Category Archives: Am I too late?

Views of the Cross

Today I want to share a good resource available to you at AnswersInGenesis.org. I visited their Ark Encounter in Kentucky and my family truly enjoyed it. Far too many present the historical event of the great flood and the ark as if it is a fairy tale. They present a Biblical view of the historical account and provide much more engaging material as well to help provide answers for how science and history line up with, not against, the Biblical word of God. I encourage all to make the trip if they can. They have another sister exhibit about 45 minutes away near Cincinnati as well, The Creation Museum. We enjoyed both and found both educational and stimulating.

The following is material from Views of the Cross tract from Answers in Genesis. You can order printouts from them online at the link I provided above.

Views Of The Cross (views-cross-tract PDF)

Examine Your Heart

Take a sincere look at your own life. Are you like the thief on the cross who mocked Jesus and remained obstinate, refusing to trust in Jesus Christ? Perhaps you are like the soldiers at the foot of the Cross gambling for Christ’s clothes. They were too distracted by worldly desires to realize they were part of the most important event in history.

Have you been too preoccupied by the busyness and cares of this world to consider your eternal destiny? If you are like any of these individuals, don’t wait until it is too late. Be like the repentant thief who confessed his sin to Jesus, asking for mercy. Turn from your sinful ways and call out to God, asking for His forgiveness. He is ready and willing to graciously forgive all who come to Him.

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)

For more information, visit arkencounter.com/gospel.

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Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

I Rejected Jesus… But He Offers Another Chance!

Imagine you are in a public place, thriving with people going here and there. It is busy. Suddenly there is a commotion a man is leaping about and praising God. You recognize this man… he is… was lame. You have seen him daily on your walk and you know he can not … could not walk. Yet now you see he is leaping and praising God!

Intrigued, you come closer. The man is clinging to Peter and John, the disciples of Jesus Christ. Jesus was executed not long ago. You were there. In fact you had been drawn in by the energy of the crowd and even called for Barabbas to be set free and Jesus to be crucified. Surely, you thought, this can not be the Messiah.

But now Peter and John have healed this man who could not walk! And they are declaring that Jesus was raised from the dead because He is the Messiah, God in the flesh to dwell among us. A sense of panic sweeps through your very core… you called for His crucifixion. How can that be forgiven? It surely must be too late… but it is not.

Peter and John, knowing all of this are calling for people to repent (turn away from their own wrong ways and turn toward God’s right ways of doing things) and turn to Jesus.

Your panic turns to regret and to joy as you realize that God is willing to forgive you and accept you. Then you feel like joining the man in leaping an praising God. You press in to hear more from Peter and John.

Acts 3:11-36

      11While he was clinging to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them at the so-called portico of Solomon, full of amazement. 12But when Peter saw this, he replied to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this, or why do you gaze at us, as if by our own power or piety we had made him walk? 13“The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus, the one whom you delivered and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release Him. 14“But you disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15but put to death the Prince of life, the one whom God raised from the dead, a fact to which we are witnesses. 16“And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.

      17“And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18“But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time. 22“Moses said, ‘THE LORD GOD WILL RAISE UP FOR YOU A PROPHET LIKE ME FROM YOUR BRETHREN; TO HIM YOU SHALL GIVE HEED to everything He says to you. 23‘And it will be that every soul that does not heed that prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24“And likewise, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days. 25“It is you who are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘AND IN YOUR SEED ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE EARTH SHALL BE BLESSED.’ 26“For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways.”

All of us have denied Jesus in some way during our lives either. Sometimes it is by outright denial or rejection and sometimes it is more subtle… such as remaining quiet as others mock Him. It is hard to reconcile the level of forgiveness God offers through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Even the crowds who had called for Jesus to be Crucified were not turned away by His disciples, but rather offered an invitation to join them in serving Jesus. All they had to do is turn away from their wrong ways of doing things and turn toward God’s way of doing things… often referred to as repenting of sin.

There is no sin so great that we can not repent of it, turn toward God, ask forgiveness and ask Him to be Lord of our lives. If you have denied Him in a big way or in small ways… repent, ask forgiveness and act differently next time… boldly proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ. All who repent and wholeheartedly call upon the name of Jesus will be forgiven!

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

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The Kingdom of Heaven Is Like a Vineyard

Jesus teaches us about the kingdom of heaven by comparing it to a vineyard in Matthew 20:1-16. Once again He clearly shows the contrast between the kingdom of heaven and the ways of man with a stark contrast that at first read appears “unfair”, but in reality demonstrates the mercy, grace, and love we all want to receive.

20 “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage[a] and sent them out to work.

“At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing.

“At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’

“They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’

“The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’

“That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. 10 When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. 11 When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, 12 ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’

13 “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’

16 “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”

People often misunderstand this parable when they view it through the eyes of men rather than the eyes of God. As is true of all parables, Jesus is using an illustration people should be able to understand to explain a greater concept about the kingdom of heave.  Jesus’ point is not about the sum of money that people receive for working in a vineyard. Rather, Jesus is speaking about the offer God has extended to each of us through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He offers salvation to all of us, no matter if we find Him early in the day (e.g. early in our lives) or late in the day, just before work is completed (e.g. on our deathbed).

None of the workers “deserve” or are “owed” the right to work in the vineyard and receive payment. All of them are invited at the discretion of the vineyard owner, who represents God. We can all receive salvation and forgiveness from sins no matter how close to death we are. What a wonderful God we serve that he receives us even if we come to Him late in our lives. We may have hope of eternal life with Him and hope for others we know that it is never too late for them, until the very moment of death and judgment. God shows mercy, grace, and love to all of us by extending the offer to serve Him through submission to Jesus Christ.

For those who submit to God, we will be like the angels in heaven, rejoicing when a single soul repents and asks Jesus to be Lord of their life, submitting fully to God and proclaiming Him publically. For those who see life only through the eyes of their own selfishness, they will continue to wrestle with and complain about this parable… claiming that it is not fair that they worked longer for Jesus and do not appear to get a higher reward. Truth be told, these people are often far from the kingdom of God. We are not saved by works and when we love and submit to Jesus as our Lord, we do not consider it a burden we resent carrying but rather rejoice that we may serve Him. If we serve Him longer it is all the better to further the kingdom! If others join us late, it too is cause for celebration!

Jesus later gives us a very tangible illustration of the meaning behind this parable as He hangs upon the cross.  He clearly shows us that we are saved not by works, but rather by grace through faith. Praise God! None of us is good enough to meet God’s standard by works. Only Jesus met the standard. And He carried our sin to the cross on our behalf. Even the criminal who was deserving of death was able to be saved in the closing hours of his life when he could do no works, join no church, and take no action to repent other than with his heart and his words.

Luke 23:39-43

39 One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!”

40 But the other criminal protested, “Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? 41 We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.”

43 And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

God gives us all the opportunity to be saved, but not by our own works. We can have hope in knowing it is never too late for us or for those we love. But with this hope comes great opportunity. Each of us should consider:

  • Have I accepted Jesus’ offer to work in His vineyard… to submit to Him and serve Him in the work He wants done? (Am I saved?)
  • Am I working hard in the vineyard to do the Lord’s work or am I content to just do the bare minimum to get paid at the end of the day (e.g. make it into heaven)?  (Am I fully submitted to Jesus and His work or only committed to the point that it is convenient and comfortable for me?)
  • Am I studying and learning God’s word, seeking Him prayerfully to develop a more intimate relationship with Him? or am I content to be baby in the faith, requiring constant care and feeding (e.g. spiritually). Such as these are not able to disciple others and may fade even themselves over time. They are easily misled by false prophets.
  • Is my goal to convert others to Christianity (e.g. bare minimum for them to be saved)? or is my goal to make disciples of others such that they can share God’s word and bring the good news effectively to others?
  • What changes should I make today to fully submit my life to Jesus?

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Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? If you die today, do you know for sure that you would be with God in heaven? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

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There is still time to repent and turn to Jesus

In Matthew 20:1-16, Jesus helps us to understand what the kingdom of heaven is like and what God is like.

20 “For the Kingdom of Heaven is like the landowner who went out early one morning to hire workers for his vineyard. He agreed to pay the normal daily wage and sent them out to work.

“At nine o’clock in the morning he was passing through the marketplace and saw some people standing around doing nothing. So he hired them, telling them he would pay them whatever was right at the end of the day. So they went to work in the vineyard. At noon and again at three o’clock he did the same thing.

“At five o’clock that afternoon he was in town again and saw some more people standing around. He asked them, ‘Why haven’t you been working today?’

“They replied, ‘Because no one hired us.’

“The landowner told them, ‘Then go out and join the others in my vineyard.’

“That evening he told the foreman to call the workers in and pay them, beginning with the last workers first. When those hired at five o’clock were paid, each received a full day’s wage. 10 When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. 11 When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, 12 ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’

13 “He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? 14 Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. 15 Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’

16 “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”

God is so different from the world that many struggle with this passage. They read it on the surface and agree with the workers who came early in the day. They say it is unfair that all workers get paid the same wages. Many even miss the point that Jesus is telling us about salvation, not people working in a vineyard.

I am glad God is not “fair” in the eyes of the world. “Fair” means I should have eternal separation from God due to my sinful nature. “Fair” means that Jesus should not have died for my sins so that I could be reconciled to God. And I am very thankful that the lost people of this world have as much time as possible … until they die… to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Then we can rejoice together for each person that is saved, even in their final moments.

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