What would you say?

puzzled-look

The other night I was asked by a man what I thought about Islam. He wasn’t leading me on, but was genuinely curious.

I said “Let me answer it this way, Christianity and other religions have contradictory claims. What I mean by that is Christianity says Jesus is God and our salvation is only through Him. Other religions deny that Jesus is God and claim that there are different paths to salvation.  Those claims contradict each other. They can’t both be true at the same time. Either Jesus is God or he isn’t. Right?”

He agreed with me, “They can’t all be true at the same time.”

I continued “If Christianity is true, then religions like Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and others are false. But if Christianity is false, then other religions might be true. Or maybe we have it all wrong and all religions are false. That’s a possibility, too, right?”

Again he agreed. I said, “I have no animosity toward other religions. They just can’t all be true at the same time.  Ultimately, you have decide.”

He nodded, so I continued “So, now you’ve got to ask yourself the question:  Is it true? Is Jesus really God and the only way to salvation? I told him I’ve done my homework on other religions and, based upon my studies, I believe Jesus really meant it when he said ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ I believe Jesus really is God and is the only Son of God.”

The conversation with this man got me thinking.

I’ve found that it’s easy to go around and around discussing the merits of different religions, but I think there’s one question that really gets to the heart of the matter. It’s a simple, but profound, question that Jesus asked His disciples: “Who do you say that I am?” That single question cuts through everything else.

Ultimately, we must make a choice. Is Jesus God or isn’t He?  If Jesus is God, it is of the utmost importance to come to that knowledge. If He is not God, it is of no importance. What it cannot be is somewhat important. There is no middle ground.

What about you?  Who do you say Jesus is?

 

Advertisements

Could you answer this question?

puzzled-look

There have been many polls in the last few decades showing the increase of biblical illiteracy.  Fewer and fewer people read the Bible, and fewer and fewer people know the stories of the Bible.  Yet, it seems that as great as biblical illiteracy is, there is even a greater issue:  gospel illiteracy.  I’ve asked a number of people throughout the years, “What is the gospel?” or “What is the good news of Jesus?  Does it mean anything to you?”  Roughly 90% of the people whom I’ve asked are unable to provide an answer.  It didn’t matter if they were a believer or an unbeliever; it didn’t matter if they had attended church for years, nor did it matter their denomination.  They simply could not answer that question.  

How about you?  How would you answer the question?

Some people reference Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John because these are the gospels that are often read in church.  If someone even mentions, “salvation,” they are automatically in the top five percent.  Even fewer go beyond that. 

The gospel, or the good news, is the central element of the Christian faith.  In simple, “non-churchy” terms it is this:  

  1. God, who is holy and perfect, created everything, including us and He created us to be in relationship with Him.  However, we have rebelled against God. This rebellion is called sin.
    • Our sin creates a broken relationship with God. When a relationship is broken, it creates a gap.
    • There is a gap between God and us and there is nothing we can do to bridge that gap. No matter how good we try to be, we are still sinners.
  2. But, God loves us and wants to be in relationship with us so much that He sent His only son, Jesus.
    • Through His death on the cross and through His resurrection, His cross bridges the gap between God and us.
  3. When we turn away from our sin (repent of our sins) and put our faith in Jesus, we cross the bridge.

The Bridge

That’s the good news – that’s the gospel.  It’s simple, but not at all simplistic.  For a fuller explanation, with pictures, please go to Word of Life’s website.

This might be new to you, or you might have heard it before.  The question you need to ask yourself is “Is this true?”