Born Again – What Does it Mean ?

Born Again!

By Mike Taylor

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5-6).

There is no other doctrine that is more central to the Christian faith as when Jesus spoke with Nicodemus and proclaimed that a man must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God. Nicodemus was obviously very confused, as written about the account of the meeting the Pharisee had with Jesus coming to Him after sundown. Nicodemus was thinking in physical terms and could not understand the concept thinking that he must he enter the womb of his mother and be born again? He wasn’t thinking in spiritual terms and it seemed totally illogical to him at that moment.

Many Christians use the term to describe their being a believer of Jesus Christ, but do they fully understand in Spiritual terms exactly what Jesus was driving at? Many use the label to describe themselves as this believer in Jesus Christ, but is belief enough? Remember what James said in James chapter 2:19?

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”

Let us examine what it means to be “born-again.”

As an illustration, when I was a young man I used to be only concerned with myself. I was single and single-minded of what I wanted. But when I got married and especially when we had a child between us, I changed. My identity of who I was changed dramatically. Oh, before when I was a happy go lucky young man, without the responsibility of being a husband and then a father, I would have been happy with a condo on the beach.

That would have been wonderful. But now, my focus was on someone else. My money went to take care of a wife, and then a new life born into our family. I changed and my focus changed. My identity changed. I was no longer responsible for just myself. I now had a wife and baby and I was a father. My focus was different. I was a changed man.

So it is with becoming “born-again.” We change. Our identity is changed. Our core being is changed. We are not the same. Know one thing, my brethren. God is not doing a remodelling job on the same old house. He’s not coming in and saying, “Let’s knock out this wall, or let’s put in a new refrigerator over here, and put up some new nice curtains for the windows.” No, God comes to us and since our life was built around being lost in our sins, objects of His wrath, and considered a walking dead man, spiritually, God started from scratch.

It’s like an episode of, This Old House. The old house is so much in disrepair, with rotting walls full of termites, leaky roof, a foundation that is falling part, that they come in with a bulldozer and tear it all down and start over completely. There is just no way to repair what is unrepairable. They dig a new foundation, pour new concrete with cement blocks for a foundation and build a whole, brand new structure. That’s what we become; a complete new creation or a “new structure.” The old is gone, and the new has come. We were changed at our very core. Our being was changed inside. Oh, we may look the same on the outside, but spiritually we are different and God has taken the old man and killed him and buried him with His only Son, Jesus Christ, and raised him to a new life.

Ephesians chapter 2:1-3: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

We were hopeless, lost and objects of God’s wrath. We were walking dead men who didn’t realize it until the Holy Spirit drew us to the foot of the cross of Calvary. There we believed John 3:16-18 and the surrounding gospel message of Jesus and Him crucified for the sins of the world. Then by obedience to the Lord’s example we were baptized by immersion into a watery grave just as Jesus demonstrated when baptized by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:14-17).

Why do we immerse a person? Why not just sprinkle some water on his head, or stick his head in a bowl? Because the water of baptism is a symbol of the grave; we died to the old man. We were raised to newness of life. But the question raised, is baptism necessary for salvation? No, but as mentioned, it is a sign of obedience and knowing that we have died to the old man and raised a new creature. Romans 7:4-6:

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”

The law has no hold on us, in that it condemns us, because we have been baptized into the death of Jesus Christ and the old man has died and we are now raised with a changed identity. Oh, we still have that sinful nature, because we are still mortal. But Paul addresses this conflict of the flesh waging war against the spirit.

Romans 6:12-15: “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”

In Paul’s day, it was thought by a heretical belief held by a sect called the, Gnostics, that we could sin all the more; so that grace could be even more grace. Paul says no, for we are not under the law, but under grace and dead to sin. He continues in verses16-18 of Romans 6:

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.”

You see, because of grace and the mercy of God, it doesn’t allow us to willfully sin and act like nothing ever happened. Some people feel if they come down to the front of the church, shake hands with the preacher, join the church and “believe by being an assenting Christian” in Jesus Christ, that they are fine. (Party time now, because it’s all good I can live like I want, do what I want and I’m covered, past, present and future.) I just got my free ticket to heaven…. See there is a difference between believing as the demons do, by assenting to the fact that Jesus is God, and becoming a follower of Jesus and being conformed to His likeness. It’s speaks to the level of your faith, and decision to allow Jesus to be Master of your life.

WOULD YOU BE THANKFUL?

Let me ask you a hypothetical question. If you came to your doctor and he pronounced that you had advanced stage IV cancer and prescribed a treatment that cured you, would you be indebted to that doctor? Most certainly you would be. You might even hug the man, or kiss him, because he just saved your life. What has God done for you then? He just saved your life. You were dead, dead, dead. But He has made you alive in Jesus Christ and promised you eternal life and a future beyond your wildest dreams. Would you be indebted to Him? Would you follow His plan for your life in humble submission to a Father in heaven and our Lord Jesus Christ who just gave you a pardon from a death sentence?

Colossians 2:10-14: “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”

God our Father gave us a new life, with endless possibilities and future heavenly rewards, apart from the blessing of this temporal life we live. He made us glorious promises found in God’s Word to those who love Him.

Romans 8:32-33: “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

Did you catch that? He will freely give us all things, and the greatest of these is a life without end, eternal life. As Paul testified in Philippians chapter 4:19: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

BUT STILL YOU SIN?

But you lament, and struggle with the complaint, “But I still sin.” Yes, we are still mortal. We are still afflicted with a sin nature. But Paul spoke of this seemingly conflicting paradox of those buried with Jesus Christ and find that when they say something they should not have, or look at something they should not be looking at, or think a thought that is not very Christ-like they are convicted and the need for repentance is strong, even as Paul lamented in Romans chapter 7:14-17, 19-20).

“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.”

But he identifies the solution to be a mortal man and having God’s Holy Spirit living inside us in the verses further down in the same chapter:

Romans 7:24-25: “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

It seems to be a conflict that is present all our lives. We are “born again” but still mortal that has this war going on inside us. But with God’s Holy Spirit within us, strengthening us, leading us in the paths of His righteousness. When we sin because of the frailness of our mortal flesh, it is not our identity that is doing it, because we have become the children of God (sons and daughters), but it is the sin nature that is doing it and not my changed spiritual identity, but the sin nature that lives as a part of my flesh.

When we sin because of being flesh and mortal, we bring that failure to our Lord and repent and ask forgiveness and the fellowship that was hindered is restored completely. We will finally overcome the sinful nature, when the deposit of the Holy Spirit that melded with our spirit finally overcomes.

Ephesians 1:13-14: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest (deposit) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

When will we finally overcome? 1 Corinthians chapter 15:52-55:

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

Then the deposit of our purchase possession will be changed into His likeness at His coming for His church. As Paul spoke of in Philippians chapter 3:21:

“Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

And in another place: 1 John 3:2-3:

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

Jesus hinted at what we will be when we are finally changed into the likeness of our Savior when talking with Nicodemus, and as He displayed to the Apostles after His resurrection, coming full circle, again in John chapter 3:8:

“The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

As Jesus could come and go at will right before men’s eyes because He was now flesh and bones with a resurrected body, we will have the same body that He possesses now. We will be able to be touched, possibly eat as Jesus did, but come and go as a breeze through the trees that Jesus described. We will be the purchased possession, as the deposit of the Holy Spirit has now quickened our mortal bodies into eternal spiritual bodies with properties and powers that no mortal man can describe save what the Scriptures define. All I can say is, I can only imagine. And I want it, more than anything…Do you?

A DECISION TO MAKE

Have you been really “born again?” Have you accepted the only payment for the purchase of your soul to live eternally with Almighty God, a loving Father and His only begotten Son? Are you an assenting Christian believer in your mind, or a true follower of Jesus Christ, in Spirit and in Truth in your heart of hearts?

You must ask yourself these questions, as signs and symptoms of the closing of this church age is growing exponentially louder and more pronounced with each passing day. As any minister would give an altar call at the end of a message, I call you now, by God’s Holy Spirit and the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to repent of your sins, accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Master of your life, and be changed forever inside your very core of being. Become a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, our soon coming King and Lord…Be ye, BORN AGAIN!

This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying for you to be born again in the kingdom of God. If you should have a need, would like prayer, counselling or just a listening ear, then email me at realteam1999@sbcglobal.net. God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus’ feet.

http://www.churchofgod-usa.org

Source: http://www.raptureready.com/soap2/taylor112.html


Copyright of Rapture Ready: Several people have asked me if they could reproduce articles found on this web page. I always say, “Yes of course.” In fact, readers may disseminate this information via mail, e-mail, airmail, oral conversation, billboards, carrier pigeons, pony express, smoke signals; by means of telephone, television, telegraph, teletype; through Braille, sign language, placing messages in bottles, drum beats, books, CD’s, radio, and telepathy for you New Age folks. When the rapture should take place, resulting in my absence, it will become necessary for tribulation saints to mirror or financially support this site.

Copyright is found on home page towards the bottom. http://www.raptureready.com/index.php

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Why I Gave My Heart to Jesus

Salvation: The Day I Gave My Heart to Jesus – A testimony by Pastor Ricky Scaparo of Endtime Headlines. http://www.endtimeheadlines.org

~ Romans 10:9-10 (KJV) ~ 9 That 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. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

~ Acts 2:21 (KJV) ~ 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Salvation)

~ John 3:16 (KJV) ~ 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (Salvation)

~ Acts 2:41 (KJV) ~ 41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. (Salvation)

Salvation is a FREE Gift and FREELY Given… For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 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, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

We are saved through the grace of God and only the grace of God. There is no other way for us to get to heaven. If we think the good we do will earn us a hope in heaven, then we shall be deeply dismayed when Jesus says, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” Let us not take pride in ourselves in thinking that our works will get us into heaven. Let us rather praise the Lord for His marvelous grace!

Daily Promises – Blue Letter Bible – October 9, 2011
http://promises.blueletterbible.org/


Added Note: So what about works? Do Christians need to do good works then??? Yes they do but that comes after salvation. Our salvation IS NOT based on works. But works done later after salvation show the fruit because of our salvation.

Blessings, Kitty <^.^>

Evidence of Salvation – Love

How can we KNOW we are Christians?

1 John 3:14 … “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.”

We know that we have passed from death unto life – From spiritual death to spiritual life; that is, that we are true Christians. Because we love the brethren – This IS an infallible evidence of true devotion if we love the followers of Christ .

1 John 4:20 … “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”

John 13:35 …“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Our love for each other IS decisive evidence that we are like the Savior, that all people shall see and know it. It is the evidence by which we will be known in this world.

By this shall all men know that we are Christ’s disciples: The love and self-sacrifice of our brethren has done more to extend the name of Christ than any argument. In the early ages, heathen were known to say: “See how these Christians love one another.”

1 John 2:10 … “Whoever loves his brother lives in the light, and there is nothing in him to make him stumble.”

He that loves his brother – For Christ’s sake. abides in the light – Of God. And there is no occasion of stumbling in him – Whereas he that hates his brother is an occasion of stumbling to himself. He stumbles against himself, and against all things within and without; while he that loves his brother, has a free, unburdened journey.

Let us pray for all the “Christians” whose path we cross here on You Tube and elsewhere who would rather fight and demean, bully and deny others. They walk in the sin of their doings not loving their brethren but in some self righteous way, consider them self holier and better educated taking the first place in all their CONTROLLED “fellowship”. They always see the mote in their neighbors eye, but NOT THE BEAM in their own. They are clouds without water. And the thin veneer of posturing they gloat over others with, has no light and love of Christ, but the darkness of inner distress and fear masked in this facade of their self serving perfection.

Music: Priscilla and Rita Coolidge, Sisters in Christ.

Are You Sure You’re Saved ?

Are You Sure You’re Saved?

‘Salvation is evidenced by change, as we become a new creation when we truly put our faith in Jesus. No change means no new creation. No new creation means absence of saving faith. Are you different, or the same, as you were before you were “saved”‘?

Excerpt Source: http://www.youtube.com/user/SpiritLedOne


FB friend Susan L.B. posted this on April 19, 2011. A very important message to the church…

“God has been putting this on my heart about many that are missing the BIG PICTURE. Yes you have accepted Me as Savior but you must go beyond this in order to not be led astray. I must become your Lord, Without an intimate relationship with Me you are the very ones IN DANGER FOR YOU STILL DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE … I AM CALLING YOU CLOSE SO I CAN SHOW YOU.. Please Refer To Jeremiah 33:3 (KJV)”

Time to Get Right with God – David Wilkerson:    http://youtu.be/7avjiWDYT6w


John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.

John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.John 15:14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; **but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.**

Holy Week Explained

“Holy Week Explained” tells why this very special week is so Holy to Christians today. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (NKJV) John 3:16

Blessings, Kitty <^.^>


Holy Week Explained…Excerpts

“The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the nexus of our faith–the key to restored relationship with God. The story of God coming to earth as one of us to die, at first glance, seems outrageously far-fetched. Yet all of Scripture either seems to point toward Christ’s crucifixion or deals with the new reality of renewed relationship brought about through this historical event. Although it is Christ’s resurrection that concludes the “life and death” drama of Holy Week, in a sense, the resurrection serves as God’s unambiguous confirmation that his forgiveness was accomplished — the spell of sin broken — and that Christ’s victory over death has, indeed, been won.” …

… “God, through his Son, suffered death so that we might live. In the book of Hebrews (2.14b, 15) it says, ‘Jesus himself became like (us) and shared (our) human nature. He did this so that through his death he might destroy the Devil, who has the power over death, and in this way set free those who were slaves all their lives because of their fear of death.’ It is the gift of Good Friday and the confirmation of Easter. God, through Christ, suffered the pain — the spiritual pain of separation — for our sins. Such is God’s love gift offered to us this and every Easter (or Holy Week).”

To read more of this article, follow the link below. ..

Excerpt Source: American Bible Society Magazine, Spring 2003, p7, Excerpts from:

‘The Cup of Death – The Gift of Life’ by David Singer: http://img.forministry.com/5/5E/5E4F0DE5-2C42-4DD6-A1BA2D64B3F81DC2/DOC/ABS_RECORD_SPRING03_mag.pdf

Don’t Leave it on the Desk

THE GIFT: There was a certain Professor of Religion named Dr. Christianson, a studious man who taught at a small college in the western United States. Dr. Christianson taught the required survey course in Christianity at this particular institution. Every student was required to take this course their freshman year, regardless of his or her major.

Although Dr. Christianson tried hard to communicate the essence of the gospel in his class, he found that most of his students looked upon the course as nothing but required drudgery. Despite his best efforts, most students refused to take Christianity seriously.

This year, Dr. Christianson had a special student named Steve. Steve was only a freshman, but was studying with the intent of going onto seminary for the ministry. Steve was popular, he was well liked, and he was an imposing physical specimen. He was now the starting center on the school football team and was the best student in the professor’s class.

One day, Dr. Christianson asked Steve to stay after class so he could talk with him. “How many push-ups can you do?”

Steve said, “I do about 200 every night.”

“200? That’s pretty good, Steve,” Dr. Christianson said.

“Do you think you could do 300?”

Steve replied, “I don’t know… I’ve never done 300 at a time.”

“Do you think you could?” again asked Dr. Christianson.

“Well, I can try,” said Steve.

“Can you do 300 in sets of 10? I have a class project in mind and I need you to do about 300 push-ups in sets of ten for this to work. Can you do it? I need you to tell me you can do it,” said the professor.

Steve said, “Well… I think I can… yeah, I can do it.”

Dr. Christianson said, “Good! I need you to do this on Friday. Let me explain what I have in mind”…

Friday came and Steve got to class early and sat in the front of the room. When class started, the professor pulled out a big box of donuts. These weren’t the normal kinds of donuts. They were the extra fancy BIG kind, with cream centers and frosting swirls. Everyone was pretty excited it was Friday, the last class of the day and they were going to get an early start on the weekend with a party in Dr. Christianson’s class.

Dr. Christianson went to the first girl in the first row and asked, “Cynthia, do you want to have one of these donuts?”

Cynthia said, “Yes.”

Dr. Christianson then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Cynthia can have a donut?”

“Sure!” Steve jumped down from his desk to do a quick ten. Then Steve again sat in his desk. Dr. Christianson put a donut on Cynthia’s desk.

Dr. Christianson then went to Joe, the next person, and asked, “Joe, do you want a donut?”

Joe said, “Yes.” Dr. Christianson asked, “Steve would you do ten push-ups so Joe can have a donut?”

Steve did ten push-ups, Joe got a donut. And so it went, down the first aisle, Steve did ten push-ups for every person before they got their donut.

Walking down the second aisle, Dr. Christianson came to Scott. Scott was on the basketball team and in as good condition as Steve. He was very popular and never lacking for female companionship. The professor asked, “Scott do you want a donut?”

Scott’s reply was, “Well, can I do my own push-ups?”

Dr. Christianson said, “No, Steve has to do them.”

Then Scott said, “Well, I don’t want one then.”

Dr. Christianson shrugged and then turned to Steve and asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Scott can have a donut he doesn’t want?”

With perfect obedience Steve started to do ten push-ups.

Scott said, “HEY! I said I didn’t want one!”

Dr. Christianson said, “Look, this is my classroom, my class, my desks and these are my donuts. Just leave it on the desk if you don’t want it.”

And he put a donut on Scott’s desk.

By this time, Steve had begun to slow down a little. He just stayed on the floor between sets because it took too much effort to be getting up and down. You could start to see a little perspiration coming out around his brow.

Dr. Christianson started down the third row. Now the students were beginning to get a little angry.

Dr. Christianson asked Jenny, “Jenny, do you want a donut?”

Sternly, Jenny said, “No.”

Then Dr. Christianson asked Steve, “Steve, would you do ten more push-ups so Jenny can have a donut that she doesn’t want?”

Steve did ten. Jenny got a donut.

By now, a growing sense of uneasiness filled the room. The students were beginning to say, “No!” and there were all these uneaten donuts on the desks.

Steve had to really put forth a lot of extra effort to get these push-ups done for each donut. There began to be a small pool of sweat on the floor beneath his face, his arms and brow were beginning to get red because of the physical effort involved.

Dr. Christianson asked Robert, who was the most vocal unbeliever in the class, to watch Steve do each push up to make sure he did the full ten push-ups in a set because he couldn’t bear to watch all of Steve’s work for all of those uneaten donuts. He sent Robert over to where Steve was so Robert could count the set and watch Steve closely.

Dr. Christianson started down the fourth row. During his class, however, some students from other classes had wandered in and sat down on the steps along the radiators that ran down the sides of the room. When the professor realized this, he did a quick count and saw that now there were 34 students in the room. He started to worry if Steve would be able to make it.

Dr. Christianson went on to the next person and the next and the next. Near the end of that row, Steve was really having a rough time. He was taking a lot more time to complete each set.

Steve asked Dr. Christianson, “Do I have to make my nose touch on each one?”

Dr. Christianson thought for a moment, “Well, they’re your push-ups. You can do them any way that you want.” And Dr. Christianson went on.

A few moments later, Jason, a recent transfer student, came to the room and was about to come in when all the students yelled in one voice, “NO! Don’t come in! Stay out!”

Jason didn’t know what was going on. Steve picked up his head and said, “No, let him come.”

Dr. Christianson said, “You realize that if Jason comes in you will have to do ten push-ups for him?”

Steve said, “Yes, let him come in. Give him a donut.”

Dr. Christianson said, “Okay, Steve, I’ll let you get Jason’s out of the way right now. Jason, do you want a donut?”

Jason, new to the room, hardly knew what was going on. “Yes,” he said, “give me a donut.”

“Steve, will you do ten push-ups so that Jason can have a donut?”

Steve did ten push-ups very slowly and with great effort. Jason, bewildered, was handed a donut and sat down. Dr Christianson finished the fourth row, and then started on those visitors seated by the heaters. Steve’s arms were now shaking with each push-up in a struggle to lift himself against the force of gravity. By this time sweat was profusely dropping off of his face, there was no sound except his heavy breathing. There was not a dry eye in the room.

The very last two students in the room were two young women, both cheerleaders and very popular. Dr. Christianson went to Linda, the second to last, and asked, “Linda, do you want a doughnut?”

Linda said, very sadly, “No, thank you.”

Professor Christianson quietly asked, “Steve, would you do ten push-ups so that Linda can have a donut she doesn’t want?”

Grunting from the effort, Steve did ten very slow push-ups for Linda.

Then Dr. Christianson turned to the last girl, Susan and said, “’Susan, do you want a donut?”

Susan, with tears flowing down her face, began to cry. “Dr. Christianson, can I help him?”

Dr Christianson, with tears of his own, said, “No, Steve has to do it alone. I have given him this task and he is in charge of seeing that everyone has an opportunity for a donut whether they want it or not. When I decided to have a party this last day of class, I looked at my grade book. Steve here is the only student with a perfect grade. Everyone else has failed a test, skipped class or offered me inferior work. Steve told me that in football practice, when a player messes up he must do push-ups. I told Steve that none of you could come to my party unless he paid the price by doing your push-ups. He and I made a deal for your sakes.”

“Steve, would you do ten push-ups so Susan can have a donut?”

As Steve very slowly finished his last push-up, with the understanding that he had accomplished all that was required of him, having done 350 push-ups, his arms buckled beneath him and he fell to the floor.

Dr. Christianson turned to the room and said, “And so it was, that our Savior, Jesus Christ, on the cross, said to the Father, ‘Into thy hands I commend my spirit.’ With the understanding that Jesus had done everything that was required of him, he yielded up his life. And like some of those in this room, many of us leave the gift on the desk, uneaten.”

Two students helped Steve up off the floor and to a seat, physically exhausted, but wearing a thin smile. “Well done, good and faithful servant,” said the professor, adding, “Not all sermons are preached in words.”

Turning to his class, the professor said, “My wish is that you might understand and fully comprehend all the riches of grace and mercy that have been given to you through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God spared not his only begotten son, but gave him up for us all, for the whole Church, now and forever. Whether or not we choose to accept God’s gift to us, the price has been paid.”

Wouldn’t you be foolish and ungrateful to leave it lying on the desk?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-

– Author Unknown

Source:  http://www.sermonillustrationlibrary.org/illustration52