THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
The Bible is the word of God, the everlasting Truth. It contains the account of creation, man's disobedience to God, and the agony which came upon man because of sin. It also tells us of God's love for man in making a plan to redeem him. It tells of a Saviour who was born, who died for man's sin, and was raised from death for his justification. Whosoever believes its message may have forgiveness of sins, peace of mind, love for all men, power over sin, and a living hope of eternal life. SALVATION IS GOD'S FREE GIFT TO MAN.
GOD'S WONDERFUL CREATION
Long, long ago there was no world at all. But God has always been. God, the Creator, is everywhere, is almighty, and all wise. By His spoken word all things were created in perfection. God said, "Let the dry land appear," and it was so. He created the hills and valleys covered with grass, beautiful flowers, and trees of every kind. He created the fowl, and the birds which sing so many different songs. God created all the animals, great and small, who roam the lands, as well as the small insects and reptiles that live on and in the ground. He created the lakes and oceans for the dwelling place of the fish and all water creatures. He made the continents on which the people of every nation could live. God made the moon to give light at night, and He decked the sky with thousands of beautiful, twinkling stars. last of all God formed man from the dust of the earth. He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul. God called him Adam.
Seeing that Adam needed a helper, He caused him to fall into a deep sleep. Then taking a rib from him, God formed a woman with it, and brought her to Adam. Adam knew that Eve was bone of his bones and flesh of his flesh, and he loved her. Eve loved Adam too. They had sweet fellowship with each other. This was God's plan for a family unit. God created everything in six days, and on the seventh day He rested. He looked upon everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good. So God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it as a day of rest for man. God wanted Adam and Eve and all of their descendants to have a day of rest every week, that they might think and talk about God and all His wonderful creation. This would help them to love and obey Him.
The Bible also tells us of a fallen angel called Satan, or the devil. He was cast out of Heaven upon the earth and he is the source of all evil. Because of him sorrow, suffering, sickness, and death came into the world.
THE TRAGIC BEGINNING OF SIN
God loved Adam and Eve. He made a beautiful garden for them to live in. It was called the garden of Eden. Adam was to take care of it. In this garden were many kinds of vegetables and fruit trees for them to eat from. There was one tree called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God told Adam that he should not eat of this tree, for in the day that he would eat thereof, he would surely die. One day Satan came to Eve and told her a lie. He said, "Ye shall not surely die . . . ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
As she looked upon the tree with it's beautiful fruit, she thought it must be good for food, and eating of it would bring wisdom. So she took some fruit and gave also to Adam, they both did eat of it. Immediately they felt very strange in their hearts. They had never felt this way before. They knew now that they had done something very wrong. They were both ashamed of themselves as they thought of their disobedience. Fear came into their hearts as they thought of meeting God. So they hid themselves among the trees of the garden.
In the cool of the day God called Adam and said, "Where art thou?" They could not be hid from God, so they came into His presence and acknowledged their wrongdoing. God caused them to understand what a great sin it was to disobey His command. He told them that both must be punished according to their evil deeds. They would now have to suffer pain and trouble all the days of their lives. They would now have to work hard for their living. Their bodies would become old and worn out. They would die and return to dust again.
As they were driven from this beautiful garden, God placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword to keep the way of the tree of life. They began to understand what it meant to sin and what great sorrow it brings.
THE SAD RESULT OF SINNING
Adam and Eve were very sorry for their sin of disobeying God. God still loved them, and made them coats of skins, and clothed them. He gave them the promise of a Saviour who would come some day to bruise the serpent's head.
The first two sons born to Adam and Eve were Cain and Abel. They brought an offering unto the lord. Cain brought of the fruit of the ground. Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock. This lamb's blood was shed, and was a type of the promised Redeemer who, many years later, came as the lamb of God to take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). Jesus died as an innocent lamb on the cross for our sins. Abel's sacrifice pleased God, but God was not pleased with Cain nor his offering.
We must not neglect to do what God wants us to do. We now have His Spirit and Word which teach us how to live and what His will is for us.
When Cain noticed that God was pleased with Abel and with his offering, but not with his, envy and hatred toward Abel entered his heart. Then one day as they were together in the field, Cain rose up and killed his brother Abel. God spoke to Cain and said, "Where is Abel thy brother?" Cain did not like to tell the truth, so he said, "I know not: Am I my brothers keeper?" Cain had not been obedient in following the lord's instructions. God had warned him before he killed Abel. He told Cain that if he would do well he would be accepted, but if not, sin was lying at the door. How much bet- ter it would have been had he corrected his attitude and loved his brother. Now his brother's blood was calling to God from the ground. Cain was cast out from the presence of the lord and society. He became a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth.
GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS SON
"For unto you is born this day... a Saviour, which is Christ the lord" (Luke 2:11).
After Abel was dead and Cain had gone away from home, Adam and Eve had another son. His name was Seth. He grew up to be a good man. God blessed his descendants with many godly leaders, kings, and prophets, who heard and believed God's wonderful promises of a Saviour who would someday be born. Abraham, especially, believed God; for which he was called the friend of God. He was told that through him and his descendants all the families of the earth would be blessed.
Many hundreds of years later God fulfilled the promise He had made of sending a Saviour to the world. It happened, in a supernatural way, in the little town of Bethlehem of Judea. There In a stable, a babe was born to Mary; who was a virgin. She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger. (Read Luke 2:1-7). An angel told Mary that the baby's name was to be called Jesus (meaning Saviour). He was to become a great leader who would teach the people many things about God. Jesus grew up much like other children. He was loved and favored by many. At the age of twelve He was wiser in the word of God than many doctors and lawyers of Jerusalem. He seemed to know all about the law and prophets. No one could ask Him a question that He could not answer. He had great interest in the religious activities of His people. When He was about thirty years old, He took part in religious services. Once He read an Old Testament prophecy about the coming Messiah. When He had finished reading, He said to the people, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears." He taught the people as one having authority. He preached that the Kingdom of God was at hand, and that repentance was necessary for entrance into the Kingdom. He taught people to worship God in humility and sincerity--from the heart. He rebuked the proud and unbelieving people of their sins, and preached the Gospel of love to the poor and needy.
JESUS HAS POWER OVER DEATH
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and life: He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall live" (John 11:25).
Jesus did many miracles, proving to the people that He was the promised Saviour sent from God. He healed the sick, made the blind to see, caused the deaf to hear, cast out devils and raised the dead to life. Once He walked on the water and calmed the stormy sea by His words. His words spoken to a fig tree were so powerful, that it was found dried up from the roots the next day. At one time He fed more than five thousand hungry people with five loaves of bread and two fishes. when all had enough to eat, there remained twelve baskets full. Fishermen caught large numbers of fish when nets were cast at His command. One day Jesus met ten lepers who had heard of His fame. They cried, "Master have mercy on us." At His command they were cleansed.
large crowds followed Jesus daily, whether He was In town, traveling in the roads or in the hilly country. The people felt blessed who heard "the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth." Some said, "Never man spake like this man:' Others were amazed and glorified God saying "We never saw it on this fashion.'
He began to tell the people that He was the Son of God, and that God was His Father. All who believed His words were made happy. He told those who believed, that they were children of God. Jesus said to His disciples, " I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also "(St. John 14:2,3). (This place in Heaven is for all true Christians).
"Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Mat- thew 25:34).
JESUS DIED FOR OUR SINS
"When they were come to . . . Calvary, there they crucified him" (Luke 23:33).
The scribes and Pharisees were greatly annoyed at Jesus and His teaching. He had often reproved them for their honor seeking in religion and unlawful money-making practices. They were very jealous and envious of Jesus, because so many people believed in Him, followed Him, and praised Him. They feared that the people might make Jesus their king.
They tried to make Jesus say or do things that would cause the people to lose faith in Him, but Jesus was too wise for them. They were not able to find occasion to accuse Jesus to the common people. Their hatred and anger grew as Jesus' popularity continued to increase. Their ill will and hatred toward Jesus became so great that they made plans to put Him to death.
They took Jesus to court and charged Him as an evildoer and trouble maker in the community. They brought many false charges against Jesus. Then they took Him before Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea. Pilate could find no fault in Him, so Pilate was going to release Jesus and set Him free. But the accusers of Jesus turned into a mad mob and cried, "Crucify Him, crucify Him." When Pilate heard their angry cries and threats, he gave in to their demands and turned Jesus over to them. They took Jesus and put a crown of thorns on His head and a rod in His hand. In mockery they called Him king. They spit in His face and beat Him cruelly. They finally nailed Him to the cross and left Him there to die.
Jesus was put to death just as the innocent lamb that Abel offered on an altar hundreds of years before. Abel had offered his lamb as a type of the lamb of God who would die for the sin of the world. Many prophets of old had likewise foretold of Jesus' suffering and death. John the Baptist said ,..."Behold the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, (John 1:29). "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" (John 3:16).
JESUS AROSE FROM THE DEAD TO SET US FREE
"He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the lord lay" (Matthew 28:6).
The third day after the death and burial of Jesus, very early, upon the first day of the week, several women came to the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus. They were surprised to find the tomb empty. The body of Jesus was not there. Their hearts were troubled. Then, suddenly, two angels stood by them in shining garments. They said, . . ."Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here but is risen" (Luke 24:5,6). Upon this they quickly went back to tell the disciples what they had seen and heard. The disciples could not believe their story. So Peter and John went to investigate for themselves. They, too, found the tomb empty and as they entered they saw the linen clothes lie, and the napkin that had been wrapped about Jesus' head neatly folded as if by gentle hands, placed separately. When they saw these things they believed the story of the women. In the evening of the same day the disciples were together behind closed doors for fear of the Jews. Then Jesus suddenly stood in the midst of them and said, "Peace be unto you. He showed them His pierced hands and side that they might believe. When they saw the lord they were glad and believed that He was the same Jesus who had been crucified and that He had risen from the dead. After this Jesus showed Himself to many people as full proof of His resurrection.
This bright morning when Jesus arose from the dead is still the most glorious day in all history. For on this day, God's wonderful plan of Salvation was completed. Now all who receive Jesus into their hearts, even though they die and are buried, shall resurrect and live forever in Heaven. Jesus said, "Because I live, ye shall live also" (John 14:19). This wonderful plan of salvation is made effective by faith to all who believe in Jesus, His death, and resurrection 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" (Romans 10:9).
Dear Reader: Have you enjoyed reading this impressive account of life and death? God is speaking to your heart. What is your response? Will you repent and believe the Gospel? If you surrender to God you will receive a love for righteousness and power over your sin. You will also want to witness to others of what the lord has done for you. The Scriptures tell us in Romans 10:11 that no one who believes in Jesus Christ shall be ashamed. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Do not delay. Come to Jesus today.
The text of this tract is Vlad Petrusevich's adoption of Leland M. Haines' writings (bibleviews.com). For Free Distribution - Not To Be Sold
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May God's grace and peace be with you as you study His Word.Juanuary 7, 2005