The Light Of The World
The Bible is the word of God, the everlasting Truth. It contains the account of creation, man’s disobedience to God, and the agony which came upon man because of sin. It also tells us of God’s love for man in making a plan to redeem him. It tells of a Savior who was born, who died for man’s sin, and was raised from death for man’s salvation. Whoever believes its message will experience forgiveness of sins, peace of mind, love for all men, power over sin, and a living hope of eternal life.
God’s Wonderful Creation
God, the creator of the universe, has always been. He is everywhere; He is almighty and all wise. By His great power all things were created. God created this earth covered with water, then He said, “Let the dry land appear,” and it happened. He created the hills and valleys and covered them with grass, beautiful flowers, and trees of every kind. He created the birds which sing so many different songs. God created all the animals, great and small, who roam the fields and forests, as well as the small insects and reptiles that live on the ground. He created the lakes and oceans and all the creatures that inhabit them. He made continents on which people of every race would live. God made the sun to give light and warmth and the moon to give light at night. He decked the sky with thousands of beautiful, twinkling stars. Last of all, God formed man from the dust of the earth. He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul. God called him Adam.God saw that Adam needed a helper, so He caused him to fall into a deep sleep. Then God took a rib from Adam and formed a woman. Adam loved Eve and she loved him too. They had sweet fellowship with each other. This was God’s plan for a family unit.God created everything in six days, and on the seventh day He rested. He looked at everything He had made, and saw that it was very good. So God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it as a day of rest for man.The Bible tells of a fallen angel called Satan, or the devil. He was cast out of Heaven and is the cause of all evil. Because of him, sorrow, suffering, sickness, and death came into the world.
The Tragic Beginning Of Sin
God loved Adam and Eve. He made a beautiful garden for them to live in. It was called the Garden of Eden. Adam was to take care of it. In this garden were many kinds of vegetables and fruit for them to eat. There was one tree called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam that he should not eat of that tree, for in the day that he would eat from it, he would surely die. One day Satan came to Eve and told her a lie. He said, “Ye shall not surely die…ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).As she looked upon the fruit of this beautiful tree, she saw that it would be good for food, and that eating it would bring wisdom. She took some fruit, gave some to Adam, and they both ate of it. Immediately they felt very guilty in their hearts. They had never felt this way before. They knew that they had done something very wrong. They were both ashamed of themselves as they thought of their disobedience. Fear came into their hearts as they thought of meeting God. So they hid themselves among the trees of the garden.In the cool of the day, God called Adam and said, “Where art thou?” They could not hide from God, so they came into His presence and acknowledged their wrongdoing. God caused them to understand what a great sin it was to disobey His command. He told them they must be punished for their disobedience. They would now experience pain and trouble in their lives. They would now have to work for their living. Their bodies would become old and worn out. They would die and return to dust again.After they were driven from this beautiful garden, God placed cherubims with a flaming sword to prevent them from eating of the tree of life. They began to understand the consequences of sin and what great sorrow it brings.
The Sad Result Of Sinning
Adam and Eve were very sorry for their sin of disobeying God. In spite of their sin He still loved them. He promised to send a Redeemer for the salvation of mankind.Cain and Abel were the first two sons born to Adam and Eve. One day, they brought an offering to the Lord. Cain brought food that he had produced. Abel brought a choice lamb of his flock and sacrificed it, shedding its blood. Abel’s sacrifice pleased God, but God was not pleased with Cain or his offering.When Cain noticed that God was pleased with Abel, envy and hatred toward Abel entered his heart. Then one day as they were together in the field, Cain rose up and killed his brother Abel. God asked Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” Cain was unwilling to tell the truth, so he said, “I know not: am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9) Cain had not been obedient in following the Lord’s instructions. God had warned him before he killed Abel that if he would do well he would be accepted. If only he had changed his attitude and loved his brother! Once again, sin caused man to be separated from the presence of God. Cain became a fugitive and a vagabond.
God So Loved The World That He Gave His Son
“For unto you is born this day…a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).After Abel was dead and Cain hadleft home, Adam and Eve had another son. His name was Seth. Seth was a God-fearing man. God blessed Seth’s descendants. They heard and believed God’s wonderful promises of a Savior who would someday deliver them. Abraham, especially, believed God and therefore was called the friend of God. Abraham was told that through his descendants all the families of the earth would be blessed.Many hundreds of years later God fulfilled His promise of sending a Savior into the world. It happened in a miraculous way, in the little town of Bethlehem of Judea. There in a stable, a baby was born to Mary, who was a virgin. (Luke 2:1-7). An angel told Mary that the baby’s name should be Jesus (meaning Savior). He would become a great teacher who would tell the people many things about God. Jesus grew up much like other children. At the age of twelve He understood the word of God better than many doctors and lawyers of Jerusalem. He seemed to know all about the law and prophets. No one could ask Him a question that He could not answer.Jesus was greatly interested in the needs of His people. When He was thirty years old, He began to teach in the synagogues. One day He read an Old Testament prophecy about the coming Messiah. When He had finished reading, He said to the people, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Luke 4:21). He taught the people with authority. He preached that the Kingdom of God was at hand, and that repentance was necessary for entrance into the Kingdom. He taught people to worship God in humility and sincerity. He rebuked the proud and unbelieving because of their sins, and preached the Gospel of love to the poor and needy.
Jesus Offers Eternal Life
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).Jesus did many miracles, proving to the people that He was the promised Savior sent from God. He healed the sick, brought sight to the blind, caused the deaf to hear, cast out devils and raised the dead to life. He walked on the water and calmed the stormy sea by His words. He spoke to a fig tree, and the next day it was found dried up from the roots. He fed more than five thousand hungry people with five loaves of bread and two fishes. When all had enough to eat, there still remained twelve baskets of food. Fishermen caught large numbers of fish when nets were cast at His command. One day Jesus met ten lepers who had heard of His fame. They cried, “Master, have mercy on us.” By His word they were healed.Large crowds followed Jesus daily, whether He was in town or traveling on the roads. The people were blessed by his gracious words, kindness, compassion, and by the miracles He performed.He began to tell the people that He was the Son of God, and that God was His Father. All who believed His words were blessed. He told those who believed that they were children of God.Jesus said to His disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2, 3). This place in Heaven is for all true Christians.“Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).
Jesus Died For Our Sins
“When they were come to…Calvary, there they crucified him” (Luke 23:33).The scribes and Pharisees were greatly annoyed at Jesus and His teaching. He often reproved them for seeking honor and their unlawful moneymaking practices. They were very jealous and envious of Jesus, because so many people believed in Him, followed Him, and praised Him. They feared that the people might make Jesus their king.They tried to make Jesus say or do things that would cause the people to lose faith in Him, but Jesus was too wise for them. Their hatred and anger grew as Jesus’ popularity continued to increase. It became so great they made plans to put Him to death.They took Jesus to court and charged Him as an evildoer and blasphemer. They brought many false charges against Him. Then they took Him to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. Pilate found no fault in Jesus, so He decided to release Him. But the accusers of Jesus turned into an angry mob and cried, “Crucify Him, crucify Him.” When Pilate heard their angry cries and threats, he gave in to their demands and turned Jesus over to them. They took Jesus and put a crown of thorns on His head, and in mockery they called Him a king. They spit in His face and cruelly beat Him. Finally, they nailed Him to the cross and left Him to die.Jesus was innocently put to death, just like the lamb that Abel had offered on an altar hundreds of years before. Abel had offered his lamb as a symbol of the Lamb of God who would die for the sins of the world. Prophets of old had also foretold of Jesus’ suffering and death. John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” (John 1:29). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
Jesus Arose From The Dead To Set Us Free
“He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay” (Matthew 28:6).On the third day after the death and burial of Jesus, which was the first day of the week, several women came to the tomb to anoint the His body. Since it was very early in the morning, they were surprised to find an empty tomb. The body of Jesus was gone! Their hearts were troubled. Suddenly, two angels stood by them in shining garments, saying “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen” (Luke 24:5, 6). Quickly, they went back to tell the disciples what they had seen and heard. The disciples did not believe their story, so Peter and John went to investigate for themselves. They, too, found the tomb empty. They entered and saw the linen clothes, and the neatly folded napkin that had been wrapped about Jesus’ head. When they saw these things they believed the women’s story. In the evening of the same day the disciples were together behind closed doors because they feared the Jews. Suddenly Jesus stood in the midst of them and said, “Peace be unto you.” He showed them His pierced hands and side. When they saw the Lord they were glad and believed He was the same Jesus who had been crucified and had risen from the dead. After this, Jesus showed Himself to many people as full proof of His resurrection.The morning Jesus arose from the dead is still the most glorious day in history. On this day, God’s wonderful plan of salvation was completed. This plan of salvation effects a change in the hearts and lives of men by God’s grace through faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Now all who receive Jesus into their heart and follow Him obediently all their life will resurrect and live forever in Heaven. Jesus said, “Because I live, ye shall live also” (John 14:19).Does this message speak to your heart? What is your response? Will you repent and believe the Gospel? “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Do not delay. Come to Jesus today.
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Published by the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite