1. Can you honestly think that the universe and you are the end-product of billions of years of randomness and chance?
You may choose from one of several explanations of the origin of the universe and of humankind. You may accept some mythological account of creation, primitive or more sophisticated; really, how convincing are these? You may accept the view of many in modern popular science which supposes that given enough time and randomness, eventually order and life will emerge; does this view have intellectual integrity? Or, you may accept the Biblical account of creation in which God, as all-powerful and all-wise creator of all, speaks the universe into being. To my mind, the account given in the Bible is the most intellectually satisfying, the most integrated, and the most credible. It seems to me that it takes much less faith to believe that an infinite God of order, power, and wisdom created an ordered universe than to think that it all just happened. This means that humans are not some accident of evolution, but specially created by God. It means that you are not just some product of chance. You were made and are known by God himself. You were made to know him, and made for his purpose. The universe is not directionless and rudderless; it is not chaotic, but is ruled and ordered by Almighty God. The God who created it also actively maintains it.
2. Is this all there is?
Are you content with the idea that you are on the earth as a speck of insignificant organic matter?…that you are here by chance, without purpose, and without direction? …that the best you can hope for is to last 70 or 80 years with a minimum of trouble?…and that then you pass into nothingness?
If that’s all there is to our time on this earth, then let me die now. You are not content with this vision of life because God has created you for much more than this, and he has implanted deep within you the desire for much more. You are longing and thirsting for deep reality and significance which only a relationship with your creator can provide.
3. Are you truly satisfied with your life as it is now?
Most of you are not, and this question is closely connected to #2. You were not made to be satisfied with anything other than God himself. This is why, no matter how good your life, no matter how rich, successful, famous, powerful, or attractive you are, you still find a deep emptiness in your life. Career, family, friends, fun, or travel will never fill the emptiness. In your quiet moments, when you really have time to think and take stock, you will find you realize that something is missing. Blaise Pascal said that in every human is a “God-shaped void”. Only God can fill your void. Eternal beings made in the image of God cannot be satisfied with the superficial and the artificial, with counterfeit substitutes, or with unreal and unlasting froth and fluff of life. You will never find true joy and fulfillment in life until you find God, who is all you need and much more than you need. Hi-tech gadgets, escape from reality, luxury, and temporary pleasure will never give you more than a short-term fix which will leave you more empty than before.
What have you found in life that really satisfies you deeply and long-term? God promises to fill your hungry soul, to satisfy you with good things, to quench your thirst, and to take away your emptiness.
4. Have you found anything in life you would lose all for?… that you would die for?
If you have nothing in life which you would lose all for, then I contend that you have not discovered much worth living for. Jesus Christ lost all for you; he alone is worthy of your absolute love and loyalty. Without a purpose in life, people get bored. They search for satisfaction but don’t find it, and they finally try to anesthetize the pain in their lives in all types of self-destructive and self-deceiving behavior. Jesus alone is reason to live. You will be happy to live for him, to lose all for him, and even to die for him.
5. What then?
If I were to ask you for your life plan, how would you answer? Here is a typical answer:
“I plan to go to school to get an education.”
“I’ll begin my career.”
“I’ll get married.”
“I’ll have children.”
“My children will grow up and do what I did.”
“I’ll retire. I’ll fill my life with golf, tennis, hunting, fishing, travel, etc (you fill in the blank) .”
What then? What then? Is there nothing more to life?
We were made to glorify God and enjoy him…forever.
Consider where you are going before it is too late.
6. What will you say to God when you die and he asks you to give an account of your life? What will you do? What will you say?
The Bible tells us that God will judge us after we die. What will you say when he asks you why he should let you into heaven? God’s standard is perfection. He does not weigh your good versus bad deeds and then make a decision based on which deeds outweigh the others. (Even if he did, how would you ever know now that you were good enough to get to heaven?) We cannot earn heaven. You and I will never be good enough. You and I don’t deserve heaven, and God doesn’t owe it to us. Church membership or affiliation won’t suffice. Being religious won’t get us into heaven. Being moral isn’t the answer. Having faith is not the key, unless it is in the right object. Sincerity won’t do it. We won’t talk our way in. And, the Bible is clear: not everyone goes to heaven. We have a problem; the Bible states that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Below, you will find the only acceptable answer to God when he asks you on what basis you should be allowed to enter heaven
7. If you knew you were going to die next week, what would you do now?
Most of us would begin preparing for death and our meeting with God. The point is, we never know when we will die. We should always be ready. Are you ready to go now?
8. Does it make any sense to you that there can be multiple conflicting “truths”?
Ultimate truth is absolute and exclusive. It is not relative. If one thing is true, then other statements that conflict with it cannot be true also.
9. Can there be many ways to God and heaven?
We have all heard that there are many ways to God, and that as long as we are sincere in our beliefs, we will all see God and live with him in heaven. This notion is the product of our times in which we are told to be so tolerant that anything (even a lie) is accepted uncritically so as not to offend others.
Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me”. Notice, he did not say he is a way or one of many ways, but the way. He is also the truth and the life. He states clearly that he is the exclusive and only way to God the Father.
There is only one way to God, and the only way is Jesus. This is not my idea; it is God’s.
10. Who is Jesus?
This question keeps coming at us from the pages of the Gospel of John. This is the question everyone was asking when Jesus was on the earth, and has been a question of immeasurable importance ever since. It is important because it makes all the difference in the world to each of us, and each of us must come to some kind of conclusion in answer to this question. Neutrality is not an option. Jesus’ own words will not allow us to remain neutral.
Jesus said he was the Son of God, and that he came to save us from our sins, to forgive our sins, to give us new and abundant life, to change us, and to give us eternal life. He came to die for us, and he came to show us the very nature and heart of God.
Some people of his day argued that he was a good man, a prophet, or a good teacher of morality. Others hated him and said he was demon-possessed. Some said he was crazy. Others tried to catch him in lies or inconsistencies (and failed). Some agreed that he must be the Son of God as he claimed.
C.S. Lewis, Josh McDowell, and others have shown that the only choices we have in deciding the identity of Jesus distill down to these: he was either Lord, or the world’s biggest liar, or a lunatic. You must choose for yourself on the basis of your search for truth. Who is Jesus? He claimed to be Lord. If he was not, then he had to be a liar, in fact, the world’s worst, or just plain crazy. You cannot simply say he was a good man or teacher and leave it at that. Jesus will not allow that type of “patronizing nonsense” (Lewis). Jesus stated plainly who he was, and to whittle him down into something else to suit us or our preferences is not honest. Jesus always went to the heart of things; he only gives us the three options discussed, and we cannot wiggle out of making a tough and critical decision which will alter the very course of our lives. Jesus does not play games with us; we must not play intellectual games with him because our very lives depend upon our correct response. This is life or death for you and me.
So, is he God, or was he a deceiver, or was he insane? You must make your choice and then act on it. But, please, none of this “good man, moral teacher, religious leader” stuff. He is either God or is not. If he is God, then you must follow him and commit your entire life to him. Look at what Jesus said about himself (read the Gospel of John for a full treatment of this question). Accept him or reject him on the basis of what he said about himself.
11. What is the proof of Jesus’ resurrection?
Who is Jesus? The correct answer depends upon the resurrection. If he really rose from the dead, this validates everything he said about himself, and proves he indeed is the Son of God. In all of history, who else claimed to be God and then rose from the dead as Jesus did? Of course, there is no one else who made such fantastic claims and then backed them up with a resurrection. The resurrection proves Jesus is God. The resurrection proves his power over sin and death, and proves he can give you power over sin and death in your own life. The resurrection is calculated to rivet our attention to Jesus as the Lord Christ; you and I cannot simply ignore this fact of history and hope it will go away. The resurrection proves all he said, and proves he is God.
Look at the evidence. The torture and punishment inflicted on him really killed him; he did not “swoon” on the cross and then come back to life in the coolness of the tomb; this theory insults our intelligence. His body was not stolen by the disciples; if that were true, why would so many of them later go on to die for the sake of their belief in Jesus if he really were not God the Son raised from the dead? Would they have died for a lie? There were many eyewitnesses who actually saw the risen Lord Jesus before his ascension to heaven. Believers endured unspeakable suffering in the early years following Jesus’ life on earth; would they have borne this for a lie? In addition, the number of early believers in Christ grew at an exponential rate because the growth was powered supernaturally with the Holy Spirit of Christ; this is further evidence of the resurrection power of Christ. They turned the world upside down, and it was not from human greatness, power, or resources. (For a fuller treatment of this evidence, see Josh McDowell’s Evidence That Demands a Verdict).
If a person honestly examines the life of Jesus as seen in the Bible, studies his words, sees his actions, observes his exact fulfillment of prophecy, and realizes the certainty of his resurrection, the logical conclusion is that Jesus is who he said he was. At this point, you must at least intellectually acknowledge that he is really God’s Son. Will you give yourself to him to worship and serve him? You may elect not to follow him, but that is a question of your will, not your intellect. To the rational person, it only makes sense to realize that Jesus is God. Will you accept or reject his right to rule over your life?
12. If there were other ways to God, why would God have given his only Son, Jesus, to die a gruesome and horrible death on the cross? If another way would have sufficed to open the way to God, wouldn’t God have spared Jesus and have chosen the simplest, least costly way?
Jesus came to die for our sins in order to allow forgiveness of our sins. He did not die by accident. He did not die unwillingly. He offered himself up to die, and was in control of the sequence of events the whole time. The plan from ages past was for him to die so that we can be saved.
If there are really many ways to God, do you not think God could have chosen an easier and less costly way than the bloody, brutal, and agonizing death of his only Son? Jesus died for you and me because it was necessary. There is no other way to God.
Peter said it well, speaking of Jesus:
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NASB)
“For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time.” (1 Tim 2:5,6 NASB)
Jesus is the only way to God; he is the unique, exclusive, absolute, and ultimate way to God. There is no other way.
13. “Which one of you can convict Me of sin? If I speak truth, why do you not believe Me?” (Jesus speaking in John 8:46)
Who can convict Jesus of sin? Can you find anything wrong with him? Look hard. Scrutinize him well. And you will find nothing but perfection, goodness, and righteousness. Then, why not believe him?
14. Where else will you go for freedom from guilt?
Only Jesus offers forgiveness of sins and failures. The guilt you feel deep inside of you is not just some psychiatric problem which represents your maladjustment, poor self-esteem, or poor child-rearing practices by your parents. Your guilty feelings are the result of true moral guilt; you have offended a holy and righteous God. God is not like us. (Would you want to worship a god like you or me?) Our wrongs, failures, and shortcomings are sin. You and I sin and do wrong because we are born sinners. There is no cure for our sin except in Jesus Christ, who died and gave his blood to wash our sins away, to free us from our moral guilt before God, and to give us a clean and peaceful conscience.
Do you want to be forgiven by the God you have wronged? Do you want freedom from moral guilt? What would you give for freedom from guilty feelings?
Jesus gives forgiveness, and rids us of guilt and the accompanying guilty feelings. These are free gifts from Jesus. He can give them because he paid for them with his life and blood.
15. What is unique about following Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ died for us. He serves us. He carries our burdens. He frees us. No other “god” or head of any of the world’s religions does any of these things. Instead, they demand that their followers become their slaves.
• Jesus Christ is alive from the dead. He is a risen and living Savior. He is not some dead, great figure from history. Who would want to worship a dead man?
• Jesus calls us to a relationship with him, not to a religion. He knows us and loves us as individuals. We can know and love him.
• Jesus Christ, knowing that you and I cannot help ourselves: 1.loved and loves us 2. died for us and rose again from the dead for us 3. pursues us and freely offers life, freedom, and forgiveness (the free gift of salvation bought at his expense).
• The truth about Jesus is true in a universal, absolute, ultimate, practical way.
• We are not called upon to appease God; Jesus has handled the sin problem forever for those who have come to him. We cannot earn God’s favor; instead, he offers it for free through Jesus.
• Following Jesus is not an exercise in will-power in keeping rules and regulations; he changes us and transforms us to enable us to do what is good and right.
16. What more can God do for us?
He has given us life. He has been good to us and often we have not even realized it. He gave his Son Jesus as a sacrifice to allow people like you and me to know God.. He offers us freedom from sin and guilt. He offers us real life and eternal life with him. He offers freedom from fear of death and death’s curse. He offers it to us for free because he has paid the price. All you and I must do is to stop running and receive his free gift. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NASB)
What more can God do?
17. Before I come to Jesus, should I wait until I’m more presentable and worthy?
No. When will you ever be worthy to come to God? You and I can never be good enough; that is the whole reason Jesus came. If you wait until you are worthy or presentable, you will never come. Besides, what if you die first? Now is the time to come.
18. Why will you die?
Is there any reason that anyone would choose to die? Jesus offers life to you. Why not accept it? These verses from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy) express well the choice we have.
“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity.” (Deu 30:15 NASB)
“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.” (Deu 30:19 NASB)
19. What if you’re wrong?
What if after all your thought you decide that Jesus really is not God after all? Or, what if you decide that he is, but that you just don’t want him as your Lord; you would rather serve yourself, and will take your chances with God and his judgment when it comes, if it comes. You have done the mental calculations, and believe it is worth the risk. What if you are wrong? Do you really want to gamble your eternal soul away? You cannot win if you walk away from Jesus. God is real, and Jesus his Son died for you. The most serious offense against God is to reject His Son. Don’t do it.
20. “What must I do to be saved?”
This is the question asked of the apostle Paul in Acts 16:30. It is the same question each of us must ask and to which we need an answer. It means, “How can I know God?”, “How can I be delivered from my sins and guilt?” , and “How can I be rescued from my life apart from God?”
God is infinitely good and willing to give us all that is good. You and I must stop running from him. He is able to release us from the fear of death that keeps us in chains. He is the answer to the void we feel in our lives. There is no rational argument against the claims Jesus made about himself. It is time to receive him. Why not now? Why wait any longer? He offers us more than we can even know, and more than we will be able to fully appreciate in this lifetime. Why waste time? Why risk dying without him? Why would anyone want to live without him? Why postpone the happiness, joy, and peace he alone can give? The longer a person waits, the more difficulty there is in coming to him.
So, the question for each of us is, how can I be saved? The answer is given in the next verse: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved…” Acts 16:31
“The Ultimate Solution” shows exactly what this means.
Copyright 2008, Jerry A. Miller Jr. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute these articles with the conditions that there are no changes in wording and there is no charge.