What's the problem?
Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
(There is no confusion that we are all sinful and have no righteousness of our own as far as God is concerned)
Ephesians 2:1-5 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved—
(We are by nature children of Wrath, not children of God. We either WERE spiritually dead or we ARE spiritually dead. If you ARE spiritually dead the Wrath of God will be poured out on you for all eternity; you must be made spiritually alive; you must be born again)
John 3:3 Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
(By Grace you have been saved through Faith; there is nothing you can do to earn it or deserve it. Yes, you will do good works after you are born again; however, good works and religious activity will not earn you favor with God if you are not born again. When we are born again we are a new creation, we will desire the things of God and we will desire to please our Daddy)
2Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
(When we are born again we will be obedient to God. Our desire to please God; to live, talk, and think in a manner pleasing to Him, will be as much a part of us as breathing in and out. This is not sinless perfection; but it is not willful disobedience either. God has some very strong language for the willfully disobedient)
1Johnn 1:6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.
Hebrews 10:26-27 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
The Message as Never Changed
(The message of repentance has never changed; God is the same yesterday, today and forever)
Matthew 3:1-2 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Luke 24:44-49 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled." 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high."
(Jesus began His ministry with the message of repentance and before He ascended back to Heaven He instructed His disciples that this is what they are to preach as well)
Acts 3:17 "And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out,
(God’s Word makes it clear; before you heard the message of repentance; before you were presented the true Gospel you sinned out of ignorance; but now that you know the Truth you are faced with a decision: turn from your sins and ask God to forgive you, surrender your life to Him and live for Him OR be willfully disobedient)
Acts 2:37Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" 38 And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
(Our response when we hear the bad news; which is, “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and there is nothing you can do to earn or deserve redemption and eternal life; should be the same as their response in Acts 2:37: “What shall we do”. Can you hear the panic in their voice? Can God hear the panic in your voice?)
Ephesians 5:-1-8 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. 4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. 5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore do not become partners with them; 8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light
1Peter 4:1-5 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
(Friends and family will not act favorably when you start living for God instead of living for the world….will that stop you from living for Him? Do you love the world more than God? Do you love acceptance from the world more than eternal life?)
1Corinthians 6:9-11 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(Yes, we are all wicked! But when we surrender our life to Jesus Christ He cleans us up with His Blood and we no longer live for the passions of our flesh, we no longer practice sin. Notice how His Word says, we are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God; we are not justified by a priest, a prayer, being a good person, mission trips, or doing good works)
So, what happens after we die?
Hebrews 9:27-28 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
(NO PURGOTORY! Die-Judgment; nothing in between. Notice He says “bear the sins of MANY”, not ALL…not all will receive Him and repent.)
(Paul didn’t just say “he wasn’t ashamed of the Gospel”, he walked it out until they killed him for it. This is the same Paul (used to be Saul) that had all the power and influence a person could want, he killed Christians, people looked up to him, he had the best “worldly” education; yet he gave it all up when Jesus saved him)
Romans 1:16-32 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith." 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 hough they know God's decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
(All this should leave you first feeling helpless; but then hopeful when you give your life to Jesus. If it all sounds like foolishness; that is not surprising either; the Gospel is foolishness to those that are headed to hell)
1Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
(On the other hand; if you want to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, if you have come to the end of yourself and instead want the redemption that comes only through the Blood of Christ; not from religion or works of your own; repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ. When you flee to the Cross of Christ you will not only find Him waiting, you will find Him willing to make you a child of God)
1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Ephesians 1:5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,
John 1:12-13 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
(Just because you were born in to a certain religion or blood line does not condemn or save you; your sin condemns you and your faith in Jesus Christ saves you; that is what it means “not of blood” – There is nothing you can do to earn it or deserve it; that is what it means “not of flesh” – Salvation is entirely a work of God; we can do nothing, He does it all, He gets all the glory; that is what it means “nor of the will of man”. Today if you hear His voice; if you feel Him calling you home; do not harden your heart, we are not guaranteed tomorrow)
Hebrews 4:6-7 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, "Today," saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts."
"This is OVERWHELMING!"
All of this is very overwhelming when you first hear it; many would prefer to walk away from it; this response is no different when Jesus taught these things when He walked the earth:
John 6:60-68 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, "Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." 66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. 67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" 66 Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,
(“many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him”; when we consider that the non-believers are not saved, and those that are counting on their religion will not be saved, and those that might claim Jesus as their Lord, yet practice sin are not saved; it is not hard to see where Jesus is coming from when He says what He did in Matthew 7)
Matthew 7:13-29 "Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. 15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits. 21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?' 23 And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.' 24 "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it." 28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, 29 for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.