“…I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” John 17:13
Keeping happy is about as easy as nailing jelly to the ceiling! Once attained, it seldom lasts. The more we seek happiness, the more it eludes us. Its like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. One study asked people “Are you happy?” Most said that they weren’t, but that they would be in the future. When interviewed a few years later, they again answered: “I’m not happy now, but I will be in the future”.
Happiness depends on happenings. And it’s often hard to get things to happen to us as we’d like.
Jesus spoke of another quality. Something, which is not dependent on happenings. It’s joy. Joy is a deeper quality, one which depends not on events, but on relationships which delight.
So where does this “full measure of my joy” come from? Just before the quote above, Jesus assures the disciples that they belong to God. He had made them His own, and He will never abandon them. Joy came from belonging to God, and God was the source of their joy. Their joy then, like God, is not fickle, or dependent on happenings.
It begs the question: “how can we belong to God? If joy is found in God, then how can I enter into relationship with Him?
We need to confess our need for God’s forgiveness. None of us has loved God with all our heart, soul and mind; and we haven’t loved others as much as have loved ourselves. For many of us, God has largely been ignored, given only the occasional thought, and prayed to when we need help. Treating God this way is what the bible calls “sin”. It’s a little word with big consequences, since God will one day judge sin and sinners.
However, God loves us and sent Christ to take the punishment we deserve. When Christ dies, He takes my place. You need to turn from your sin, and cast yourself on the mercy of Christ. Ask Him to forgive you, and put you in a right relationship with God. Then turn your life over to God; submit to His rule.
The joy He gives will surprise you!
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
“Through Him (Jesus) all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made”.
Science seeks to measure measurables and explain observables. This is its greatest strength and its greatest limitation. Pitting God against science is making assumptions without the benefit of observation – starting with an irrational hypothesis.
Scientific method relies on the testing of a hypothesis through the systematic collection of evidence.
Science can only disprove the existence of God starting with a hypothesis that God does not exist. Finding scientific evidence to support such a theory proves difficult when all that we see and understand of the world around us points to a creator – the natural inclination when faced with an object of incredible complexity and balance is to assume it is created – rather than the product of circumstance.
Scientific truths reveal the perfect design of the universe around us – scientific observation can reveal the precarious balance of fragile ecosystems, or the breathtaking complexity of a basic cell structure.
If we start with the hypothesis that God exists and created the world we find supporting evidence from observations of the world around us.
The precision of a constantly expanding universe which creates conditions suitable for life on the planet earth, or the way the sun fuses about six hundred million tons of hydrogen nuclei every second, releasing an amount of energy at exactly the right distance from earth. These observations would seem to support the presumption of a designer, or creator.
But, doesn’t evolution disprove the need to believe in a God? Evolution is a theory, which leaves many questions unanswered. For example, how can evolution, which argues that minute changes produce complex function, explain eyesight, which requires all its components (optic nerve, visual cortex of the brain etc) to operate at once? For any one part to evolve independently of the others doesn’t make sense.
At the end of the day the existence or otherwise of God is outside the realm of science; the existence of God cannot be proved or disproved scientifically.
Science seeks answers for questions of what, where, when, and particularly how – it does not, and cannot answer who or why conclusively – except to point to previous theories and observations.
Faith is the ability to hold to a conclusion without specific observations – or evidence. Choosing to reject, or believe in, God requires faith. The question is where do you place your faith?
The Bible makes no scientific claims – it presents God as creator without answering questions of scientific observation. The Bible does make some historical claims – about events that actually occurred – around the life of Jesus Christ. These historical questions are the really important issues of truth raised by the Bible. We’d encourage you to test what Jesus says and whether you think his claims are true.
Jesus said. “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life”. This is found in John’s gospel, chapter 5, verse 24.
You either stand condemned (facing God’s judgement), or have crossed over to life. Which describes you?
“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.” John 3:16
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:18
What do these verses from the bible mean?
God tells us in these verses that there is only one way to Heaven – and it is not through doing good things or being a good person. He makes it very clear that if we do not believe in his son Jesus we are condemned – we face God’s Judgement.
It is hard to believe that God will punish so called “good” people like you and me just the same as he will punish evil people. You’ve lived a good life, never hurt anyone, given your kids everything they need and you abide by the law. In fact you might even have spent most of your life helping others. But ask yourself this: do I believe in Jesus and if so how much of my life have I given to him? Where does God rate in my life? If Jesus returned tomorrow would he condemn me or accept me?
We do not get to Heaven based on the good works we may do. No. We know that we are sinners and that we fall a long way short of what God requires of us. But what gives us hope is that we put our faith in Jesus, then through his death on the cross God has forgiven our sins. Although we will continue to sin and fall short of God’s standards till we die, we believe that God accepts us because Jesus took the punishment we deserve on the cross.
Through trusting Christ alone God welcomes us into his family. He does not promise us any easy life or earthly riches but he does promise us his love and a place in Heaven with him forever.
So the answer to our question is “no”. Those who spend eternity with God in heaven are only those who trust in Jesus’ death to forgive them, and who have cast themselves on His mercy.
What can you do?
Simple, put your faith in Jesus, turn your life over to him and ask him to forgive you for trying to live without him. He will not turn you away or bring up the past. He will simply open his arms and welcome you into his Kingdom. Christians refer to being Born Again – it’s a fresh start with God in the controls of your life. God will change your life and fill you with his Holy Sprit.
If you feel ready to turn to Jesus there is no time like the present – none of us know when he might return and we all need to be ready. But as this is a huge step and you may need time and help please feel free to contact us. You will find our details on the talk to us page. Or go to the link below.
We don’t pressure anyone – this is a life changing decision that only you can make with God’s help. We are only here to help and make you aware that it is a decision that you do have to make one way or another. Please have a look at our notice board page and see what we do at our Church – we would love to see you any Sunday. Again we know this it is a big step but I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how easy going we are and how much fun it is to learn more about God through his word.
No, since most religions claim to be the only way. Either one is right, or all are wrong; they logically can’t all be right.
Jesus says He is “the way, the truth and the life” (John’s gospel, 14:6). One must either agree, or dismiss His claim. To dismiss His claim is to say He was mad (ie, deluded), bad (he lied), or else He is who He claims to be. He cannot merely be a good man who teaches us to do good. Many good people can do that.
Further, all religions cannot lead to God, since they have different ideas of who God is. The God of Christianity is unlike any other, since He revealed Himself uniquely in Jesus. Jesus said: “I and my Father are one…whoever has seen me has seen the Father (John’s gospel 10:30; 14:9).
The presence of so many religions point to is an innate belief that there is a God. There are very few atheists. The question is, “who is this God”? And, “how would I recognise Him if I saw Him”?
When you look at Jesus, you see someone who acted like God. He could stop a storm, command the blind to see, enable the deaf to hear, and even to raise the dead.
“Jesus said, I am the way, the truth and the life. No-one comes to the Father except through me.”
However, the greatest sign that He is God’s Son is His resurrection. No other leader of a religion has claimed to rise from the dead, and followed it up by appearing to over 500 witnesses.
Above all, in Jesus we see the grace of God. Jesus is willing to die for His followers, to not merely show the way, but to be the way. His death enables our rebellion against God to be punished, and for us to receive God’s mercy and grace. No other religion makes such provision for man’s sin.
The best way to weigh up Jesus’ claims is to read what he says about himself in John’s gospel, part of the New Testament in the bible.
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering…” Isaiah 53:3
A child lies limp in the dirt in Africa, claimed by starvation. A loved one gets cancer, or dies prematurely. Can’t God stop the suffering? This is a difficult question to answer fully, but there are some things we can say. Suffering was never God’s desired plan for mankind. Indeed, God created man to enjoy a world without pain or tears, living in perfect harmony with one another, their environment, and with God.
Then disaster. Adam and Eve disobey God, usurping His rightful rule over their lives. Creation is thrown into dysfunction, and suffering enters the world. Eve will give birth in pain, and Adam’s tending the garden is replaced by “painful toil”. The environment also suffers, the land now producing thorns and weeds.
God then cannot be blamed for suffering; man is responsible for the mess the world is in.
However, God uses suffering. When we suffer, we are reminded of our humanness, our frailty, and our need for God. Suffering is a reminder that things are not right; just as a toothache indicates a bad tooth. No one enjoys pain, but it can lead us to something profoundly healthy – to cast ourselves on God. God can humble and mould us as learn to submit to His loving rule over our lives. He wants us to place ourselves under His care. Pain can lead us to receive His offer of forgiveness, through the death of Jesus.
In the mean time, God weeps with us. He knows about pain. He Himself has suffered. God suffered as he determines that His Son must die on a cross. God’s Son Jesus wept for us, and then endured the agony of the judgement of God on the cross.
So God understands. One day he will eliminate all suffering and pain, and establish a new heavens and a new earth, a place of restored harmony.
Until then, lets trust in the one who suffered upon a cross for us.
“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering…” Isaiah 53:3
If we accept Christ as our God and Saviour, and seek His forgiveness, He offers eternal life. If we reject Him, he will condemn us.
“Christ dies for the ungodly… God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6,8)
John looked worried. Although life was good, a secure job, and friends and family, he was not at ease. He leaned forward and asked: “How can I be accepted by God?
It’s a good question. Everyone wants to be accepted by others, and God is the ultimate OTHER. What does it take to be right with Him? Thankfully, the scriptures reveal God’s way.
I answered: “God accepts me when I place my confidence in Jesus alone. Only Jesus is able to forgive me, and to present me approved to God. Without Him, by myself, I stand condemned before God. This is because God is holy, and unable to tolerate my falling short of His standard. His standard is impossibly high for me: perfection.
God is a judge, and cannot pardon my guilt, any more than a judge on earth pardons those who are guilty. Justice demands a penalty be paid.”
John said: “Yeah, I hate it when a judge lets a criminal off with a slap on the wrist.” But then he looked even more worried: sounds scary” “It is, but God is loving, and has provided a way for the penalty to paid by another. When Jesus died, God judged Him in my place. He was condemned for my sin. He took my penalty. When I turn to Jesus, and ask for forgiveness, then God grants me forgiveness, and eternal life in heaven.
This demonstrates God’s love for me. “Christ dies for the ungodly…God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6,8)
John eased back in the chair, a glimmer of hope dawning. I continued: “Jesus is therefore my only hope. The good news is that God accepts me on the basis of His death for my sins. And there’s more. The perfect life of Jesus, all his obedience to the law, is credited to my account. We are, as it were, clothed in the perfection of Christ. This means that God now sees me “in Christ”, and therefore accepted by Him.
The bible calls this grace: “For by grace are you saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no-one can boast.”’ (Eph 2:8,9).
John seemed relieved as he said, “So what happens next, where to from here?” I replied, ‘“Place all your confidence in Jesus alone to forgive you. Stop thinking that you are good enough to be accepted by God. Sin has disqualified us all, but Jesus qualifies me. Stop living life your way, and to turn my life over to Him: “under new management.”’
John did that. He prayed: “Lord Jesus, forgive me for falling short of your standard. I’m sorry for not loving you, and for living life as if you didn’t matter. I believe you died so that the penalty for my sin may be erased. Please rule in my life. I turn my life over to you, and pray that you may live within me”.
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Remember playing Chinese whispers when you were a kid? The whisper may start as “is the cat well?” and end up as “does the rat smell?” Could not the bible, reproduced by hand over the centuries, become progressively inaccurate?
The Old Testament
The Old Testament scribes took great care that no mistakes were made in copying. For example, the number of letters per page was counted by a second scribe, and compared with the copy. If one line had nine words, the copy must have those nine words on one line. A third scribe would then check that the word in the middle of the page was the same.
In the 1940s and 1950s, a collection of thousands of scrolls or fragments of scrolls was discovered near the Dead Sea. They contained copies of manuscripts of the Hebrew Old Testament that was about a thousand years earlier than the earliest copies in existence. When comparing the older copies with those already in existence, a noted Bible scholar said, “It has been …estimated that there are …variations in hardly more than a 1000th part, of the text.” Hence, we may safely say that the Old Testament is at least 99.9% accurate when compared with the originals.
The New Testament
The time between the life of Jesus and the New Testament writings is short compared to those of the accounts of other great figures of the times. Nine or ten early authors write of Jesus, most of them independently of each other. Further, there are today more than five thousand early manuscript copies of part or whole of the New Testament in Greek. We may then be confident that the New Testament we have today is virtually identical with the original writings that compose it.
Does it Matter?
The scriptures are not the product of human imagination: they come from God. And they point out how to be saved from condemnation. 2 Timothy 3, 15b-16 says… you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed….
Are you willing to open your mind to understanding how to get right with God? There is not better place to start than to read the bible. John’s gospel (in the New Testament) is a good place to start.
For unless we are rescued from our sins, we face the judgement of God. The good news is that if a person trusts in Christ to forgive them, he offers a fresh start. For more info, go to….
“…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”.
Life getting you down? Depressed? All work and no play? Expectations to meet? Bills to pay? Can’t seem to get ahead? It’s a familiar story. Sometimes life just seems too hard, and we all ask “what’s the point?” These problems can be overwhelming, but what do you do when confronted by hardship. Do you dig deeper seeking inner strength? Or let despair run wild? Or throw caution to the wind and let fate take its course? Do you become bitter and blame others? Maybe you blame God.
A better way
Some use hardship to reassess their course in life. When things are going well God is on the backburner – there’s no need to consider God when we’re in control. It’s when things get difficult that we start to wonder if there’s anybody out there who hears our prayers. The moment we realise we’re not in control of our lives is the moment many people turn to God.
Church attendance skyrocketed in the few weeks immediately after September 11. People were asking “what’s the point” – and they were turning to God for answers…
Perhaps God allows trials so that we see our need of Him. Bob Dylan sang about knocking on Heaven’s door – but in reality it’s God who comes knocking. Perspective is a powerful persuader – when all we’ve lived or worked for is about to be destroyed, when everything we value is shown to be meaningless, what’s left?
Finding no meaning in materialism can spur us on to finding real meaning in God.
When you’re asking “what’s the point?” – God is speaking to you. He’s knocking on your door. God loves you. He wants you to know him – to find meaning in him. He loves you too much to let you live your life without considering Him. God’s purpose is that we love Him, with heart soul and mind. Only as we love God can we find meaning in life.
No Christ, no life, know Christ, know life
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. Without Christ in a person’s life, there is no life.
How can we know Him? We need to see that we have lived life without God. In thinking that we control our circumstances – that we are “God” of our lives we’re ignoring him. Worse, we’re rejecting him. We’ve rejected God, and not loved him with all our heart, soul and mind. The Bible calls this sin.
We’ve said that God loves us – we’ve all read the bumper sticker “God is Love.” Despite our spite – even though we’ve thoroughly rejected him – God loves us. He showed his love by sending Jesus Christ to take our punishment for rejecting him. If you turn to God for forgiveness – and put your life in his control then Christ’s death is for you. He takes the punishment in your place.
That’s the point of life – to discover God’s love – and the forgiveness that comes through Christ.
“Whoever finds his life will love it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matt 10:39
Sue wasn’t sure. She was considering becoming a Christian. She sensed that life was meaningless without God, and she realised that she needed to seek God’s forgiveness. She had been ignoring God, and now it was time to get right with Him.
She hesitated. What would it mean to become a Christian? “What difference will God make to my life?” she thought.
The answer is that she would lose some things, but gain a whole lot more.
What she would lose
She would cease putting other things before God. Jesus said: “Whoever finds his life will love it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matt 10:39. In context, Jesus is saying that he is to be more important than even family. We need to be prepared to “take up our cross and follow” him. To take up one’s cross was the ultimate in commitment; a willingness to lay down one’s life.
So Jesus is saying that becoming a follower of him involves a radical realignment of priorities. Of course Sue would still love her family, but God would be more important. More important also than career, ambition, relationships or money. These things are seen in a different light; they are gifts from God to enjoy, but are now under His control. We use them to serve God and to honour Him.
What she would gain
If Sue became a Christian, she would find real life. Jesus says that those willing to loose their old way of life to follow Him, will find real life. This is because real life is only found in Christ. Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth and the life.” Jesus is not a way to God, he doesn’t just teach about truth or tell us about how to live life. He is the way, the truth, and the life. As the old song says: “Without the way, there is no going, without the truth, there is no knowing, without the life, there is no living.”
This new life is a relationship with God through Jesus. Upon committing our self to Jesus, he sends His Spirit into us, and so enters our life. Jesus then begins to re-orient our priorities toward God. We begin to love God more and more, and find joy in obeying Him.
Life as a Christian is costly. It is the placing of God before all else – but it is infinitely rewarding. We can say that we know God. We experience His forgiveness and love. He becomes our closest companion, our best friend. Above all, we submit to Him as the ruler of our lives, and so find our meaning, our purpose. He promises us a home with Him in heaven, forever enjoying the presence of the God who has loved us.
“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” Hebrews 9:27
You finish surfing the net, you pack up your stuff and walk outside. You’re crossing the road and a truck runs a red light and kills you. What happens next?
It’s the ETERNAL question. Is there life after death? Are we destined for dust, reincarnation or an eternity in Heaven or Hell? Those seem to be the options.
If you leave this computer and die – what happens to you? Do you know? Are you sure? Are you ready to say goodbye? If God is there waiting to judge you – do you know what you’ll say? If you’ve spent a lifetime ignoring him you better have a convincing argument ready.
There are plenty of people who claim to know. Some describe white lights. Some say your life flashes before your eyes. Australian media mogul Kerry Packer famously declared nothing happened after he was clinically dead for four minutes. Others with near death experiences disagree with him. Four minutes of “clinical death” is obviously not “final death” the death that Hebrews 9 promises – the one followed by judgement. You only live once. You only die once. What happens then?
It’d be great if we could talk to someone really dead – someone who’s been truly dead who has comes back. In person – not through a medium. An eyewitness. Someone with first hand experience.
The Bible teaches that Jesus did this. Died and came back. That he was dead for three days. That’s more than 2000 years longer than Kerry Packer has been dead. The Bible mentions that more 500 people saw Jesus after he came back.
“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:18
The Bible has some pretty scary things to say about death. Judgement is empty without the threat of condemnation and punishment. Judgement without punishment is a joke. Some people will be condemned. Worse still, some people are already condemned and only death is keeping them from the judgement of God. They “Stand condemned already”.
The good news is that not all are condemned. Jesus also said:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his 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 3:17
Believing means putting your trust in Jesus to rescue you from the condemnation. It’s getting serious with God. Faith in Christ is the only way to assurance that you’re not condemned. No other religion makes promises about the afterlife with such conviction.
It’s easy to dismiss this. It’s easy to say “that’s your opinion” and close this page. But what happens if you’re wrong? What happens if you die tomorrow?
If we accept Jesus as our God and Saviour, seeking His forgiveness, He grants to us eternal life. If we reject Him, we face His judgement. What will you do?
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself” Matt 22:37,38
“What’s right for you may not be right for me, what’s wrong for you may not be wrong for me” said Sue, glaring at her mother. Since she started to take drugs, Sue and her mother had argued. “Its my life, I’ll do what I like, and I don’t need you to tell me what’s right for me.”
It’s easy to side with the mother. But who’s to say what’s right or wrong?
Everyone has some standards. Most societies condemn murder for example. But who says murder is wrong? Is it simply that we don’t want others to hurt us, and extend this principal to apply to others? Do we say Sue is wrong because we can see the danger, and she can’t?
The bible says that God has planted in our hearts a knowledge of what’s right and wrong. Its called a conscience – like a smoke detector which goes off in the presence of evil. Because God has made us to be like Him, in that we are moral beings. We recognise evil.
More importantly, God has established right and wrong according to His character. Since God is good, he wants us to do good things. Since God cares for people, he has built into us a care for others. Since God hates murder, he has given us this same hatred.
Trouble is, none of us can live up to God’s standards. In fact, we can’t even live up to our own. No one is as kind and loving of others as they would like, no one is immune from bad mouthing another, or at least silently judging others. We may not murder, but we assassinate another’s character, slay them with our thoughts or words. Worse still, we treat God as if He doesn’t matter. We haven’t loved God nor our neighbour perfectly.
The bible calls this sin. A little word, with big consequences. God will not ignore sin, any more than a judge on earth will excuse a criminal. God is a judge, and will overthrow all evil. The bible calls this “judgement”. It’s the fate of us all.
Unless one trusts in Jesus. Jesus alone has perfectly obeyed his conscious. He alone has perfectly kept every standard, every law of God. No one else in human history has come close.
If one trust in Jesus to forgive them, He promises to wipe their slate clean. We stand accepted before God because Jesus has cleansed us. And more: He, or credits His perfect law keeping to our account. Its like putting on a new coat – the coat of Christ’s righteousness.
If we accept Jesus as our God and Saviour, and ask for His forgiveness, He promises to give us eternal life. If we reject Him, we face His judgement.
“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Matthew 16:15,16
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Matt 16:15,16
Some questions determine our destiny. “Will you marry me?” for example – how you answer will shape much of our future.
But the mother of all questions is the one Jesus asks his mate Peter. “Who do you say I am?” Peter had spent some quality time with Jesus, and had seen him do extraordinary things. Like healing sick people by simply speaking. He had witnessed Jesus heal a paralytic, and been in the boat when a raging storm threatened to sink them on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus simply spoke his word, and the angry sea calmed down as if on Valium. Best of all, he had seen him raise a dead child. Clearly Jesus was like no other man.
So Peter calls Jesus “Christ”. This referred to God’s anointed, or His Messiah. The Messiah had been prophesied in the Old Testament, before the birth of Jesus, to deliver His people Israel from bondage. Many people thought that meant he would free Israel from Roman oppression. But God had something far greater in mind: God’s Messiah was to save people from the rule of sin in their lives. Sin refers to our ignoring God, our not loving Him as number one our lives. It’s a little word with big consequences. For one day God will punish sin.
Jesus came to save us from that punishment. He was to usher in a new kingdom – but not one with boarders. Jesus was to rule as God’s anointed king over all who would believe and follow Him.
Jesus’ miracles were God’s way of saying: “He’s arrived”. Of course, the greatest was the resurrection of Jesus himself. So some weeks after Jesus’ resurrection, Peter says to a crowd: “Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know…God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2 :22,36.
We haven’t got space to talk of Jesus as the co-creator of the universe, with His Father. Or of His role as Prophet, Priest and King.
Jesus is asking you today: “But what about you? … Who do you say I am?” We may correctly answer, the one sent to deliver me from the rule of sin. To say this however, we need to apply this truth to our lives. We need to respond to Jesus’ offer of forgiveness.. He died upon a cross in order that our sins may be erased, that we may escape the judgement from God which our sins deserve.
Pray to him, asking Him to forgive you, to receive you as one of God’s people, and submit to Jesus’ rule in your life. Your eternal future is about to be determined.