In the Old Testament, there are many prophecies that have to do with Jesus, and what He would accomplish while here on this earth. Prophets foretold specifics about His death and resurrection hundreds of years before He was even born, offering proof that He is indeed God’s Son, who came to save us. Check out these prophecies about the events of the Easter story, and see where they were fulfilled in the New Testament!
(Note – Do You Believe? is rated PG-13. It contains some violence, and addresses a number of more grown up topics. For a thorough review and breakdown of the movie and its content, visit http://www.pluggedin.)
Featuring Newsboys’ hit song “We Believe,” the movie Do You Believe? brings us face to face with a very important question – “Do you believe in the cross of Christ,” and if so, “what are you going to do about it?”
Do You Believe? tells the story of 12 different people from various walks of life, each dealing with their own set of circumstances, who share one thing in common – they must each answer in their own way the question given above. For the pastor and his wife, as well as a couple that has lost their daughter, it means taking in struggling people the Lord places in their paths. For others, it means taking the step to either commit or more fully commit their lives to Him. Some must take a risk to stand up for and live out their faith. At the end of the day, however, they all discover that God is ready and willing to meet them right where they’re at.
The question the movie asks – do you believe in the cross – is the most important question we’ll ever answer. This one choice – to place our trust in Jesus, and accept Him as our Savior – both settles where we will spend eternity, and also has a life-changing impact on us here and now. If you believe in Him, then you are a child of God, with the right to have a close, intimate relationship with Him that will extend on into eternity. Refusal to receive Christ is THE ONE AND ONLY thing we do that prevents us from someday living with Him forever.
Once we have accepted Christ, God wants to use us to impact others for Him. As the movie shows, He can do so in a variety of ways in each of our lives. What’s important is that we are willing to listen to His voice, and allow Him to lead and guide us.
How will you answer the question the movie presents – the most important one you’ll ever be asked? “Do YOU believe in the cross of Christ,” and if so “what are YOU going to do about it?”
Maybe you’ve heard these words used over and over by other believers, and used them often enough yourself, but have you ever wondered what they really mean? If asked to explain them, what would you say? Check out these definitions of some of the words Christians often use!
Salvation – Salvation is Jesus saving us from our sins, and the punishment that goes with them. It is a free gift from God that allows us to have a relationship with Him. Because salvation is a free gift, there’s nothing we can do to earn it. All we need to do is receive it!
Redemption – We have been redeemed. In other words, God paid a price for us so that we could be His. That price was the life of His Son, whom He sent to save us.
Righteousness – Jesus took our place of sin so that we could take His place of right standing with God. Jesus lived the perfect life for us that we could never live. If we accept Him as our Savior, God sees us as if we were as perfect as He is. Jesus took care of the things we have done wrong, so that there is no longer anything standing between us and God!
Justification – Jesus took our place, and gave His life for us, receiving the punishment that should have been ours. Because of this, God, the ultimate Judge, declares that we are blameless!
Grace – Grace means that instead of giving us the punishment we do deserve, God gives us what we don’t deserve – a relationship with Him, and all of His blessings (such as life, health, provision, peace, and joy)!
Does it ever seem like the Old Testament and the New Testament present two very different, almost contradictory pictures of God? Like He’s filled with wrath in the Old Testament, and full of love and grace in the New Testament? Why the difference? What is He really like?
When Jesus was on this earth, He showed us what God was really like. He only did what He saw His Father do (Jn 5:19). He showed us how much God loves us, and how strongly He desired a relationship with us. Jesus’ death and resurrection was not only the dividing point of all history (BC and AD), but also between two different covenants, or ways for mankind to relate to God.
Adam and Eve committed the first sin in the Garden of Eden. Everyone since then has continued to make mistakes, causing division between mankind and God. God is holy, and can’t tolerate sin. Therefore, in the Old Testament, we see demonstration of His anger against wrongdoing, and punishment coming upon those who did wrong.
In the Old Testament, God gave many rules. Obedience resulted in blessing. Disobedience resulted in punishment. This was how mankind related to God in the Old Testament – by trying to be good enough to earn His acceptance. This didn’t work, because no one could be good enough. In fact, the whole purpose of the Law was to show us that we couldn’t save ourselves, setting the stage for a Savior to appear.
He was Emmanuel – God in the flesh. He came to establish a new way for us to relate to God. God didn’t want us to have to suffer the punishment our sins deserved, so He sent His Son to take that punishment for us. Christ took our sins upon Himself, so that we could receive His right standing with God. God’s acceptance of us is no longer based on what we do, but what Christ did, and whether or not we are willing to put our faith in Him. God still can’t tolerate sin, but He dealt with our sin when Jesus died at the cross. It no longer stands in the way of us drawing near to Him!
The Old Testament took place before Jesus died, when it was all about our performance. All our actions could ever bring about was punishment, however, for no matter how hard we try, we can never be perfect. Because Jesus, the Perfect One, died in our place, God can now show us the love and grace that was His real heart for us all along. Even throughout the Old Testament, we can see reflections of His grace and mercy in many different instances, such as when He sent Jonah to warn the people of Ninevah about what was to come upon them, and how they were spared when they turned to Him. Now that Jesus has come, we can fully experience His grace, mercy, love and forgiveness. We can be confident that because Christ bore our punishment, God will never again be angry with or rebuke us (Is 54:9)!
One year ago, the movie God’s Not Dead was released in theaters. Last summer, it came out on dvd. The movie is all about a college student, Josh Wheaton, standing up for his faith on campus against a professor who demands that he signs a paper stating that God is dead. I recently rewatched the movie, and there was something that really stuck out to me.
This scene is Josh’s final classroom argument to prove that God’s not dead. Pay attention especially to Professor Radisson’s response to a question Josh poses –
As the movie progresses, it becomes apparent that there’s more to the story of the professors’ unbelief than meets the eye. During the last debate, Josh asks the professor point blank why he hates God. The professor responds by saying it’s because God took everything away from him. Earlier in the movie, we find out that Radisson’s mother died of cancer when he was 12 years old, despite his prayers that God would spare her life. Therefore, he holds God responsible for his mother’s death. He also says something very interesting. He comments that the most committed athiests were originally Christians who awoke to what life really was like.
People all over the world every day are asking the question of why bad things happen if God is so good. It deeply saddens me to know that the response they often receive, and what many Christians believe to be true, makes it sound like it’s God’s fault – that He causes or allows negative things to happen for our good, because He has reasons we don’t always understand. This causes many people to turn directly away from God, or feel bitterly towards Him. Who can blame them? After all, who would really want to serve a God that is behind all of life’s tragedies – all the different things insurance clauses describe as “acts of God?” And are they really acts of God?
To say that God is good, and then to point things back to Him that are clearly bad just doesn’t make sense. John 10:10 clearly states that it is NOT God who steals, kills, and destroys, but rather that He sent His Son to give us life. Therefore, how could things like sickness, disease, death, and natural disasters possibly be good, or be from Him?
The truth of the matter? God is good. The trials and tragedies of life are not from Him. Sometimes they come as a result of people’s bad choices, and other times, it’s simply because we live in a fallen world where all is not as God originally designed it. The good news is that whatever we’re facing, God is both willing and able to help us, but when we ask, we HAVE TO BELIEVE that He will, and that it is His desire to do so. This is hard to do when we’re blaming Him for what we’re going through, or thinking that He caused or allowed our situation to teach us something.
What about you? What do you believe about tragedy, and whether or not God causes or allows it? Instead of blaming Him, are you willing to believe that He is ready and waiting to rescue you in any and all circumstances that you face?
When Jesus was on this earth, He went about healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, cleansing the lepers, raising the dead, and healing ALL whom the devil oppressed(Acts 10:38). He read from the book of Isaiah concerning Himself that He was anointed to proclaim good news to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted, to declare freedom for those held captive, and to proclaim release from darkness for prisoners (Is 61:1). No one who came to Him in faith ever left without receiving what they were in need of.
Hebrews 13:8 informs us that our Savior is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He never changes! Just like all who came to Him in faith when He was on this earth received what they asked for, if you come to Him today, believing that He will grant your request, you will receive what you lack!
God’s desire is ALWAYS to heal, deliver, rescue, redeem, and restore. It is NEVER to steal, kill, or destroy. That is not His work. Rather, He is the One who gives life (Jn 10:10). He loves to bless His children! You can come to Him full of confidence that what you are asking for will be yours!
So often, we are afraid to ask God for what we need because we aren’t sure of how He will respond, and so even when we ask, we have no real faith that He will do for us what we requested. It doesn’t have to been this way! He wants His sons and daughters to receive all the good things He has for them, and He promises that whatever we ask for in faith, BELIEVING THAT WE WILL RECEIVE IT, will be ours (Mark 11:24)!
Don’t be afraid to ask God for what you need. Do so in faith, and watch what He will accomplish in your life!
Spring is a time of new life – when the grass grows green again, flowers spring up, birds can once again be heard singing in the trees, and the whole world wakes up from the frozen slumber of winter. Nature comes to life all around us, reflecting the life that is ours in Christ!
God is not the one responsible for darkness and death. Depression, anxiety, fear, shame, guilt, condemnation, sickness, disease – none of this is from Him! It is NOT his desire for you to live with these things! As a matter of fact, do you know why He sent Jesus? So that you could have life – life more abundantly and fully than you’ve ever experienced before (John 10:10)! He came so that you could experience healing, peace, joy, hope, love, forgiveness, and so much more than you could ever imagine!
Do you know what the wrong things we’ve done deserve? Death (Romans 6:23). Jesus took for us this death that we deserved when He gave His life at the cross. Now, if we believe in Him, everlasting life is ours (Jn 3:16)!
Jesus is The Life (Jn 14:6) – the source of true life – and He wants to give life to us! He wants us to experience the kind of life that only He can give – a life filled with hope, meaning, purpose, relationship with God, brimming over with joy and peace. This is what He wants to give you, and it can only be found in Him. Will you receive the abundant, overflowing, overwhelming life that He is offering to you?