Eternal Life Is A Gift From God

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

 

Eternal life is only found in Jesus Christ.  Our society has been enamored with the doctrine of relativism.  In other words, what’s true to you is not necessarily true to me.  Many apply this concept to heaven; however, the Bible makes it unmistakably clear that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven.  For example, Acts 4:12 says, “Neither is their salvation in any other:  for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”  Religion without a personal encounter with Jesus Christ will not save the soul.

 

Eternal life is the greatest gift ever given to mankind.  One of my favorite childhood memories was “The Conner Family Christmas” gatherings.  I remember walking into the hosting home and seeing a living room full of presents.  Our tradition was opening the presents from the youngest to the oldest, one at a time.  Some years it took three to five hours to open all the presents.  As a child, I enjoyed every second of it!  As I look back, I’ve realized none of those gifts are comparable to eternal life in Christ.  James 1:17 says it best, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

 

Eternal life cannot be earned by human merits.  Good works, baptism, church membership, helping elderly ladies cross the street, giving to the poor, feeding the homeless, sponsoring an orphanage, and donating to a missionary are all great things to do, but they cannot earn eternal life.  There is nothing man can do to obtain eternal life, but believe on Jesus Christ.  Those attempting to earn eternal life will be sorely disappointed in the afterlife, according to the Holy Scriptures.  Eph. 2:8-9 says, “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.”

 

Have you received God’s gift of eternal life?

Give Christ Preeminence

One of the highlights of my trip to Israel was visiting the Mount of Beatitudes.  Standing at the top of the mountain overlooking the Sea of Galilee was an unforgettable experience.  While gazing at the wonderful view, I began to recall Jesus’ sermon on the mount when He said to seek first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33).  On top of the Mount of Beatitudes, I was reminded of the importance of making Christ preeminent in my life.

 

Colossians 1:18 says, “And he is the head of the body, the church:  who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”  The word preeminence literally means “to be first in rank or influence.”  Christ is to have the number one priority in the believer’s life.  Giving Christ the preeminence allows Him to have the greatest influence.  Does Jesus Christ have the preeminence in your life?

 

I’d like to briefly share with you three reasons why believers are called to give Christ preeminence:

 

Give Christ preeminence because He is God (Col. 1:15).  Jesus Christ is co-equal, co-existent and co-eternal with God the Father and God the Spirit.  The word image means the representation and manifestation of God.  Jesus Christ was just as much God as God is God, and just as much man as man is man.  He was fully God and fully man.  Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God.  His purpose was to die on Calvary’s cross to pay the penalty for sin.

 

Give Christ preeminence because He created all things (Col. 1:16-17).  Jesus Christ created all things in heaven and in earth.  We live in a designed cosmos not an undesigned chaos!  Jesus Christ created all things that are visible and invisible.  Jesus Christ created all things to bring glory to His name.  Jesus Christ is sovereign over His creation.  Jesus Christ holds all things in the universe together by His providential hand.

 

Give Christ preeminence because He is the head of the church (Col. 1:18-20).  News flash:  Jesus is the head of the body of Christ!  Jesus Christ defeated death, hell and the grave by marvelous and glorious resurrection.  Jesus Christ is to rank first in the life of the believer.  It’s time to check yourself before you wreck yourself.  Does Christ reign supreme in your heart?  Jesus Christ contains the divine, authoritative power to restore man’s relationship with God.

 

Jesus Christ is the image of God, the firstborn over creation, the creator of the universe, the head of the church, the firstborn from the dead, the fullness of God and the reconciler of all things.  Is Christ preeminent in your life?  Is Jesus number one in your life?  Does Christ rank supreme in your heart?

Dear America

Dear America,

 

It’s time we lay aside the petty differences of the color of one’s skin.  Racism is crippling our nation to its core.  I am beyond sick and tired of this absurd mindset.  I am disgusted of the derogatory comments about other nationalities.  It deeply saddens me to find children, teenagers, college students and adults consumed with the indoctrination of racism.

 

The late Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”  My prayer is this dream will no more be an imagination, but a realization.

 

Dear America,

 

It grieves me that many Americans cry, “Judge not,” but are quick to judge the skin tone of another human being.  Jesus said in John 7:24, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”  The spiritual immaturity of the American culture is appalling.  Jesus Himself declared not to judge according to man’s appearance, but mankind does it daily.  It’s time to lay aside the sin of racism.

 

Jesus was neither Caucasian, African American, European, Indian, Asian or African.  He was Jewish.  He died on Calvary’s cross for every nation to experience salvation.  The children’s song said it best, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.  Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight—Jesus loves the little children of the world.”

 

Dear America,

 

I believe in one race.  It’s called the human race.  It’s time we stop causing division and start creating unification.  Acts 17:26 says, “And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.”  If you travel down the genealogical records far enough you’ll discover all nationalities are related.

 

Dear America,

 

I believe we are on the brink of another great spiritual awakening, but racism is one factor holding us from experiencing an outpouring of God’s Spirit.  Do you remember the prophet Jonah?  God called him to go to Nineveh, but he disobeyed.  Jonah harbored racism and hatred in his heart toward the Ninevites.  He refused to share God’s Word.  After Jonah experienced God’s chastisement, He was given a second chance.  When Jonah proclaimed the Word of God to the Ninevites, one of the greatest revivals in human history took place.

 

I believe we can experience another great revival if we lay aside our prejudice views of nationalities and embrace the gospel of Christ.  It’s not about the race of man; it’s about the grace of the God-man!

 

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  (Declaration of Independence)

#EndRacism

Lessons From Dad

Fathers have a great opportunity to influence their children.  I’ve learned a lot from my Dad over the years. He taught me how to throw a baseball, to shoot a basketball, to shave, to drive a stick shift, to swing a bat, to plant a garden, to mow the lawn, to change a light bulb and the list goes on.  I would not be the man I am today without his investment in my life.  I’d like to share three lessons my Dad taught me:

My Dad taught me to practice punctuality. As a sixteen-year-old, I was enjoying the freedom of driving my own car.  My Dad gave me a curfew of 11pm.  During my junior year of high school, I was hanging out with some friends, got carried away and lost track of time.  When I walked into the house at 11:03pm my Dad asked for the keys to my car.  I attempted to make a plea, but it was useless.  It may sound harsh to ground a teenager over three minutes, but it was one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned.  Punctuality is now one of my biggest pet peeves!

My Dad taught me to go to attend church services regularly.  It didn’t matter if I was sleeping over at a friend’s house, stayed up late playing video games or had a friend over at the house, my Dad (and Mom too!) was always there to make sure I went to church on Sundays and Wednesdays.  I learned the importance of attending a Bible believing church, fellowshipping with other believers, learning the Scriptures and drawing closer to Christ.  To this day, I go to church services every Sunday and Wednesday.

My Dad taught me to read the Bible daily.  For as long as I can remember, I witnessed my Dad read the Bible every day.  Seeing him read the Scriptures always made me ponder, “If he’s reading the Bible then it has to be God’s Word.”  Throughout my high school years of doubting the credibility of the Bible, God used my Dad’s faithfulness to later influence my decision of becoming a Christian.  Since the day of my salvation experience, it’s been my practice to meditate in the Scriptures daily.

With that in mind, I realize not everybody had the same upbringing.  There are many children who grew up without a father figure in their life.  Perhaps that’s why many young people turn to sexual immorality, drugs, alcohol, gangs and other things.  Hebrews 13:5 states, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have:  for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  The term forsake means to abandon.  Unfortunately, many fathers have abandoned their children.  The good news is God the Father promised to never leave or forsake His children.