"No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved."
"Father, Thank You for these words. You have sent Your only Son to die for us, because You loved us. As Christmas approaches, and we celebrate His birth, may we all remember that He was more than a virgin birth, He was more than a Babe worshiped in a manger. He was Your Son, born to die, not because of something that He did but because of something WE did. We pray in His name today, Amen."
Happy Encouragement Day!
I figured there's nothing more encouraging than these verses, right? When we're witnessing to others and trying to explain our faith, we sometimes focus on Creationism, or the End Times, or Miracles. This is the simple truth of the Bible. If all we understand from the Bible, if the only thing you "get" from this Bible Study is these verses, that is a success. The rest falls into place afterwards.
Jesus was born in that manger in Bethlehem in order to die on that cross. He didn't have to. He could have stayed in Heaven, if He wanted to, and He probably wanted to. Think of it this way: you're in bed, and it's really warm, but you know that you have to get out because you have to put in some community service hours or something. Your really want to stay in bed where it's warm and comfortable (heaven) but your desire to help others overrules that, and you get out of bed and do your community service.
Those people will thank you for doing that community service. They might even love you for it.
Jesus put in the ultimate community service: He died on the cross for our sins. We deserved to go to hell because of them, every single one of us. But Jesus loved us, and He wanted us to be with Him in heaven. So He came down, was born, taught us the correct way to live, and then died on the cross for us, so we could live that way, and then go to Heaven.
Don't take that last statement and say "someone who lives Christ-like goes to heaven". That's wrong. There is one way and one way into heaven. That is the prayer of salvation: your ticket into heaven. If you've never accepted Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, you are not going to Heaven.
Like Jesus, most Christians want everyone to go to Heaven. If you haven't yet, please prayer this prayer with me. What do you really have to loose? If you pray this prayer, and believe in with all your heart, then Jesus will come into your life, and you will find out how great He is. You don't have to believe in the rest of the Bible, that part isn't nearly as important. What's important is that you pray this prayer right now.
"Lord, thank You for this time to come together with You. I know I am a sinner, worthy of being cast from Your presence in the depths of hell. But I also believe, with all of my heart, that Jesus came down on the cross to die for my sins. I pray that You will just come into my life, Lord, and save me from these sins. Give me the gift of the Holy Spirit, please, Lord, to guide me as I follow You from now on. Your word ways that whoever believes in Jesus will have everlasting life in heaven with You. Thank You, Lord Jesus, for this gift that only You could have given. In Jesus' Name, Amen."
If you prayed this prayer for the first time, Congratulations. Welcome to the family of God; we are all His sons and daughters, because Jesus bought us with His blood. If you prayed this prayer and felt nothing, did you truly believe that Jesus died on the cross for your sins? If not, trust me, He did.
If you've been a Christian for years and have prayed this prayer before, what did you learn from this? Maybe you were reminded about how perfect and simple the Bible is. We get into a lot of stuff when we do our devotionals, and are convicted, and the Old Testament stuff is hard to understand sometimes... When that happens, we need to just remember the basic truth of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, all for us.
In His Service,