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Bad News / Good News – by Beth Inman for Jesus Christ 6/1/17
(Second Revised Version 3/20/18)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ for Children and All the Young at Heart.
Once upon a time, or maybe even before time began, God was. God existed in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God was completely happy, satisfied and in fellowship with Himself. God did not need anyone or anything. But God, because He is good and loving, wanted to share His goodness with others. God is truly amazing: He is all powerful, all knowing, holy, merciful and just. God is completely trustworthy. God has explained Himself and His Truth in a very special book called The Bible which contains 66 books. This true story of bad and good news is taken from the truths found in the Bible.
[Illustration: An open Bible.]
God decided to create the human race–people. God created all things, by Jesus, through Jesus, and for Jesus, His Son. God made planet earth, the universe it is situated in, and all things on earth. The first man and the first woman God made were named Adam and Eve. God placed Adam and Eve in a beautiful garden called Eden. God provided everything that Adam and Eve needed to live a happy and good life. God gave them a rule to follow. God told Adam that they could eat from any tree of the garden that they wanted to, except not from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. If they ate from that tree, God said, they would surely die.
[Illustration: Adam and Eve in the Garden.]
Sadly, one day God’s enemy, the devil, appeared to Eve, probably while she was alone without Adam. The devil appeared as a serpent and lied to Eve. At this time, the serpent did not yet crawl on the earth like a creepy snake, and all the animals were probably friends with Adam and Eve. So Eve had no reason to be afraid of the serpent. The devil, appearing as a serpent, told Eve that God’s Word was not trustworthy, and that she should go ahead and eat from the one tree from which God said not to eat, because then she could be like God. This was a terrible lie and deception. Eve disobeyed God and ate from that wrong tree. Eve gave Adam some of the wrong fruit to eat. Adam also chose to disobey God along with Eve. This rebellion and sin against God caused the worst bad news humankind has ever received. This sin caused what is called “the Fall.”
[Illustration: Eve with the Serpent.]
Adam and Eve were ashamed of themselves and hid from God after they sinned and disobeyed. Their sin separated them from the beautiful fellowship they had with God before. And their bodies were changed so that they would now begin to age and eventually they would die. They were no longer happy and safe, but very sad and afraid. God did not want Adam and Eve to be able to live forever, stuck in their sin. So God kicked Adam and Eve out of the beautiful garden of Eden, away from the tree of life. A new time of a hard, fallen life on earth began, a time which included sin, death, suffering, hard work, and pain. The bad news is that this fallen world continues on today. Life is very hard. And people die every day. Bad and evil things happen, along with some good things. People live in fear every day of dying, or of bad things happening to them or to someone they love. This plan was never what God wanted for His people, but God was not surprised by what happened. God knew all along that human beings would sin against Him, and that this terrible fall would happen.
[Illustration: Garden filled with weeds.]
Even before God created humans, He knew that human beings would sin and fall from His fellowship. So God in His goodness made a plan of salvation, even before He created planet earth and humankind. God knew He would give His only Son, Jesus Christ, to be a perfect sacrifice to pay for human sin, even before the beginning of time on earth. God has provided a way to end the terrible bad news and has created amazing good news for the world instead.
[Illustration: The Cross.]
Many people were born to Adam and Eve and all through history there were more and more people born. In the history of humankind as recorded in the Bible, God has shown the human race that their sin has separated them from God’s fellowship. God told people they would need a Savior to pay the price for their sin, and that God would send His Son Jesus Christ one day to be that Savior.
[Illustration: The Cross bridging the gap of sin.]
Because God is completely holy and pure, He cannot and will not tolerate sin. When the time was right, God sent His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to be born on planet earth. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary, a special Jewish woman chosen by God. Mary became pregnant with Jesus, even though she was a single, virgin woman. Joseph, a special Jewish man chosen by God, became Mary’s husband. Joseph obeyed God by marrying Mary and taking care of Jesus and raising Jesus as his child, even though Joseph was not Jesus’ biological father. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. He always obeyed His parents perfectly. Jesus is the only human being or human child who has ever done so. All other children sin against their parents in one way or another. The Bible clearly teaches that all people have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, or perfect standards. Some people think they will just try to be really, really good and that will satisfy God. But God’s Word tells us that people can never be good enough on their own, no matter how hard they may try, and their sin has separated them from God. Sometimes people think they have sinned too terribly and God could never forgive them of their sins. But God has promised that anyone and everyone who desires to be made right with God may do so, no matter how terribly they have sinned or made mistakes in life.
[Illustration: Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus.]
When Jesus was around 30 years old, He began His ministry to obey God His Father. He told people about God’s great plan of salvation, and that He was going to die on the cross for the sins of the world, and then rise again from the dead after 3 days. He called twelve disciples to follow Him as leaders, and many other people began to follow Him. Jesus worked many amazing miracles which helped prove that He really was God’s Son. Jesus’ family ancestry showed He was born from the family of King David, as God had promised. All the prophesies and truths of the Bible that had been written up until the time Jesus lived on earth all pointed to Jesus as God’s true Holy Son. Jesus was both fully human and fully God. But most of the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ time refused to believe it.
[Illustration: Jesus with the disciples or teaching a crowd.]
When Jesus was about 33 years old, He was arrested by the Romans because the Jewish leaders did not like His message and they did not accept Him as God’s Son. Jesus allowed himself to be arrested, tortured, physically, verbally and mentally abused, and submitted to death on a cross. No one could have harmed Jesus, or killed Him, unless Jesus has allowed it, because Jesus was and is all powerful God. Dying on a cross was a most horrible way to die. While Jesus was suffering terrible pain and agony on the cross, Father God placed the sins of the world upon Jesus. Jesus paid the penalty for the sins of the world. Can you imagine how horrible that must have been for Jesus? He was a good and honorable and sinless person. He was all love. But Jesus was willing to have all the sins of the world placed upon Him so He could pay the price for those sins. Because Jesus was perfect and sinless, He was able to be the sacrifice for sin that would satisfy Father God’s righteous judgment of sin, but only for all the people who would believe in His sacrifice on their behalf, and who would decide to follow Jesus. This is the best, most amazing good news ever!! Whoever wants to may believe in and follow Jesus and be made right with God again. We don’t have to stay stuck out of fellowship with God and we don’t have to stay stuck in our terrible sin.
[Illustration: Jesus dying on the cross.]
All people are responsible before God to decide to believe in Jesus and turn from their sin to follow and obey Jesus. If they do so, they will become “born again” spiritually. This means that God will give the person who believes a new nature that desires to know, love and obey God. This is the most wonderful thing that can ever happen to a person. All people who are stuck under their sin are destined to go to a horrible place usually referred to as hell when they die. Jesus warned over and over about how terrible a place hell, a place of eternal destruction, would be — a place of eternal isolation and pain, like a burning fire. But the incredibly wonderful good news is that for all who will turn to Jesus in faith when God calls to their heart, they will “be saved” from hell and instead get to go to a place usually referred to as heaven, and also called the new earth, which will be a wonderful place full of fun, good purposeful living, and in fellowship with God and other believers. The Bible says that heaven/the new earth is so wonderful and good that we cannot even begin to imagine how good it will be. Our eternal life will be even better and more fun than the best amusement park or fun vacation you can imagine. And it will never end. Believers in Jesus will live in perfect joy in heaven/ the new earth forever.
[Illustration: Hell versus Heaven.]
I hope you are sensing God calling to your heart. The Holy Spirit (God) calls to people in their sin, and God helps them realize that they need to repent of and be sorry for their sin. When I first heard this good news about Jesus dying for my sin, it made me very, very sad, and I felt God calling to my heart to believe in Him. I prayed to God and I have believed in God ever since. I hope you will sense God calling to you and that you will pray, which is talking to God, and ask God to help you turn from your sin and commit your life to following Jesus.
[Illustration: Child crying.]
If you are sensing God call to your heart, you may pray to God for forgiveness of your sins. Dear God, I believe you are real and that you made me and all things. Thank you for giving Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. I am sorry for all the wrong thoughts, words, and things I have done. Please forgive me and wash me clean. Give me a new heart to love you and to want to obey you. Help me to desire to read the Bible so I can learn how to follow you. Thank you God for saving me from my sins and for saving a place in heaven for me. Thank you for this incredibly, wonderful good news of your plan of salvation.
[Illustration: Child kneeling in prayer, at peace.]