This is the “chief of sinners,” Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the Gospel Light Minute X Podcast #399 titled, “If This Wicked Man Can Go To Heaven, So Can You.” I’m here to remind you of what the Bible says, that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” like you and me.
Amazing. It’s the only way to describe the incredible transformation that took place in the life of John Newton. Newton was born in London in 1725. His mother died when he was seven. His father sent him to sea at age eleven. Working first as a cabin boy and then a deckhand, John was exposed to a life of drunkenness, profanity and immorality — and he embraced it. Soon, John surpassed his peers in outrageous behavior. Sharp-witted and sarcastic, he wrote offensive songs mocking the ship’s officers and expressing his contempt for their authority. He amused himself by inventing new swear words and leading his peers on reckless and dangerous escapades. He frequently deserted his post. Still in his teens, John was briefly enslaved on an African plantation and nearly died. But instead of sobering him, the experience only served to strengthen his rebellious spirit.
This is the “chief of sinners,” Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the Gospel Light Minute X Podcast #395 titled, “How to Face the Inevitable –Your Death” I’m here to remind you of what the Bible says, that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” like you and me.
I have found that one can tell how a person values life by his estimation of death. I once talked with a man who had never given serious thought to death until it was discovered that he had cancer. “Immediately my entire world changed,” he said. “The things I valued most became worthless, and the things that I thought were of little value are now the most important things in the world to me.”
GETTING READY FOR ETERNITY
Physical life is a possession that we all cling to, and yet we know we must all sooner or later bow to death. It enters the home of the rich as boldly as it enters the apartment in the projects. It brings down the final curtain as swiftly on the famous as it does on the unknown. Before this year ends, many people listening to this podcast will keep their appointment with death.
In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels, and other places, I would like to remind you and the world that the greatest act of terrorism occurred at the cross.
TEXT: Philippians 2:5-8
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
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In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, San Bernardino, Brussels, and other places, I would like to remind you and the world that the greatest act of terrorism occurred at the cross.
It has been well-documented that the process of Roman crucifixion was the cruelest, most painful, and most humiliating form of execution ever devised up until that time. Yet, today, on Good Friday, we celebrate Jesus Christ, the Son of God, God Himself, who submitted to this form of death in order to save us.
The Roman philosopher Cicero described the terror of crucifixion when he wrote these words: “The executioner, the veiling of heads, and the very word ‘cross,’ let them all be far removed from not only the bodies of Roman citizens but even from their thoughts, their eyes, and their ears. The results and suffering from these doings as well as the situation, even anticipation, of their enablement, and, in the end, the mere mention of them are unworthy of a Roman citizen and a free man. …Neither our exploits nor the lives we have lived nor honors bestowed upon us will liberate us from scourging, from the hook, and, finally, from the terror of the cross.”
While Roman citizens saw punishment by crucifixion as a thing to be avoided at all costs, the perfect Son of God was not afforded such luxury. We might think that God would have devised an honorable death for His Son, but He didn’t. Instead, He allowed an act of terror to be perpetrated against Jesus Christ so that all people could have a chance to be reunited with Him both now and in eternity. Allow me to briefly share with you three aspects of this act of terror.
First, the crucifixion was an act of terror by Satan against the world. The devil thought that by crucifying Jesus, He could halt God’s plan of redemption for humanity. The Bible tells us in Luke 22 that ‘Satan entered into Judas’ heart’, leading him to go to the high priests and betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. The devil thought that by killing Jesus — letting the Roman government scourge and crucify Him — he could ensure the damnation of the entire world and humanity’s continued enslavement to sin.
Second, the crucifixion was an act of terror by mankind against Jesus. First Peter 2:24 says Jesus “bare our sins in his own body” on the cross. The question has often been asked, Who is really responsible for the death of Jesus? Was it the Romans? the Jews? the disciples who did not defend their Master? The ultimate answer is that it was you and I and every human being who has ever lived. Jesus carried our sins in His very own body. It was us who nailed Jesus to the cross. It was our sins that sent the scourge slicing across His back. It was our crimes that jammed the crown of thorns down onto His head. It was our atrocities that sent the spear plunging into His side. We carried out the act of terror against Jesus.
Finally, the crucifixion was an act of terror by God against the darkness and sin of the world. It is a hard truth, but one the Bible teaches plainly. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, God “hath made [Jesus] to be sin for us…” Someone once said, “Don’t marvel that you have become righteous. Marvel that Jesus became sin.” That is what happened on the cross. Jesus became sin and God poured out His wrath on His Son. Romans 8:3 explains further: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” The law could not condemn and eradicate sin in the human race; it had failed.
So, God sent His Son to become human — to take on “the likeness of sinful flesh” — and God Himself “condemned sin in the flesh.” The word “condemn” comes from two Greek words, one meaning ‘to judge’ and the other meaning ‘to bring down or come down.’ Dr. Paul Ellis wrote, “How hard [did God come down against sin]? So hard that the sins of billions were condemned in the space of a few hours. So hard that the Son of God himself couldn’t live through it. So hard that sin has been dealt with once and for all. The cross was a total catastrophe for sin and a total victory for us.”
The day Jesus was crucified was a terrible day — so much violence, so much blood, so much sin all wrapped up in the space of a few hours. But today we call it “Good,” because it is. Satan’s act of terror against us, our act of terror against Jesus, and God’s act of terror against sin was only a prelude to the resurrection. The devil didn’t know it, we didn’t expect it, but God had planned it. Colossians 3:14-15 says that Jesus ‘blotted out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us [that is, the law], which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled [or ruined the Satanic] principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”
Terror was turned into triumph when Jesus rose from the dead three days after His crucifixion. Since then, millions who shared in the terror of the cross have shared in the triumph of the Resurrection. This hymn by Isaac Watts demonstrates what was accomplished at cross:
Alas! and did my Savior bleed
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For sinners such as I?
Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!
Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.
But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away
’Tis all that I can do.
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!
You too can be ‘happy all the day’ if you would only place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ. God will no longer hold your sins against you and He will give you eternal life. Here is how you can receive that gift today.
1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” In fact, I am the chief of sinners, so don’t think that you’re alone.
2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “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.”
6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Remember, because of what Jesus did on this Friday 2,000 years ago, you are not living under the shadow of the terror of the Cross, but in the sunshine of the triumph of the Resurrection. God loves you, we love you, and may God bless you.
Many years from now, when the world looks back on this time in history, “terrorism” and “extremists” will likely be identified as the watchwords of our day. Even though acts of terror have been carried out at different times in history, after 9/11, the Western world was awakened to a new brand of terror in the form of Islamic extremism. People who fall in this category are willing to end their own lives in an effort to destroy, dismantle, and bring an end to Western civilization, Christians, Jews, and even other Muslims who do not believe exactly as they do.
On the news, we regularly hear phrases such as “terrorist”, “war on terror”, and “suicide bomber.” Currently, the War on Terror is actively being fought in Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria. Ongoing military operations against terrorists are also being carried out in Nigeria, the Horn of Africa, the Philippines, the trans-Sahara region, China, and Chechnya.
Perhaps most shocking has been the series of beheadings carried out by a group which calls itself the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Just last week, they burned a man alive and put it on video for the world to see. They are slaughtering thousands in Iraq and Syria, expelling Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities from their homelands, and threatening to take over not only Baghdad and Damascus — the capitals of Iraq and Syria — but to launch attacks inside the United States and other Western nations. Unfortunately, it seems as though efforts to stop this group have been ineffective.
As we see these events taking place, you may be asking questions like: Why is this happening? Does anyone care? It is easy to become cynical and to lose hope in the face of such terror. Even the bold words of political leaders and their assurances of success in the war on terror in the long run have failed to give us hope.
But there is one source of hope that never fails. The Bible tells you in 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” The person this verse is talking about is Jesus Christ. Political and military leaders fail to give us hope that we will prevail against terror. But we can find hope in Jesus Christ because He has overcome everything in the world — including torture and death.
If you place your faith and trust in Jesus Christ, you will not have to worry about what will happen to you or what will happen in the world. In John 5:24, Jesus Christ said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” If you trust the Word of God and believe in Jesus Christ today, your eternal future will be secure. No matter what happens in life, from now until the moment you take your final breath, you will have the assurance of an eternal home in Heaven with God.
You can have this certainty in your life if you make the decision to put your life in God’s hands by trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior. With Jesus Christ in control of your life, you can find hope in the face of terror and all of the other negativities that happen in life. Allow me to share with you what it means to do that and how you can do that right now today.
First, recognize that your sins have separated you from God. Even though Adam and Eve were the first to sin, we must each take responsibility for our own actions. In honest repentance agree with God about your sinfulness and admit your need for forgiveness. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Second, realize that God loves you, and believe that Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God, died for your sins — taking the punishment you deserve. John 3:16 says, “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.” The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the only thing that makes it possible for God to forgive us of our sins and do the life-changing, soul-healing work that we desperately need done.
Third, accept Jesus Christ as your Savior from sin and sin’s consequences by believing that He died, was buried, and rose again, and receiving Him into your life by faith. Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you want to open your heart and life to Jesus Christ and allow Him to do the work that only He can do, you can pray a short prayer to let God know about your decision. Repeat after me and mean it from your heart:
Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and I want to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus as my Savior and follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
Believe by faith. Share the faith. And keep the faith! God Bless You!
This past week, the world watched as scenes of terror unfolded in the City of Light — Paris, France. Two Islamic extremists walked into the offices of a weekly satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and opened fire killing five of the magazine’s cartoonists, an economist, two police officers, and four others. Eleven people were also wounded, some of them critically.
The men who carried out the attacks claimed they were avenging the Prophet Muhammad over some cartoons of him which the newspaper had printed in 2012. While some might question the wisdom of printing such material which is known to be offensive to Muslims, many have rallied behind the magazine in support of free speech and the freedom of the press. After all, one of the biggest factors behind the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo is that it is satire — humorous commentary meant to generate laughs while also pointing out (and poking fun at) the vices, folly, shortcomings, or abuses of others. Surely, something so harmless could not possibly become the target of a violent terror attack.
But, on January 7, 2015, it did.
And, during that attack, each of those who died or who faced death also faced the seriousness of eternity. Even the most lighthearted person would quickly sober as he thinks of death and what lies beyond.
Some in our world today like to joke about death and eternity. At funerals, people often tell jokes or funny stories about the person who died in an effort to ease the grief of those who are left behind. Some say that they wouldn’t mind going to Hell because all their friends are there or because they think Hell will be one big party. Others often make jokes about what Peter will say or do when they meet him at the pearly white gates of Heaven.
But, in all actuality, death and eternity are no laughing matter. The twelve people who died in the Charlie Hebdo terror attack are either in Heaven or Hell right now. On top of that, their families, friends, and loved ones are left behind grieving over their loss and the tragic way in which their lives were stolen from them. Death and eternity are serious business.
One day, you, too, will face the seriousness of eternity. Hopefully, it will not be in such a horrible way as was experienced by those who were killed this week. Nonetheless, such a moment will come, and the only thing that will matter at that moment is whether or not you are ready to leave this temporary life and go out into eternity.
Once we die, we will not return to this life. We will go out into eternity where we will face God and be ushered into one of two eternal destinations — Heaven or Hell. The Bible says that some “shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” The destination where you end up is based on a decision you make in this life. Since this is the only life you get, I encourage you to choose wisely. Continue reading “GLMX #231: No Laughing Matter: Satire, Terror, and the Seriousness of Eternity”→