Testimony by Allen Linn

At age 17, Allen Linn planned to rob a church with 3 other gang members. The church was having an evangelistic service on Sunday night. They played poker in a room next to the sanctuary. After the offering was collected it was locked in a room off the sanctuary.

As the sermon was ending and the altar call was soon to be given the 3 other members went out the back door and went around to the room where the offering was kept, while Allen went into the sanctuary and sat in the back row. The plan was for the others to go and break into the offering room, Allen would sit with the congregation, and when the altar call was given he would get up and go forward with the others who were accepting the altar call, but would turn and leave to meet the others and take the money and be gone before the service ended.

But something unexpected happened. Allen only remembers hearing the words of the Pastor: “Christ died for you sins”. Though he had heard these words before, this time it was like the voice of God. He could hear God say to him, “If you do not receive My Son, you will forever be saying to Him that you don’t care that He suffered and died for you”.

While totally confused by what was happening, he knew that he could not do that. He went forward and gave his life to Christ. Then remembering the other guys he quickly went there and found them stuffing money in their pockets.

It was all he could do to get those angry guys to stop. After that when he met with any of his gang it was to tell them how Christ died for their sins.

The Bible is GOD’s Revelation

The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to mankind. In the Bible God has revealed to mankind what could not be known apart from Divine revelation. . In I Corinthians 1:21, we are told “The world through its wisdom did not know Him” (NIV). In 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 we read: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit”. Thus we could know nothing about God other than what He has been pleased to reveal to us.

While there were human writers it is inaccurate to refer to them as authors of the Scriptures because the true Author is God Himself, they were the penmen. We are told in II Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”. The Scriptures themselves were breathed out by the Holy Spirit. They are the result of the creative breath of God.

In Scripture the breath of God refers to His Almighty creative power. Psalm 33:6 for example says: “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth”. God’s breath is the creative outflow of His power. The penmen were like the musical instrument but God breathed into the instrument to   make the music.

God created mankind from the dust of the ground and breathed into man the breath of life and he became a living being. God’s breath is life-giving. As God breathed life into the first man He has breathed out life-giving power into His word. This is why we are told in Hebrews 4:12: “For the Word of God is LIVING and ACTIVE. Luther said “The Word of God has feet, it runs after me; The Word of God has hands, it lays hold of me”.

“For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (II Peter 1:21). Like the sails of a boat they were carried along by the breath or wind of God. The writers were completely under divine control, and while their intelligence, vocabulary, writing style, etc., were involved, they were entirely controlled by the Holy Spirit. They were like the pen in God’s hand, so that the result was absolute perfection in all that was written. When writing something other than Scripture, the writers were as fallible as any other men.

Jesus and the apostles settled all disputes by appealing to Scripture with the words “It is written”. Jesus public ministry began with His being tempted by Satan and His victory over him with the words “It is written” (Matthew 4:4). John the Baptist’s ministry is legitimatized by the words “It is written” (Mark 1:2). The resurrected Jesus enlightened the disciples with these words: “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.

Then He opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24: 44-47).

The Apostles proved that Jesus was the Messiah by appealing to Scripture: “That Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (I Corinthians 15”3-4). Paul’s hearers were commended for testing Paul’s preaching by the Scriptures. “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17: 11).

In every area of life the Scriptures were the sole, and final authority that could not be challenged. God prepared the human writers from before birth. Examples of this are seen in Jeremiah the prophet: “The word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘before I formed thee in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:4-5). And the apostle Paul: “ . . .God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles . . .” (Gal. 1:15-16).

The greatest proof that the Scriptures are the word of God is that the Lord Jesus Himself believed and taught the Divine authority of Scripture. He repeatedly said such things as “Have you never read?” and “It is written”, and “Search the Scriptures”.

He repeatedly alludes to the writings of Moses and the Prophets concerning events that take in the whole range Scriptural revelation. He rebukes His countrymen for their ignorance of the Scriptures and for making the Word of God void through their traditions. He said, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”(John 5: 46-47).

The Scriptures were always on His mind. Throughout His last days leading to the cross, the words “The Scriptures must be fulfilled” are repeated over and over. After the last supper when He and His disciples went out to the Mount of Olives, He warned them, “You will all fall away, for it is written. Then He quotes Zechariah 13:7: “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered” (Mark 14:27).

Jesus said that He could avoid the cross by calling upon twelve legions of angels. But He could not do so because “How then would the scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way” (Matt. 26:54).

After He rose from the dead He met the two disciples on the road to Emmaus who were dejected because of His crucifixion, He rebukes their lack of faith by saying: “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-26).

 

 

 

 

 

SALVATION THROUGH CHRIST

This is the post excerpt.

SALVATION THROUGH CHRIST

Mankind was created by God and is accountable to Him. God created men and women for fellowship and blessing. They were His highest creation. He created a perfect earth on which they were to rule and serve Him. There was no pain, sickness, or death and a perfect environment. But mankind rebelled against his Creator and fell from his high position and became a sinner and alienated Himself from his God and pain, sickness and death came into the world.

This is why Scripture says “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way” (Isaiah 53:6). And

“For there is no difference: for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom.3: 22-23).

The problem is not only the outward sins that we commit, but the inward source of these sins: mankind’s heart is sinful and by nature are alienated from God.

God is holy and righteous and cannot excuse sin. Mankind takes a light view of sin and refers to it as mere human weakness, but God declares that it is an abomination. We excuse our sins but God condemns them to an eternal hell. All the sorrow, tragedy, heartache and shame of human history are summed up in that one little word—- “SIN!”.

Some tell us that God is too good to judge sinners, but the truth is God is too good NOT to judge sin. It is His very goodness that condemns mankind. While God loves us He cannot deny His own holiness.

There was a judge during the civil war whose son was brought before him for treason. The judge came down from the bench and hugged and kissed his son, he wept and told him he loved him, and then returned to his judges bench and sentenced him to death.

A judge who allows criminals to go free is not a good man. His actions would not be commendable but an outrage. It is not corrupt judges that criminals fear but honest judges. It is justice that they fear, getting what they deserve and all mankind are declared criminals by a holy and just God.

While God’s holiness demands judgment for sin, His love longs for the sinner to return to Him, and without this judgment cannot be averted.

Like that judge during the civil war, God says He loves us, and then goes back to the judges bench and pronounces judgment upon all mankind. He has no choice as a Holy God but to condemn sin.

But unlike that civil war judge, after passing sentence God stepped down from His Judges Bench and He Himself took this punishment upon Himself in the sinner’s place. He did this in the person of His Son Jesus Christ.

In order to do this God had to take upon Himself humanity. This is the message of the Gospel. In John 1:1-3 we read:

“In the beginning was the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made”.

The “Word” here refers to Jesus Christ. Here the veil is pulled back to show His true identity. Then in John 1:14 we are told how He took upon Himself humanity in order to represent mankind:

“The Word was made flesh and lived for a while among us”.

Then Hebrews 2:14-17 goes on to tell us:

“Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who were all their lives held in slavery by their fear of death.

For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason He had to be made like His brothers in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people”.

I Peter 2:24 tells how He made atonement for sin: “He Himself bore our sins in His body”.

Romans 4:25 says: “He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification”.

Romans 5:8: “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”.

I John 3:16: “This is how we know what love is, Jesus Christ laid down His own life for us”.

And I John 4:9-10: “this is how god showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins”.

And Jesus last words from the cross were: “It is finished” (John 19:30). His mission to redeem mankind was finished. The price for mankind’s sin was paid in full, and now God could receive sinners freely and give them eternal life through Jesus Christ.

 

Salvation can never be earned but is simply accepted freely by the sinner who turns from His sins and trusts in Jesus and what He did for us on the cross. The way to heaven is through Christ alone: He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

We receive Christ through faith by trusting Him for salvation.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph.2:8-9).

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Jesus did everything for us and all we have to do is receive Him. Salvation is a free gift and is ours for the taking by simply trusting in Jesus. It is now up to you. Jesus said: “You refuse come to Me to have life” (John 5:40).

Do you feel your need for Christ but are not sure how to receive Him? WANTING to receive Him is the main thing. Receiving Him is turning from you sins and simply choosing Him. How can you know that He will receive you? Because He says so:

“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away”.

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