Scripture: I Timothy 1:15
During the past few weeks apart from reading sundry books and magazines I had the privilege of reading the autobiography of Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest exponents of Advaita philosophy, He Walked Among Us by Josh McDowell, one of the great writers on apologetics and listening to an audio book entitled God Delusion by Robert Dawkins. After all these mental gymnastics I came to the conclusion that indeed Jesus is ‘the Way, the truth and the life and no one can go to the Father except through Him’.
Around 40 years ago when I a young boy of 16, when I heard the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I did not immediately believe but did a lot of reading and then only believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. I never regret that decision. Now after all these years of spiritual journey I am more firm believer in Jesus than when I first believed in Him. But I continue to prod and search more about Jesus from the Bible and books that I can get hold of. Now the search is over but deepening my understanding of Jesus goes on.
We live in a culture where we are called to believe anything and anyone without any reasonable questioning. We are told our faith is all that is needed to really make the difference. If we believe in a stone as god then the stone turns into a god. It is a heartwarming sentiment but anyone with reasonable mind of his own simply cannot accept such ludicrous thinking. We are also told by even most educated and enlightened people that all faiths are same and it does not matter what path you choose as all lead to one God. Another sentimental and misguided nonsense.
I am not advocating that people should spend years of their life in pursuit of true faith and then one day believe in the truth he thinks is right. This way you will be lost in the wilderness of all sorts of maze of ideas. Some search all their life and come up with just a feeble wind of nothing. But we should know what and why we believe by reasonable research and thinking.
Paul says in 1Tim 1:15 few things which I am going to elaborate so that those of you who are seeking for the truth may consider believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. Hope you will begin your search seriously.
I Here is a trustworthy saying
Paul talks about reliability of the Gospel. He not only meant spiritual reliability but more so historical reliability. Even now there are people who believe that Jesus never existed and that Jesus was the fabrication of the imaginations of the disciples. When we read the Gospels we never get this idea. All the four Gospels talk about the historical Jesus. All the sayings of Jesus are carefully recorded; the miracles were well recorded as facts as and more than anything else the death and resurrection of the Lord are recorded as history and not myth. Initially it was hard for the disciples to believe but then when they saw the Lord Risen from the dead they were convinced that Jesus was indeed alive and He was what He had talked about Himself. They not only believed but gave their life for their faith and out of 12 Disciples ten of became martyrs.
Luke records the life of Jesus as historical facts. He says “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the Word. Therefore since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you most excellent Theophilus so that you man know the certainty of the things you have been taught” As we with open mind think of each word we realize that without a shadow of doubt the Lord Jesus existed in history and all accounts are accurately recorded.
Even after many years of the incident in Jerusalem Peter tells us in his letter that Jesus was indeed a historical person. He says “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” Can there be any doubt of the historicity of the Lord Jesus Christ?
There are many historical records of the Lord Jesus Christ. Dr. Josh McDowell says that there was controversy regarding doctrinal matters in the early church but never once on the historicity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
II Deserves full acceptance. In the beginning the disciples preached only among the Jews but slowly it dawned on them that the Gospel is meant for all people of all generations. They also knew that the Lord had commanded them to go into the entire world and preach the Gospel. So today the followers of Jesus Christ are found in all parts of the world. This wonderful faith spread from a remote and small city of Jerusalem to all parts of the world and today the growth is relentless. In Nepal and among Nepali people the church has grown beyond our wildest imagination.
We come from various backgrounds but all of us are human and all human have certain common things. We all yearn for joy, peace and security. Many of us feel emptiness without God of some kind. The Gospel meets us where we are and gives us peace, joy and assurance of forgiveness of God. This is our universal experience. We can know and believe in the Lord Jesus for salvation from our sin.
One of the big objections our opponents have regarding the Gospel is that it is for the white people only and not for us as this religion was not born in Asia. We have universal mandate to preach all over the world because the mandate is given to us by the King of Universe. Many things we have today were originally not from India or Nepal but we use them and are benefited and so why single out Christian faith? Do you not eat tomato because it was originally thought to be from Peru and not rejoice when you see roses because it came from Europe and not use mobile phone because it originated in some Western nation? How absurd logic it is when we say we cannot accept Christian faith because it did not originate in Asia. In fact Israel where Jesus came from is known as West Asia.
III Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am the worst. The Bible says “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” What it means in simple term is that man is estranged from God. He cannot fulfill the standard of God at all and so he is condemned to hell and damnation. The Lord Jesus comes as the Saviour and he declares that He can save sinners. In Mathew 9:12 it is said, “It is not healthy who needs a doctor but the sick, But go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous but sinners” If we think we are righteous then Jesus cannot save us but only those who recognizes his sinfulness.
Only when we know some fundamental doctrines on Jesus then we will be able to understand that only Jesus really, truly and fully has the authority to forgive sinners. The following are just a very simple samples of verses to prove my point but there are huge body of Biblical documents to prove these and many other crucial doctrine regarding the Lord Jesus Christ. The ones I have quoted will at least start anyone on the journey to explore and accept the truth. You must believe in these truths.
He is God. John 14:1-14. All must believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ. He is not one of the gods but the only one and there is no one beside Him.
He is creator John 1:1-5. All things seen or unseen are all created by Jesus and nothing is there which is not created by Him.
He is the only Saviour Acts 4:12. He is Savior because He died as a sacrifice on our behalf on the cross, was buried and rose again on the third day.
He is the Lord of Lords and King of kings for ever Revelation 17:14. There may be many gods and lords but for us there is only one and He is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Beloved, our Jesus is so majestic that we have no words to describe Him.
III of whom I am chief. This statement is astounding from Paul. He was everything and much more a man can aspire to be. He was the most accomplished man around that time as his statement in Philippian Chapter 31-11 clearly demonstrates.
He was from an influential tribe of Benjamin- He was socially and politically a person of status. He was a Pharisee- He belonged to the most religious sect of Judaism. He can be termed today as Brahmin of the Brahmins. If Paul was living today we would call him, Swamiji, His holiness and Guruji or some exalted name. He was educated in Jerusalem under Gamaliel, one of the most powerful teacher of the day- In today’s term we would call him Dr. Paul Phd. Zealous for his religion- He can be termed as fundamentalist to the core. He was well of – May not be multimillionaire but rich enough with no financial worry.
But when Jesus confronted him on the way to Damascus, he for the first time realized the he is a sinner and only Jesus can save him. Once he was saved he gave up everything to follow him. For him Christ was everything and all else was dross and a heap of garbage. The tradition says he was decapitated for his faith. For him Jesus was the hidden treasure and pearl of great price and he sacrificed all to gain the Lord Jesus Christ.
When he talks about himself, he does not talk about any of his great achievements but his sin and how Jesus saved him. He knew he was a chief sinner and but saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. So he is not proclaiming Christ out of pride and superiority but out of absolute humility. In fact he was saying, “Look at me. I thought I knew God and was pleasing him. But when Jesus met me then I found that I was a just a terrible sinner and He graciously saved me”
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that we need to be really humble when we go out and preach the Gospel. At times those of us who are Christians and really know the Lord go around condemning all those who do not believe. One of the reasons we are attacked is also because we are not sensitive. But Paul went around as one sinner appealing to another sinner with the only difference that it was the sheer grace of God that he has realized his sinfulness and how Jesus has shown him mercy. We go out as one of them to save as many of them as possible.
There are some precious things we learn from God.
If Paul can be saved then all can be saved. Some feel so horrible about their sin that they feel their situation is hopeless but the example of Paul shows all without exception can be saved.
If Paul needed to be saved then all need to be saved too. No one can save himself from sin. You can be saved and you need to be saved.
Lee Strobel has written a very convincing book entitled The Case for Christ. He says he himself was not a believer till his wife became a Christian. Being a journalist and having a law degree from Yale Law School, he found it hard to believe just because of his wife’s changed life. He decided to objectively investigate for himself and after talking with experts on various fields he came to the conclusion that Jesus was indeed who he claimed to be and gave his heart to the Lord and today he is one of the Pastors of Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago. In his conclusion of the book he says ‘You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to”
I fully agree with Lee Strobel. You have to accept Jesus as he claimed to be or reject Him. But I plead with all give your serious thought on this issue because your decision decides where you will spend your eternity. It is your choice.
Poignant Statement: Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the Child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty, and then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself. He had nothing to do with this world except the naked power of His Divine manhood. While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a Cross between two thieves. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth while He was dying—and that was His coat. When He was dead He was taken down and laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Such was His human life—He rises from the dead. Nineteen wide centuries have come and gone and today He is the Centerpiece of the human race and the Leader of the column of progress. I am within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, and all the navies that ever were built, and all the parliaments that ever sat, and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that One Solitary Life. -James C. Hefley
I need You. You loved me so much that You gave Your life for me. I believe you are God’s Son and that He raised You from the dead. Thank You for dying on the Cross for me and for providing the only way for me to have a relationship with You. Please forgive me for all my sins, and wash me clean with Your Blood. Come and live in my heart now, and fill me with Your Holy Spirit. Please be the Lord of my life. Teach me how to love You and walk with You every day. I pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Republished in new layout on 8/5/2013
written by nicky , November 14, 2009
Thank you for correction of the name from Robert to Richard. My great weakness
Thank you for your compliment and pray that I may write better.
Thank you for your comment on my ability. I know I am not scholarly and this was not meant to be one. I will keep that in mind.
Thank you for taking the time to read. It means a lot to me.
Please give me your suggestions as they are valauable to me. I also do pretend to be a writer. I write because it really gives me an opportunity to write and improve my English and makes me think
Bless you and thanks once again.
written by Yeshudas , November 13, 2009Dear Pastor,
It is always good to know what we are capable of achieving. You are a good preacher and please write your devotional in line with your calling. This article you tried is a mess and a best example of what happens when a pastor attempts to sound like a scholar.