And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3
Solomon was one man among many that asked God for wisdom to rule the people of Israel. The bible tells us that Solomon gained fame because his wisdom was well known throughout the surrounding nations of his time. The royal advisers of Kings from these lands were sent to Jerusalem for the opportunity to hear the wisdom of Solomon. He was capable of speaking three thousand proverbs and was known for over a thousand songs. Even the Queen of Sheba from the southwest end of the Red Sea heard of the fame of Solomon and went to Jerusalem to test his wisdom. Nothing was too hard for Solomon the king to explain.
Solomon was credited for writing a book of wisdom of the Old Testament known as Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes tells us that Solomon searched the wisdom of the world only to find that there was a time and a season for everything, but nothing was new under the sun. Solomon saw the effort of men to live and thought life was pointless as if trying to catch the wind. After years of searching for wisdom he came to this conclusion about life.
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.
Like Solomon we are surrounded with the wisdom of the world. The wisdom of the world is to drink eight glasses of water, a glass of milk, take an aspirin every day and then brush our teeth after each meal. In addition you need direct TV, telephone and Internet service from the same company and a specific automobile to have the woman of your dreams. The wisdom of the world is endless, but it all boils to things you must do. The cloud of worldly witnesses is so free with its perception of the truth that if we were to apply the entirety of the worldís wisdom to our lives, it would leave no time to read a book or worship God.
The truth of the world adds to our stress as we attempt to keep up with the ever-changing truth that it says you need to acquire. Worldly truth about success has become a perception of acquiring wealth and possessions, but this reality adds to the stress we inflict on ourselves to obtain the things of this world. When we own them, we are forced to buy a security devices to protect our possessions from thieves and those who deliberately destroy the things we own. Is there anything that can give relief from the stress of life?
The constant hustle and bustle have gotten me about wore out and it seems as if I havenít time for coffee unless get it on the go. Everyone has the same problem with too much to do and not enough time to get it all done. Something has to give because you are afraid that you are going to have a mental breakdown. How long does it take to understand that the effort of chasing the things of this world is like trying to catch a greased pig?
The man who said life is too short was not talking about the gift of life that God wants to give to every person. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that God does not want anyone to perish, but he wants everyone to turn away from the sin that corrupts his or her heart and restricts his access to God. Still, eternal life is Godís gift that changes your outlook on life because it starts right now and will never end.
Sin is evil act that will destroy the person enslaved by its nature. Guilt and shame accompany the act of sin and because of the shame of sin most people will commit to another act of sin to hide their guilt. Everyone on earth struggles with acts of sin and when they consider he proís and conís of what they plan to do would rather do what is right, but allows sin to take advantage of their selfish nature. Sin is an invader, an oppressor of men or women that masters the desires and cravings of the individual, enslaving those seduced by sin. Because the human race is ignorant of sin, everyone has sinned and fallen short of Godís glory.
Sin normally harms your life, but sin is really a selfish act that temporarily benefits the person who chooses to sin. Although the immediate effect from sin benefits its perpetrator, in the long run sin does more harm to you than good. God calls what one gains from sin as wages and has forewarned mankind that the wages of sin is death. God hates sin and anyone choosing to sin is not worthy to enter the kingdom of God.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23
Sin is a crime against God and the person you hurt. Sin may be seen as a merit badge in the world, but God has a different view of sin. As the supreme ruler of the earth, every person in the world is accountable to God for his or her actions. In advance of judgment day God has promised to impose a penalty of death for sin accredited to you. God is a person who knows what sin is capable of and reveals his regard towards sin in a harsh manner. However being a just person God has made it known that he will punish everything that causes sin and all who do evil in a lake of fire separated from his presence forever.
God devised a way so that a sinner may not remain separated from his presence, but allow him to regain access to the throne of God. Godís plan to forgive and to totally restore you to his presence as if you had never sinned. His plan included adopting you as his child, the privilege of citizenship in Godís kingdom and a room in his mansion in heaven. In the long run, God wanted to give everyone the gift of life and eternal happiness. God demonstrated his love for mankind when he sent his Son Jesus, the lamb of God to die in our place so man would not perish.
During the Paschal meal the night before his crucifixion, Christ told his disciples that he was going away. He would return to them so they would not become orphans, and that they would live because he lives. Christ also said he would send another counselor to help them live in the same manner as God had enabled him to live a sinless life. Christ pointed to a specific principle, if his disciples loved him they would obey his teaching and his Father would in turn love them. Together they would come and make their home with the disciples because his or her obedience is a demonstration showing that they loved Jesus.
Because I live, you also will live. John 14:19 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe. John 14:29
Jesus led the disciples across the Kidron valley to the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus took advantage of the foliage to teach another valuable lesson. As the vine provides the life giving substances to produce fruit on the branches, Christ would also provide life-giving words so the disciple may live and produce fruit for the kingdom. Anyone who remains in Christ will live but those apart from Christ are like the branches the farmer prunes off and throws into the fire.
"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing John 15:5.
There at Gethsemane under the influence of Satan, Judas led the Temple guard to arrest Jesus and take him away. The Sanhedrin convened during the hours of darkness as Jesus stood silently while many scoundrels came forth and falsely accused Jesus of wrongdoing. The law required that two or three witnesses agree before the truth of guilt could be established, but none of the testimony agreed. Jesus remained silent until the High Priest asked, are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?
"I am," said Jesus. "And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." Mark 14:62
On hearing Jesus Christís answer the High Priest tore his clothes and asked the court, Why do we need any more witnesses, you have heard blasphemy with your ears. The court was resolved to put Jesus Christ to death, but they could not execute Jesus by Roman law. In the mourning hours that followed Jesus was taken to Herod and back to Pilate, both finding him not worthy of death. Pilate conceded to the demands of the people offering them a choice between a man that was a notorious murderer with the knowledge that Jesus Christ was innocence of any wrongdoing. The crowd demanded the death of the Lamb of God and Pilate consented.
Pilate handed Jesus over to his execution squad of sadistic soldiers trained to scourge the accused and then Pilate sentenced him to die on the cross. Those soldiers mocked him all the way to the cross where they raped him of his dignity, nailed him to a cross lifted him up so his death could be seen by all. No one ever was taken down from a Roman cross before they died.
After the death of Jesus Christ, Joseph of Arimathea a prominent member of the council went to Pontius Pilate and requested his body. When he learned that Jesus had died, Pilate gave the body of Christ to Joseph who took the body of Jesus Christ down and prepared for burial according to the custom for Jews. Then he placed the body of Christ in a tomb he had cut out for himself.
The Roman government and members of the Jewish Sanhedrin publicly recognized the death of Jesus Christ. However, the High Priest asked Pilate to post guards at the tomb of Jesus, thinking that the resurrection of Jesus Christ would be a greater deception than at first.
In the three days that followed Christís death life began to take on a sense of normality. The people of Jerusalem began to accept the death of their Savior and went back to living as they did before they knew Christ. It was the realization that the person alleged to be Israelís deliverer was dead and no one ever came back from the grave. The disciples mourned the death of Jesus Christ and were taking his death hard. During this time they retold the events about when how he healed the lame, cured people of leprosy and raised people from the dead. They spoke of his humor and how he showed love and respect for everyone he met.
On the third day after the Passover and Christís death, the women who provided for his needs went to the tomb of Jesus to care for his body. When they arrived they found the Stone rolled away, the soldiers guarding the site were petrified from fear and unable to move. Looking in, the women found the tomb empty.
They came expecting to care for the body of Jesus, they did not expect to find a tomb empty. They were convinced that Jesus was really dead and that someone had moved his body. Off to the side stood a gardener and frantically Mary ran to him asking where her Lord had been taken. The gardener turned and said Mary. Instantly the bleakness of the day, the grief and despair of losing a loved one changed when she recognized her Lord.
Relief and excitement overwhelmed Mary as she recognized the voice of her Lord and Savior. Jesus had risen from the dead as he had said. In her excitement she reached out to embrace Jesus with all her might. However Jesus was more concerned that his disciples knew that he was alive and they would see him again.
Jesus sent these women to the upper room immediately where the disciples discouraged over the events of the last week were grieving. Bursting with excitement, the women told the disciples that the tomb was empty and Mary had not only seen the Lord, but had talked to him. The good news was unbelievable but wonderful. How could Christ be living, since the disciples witnessed his death? His resurrection was verified in the discipleís eyes and on going to the tomb all they found was the cloth his body was buried in.
Meanwhile, Cleopas and his friend were on their way to Emmaus with faces that showed sadness revealing how they truly felt. As Jesus joined them they were discussing the events of the Passover week and how the chief priests had handed Jesus over to be crucified. These two men hoped that Jesus would be the one who was going to redeem Israel. Then they said, something amazing may have happened this morning. Some of our women were at the tomb of Jesus and saw a vision of angels telling them that Jesus was alive.
On the path to Emmaus, Jesus began to open the scriptures that explained that Jesus had to suffer these things and then enter his glory. They wanted to know more and asked him to join them for the evening meal. As Jesus broke bread Cleopas and his friend recognized their rabbi as he faded from sight.
Overwhelmed with joy and unable to contain themselves they returned to the upper room in Jerusalem. On arrival, they told the disciples gathered in the upper room that they had seen and spoken to Jesus. While they were speaking about their encounter with Christ, Jesus appeared in the midst of the room and greeted them. After Jesus had calmed the fear of the disciples, the number of witnesses that could testify about a risen Jesus Christ who had died but was alive, grew. Jesus offered proof that he was living and they saw and touched his nail pierced hands and feet. Then he ate some broiled fish in their presence and responded to their questions.
This same Jesus, the man the world hated, had been beaten, had been persecuted and killed on the cross Ė was alive. Jesus opened the minds of the disciples to understand what was written in the scriptures. They had witnessed prophecy unfold before their eyes and Jesus was sending them into the world with the good news that God does not want anyone to perish.
For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:9
God has offered man a choice between life and death and both are eternal. How shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation?
God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." Acts 2:36
Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12
How do we inherit eternal life? The bible tells us
That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
It is the truth of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that changes the lives of mankind because it is verifiable. Millions of people have heard the story and have accepted it just as many have rejected the gospel story for one reason or another. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can be historically verified nine ways to Sunday. What changed lives and converts ordinary people into Christians is the truth that gives a determined effort to serve Jesus Christ.
Once people make a determined choice to believe in Christís death and resurrection the reality of God enters their life and their eyes are opened to the spiritual realm. Men and women become a new creation through believing the death and resurrection of Jesus and confess Jesus as Lord. This is an open confession accepting the atoning sacrifice of Christ to reconcile them to God. The experience of becoming a child of God gives everyone an assured knowledge that when they die they will go to heaven to be with Jesus Christ. The truth that changes lives comes with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and allowing him to reign as Lord and Savior.