Life's Greatest Decision

Two great moments in our lives arewhen we are born and when we discover why we were born. We were created for areason -- a divine purpose. Our lives are not accidents of fate. God has apersonal plan for each of us. His purpose in our lives can only be accomplishedbecause of Jesus Christ.

The life of Jesus Christ is theturning point of all history. Our calendar is hinged on His birth. Who was thisman from the small town of Nazareth in the Middle East? Hundreds of yearsbefore He came, prophets announced His coming. Many great men have appeared inthis world, yet none were divine and announced beforehand, except this one man-- Jesus.

Almost 2,000 years ago, four writersrecorded the life and teachings of Jesus. The first four books in the NewTestament bear their names: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Mark's record is the earliest of thefour accounts. He was only a boy during Jesus' ministry on earth, but he latertraveled with the apostle Peter. Mark wrote what Peter preached about Jesus toall who would listen.

Matthew, like Peter, was one ofJesus' twelve disciples. He offers a first-hand account of what Jesus said anddid over the three-year period. Luke was a physician who became a followerafter Jesus' ministry on earth. He spent time with many who were close to Jesusduring His earthly ministry. Jesus' mother, Mary, gave Luke a mother's insightinto Jesus' birth and early life.

The apostle John was the disciplewho stood alone at the foot of the Cross. When Jesus died, He demonstrated Hisgreat trust in John by committing the care of His mother, Mary, to John. At thetime he wrote the last of the four histories, John was the only remainingdisciple still living.

Were Jesus' followers telling thetruth about Him? The proofs that Christ came back to life from death were soconvincing the early Christians gave their lives rather than deny that Jesuswas the Son of God.

The apostle Peter was a fishermanwho traveled with Jesus for more than three years, listening to His teachingand observing His life. Peter was one of Jesus' first followers and became oneof His closest friends. In a letter Peter wrote to churches late in his life,he said, "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told youabout the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnessesof his majesty." 1

The Book of Acts in the NewTestament, records a simple and clear presentation Peter gave about JesusChrist to a Roman named Cornelius:

"I now realize how true it isthat God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fearhim and do what is right. You know the message God sent to the people ofIsrael, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord ofall. You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee afterthe baptism that John preached - how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with theHoly Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all whowere under the power of the devil, because God was with him. We are witnessesof everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killedhim by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third dayand caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesseswhom God had already chosen - by us who ate and drank with him after he rosefrom the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that heis the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All theprophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receivesforgiveness of sins through his name."2

Peter said that God wants to forgiveus and bring peace into our lives. Jesus Christ opens the way to peace -- peacewith God and peace with others. Other people have sinned against us, and wehave sinned against other people. We can do something about both - - by askingGod to forgive our sins and forgiving others for their sins against us.

The life of Christ calls for adecision. Was He just a great teacher and spiritual leader? Or was He who Heclaimed to be: the Son of God who has the power to forgive sin and granteverlasting life to all who will believe on Him? Jesus said, "I am the wayand the truth and the life." 3

Life has only two roads, and we areon one of them. One leads to death and eternal punishment -- the other toeverlasting life.

Jesus Christ taught that everyperson will exist for eternity. The apostle Paul wrote to the Roman Christians:"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life inChrist Jesus our Lord." 4 He also taught thatbeing saved from sin's penalty is simple: "If you confess with your mouth,"Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from thedead, you will be saved." 5

We all know in our hearts that wehave sinned. Even if we have never read a Bible or do not understand what itmeans to sin against God, we can know we are sinners, because God created eachof us with a conscience. We know what we don't want others to do to us. Wedon't want them to steal our possessions, lie about us, or be unkind to us.When we do to someone what we don't want done to us, our conscience lets usknow we have done wrong.

The penalty for sin is death. Thatis why all people die. But 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ, the holy Son of God,became a man. For 33 years He lived without sin. Then He was killed. He paidthe penalty for sin without committing the crime. So death had no power overHim. After three days, He came back to life again.

He is alive! And now He offersforgiveness of sin and the gift of everlasting life to everyone who will askHim.

You can receive Christ as yourSavior right now, this moment! You don't have to be in a church or specialplace, or have the help of a minister or priest. (If you need a betterunderstanding before you make this decision, to read more find the links titled"Guidance for Life" and "The Life of Christ" on this Website.)

You can pray now, wherever you are.God is listening. Tell Him in your own words that you are sorry for your sinsand that you want to receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Ask God tohelp you change your heart and life. It's your prayer He wants to hear. You canpray the following prayer, but it is not enough just to say the words. You mustmean it from your heart:

"God, I know I have sinned. Ibelieve Your Son, Jesus Christ, died to take the punishment for my sin. Ibelieve Jesus came back to life from death and has the power to forgive my sinand change my life. Forgive me. Come into my life and change me. I want to livefor You and follow Your plan for my life. I believe You have forgiven me, and Ithank You for hearing my prayer, in Jesus' name"

God has forgiven you if you prayedthis prayer and meant it from your heart. God knew before you were born thatyou would receive His Son as your Savior. Now you can begin the life He hasplanned for you! Step by step God will lead you to what He has chosen for you.He will show you the way to live and will teach you each day as you growspiritually and become the person He planned for you to be.

Now that you've begun your journeywith Jesus, please visit Guidance for Life to learn step by step how tobegin your wonderful new life following Christ.

1 2 Peter 1:16 (NIV)
2 Acts 10:34-43 (NIV)
3 John 14:6 (NIV)
4 Romans 6:23 (NIV)
5 Romans 10:9,10 (NIV)

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