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SCRIPTURE - Lk. 4:18-19                                                  JANUARY, 1998

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.


APOLOGY!!! Before I get in to the message for this month, I would like to take this time to apologize to any lady, that found something offensive about this statement made in last month's tract, 'Some of our young ladies, are wearing clothes so tight, that you can see every 'nook and cranny' on their bodies, and they are proud of it. Then when one of them gets raped, they wonder why. A man, needed his 'fix', and she was advertising.' Some of you interpreted it as saying that these young women, deserved to get raped. What was meant by this, is that they attract unwanted attention, by individuals that, could lead in to more serious problems. It's like wearing a steak, in front of a hungry dog, you could get bitten.

It is not my intent, to run any one away from the truth of the gospel, but rather to draw you to Jesus Christ. Some times the messages hit hard, but they are meant to get you to face certain facts of life, and to hopefully make a change in your lifestyle. So, once again, I apologize for any offense you felt, and I will try to be a little more sensitive, in making my point, whenever possible, but, not at the expense of the truth.
Good News!!! Good News!!! When is the last time you had some really good news??? Today?? Yesterday?? This week?? This month?? This year?? When?? Well, If you are reading this, you are reading the best news that any one can get, ever. You are about to read the basic truth of what Jesus Christ has done for, YOU!!!

Imagine, you are in prison, on death row. Imagine, all of your appeals have run out, and you are waiting for them to come and get you to lead you to the death chamber.

You are sitting there, trying to figure how this could have happened to you. Here you are, a fine upstanding citizen, that has never done anything wrong. You haven't so much as spit on the street. You are in church every Sunday. You don't have an enemy in the world. You love everybody. Then one day, you are being told that you have been accused of a crime, of which the sentence, is death. And that isn't the worst part. It turns out, that it wasn't you that committed the crime, but a distant relative.

What is going on here, you ask?? Here you are, being imprisoned, and sentenced to death, for something a relative did. And while you are sitting there thinking about this, you are being subjected to all sorts of ridicule and torture, from the others, that are awaiting their death sentences to be carried out. All of them, are acting like they are insane. And you don't really blame them. You are about to lose it, as well. The idea of this happening to you, or anybody else, is almost unimaginable. What kind of country is this??? Sounds like one of those communist countries, or an uncivilized place, in some remote region of the world.

You asked for a lawyer, and the one you got, was a fellow prisoner, who himself, is awaiting his own sentence to be carried out. He went before the judge, and the judge refused to hear a word he had to say. He came back, and said there is no hope. You see that all is lost. You have tried everything that you know, and nothing worked. You settle in to the fact, that this is your fate, and there is no way out.

Then one day, word came, that there had come in to the prison, a man, that was not a condemned individual, that went to the judge, and asked what it would take to set all of the prisoners on death row, free. When the judge told him, he gladly paid the price, and the judge gave him the keys to the prison, and told him he could set all of you free. However, if there are any prisoners left in the prison, when the executioner comes, then they will have to be executed. So, when he came to let you free, you refuse, to accept it. It's too good to be true. You figure that it has to be a trick or something. He urges you to come out before the executioner comes, but you hesitate. You have settled in your way, and it is hard to change. But, finally, after others that had taken his word for it, and gotten out, came back and urged you to come out. And you finally came out, and found out it was no trick. And you began to think about how you almost missed it. And all you could do, is thank this man for what he did for you.

What's just been described here, is what is spiritually happening to every single solitary one of us, who had this sentence of eternal damnation placed on us, the minute we were conceived. We were found guilty of treason against God, and the punishment is spiritual death. This sentence was placed on us, because of what our distant ancestor did. We inherited it. It is in our blood. Ge 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:        But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. This is the death sentence, we inherited. Ro 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners...

Each of us, because of what happened, has this sentence on us, that opens us to all of the problems that we see facing our society.

Guilty!!! Condemnded!!! And, no way out!!! Cursed!!! That's us my

Guilty by default. The sin nature of man, came through our earthly father, Adam. Ro 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: and Ro 6:23 For the wages of sin is death;...

Here we are, sentenced to eternity in hell fire, after we go through this life of enduring hardships, sickness, crime, oppression, depression and all of the other negative things that we go through.

Look at your life. I'm talking about you. What is your life like??? Everything going just fine for you, or are you in the midst of a dilemma??? Are you wondering how to make ends meet??? Are you having trouble in your home, with your parents, spouse, or children??? Is sickness, ravaging your body??? You know, cancer, AIDS, heart disease, sugar diabetes, or one of the other diseases, that will possibly end your life. Have you been touched by crime??? Maybe someone close to you was a victim, or even a perpetrator.

How are things on your job?? You have a dead end job, and the boss, is giving you fits. Maybe things are so bad, that you feel like killing someone, or maybe yourself. You can't take it anymore. You turn to drugs, and whatever else you can, to get a little relief, but it doesn't help.

Look at the wars, famines, and other things that are plaguing mankind. All of this, is the result of what Adam did. And this, as bad as it is, isn't the worst.

I hear people saying, in their ignorance, `YOU KNOW, YOU MAKE YOUR OWN HEAVEN OR HELL, RIGHT HERE ON EARTH.' The correct way of saying it, is, `WHAT YOU DO IN THIS LIFE, DETERMINES WHETHER YOU GO TO HEAVEN OR HELL.' The difference is, one leads you to believe that while you are alive, you can have heaven or hell in your life, and then when you die, it's all over. The other, says that there is something after death, that you will experience, based on what you do in this life.

Now, since we all are born in to sin (sinners), we automatically are destined to go to hell, when we die. And, there is no amount of money, or good works that we can do, that will change that. No matter how hard you try, it will do you no good, when you stand before God. If people like the Pope, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King Jr., and others, that we figure are in Heaven already, or will go there when they die, due to their good works, or influence, are not going to be there, based on what they have done, as far as good works are concerned, then you know how much chance you have getting out of going to hell.

The bible says, Eph 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works (of righteousness), lest any man should boast. In other words, there is no hope for any of us. There is nothing, NOTHING, that you or I can do, in and of ourselves, to make it to Heaven. If there were, then some of us, could boast about how much good we have done, or how much money we gave to the needy or some other charities, that exist to help those in need.

In order to get out from under this sentence of death, God required that a man, a special man, sacrifice his own life, to satisfy the penalty that God says, must be paid.

A special man?? What manner of man is this?? It is a man, that is born a human, but that does not have the sin nature of Adam, in him. Since the nature of all mankind, is passed on by the man, then God, had to have a way to bypass this natural order of things, in order to have a man, who would, at least, be perfect for the sacrificial offering, that would set all mankind free. Thus, Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. He had no earthly father. He was conceived in the womb of Mary, by the Holy Ghost.

But, that wasn't the end of the story. He, Jesus, had to offer His life willingly, in order for God's plan to work. That meant, He had to offer no resistance to what God had said, must be done. He had to be obedient to God, the Father. The fate of every living human being, hinged on His obedience. Heaven or hell. It all depended on Him.

When we look at how He was treated, when He only wanted to open the way to Heaven for us, He had all the reason to refuse to go through with it. He was mocked. He was spat upon. He was abused. He was reviled, rejected, tortured and crucified, by the very ones He came to help. Thank God, He wasn't like you or me. If He was, He would have said, `let them go to hell.' He could have said, `I only want to help the whites,' or vice versa. It could have been just the Jews. Maybe just the rich and famous. He might have picked one group over another, based on any silly idiosyncrasy, if He were like one of us. But, the gospel [good news] is, He wasn't like you or me. Thank God.

He satisfied the conditions that the Father had said must be met, for us to escape the penalty of sin. But, just like the imaginary prisoner in prison, who refused to accept what his deliverer had done to set him free, you, refuse to take advantage of it, because you don't want to believe it. Here is your freedom. It doesn't cost you a dime, and yet, you would rather keep on in the prison of sin, live out your life, die, and go to hell, despite what God has done for you.

Notice Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:, your deliverance [salvation), is a gift. You can't purchase it, and you can't earn it. The only thing you can do, is accept it, by faith. That is good news. You don't have to have a penny to your name. You don't have to be holy. You don't have to straighten out your life first. You just have to come as you are. Bring all your problems and burdens, and cast them at His feet, and He will give you that true peace of mind that you have been seeking, all your life in the alcohol, drugs and other things that have been destroying you. Mt 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light

Why don't you come on out of that prison today?? Get that curse off of your back. Just ask Him, `Jesus, I am a sinner, save me', and He will. Learn about Jesus, and what He did for you. Read His Word, the Bible.