, because you don't realize that making no decision has the same effect as rejecting Christ. You don't control the clock or the calendar for making your decisions. Just as "no one knows the hour" of Christ's return, you don't know the time of your death. It may happen when you least expect it, and you will spend an eternity in hell regretting that you postponed your decision to accept Christ. You will be like the rich fool in Jesus' parable who thought he had his life all planned out (Luke 12-20). The events of the end times are cloaked with a sense of suddenness and surprise. Christ's return is described as occurring with the stealth of a "thief in the night." Your ability to make a decision at a later time may be unexpectedly cut short by death. After that, you'll have an eternity of time to ponder the decision which you never made. The Imitator (1 Samuel 16:7;Matthew 7:21-23) ============ Don"t get the idea that you can fake your way into heaven. You can pretend to be religious, but pretending doesn't cut it. Salvation doesn't depend on how often you went to church, how much you gave to charity, and whether or not you wore clean underwear on Sundays. All of that stuff is external. It's on the outside. God cares about what is in your heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Other people may think that you are a Christian, but God will know the truth. You can't hide it from Him. All of your religious activity will be meaningless on judgment day if you are not a true believer (Matthew 7:21-23). The Believer (1 Corinthians 2:9) ============ At some point in your life you "asked Christ into your heart" by a simple prayer in which you expressed sorrow for your sins and turned control of your life over to God (1 Corinthians 2:9). "What's That Again?" -------------------- 1. God's plan for the world involves you. 2. God offers salvation to you as a free gift. With it comes a new spiritual life on earth, and eternal life with God. 3. The decision is totally yours. You accept Christ by believing and trusting in Him. You reject Christ by doing nothing. 4. You don't have forever to make up your mind. But the results of your decision, or your failure to make one, will last forever.