The Lower Lights> Sept 2001|
Alan Jones, Editor
"Brightly beams our
From the lighthouse
But to us He gives the
Of the light along the
Published monthly by the church of Christ, 35900 Palmer Road, P.O. Box
86-233, Westland, MI 48166
Are you interested in hearing
the gospel of Jesus? If not, perhaps it is because you do not see that you
need what Jesus is able to supply. Follow me through John's account of the
life of Jesus and I will show you how He is the answer to all that is
lacking in your life. Jesus is:
Water for your thirst (Jn
4:7-15): A woman of Samaria made the same long trip day after day to
draw water from Jacob's well. When Jesus offered her water which would
forever quench her thirst, she jumped at the chance. Immediately, she
asked Him to give her some of that water. But, Jesus was speaking of a
lasting spiritual satisfaction, which man cannot find on his own, as his
sin constantly mars his relationship with God, robbing him of all joy and
peace, leaving him forever "thirsty". You need to drink Jesus' living
Bread for your hunger (Jn
6:35-63): Jesus mira-culously gave bread, which the ancients called
"the staff of life", to 5000 men (and women and children besides) to show
them that He is the "bread of life". He said, "I am the living bread that
came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he shall live
for-ever; and the bread also which I shall give for the life of the world
is my flesh." Many of His disciples forsook Him after this statement. They
thought He meant that they must literally eat His body and drink His
blood. He meant rather that men must partake of His sacrifice on the cross
if they are to enjoy spiritual life, an eternal relationship with God. You
need to eat this Bread.
Light for your blindness (Jn
9, cp. 8:12, 3:19-21): A blind man who Jesus cured could see what the
Pharisees refused to see. He told these "blind" men, "Here is an amazing
thing, that you
do not know where He is from, and yet He opened my eyes." But the
Pharisees put him out of the synagogue, choosing to ignore the obvious,
that Jesus is the "light of the world". He provides all who want to see
with the spiritual understanding necessary to examine them-selves to make
sure that their actions are approved by God. You need this Light.
A Shepherd for your guidance
and protection (Jn 10): Men who live their lives as they please are
like sheep which, when left to themselves, will graze on the same spot
until there is nothing left. Jesus pro-mises that if men follow His
leadership they will not find themselves in the ruts caused by the
destructive habits of sin, but will find pasture and an abundant life. If
men will, as sheep, only listen to the Shepherd's voice, He will also
protect them from "strangers" and "wolves" of false teachers who would
destroy them. You need this Shepherd.
Resurrection for your body (Jn
11): Jesus raised Lazarus after he had been dead for four days,
proving His claim that He is "The Resurrection and the Life". Man needs
hope. In the middle of life's struggles, He needs to know that this life
is not all there is. He needs to know that death will not end his
relationship with God, but that, through the power of Jesus, he will be
able to truly have "eternal life", an eternal relationship with God. You
need the hope of this Resurrection.
Do you see your need for Jesus?
I hope that thinking about your need for Jesus has sparked an your
interest in His gospel. Shannon Shaffer of Greenwood, IN will be with
the church from September 23-28 to preach the gospel of Jesus. Shannon
will be speaking Sunday at 10 AM and Monday-Friday at 7:30 PM. Won't you
The title of this article probably
caught your eye. The advertising industry recognizes the appeal of the
word "free" and uses it to much advantage.
If the church were to offer a "free"
new car to everyone who came to worship next Sunday, we would not be able
to hold all the people. How tragic it is that something of much greater
value, not that we have to offer, but that God offers, is not even given
consideration by most- "the free gift of eternal life in Jesus Christ our
Lord" (Rom 6:23).
It is impossible to begin to
understand, much less appreciate, the "free gift" which God has offered
without first seeing man's need for it. All of us have sinned and are
deserving of death (having our relationship with God forever ended- Rom
3:23, 6:23). We can't repay God for what we have done to Him so that we
can enjoy His fellowship (Mt 18:24).
Out of God's great love, Jesus died for
us, paying the debt that we could not pay, giving us life (an eternal
relationship with God- Rom 5:5-11). This story illustrates the high cost
of this "free gift":
In the summer of 1937, John Griffith,
the controller of a great railroad bridge which spanned the Mississippi
River, took his eight year old on, Greg, with him to work. At noon, John
put the bridge up for some on-coming ships. Then he led Greg to the
observation deck to eat lunch.
Soon John was startled by the shrieking
train whistle in the distance. He had
forgotten the 1:07 express for Memphis. He raced back to the control
tower. Just as he was about to pull the lever to close the bridge, he
caught a glimpse of a horrifying sight - his son had fallen from the
observation deck into the great gears that operated the bridge.
There was no time to free Greg. What to
do? If John pulled the lever, he would crush his son between four tons of
grinding steel. But, four hundred people were on the train headed for the
John heaved the lever of massive gears.
The Memphis Express thundered across the bridge. With tear-filled eyes,
John looked into the windows of the passing train. Businessmen were
reading newspapers, conductors were looking at their pocket-watches,
ladies were sipping coffee, while children pushed long spoons into dishes
of ice cream. In agony, John cried out to the train, "I sacrificed my son
for you! Don't you even care!" Nobody heard.
God, who sacrificed His Son by
the horrible death of crucifixion so that men might live (1 Pet 1:1:18-19,
2:24), must many times cry out to earth, "I sacrificed My Son for you!
Don't you even care!" So many are living without thought and without
appreciation of God's free gift. His gift is conditional. To receive it,
men must respond in faith by obeying Jesus' gospel (Eph 2:8-9; Rom 16:26).
Sadly, most fail to respond, choosing to live as they please and to
receive the wages for their sins one day in hell, rather than let Jesus
pay what is due for them (Rom 6:23). Don't you turn down God's free
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