Have you encountered the ultimate expression of God's love? The most amazing demonstration of God's love began with events that happened before we were even born. Those events tell a powerful, true story ... one that completely changed our lives.
Nearly two thousand years ago, a child was born. His birth was unlike any other before or since. His mother was a virgin who, through God's power, became pregnant without ever having sex. This child was Jesus -- God's one and only Son.
Jesus grew up just like anyone else, except for one important thing. He never thought, or said, or did anything wrong. When Jesus was around thirty years old, he began telling people what God his Father was like. He told people how they could have a relationship with God by turning away from sin and believing in him. And he showed God's great kindness by healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, and even bringing dead people back to life.
Everything Jesus did was good and right, but some people still hated him. They falsely accused him of crimes. Finally, they persuaded their ruler to kill him by nailing him to a rough, wooden cross. Jesus hung from that cross until he died. Heartbroken, his friends buried him.
But three days later, an astounding thing took place ... God raised Jesus from the dead! During the next forty days, over 500 people saw Jesus -- solid proof that he was really alive again. Then, with many watching, he rose through the skies to his Father to take his place as ruler over all the universe.
But before Jesus left earth, he promised to return. When he does return, the world as we know it will end. Jesus will then judge every person who has ever lived. Some will receive eternal life with him. Others will suffer eternal punishment in hell.
You see, God created men and women to honor, serve, and enjoy him. But from the very beginning, people have chosen to live their own way, rather than obeying the desires and commands of God. That's called sin. Although every human being sins, God himself is sinless. He hates sin, and he has warned that everyone who sins will be severely punished.
There's not a thing men and women can do to save themselves from the punishment they deserve. But Jesus has done what no person ever could. You see, Jesus died for a reason. It wasn't simply because people hated him. He died because his Father lovingly decided to punish him instead of us. God's sinless Son received the punishment we deserved, so that we might receive the reward he deserved.
How can we be sure that God accepted his death in our place? By the fact that God raised Jesus from the dead and took him up into heaven. Jesus is not just another religious leader telling us what to do. He is God. Because he has freed us from the power and punishment of sin, he deserves our total trust and obedience.
Maybe you think that none of this applies to you. But God sees things differently. He sees you living your own way rather than living for him. He sees you heading for eternal punishment. And he knows there is nothing in your power you can do to change.
But God will have mercy on you -- just as he had on us -- if you will do two things: First, trust in Jesus' death as the only thing that can pay the penalty for your sin. Then, turn away from your sins and live to please and obey God rather than yourself. God is eager to forgive you. He wants to have a relationship with you as your Father. And he offers you the power to live the rest of your life honoring, enjoying and serving him.
Why not turn to God in prayer today? If you would like more information about the love of God expressed through Jesus Christ, contact our church office today.