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?

Church Camp Changed My Life

My first time going to church camp was after I finished the seventh grade.  Throughout my teenage years, it was the highlight of my summer.  It’s just something special about unplugging from everything to focus all your attention on your spiritual walk.  In those early years of camp, the things I enjoyed most were hanging out with my friends, the road trip with my youth group, playing games and meeting new people.  Without fail, every year I would get on a fire for God, but the flame would quickly dwindle after returning home.  Ironically, each year the fire grew larger, but when it burned out I drifted further away from God.

 

After finishing my sophomore year of high school, I knew God had something special in store for me that year at church camp.  Interestingly enough, my entire family was going on vacation to the beach the same week my church was going to camp.  At first, my parents said I couldn’t go to camp because they wanted me to go with them; however, they eventually changed their mind.  I think back to those circumstances and wonder where I’d be today if I would of went to the beach instead of camp.  God’s sovereign plan was at work in my life.

 

The atmosphere at Super Week was unexplainable and the worship experience was unbelievable.  It seemed like every sermon was directed to me.  I distinctively remember one of the sermons Jeremy Kingsley preached that week.  It was about choosing Barabas or Jesus.  The conviction of the Holy Spirit fell upon me.  I was on the edge of my seat listening to every word he was preaching.  My heart was pounding.  During the invitation, I knelt at my seat and prayed.  I remember praying these words, “God, I’m tired of playing church.  Please forgive me of my sins.”

 

My conversion was different than most people.  I did not pray with anybody.  I did not pray the sinner’s prayer.  I did not go forward during the invitation.  I did not raise my hand.  I did not talk to a counselor.  I did not tell anybody what I did until after camp.  In fact, I remember going to a room after the service with my church for discussion and prayer.  I did not talk during the discussion and I did not pray out loud.

 

Although, on a Thursday evening of July 2005 my life was forever changed.  Because of church camp, I am a child of God and heaven is my eternal home.  The greatest decision I’ve ever made was done at church camp:  I accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.  It is my prayer that God would continue to change lives at church camp like He did mine!

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

Proclaim His Name

R.A. Torrey once said, “My one ambition is life is to win as many souls as I possibly can.  It is the most worthwhile thing in life.”  The greatest message in all the world is the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.  There is no greater message known to mankind. God has placed the responsibility of sharing this marvelous message upon every believer.  Commitment to sharing the gospel is a daily calling!  The term proclaim in the New Testament literally means to herald forth the message of Christ.  I’d like to briefly share with you three thoughts from Philippians 1:12-18 about proclaiming the gospel.

Proclaim the gospel confidently (1:12-14).  Paul was incarcerated while writing Philippians because he was sharing the good news of Christ.  I guess you could say the jailhouse was Paul’s second home since he was imprisoned so often. This passage reveals other Christians were able to more confidently, courageously and boldly share their faith due to Paul’s imprisonment for sharing Christ with others.  Did you know fear is one of the most common reasons why believers don’t share their faith?  Psalm 27:1 says, “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?”  Do not be fearful when sharing the gospel because Christ is with you.

Proclaim the gospel consistently (1:15-17).  In his book entitled Introduction to Evangelism, Alvin Reid states, “Statistics indicate that only three to five percent of believers consistently share their faith.”  As I read the Apostle Paul’s words, I am reminded of the urgent responsibility we have to consistently share Christ with others.  Yes, there will be some proclaiming Christ with impure and pure motives just like in Paul’s day, but we’ve been commissioned to proclaim the gospel to all the world (Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19-20).  Do not allow other peoples’ motives to stop you from doing what God has called you to do.  Consistency in sharing the gospel is missing in modern Christianity.   It’s time that believers from all ages and stages arise to proclaim the salvation found in Christ.  

Proclaim the gospel compassionately (1:18).  As I read Phil. 1:18 I see Paul’s compassionate heart bleeding from the inspired passage of Scripture.  Every Christian is called to proclaim the gospel with compassion!  Romans 5:8 says, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Just as it was Christ’s love for us that drove Him to Calvary’s cross, the same love should ignite our hearts to share the gospel with the lost.  Let us compassionately declare the good news of Christ to all the world.

May God help us to confidently, consistently and compassionately share the gospel daily!   Let’s get out there and proclaim His name!

Pray for others!

I heard a preacher once say, “The average Christian prays about three minutes each day, and the average pastor prays about five minutes a day.”  I don’t know how accurate that is, but it does reveal the lack of prayer in the lives of many Christians. Here are a few statistics about prayer I’d like to share with you from pewresearch.org:

  • 55% of Americans say they pray everyday
  • 21% of Americans claim to pray weekly or monthly
  • 23% of Americans say they seldom or never pray
  • 64% of American women claim to pray daily
  • 46% of American men say they pray daily
  • 65% of Americans aged 65 and older claim to pray daily
  • 41% of Americans adults under 30 claim to pray daily

Throughout the New Testament we observe many prayers of the early church.  In Philippians Paul prays specifically for the believers in Philippi.  Prayer will become dynamic when it is specific.  I’d like to share with you five prayers we can pray for other believers based upon Paul’s prayer in Philippians 1:3-11.

Pray for believers with thanksgiving in your hearts (Phil. 1:3-8).  It is very important to spend time thanking God for fellow believers.  Take time to thank God for how He has used other people to encourage your Christian walk.

Pray for believers’ knowledge to be clothed with love (Phil. 1:9a).  If somebody contained all the knowledge in the world, but did not demonstrate love then it would be in vain.  Nobody likes to listen to Dr. KNOW IT ALL.  Let’s pray for our fellow brothers and sisters to have knowledge clothed with love.

Pray for believers’ discernment to be clothed with love (Phil. 1:9b).  One of the most discouraging aspects of modern Christianity is its willingness to neglect discernment.  Today, Christians are either full of hateful discernment, or full of love without discernment.  Christians need to have compassionate discernment.  Take time to pray for other believers to have love in their discernment.

Pray for believers to sincerely test truth from error (Phil. 1:10). The Bible is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  It reveals error and summons every follower of Christ to test all things.  Pray that your fellow comrades in the faith will test truth from error by the Holy Scriptures.

Pray for believers to be full of the fruits of righteousness (Phil. 1:11).  An unholy Christian is a contradiction.  Many people within modern Christianity claim to be saved, but their actions declare otherwise.  Righteous living is missing in the lives of many Christians.  Pray for other believers to live righteously according to God’s Word.

Philippians 1:9-11 says, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.  Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”