My body trembled as I watched a young student from the University of Rome take a suicide plunge from the top of the Roman Coliseum. I was only 19 years old and visiting my first foreign country. I witnessed firsthand the hopelessness of a world without the Lord Jesus Christ. That young man had asked the question “Is life worth living?” Obviously, his answer was no.
That experience changed my life. I stood on Via Cavour in Rome, Italy, and promised God that I would spend my life telling others the truth about the loving Creator God so that people all over the world could have hope. For the last 40 years I have ministered on every habitable continent and have preached in 86 countries. But to this day, the image of the student in Rome still motivates me to be involved in spreading the good news of the gospel that gives people a reason for living and a plan for life and eternity.
Late in His life and ministry, Jesus wanted His disciples to articulate in His presence their beliefs about Him. So He asked them the biggest question of all time: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15).
In this book, you have read answers to many questions. As important as these questions are, they pale in significance compared to Jesus’ question. You can be wrong about your answers to many questions in this book, but you dare not be wrong about your answer to this question. You see, your answer to Jesus’ question will determine your eternal fate; it will determine where you will be living 200 years from now.
The disciples were a bit stunned by the question, and only the apostle Peter attempted an answer. His answer needs to be your answer: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).
The amazing thing about this answer is that Peter did not come up with it on his own. It had come from the Heavenly Father (Matthew 16:17). God himself helped Peter mold the correct answer to this all-important question. So, when you read this answer, realize that it is a divinely given response! “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
“Who do you say that I am?” Former atheist-turned-Christian C.S. Lewis tackled this question by coming up with three possible responses: Jesus Christ is the Lord (God); Jesus was a liar; or Jesus was a lunatic. As we look at the historical Jesus, we find His uniqueness in His birth (conceived by the Holy Spirit, miraculously born of a virgin), His death upon the cross, and His resurrection from the grave.
John Duncan, quoted in Colloquia Peripatetica (1870), put it best: “Christ either deceived mankind by conscious fraud, or He was Himself deluded and self-deceived, or He was Divine.” Who do you believe Jesus Christ is?
This chapter is the last chapter in this book, but someday you will face the last chapter of your life. Are you prepared for “The End”? About 6,000 years ago, a young couple by the name of Adam and Eve lived in a beautiful garden that their Creator had made especially for them. They were told by the Creator that they could enjoy this home fully with one exception: they were not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, otherwise they would die (Genesis 2:17).
Sadly, they disobeyed God, and sin and death came into the world. As a result, everyone is born in sin, and we all are under a death sentence because we sin, too (Romans 5:12). But God is a God of grace and mercy and He did the unthinkable. He took that punishment upon himself due to His love for each one of us. Jesus Christ came to earth and paid the penalty for sin. He offers himself to us as Savior (1 Corinthians 15:22).
The Bible is clear on the subject of salvation: “Whoever believes in Him [Jesus] should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:15). As you consider the world’s most important question, consider taking these action steps:
The Bible says “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).
How do you know that you are saved? The Bible says you can know! “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
During the 2000 Olympic games, I had the joy of taking 65 Americans to Sydney, Australia, for personal evangelism. Because of their grandeur and beauty, the Blue Mountains outside Sydney became a magnet for the tourists. Teams from our group were sent to the mountains to talk to visitors about the Lord. Among those visitors was an Aussie from Melbourne named Paul. One of our team members engaged Paul in conversation for over 45 minutes, explaining about the God of the Bible and His love for Paul.
Paul responded with enthusiasm and prayed to receive Christ as his personal Savior. When he was asked where he was going from there, Paul shared that he had no place to go. He told us a story of family rejection and bad decisions on his part. We stood speechless as he told us that he had come to the Blue Mountains that day to commit suicide “Because no one in this world cares about me.”
Once again, like in Rome, my body trembled; but this time it trembled with delight. Paul had found hope for what appeared to be a hopeless life. Paul had found love, forgiveness, and acceptance from God. Paul had found friendship from a bunch of Americans who lived halfway around the world.
Three months after his salvation on the Blue Mountains, Paul suffered insulin shock and died. But we know that Paul is in heaven with his Lord! That, my friend, is real hope!
If you have trusted Christ as your personal Savior from sin, God has given you a new mandate. It is called the Great Commission: “‘Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Matthew 28:19–20). The word translated nations in verse 19 in Greek is ethnos, which speaks to us of all the ethnic groups in the world. Our Lord wants us to reach all the ethnic groups in the world. He did not give us this assignment knowing it would be impossible for us to reach; rather, He gave us this assignment expecting us to fulfill it.
Answers in Genesis is called to proclaim the life-changing message of the gospel, beginning in the Book of Genesis. One of the most thrilling developments in recent years is a method of evangelism called “creation evangelism,” in which the Bible is taught chronologically. People hear about a loving Creator God who made them in His image and is the Creator of the universe. This God sent His Son, Jesus, to die on a cross in Jerusalem to pay the penalty of our sins. This form of evangelism answers modern mankind’s most searching questions and gives every reason for hope.
Because of our mission, AiG WorldWide is translating a massive amount of creation literature, DVDs, radio programs, and web articles into the languages of the world. After the translation teams have completed a project, we will print and distribute the material, preferably without cost, to mission field leaders all over the globe. Here are three ways we plan to carry out our vision:
As I travel globally, I still tremble with raw “Roman emotion” when I see the masses of unsaved people without hope. I have watched them light incense, bow before statues, chant memorized prayers, beat themselves, and worship multitudes of gods. And with the world’s population edging closer to seven billion people, I see greater opportunities for missions today than ever before. Jesus commands us to get the Word out. So we prayerfully invite you to join us! Together we can dispel the hopelessness abroad with the hope of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.
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