Good News About the Good News
This section is particularly for those who:
- Doubt the existence of God
- Are upset with religious hypocrisy
- Know something about the Bible, but feel it is out of date and out of touch with reality
- Know Jesus only as a teacher of ethics, but don’t understand why He had to die for our “sins”
- Have any number of other questions or doubts about the Christian faith
In the following pages, we attempt to address these issues without resorting to typical Christian apologetics and argumentation. Rather, it is an appeal based on our experience of God and our understanding of what the Bible has to say for itself.
You can hear testimonials, read relevant passages from Scriptures, and examine the evidence of believers who daily experience God in every area of their lives. These accounts are from people just like you, from all areas of pursuit.
We invite you to skip around and read whatever catches your attention or, if you like, consider starting at the beginning and read/listen systematically to the end.
If you have questions, we welcome your queries. Just email us at email@example.com and we will try our best to get an answer back to you as soon as possible.
We hope that you will agree with us that what we have discovered is “good news.”
eGospel Tracts From Bibles for America
eTracts from Holding to Truth and From LSM
Holding to Truth – Gospel Posts:
Downloadable Gospel Tracts (published by Living Stream Ministry)
Why Do I Need Christ? I’m Not That Bad
John 3:1-6 But there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This one came to Him by night and said to Him, Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher, for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him. Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother¹s womb and be born, can he? Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of flesh is flesh, and that which is born of Spirit is spirit.
Did you ever think that you just don’t need God? Maybe you look at those “Christians”, look at yourself, and reasonably and objectively conclude that your behavior is simply better. You may care for others more, you may be more respectful, you may be more accomplished. You may be glad that you’re not as judgmental and narrow as those who confess the Lord Jesus. To have Jesus may seem too constraining, you can live your life the way you desire and still be good to others around you and to society in general.
Nicodemus was also a good man. He was a Pharisee, meaning that he was very strict in his adherence to the Jewish law. He was also a ruler of the Jews, meaning he had proven himself to be a moral, upright, law-abiding man. He was respectful; when he approached the Lord Jesus, he called him Rabbi, a term of respect. He was also quite right in his past attainments and future goals. He called Jesus teacher, which implied that he was a learner and was looking for ways of improving his behavior.
If such a man came to us we might say that he is already a “good Christian” according to our concept. Why does he need Jesus? Some even think that what he has attained is the goal of the Christian life already. These may think that the weaker human beings need Jesus to help them live a proper kind of life while the stronger ones can do it without Jesus.
Well, the Lord told Nicodemus something very interesting. He said, “unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Jesus didn’t talk about behavior. He didn’t suggest that Nicodemus, this good, moral, upstanding man, was close to the kingdom. Rather, he pointed out that his need was not to improve his behavior. His goal should not be to do good. Rather, Nicodemus needed to be born anew.
To be born anew is to receive another life, the very life of God Himself. Here lies the essence of what it means to be a Christian. To be a Christian is not a matter of behavior, but it is a matter of receiving Jesus. If we have received the Son, Jesus, then we have the life of God and we are Christians. He who has the Son has the life.
What then is the goal of the Christian life? From the story of Nicodemus, we see that the goal of the Christian life is not that once we receive Jesus he can help us live a moral life. If this was the goal, Nicodemus was already there. Rather the goal is that God will gain a kingdom where Christ rules, Christ reigns, and where Christ is expressed. When we live in this kingdom we are one with Christ to defeat His enemy, Satan. We are also one with Christ to express Him on this earth and in this universe.
To begin living this kind of kingdom life, we don’t need to try to adjust our behavior. Rather we must receive Jesus Christ as life into our hearts. Then we can gain another life and be born anew. To receive the life of Christ, you can simply pray the following prayer with an open and believing heart, “Lord Jesus. I open my heart to you. I confess that I am a sinner. Cleanse me with your blood. I confess that I need another life. Come into my heart and make your home in my heart. I receive you as my Savior. I receive you as my King. I give my life to you to live in Your kingdom. Amen.”
Why Faith and What is It?
How can this feeble brain, that aches at a little Calculus, ever hope to understand the complex immensity of which it is so transitory a fragment? Not that the intellect is useless; it has its modest place, and serves us well when it deals with relations and things; but how it falters before the eternal, the infinite, or the elementally real! In the presence of that silent reality that supports all appearances and wells up in all consciousness, we need some other organ of perception and understanding than these senses and this reason. – Will Durant, Story of Civilization, vol.1
What is Faith?
Faith is the substantiating of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1, the Holy Bible
I’ve Tried Christianity Already…It Didn’t Work
One day, as I was beginning to speak about Christ to a dear lady in her 80s, she stopped me and told me that before she was five years old, she had already learned all she ever needed to know about God. Go to the streets these days and it’s almost impossible to find someone who has grown up in America, yet hasn’t been to at least one Christian meeting. For a lot of people, going to “church” was just another part of how they were raised. Many of us have had a small exposure to Christianity and we think we know what is entailed, what is involved, and what everything means. If we think we know then we may not be that interested, because there is not that much to explore. Well, the thing that you haven’t seen is that there is a difference between the Christian “religion” and the living person of Christ.
What is a religion? There are at least four things that are present when we encounter a religion. First, religion puts demands on man. Many people view being a Christian as simply another thing to do; they have a certain set of responsibilities to fulfill in their human life, if they become a Christian then simply add another set.
Second, religion causes people to become self-righteous. Once religion is established with a certain set of rules, then it causes a wide separation between the people who can follow the rules and the ones who can¹t.
Third, religion relies on man’s natural talent. Suppose a person is born into a cultured, upper-middle-class family; this person may be trained to behave and to respect others. Compare such a one with a person born into a family full of fighting and striving. One may fit into a religion simply by birth and culture while the other doesn’t.
Fourthly and finally, religion leaves man powerless. When faced with a set of religious rules and regulations, given enough time, man will eventually transgress. This not only shows us that man is not perfect, but more basically that man is in himself weak and powerless. Such an experience reveals that our need is not to find religion but to receive another life.
The gospel of John shows us a story contrasting a man in religion and the Christ in life. This man was sick for thirty-eight years, unable to rise up from his bed. He was lying next to the pool of Bethesda where an angel would come once a year to stir up the waters. The first person in the pool after the angel came was healed of whatever sickness they had. One day Jesus came to him. He asked him “Do you want to get well?” The man replied that when the angel stirs the waters, he has no one to put him in, so another steps down before him. Then Jesus said to him, Rise, take up your mat, and walk. The man became well, took up his mat, and walked.
When someone meets the living person of Christ, his life is changed. While religion puts demands on man, like walking into the pool, Christ supplies man with who He is and meets man where he¹s at. While religion creates self-righteousness, Christ¹s work in us causes us to love all men. While religion relies on man¹s natural ability, like walking in this story, Christ¹s healing is entirely up to His capability. And finally, while the demands of religion expose man¹s weakness and powerlessness, Christ supplies and heals by his eternal and indestructible life.
Yes, maybe you did know many things about the Christian religion. And, maybe these things cause you to lose interest and feel that the whole thing is a bother and an additional burden. However, Christ is outside of religion and is not what many who have some concepts expect. He is a living person who desires to heal us, to impart His life into us, and to offer His untraceable riches for our experience.
John 5:1-9, says, “After these things, there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheepgate a pool, which is called in Hebrew Bethesda, having five porticoes. In these lay a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame, and withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down from time to time in the pool and stirred up the water; the first then to step in after the stirring up of the water was made well of whatever disease he was being held by. And a certain man was there, who had been thirty-eight years in his sickness. When Jesus saw this one lying there and knew that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, Do you want to get well? The sick man answered Him, Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me. Jesus said to him, Rise, take up your mat and walk. And immediately the man became well, and he took up his mat and walked. Now it was the Sabbath on that day. Therefore the Jews said to the one who had been healed. It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your mat.”