A.D. Anno Domini "the year of our Lord"
The Simple Truth about The Bible, Jesus Christ, and Christianity
Every day the evening news reports the death of those involved in an accident or disaster somewhere, or a famous celebrity we all know dies. But it seems so unreal in our own daily lives. Then someone we work with, go to school with, or a close loved one dies. A quick accident, or a lingering disease and they are gone, but where ? We generally say they have gone to be with God in Heaven, and then we simply block it from our thoughts. But still there is this feeling we have of the unknown. How do we really know what happens ?
Sometimes when we are alone, maybe sitting at home late at night or early in the morning, driving in a car, looking out at a beautiful landscape, or up at a star lit sky, we stop and think. What is life really all about, and what really happens afterwards ? Sometimes we just wonder how we can make it through each day. There are many religions and theories of man in this world developed upon intellect, and they all basically say the same thing. Just be pretty good and don't worry about it. They all teach the same thing except one man, Jesus Christ. So what is this book the Bible, and where did it come from ? Who was and is Jesus Christ ? Does the Bible really tell us why we are here, and what happens afterwards ? What is Christianity really all about ?
13 Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:13-14)
To understand who Jesus Christ is we must first look at the historical written account of his life and teachings. According to Webster's Dictionary the definition of the Bible is: The Holy Book of Christianity containing the Old and New Testaments. Holy means regarded with or characterized by divine power, power pertaining to God.
The Bible was written over a period of about 1600 years by 44 men. These men lived in different times and places, and most of them never met. Yet the history, prophecies, and concepts expressed in the Bible, are all found to match and fit together perfectly. In fact each part of the Bible is necessary in some way for the understanding of the other parts. The Bible itself states 16"All Scripture is God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16). This means that every word in the Bible was written by men that were inspired and guided by God himself. The Bible fits together so perfectly that those who study it for years say that if you added or removed ONE word, it could effect the meaning.
For hundreds of years skeptics have said the writings in the Bible were not true, but even if they were true they would have probably been changed over time. In 1947, young Bedouin shepherds, searching for a stray goat in the Judean Desert, entered a long-untouched cave and found jars filled with ancient scrolls. That initial discovery by the Bedouins yielded seven scrolls and began a search that lasted nearly a decade and eventually produced thousands of scroll fragments from eleven caves. During those same years, archaeologists searching for a habitation close to the caves that might help identify the people who deposited the scrolls, excavated the Qumran ruin, a complex of structures located on a barren terrace between the cliffs where the caves are found and the Dead Sea. Within a fairly short time after their discovery, historical, paleographic, and linguistic evidence, as well as carbon-14 dating, established that the scrolls and the Qumran ruin dated from the third century B.C.E. to 68 C.E. They were indeed ancient! Coming from the late Second Temple Period, a time when Jesus of Nazareth lived, they are older than any other surviving manuscripts of the Hebrew Scriptures by almost one thousand years. When compared with the King James Version of the Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls were found to match almost perfectly.
When history and prophecies stated in the Bible have been verified, they have been proven to be true. As archaeologists and historians pieced together the past they found that prophecies that foretold of the rise and fall of empires had been fulfilled. Skeptics still said that some of the stories told in the Bible were too unrealistic to be true, but archeolgist continue to make discoveries that confirm the information in the Bible. Many of the prophecies foretold in the Bible several thousand years ago have been fulfilled within the last 100 years, and anyone that studies the Bible can see the world events leading toward the fulfilling of the final prophecies. What type of book is this that even predicts events of the future? Christians simply refer to it as the Word of God.
Who is Jesus Christ ?
According to Webster's Dictionary the definition for Jesus is: The founder of Christianity, son of Mary and regarded in the Christian faith as Christ the Son of God, the Messiah.
Jesus Christ - The History
Hundreds of years before Jesus birth, the Old Testament of the Bible recorded the words of the prophets of Israel predicting his coming. The Old Testament which was written by many people over a period of 1,500 years, before Jesus was born, contains more than 300 prophecies describing his coming and the events that would follow. All of these details came true, including his miraculous virgin birth, his sinless life, his many miracles, his death and his resurrection.
Eye witness testimonies in the Bible state that Jesus Christ performed many miracles including: Changed water to wine, feeds thousands of people with a few loaves bread and a few fish, healed all types of illnesses and afflictions (blindness, lepers, paralytic, and many more), raises three people from the dead (widow's son, Jairus's daughter, Lazarus), calms a storm and walks on water. After his death and resurrection He appeared for 40 days in his physical body to many people, including 500 on one occasion.
Jesus Christ - Who did the Apostles and Jesus Christ himself say He Is ?
The Apostle John stated "1 In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word (Jesus) was with God, and the Word (Jesus) was God … 3 Through him (Jesus) all things were made; without him (Jesus) nothing was made that has been made...14 The Word (Jesus) became flesh and made his dwelling among us." (John 1:1-3). The Apostle Peter stated 15 Jesus asked. "Who do you say I am?" 16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matthew 16:15-16) The Apostle Paul stated "15He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him (Jesus) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him (Jesus) and for him. 17He (Jesus) is before all things, and in him all things hold together." (Colossians 1:15-17) Jesus Christ Himself said 30I and the Father are one." (John 10:30) and Jesus said: 9"… Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father." (John 14:9)
The Bible clearly states that Jesus Christ was God in the form of a man (God in the flesh), that Jesus existed before the beginning of time, and that this world and everything in it was created by Lord Jesus Christ. His birth at Bethlehem was not his beginning, it was just part of the plan that He came to fulfill, a plan for our salvation. God himself came in the form of the man Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us.
Jesus Christ - The proof that Jesus Christ was God
What proves beyond any doubt that Jesus Christ was not like any other man ? The Apostle Paul stated 4"and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 1:4) There is a tomb where Jesus was laid after his crucification. If you could find it, you would not find bones or any sign that he had been buried there. 34 "It is true! The Lord has risen" (Luke 24:34) 4 he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6 After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, (1 Corinthians 15:4-6). Apparently there were many that lived near the time that He walked this earth that believed He was not like any other man that has ever lived. Perhaps they indicated this to us by the fact that all the calendars of the world count the number of days that have passed since the date of his birth. According to Webster's Dictionary A.D. means: Anno Domini, Latin for 'in the year of our Lord".
According to Webster's Dictionary the definition of a Christian is: A believer and follower of the teachings of Jesus. I believe if you ask any Christian what it means to be a Christian, they would tell you it means to know the love of God through the Lord Jesus Christ.
So what are the teachings of Jesus Christ? To sum it up in one word, it is all about LOVE. Most everyone has heard the 10 commandments (You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, etc.). One of the teachers asked Jesus: "Of all the commandments, which is the most important?"
29"The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:29-31)
Actually the plan for God himself to come to this world in the form of Jesus Christ was made long before the creation of this world, and his purpose for coming was much more than just to tell us about love. God's plan was to show us the greatest love this world has known, that is God's love for us. Jesus said: 16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18) Jesus makes it perfectly clear whoever believes in him shall have "eternal life" and whoever does not "stands condemned". Jesus also said "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
God's plan requires that we believe what He tells us "2By this gospel you are saved,… 3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, … (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). By believing the Gospel we understand that we are born sinners, that God loves us so much that He was willing to die a horrible death for our sins, and that He proved that Jesus Christ was and is truly God in the flesh by his resurrection from the dead. 16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes … (Romans 1:16) "13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation …" (Ephesians 1:13) All we must do is truely believe in our heart what God tells in the Bible to be saved.
There is an infinite difference between believing in God, and believing what God tells us in the Bible. "8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:8). This verse does not say God does love, it says GOD IS LOVE. God is perfect, He is perfect love, and He can not bear the presence of sin. But the Bible states we are all sinners 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Romans 3:22-24) Are you a sinner ? The Bible states 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Roman 6:23) This is not only a physical death but a spiritual death. 20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ezekiel 8:20) The death of our spirit has separated us from God until we believe what He has told us, the Gospel. There is nothing we can do to earn our way to God, He will ONLY save us by GRACE if we simply BELIEVE. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) We are saved by grace so that we will be thankful instead of proud. Pride causes rebellion, and rebellion causes sin. We are born with a rebellious nature to sin, but God just wants what is best for us. What sins that you commit are good for you ?
Through faith we overcome our rebellious nature, and trust God with our heart, and He will save those " who believe". 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) 6"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." (Galatians 5:6) We show our love for God by understanding and believing what God tells us in the Bible. This book is just a short outline, God intends for us to gain real faith through reading and studying the Bible. Through our faith we "become children of God ". 12"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God " (John 1:12) God accepts us just like we are. We come to him as sinners, and we are still sinners after we are saved. "7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace" (Ephesians 1:7) We are forgiven through our faith that Jesus Christ shed his own blood for our sins. 17 …Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Mark 2:17) Jesus said that we MUST recognize that we are sinners, and that we need forgiveness through him. As our faith and love for God grows He gives us the power to deal with any problem, and to overcome our addictions and desire to sin. 26Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)
So what does the Bible say is the purpose of life ? The most important purpose is to make a decision. The time we are here is insignificant in comparison to eternity. What happens after we die ? 27" Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment," (Hebrews 9:27) Where do we go after we die ? Whether or not someone believes in the existence of Heaven and Hell, they are clearly described in the Bible. God did not make Hell for us, He made it for Satan, but if we do not follow God, then we follow Satan. You might say that even though I am not saved, I'm not that bad and so God would not send me to Hell. Are you sure ?
Heaven - 9However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9)
Hell - 8But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)
Each morning we awaken and we think of the events of the day that lay ahead of us. Each evening as we look back on the day we are amazed at how quickly it passed. The days, the weeks, the months, and the years, where does the time go ? Is there something more to life ? What's it all about ? Do you feel there is something missing ? If you believe you have everything under control, if you have things figured out, if you are sure you are going to do things your way, then Jesus Christ can not help you. But if you feel something missing, something that you can not explain, something deep down inside your heart, then any Christian can tell you for certain the thing that is missing is Jesus Christ. But you must recognize THE NEED FOR JESUS CHRIST before He can help you.
Jesus Christ hung on a cross, sentenced to be crucified even though He had done nothing wrong. The people stood watching, the rulers sneered at him, others mocked him, and hurled insults at him. As He was dying 34Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:32-43)
Jesus Christ said: 20 "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come In …"(Revelation 3:20)
Who do YOU say Jesus Christ is ?
How do I begin a relationship with God ?
A simple prayer can begin your relationship with God that will last an eternity. A prayer is not rehearsed or planned, it is simply you talking to God as your father. Tell God you need him, tell him you realize what He has done for you, tell him you need his forgiveness and love, and most of all tell him how you really feel in your heart. Remember how much He loves you.
How do I know if I'm saved ?
2By this gospel you are saved,.. 3: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,…"
(1 Corinthians. 15:1-4) God promises that we are saved by faith the moment we believe the Gospel. Do you believe the Gospel ? Do you trust and believe what God tells you ? 14because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:14) After you believe: Do you hunger for God's Word (the Bible) ? Do you enjoy spending time with God in prayer ? Do you love being with God's people (other Christians) ? Do you enjoy worshipping God at a Christian Church ? Do you want to tell others about Jesus Christ ? Do you honestly care about others, and want to help those in need ? Do you want to live your life God's way because you know it is best for you ? Do those around you see how you have changed? Do you really believe how much God loves you, and do you truly love Him ? These are signs that someone is "led by the Spirit of God". The moment you believe you will probably know. You will still have problems, and still be tempted, but you will KNOW that everything will be different from now on. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I ask Jesus Christ how much He loves me, He spread out his arms wide and said this much, and then He died.