1) God Has A Plan For Our Lives
Two great moments in our lives are when we are born and when we discover why we were born.
Our life did not happen by chance. Psalm 139:13 says that God was working in our lives even before we were born. God loves us. We are special to Him, and He has a special purpose for our lives in this world and for our everlasting life in heaven!
2) God’s Plan Cannot Happen For Us Because Of Our Sin
The Bible says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV). Sin is disobeying God’s laws and not doing what He wants us to do.
Everyone knows there is a difference between right and wrong, even people who have never heard of God’s law or read the Bible. Jesus taught that God’s two most important laws are to love God and to love our neighbor the way we love ourselves (Mark 12:28-31). The second of these two laws means that we must act toward others as we want them to act toward us. This law has become known as “The Golden Rule.” We know what we do not want other people to do to us. So when we do those things to others, we know we have sinned. That is why anyone can understand that they have sinned.
3) We Must Be Forgiven To Have God’s Plan For Our Lives
When we sin, we must be punished. The Bible says the punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23). The death the Bible is talking about is not just our body dying. It means our spirit, which lives forever, will be in everlasting punishment in hell. Jesus explained hell is like a “lake of fire,” and that everyone who goes there is separated from God forever and burns in fire that never ends (Mark 9:47, 48). Our sin separates us from God both in this life and also after this life.
We can’t have God’s plan happen in our lives when we are separated from Him. Our sin comes between us and God. It separates us from His plan for us.
Many things in our lives have gone wrong because of our sin. God still has a plan for us even though we have sinned, but our sin must be forgiven to allow His plan to happen.
4) God Made A Way For Us To Be Forgiven
God made a way to forgive us, save us from everlasting punishment and receive His plan for our lives. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be punished for our sins. God loves us so much that He gave His Son to die for us, as payment for our sins.
John 3:16-18 says, that “For God so loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because He has not believed in the name of the only Son.”
Three times in the book of Mark, Jesus told His followers that He had to suffer and be killed. He also said that He would come back to life after three days (Mark 8:31, 9:31, 14:27, 28). He said, “Even the Son of Man did not come to be served by other people, but to serve them and to give His life to pay for the salvation of many people” (Mark 10:45).
Jesus gave His life to be punished for our sins and pay for our forgiveness! We do not have to be condemned for our sins anymore. He will forgive us and save us from everlasting punishment in hell. He will give us a new life! All we must do to receive this gift is ask Him to forgive our sins and come into our heart, Jesus said, “The person who believes and is baptized will be forgiven, but the one who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Romans 10:9, 10 says, “That if you confess with your mouth, that ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved” (NIV).
God’s plan to save man from death was to give His only Son as a sacrifice for our sins. His Son Jesus was born as a man, but He lived His life without sinning. Men lied about Him and judged Him guilty of things He had never done. Then they hung Him on a cross to die. The very large curtain in the temple was torn into two pieces when Jesus died. It was torn from top to bottom to show it was not done by men. God did this to show that His Son’s death had made a new way for us to come back to God.
Jesus never sinned, but He was punished for sin. So death had no power over Him, and He came back to life after three days. Now He gives everlasting life to anyone who receives Him.
You received everlasting life if you confessed your sins to God and asked Him to forgive you through His Son.
5) Let Others Know
When something wonderful happens, you want to tell other people about it! The new life Jesus has given you is the greatest thing that has ever happened to you.
You can let others know what Christ has done for you in two ways: by telling them and by showing them. One of the most important things you can do in your new life in Christ is to follow Him in water baptism. Baptism is a way of showing what Jesus has done for you.
Read about the baptism of Jesus in Mark 1. John the Baptizer put people under the water and brought them out again to show that they had been spiritually buried and brought back from spiritual death to a new life. Jesus commanded that those who follow Him should be baptized, just as He was baptized by John.
Baptism shows that our old life is dead. As we are put under the water, we show that our old spiritual life has been buried, just as our physical body will be buried in the ground when we die. When we come out of the water again, we show that we are becoming a new person.
Jesus commanded us to bebaptized to show people that our life is being changed. We can’t put our old life and new life together. Jesus taught in Mark 2:21,22 that a new piece of cloth can’t be put on an old piece of clothing. When the clothing is washed, the new piece of cloth will shrink and cause a tear. [He also told how new wine would break old wine bags, which were made from animal skins. In the same way, your new life can’t be put into your old life.]
You already know that there is nothing you can do to pay for your sins. But it will cost you something to follow Jesus. Some things you did in your old life were wrong and caused you to sin. These things must change! Jesus said to turn away from your sins (Mark 1:15) and put anything out of your life that causes you to sin (Mark 9:43-48). You might think it will be hard to put some things out of your life that cause you to sin. But when Jesus gave His life to free you from the punishment for sin, He also freed you from the power of sin. He sent the Holy Spirit to help you.
You will want to be baptized as soon as possible. Talk to your pastor this week about a time when you can be baptized.
Another great part of God’s plan for your life is that He will use you to tell others about Jesus. God has chosen you to have a part in building His everlasting kingdom. There are people only you can reach with the good news about Jesus!
Mark 1:14-20 tells about the first followers Jesus called — Peter, Andrew, James and John. They were fishermen, but Jesus called them to a new life, to something more important than catching fish. He called them to fish for men, to tell men the good news about Jesus and how to receive a new life!
Jesus also explained in Mark 4:1-34 how we have a part in building His kingdom. When we tell others the good news about Jesus, it is like planting a seed. Some people we tell will receive the message and their lives will be changed. Others will not receive the message. Some ground will receive a seed and a plant will grow, but other ground will not.
Jesus commands us to tell others what He has done for us and what He will do for them. Some will receive that message and others will not. But we must obey Jesus and share the good news so everyone has the opportunity to receive Him as their Savior.
Jesus told His first followers, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria, and even in the farthest places of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
You need the Holy Spirit’s help just as Jesus’ first followers did! Jesus has promised that He will help you. The Holy Spirit will give you the ability to be a witness for Jesus Christ, both in what you do and what you say.
Ask Jesus to fill you with the Holy Spirit, as He did His first followers. It is His promise: “This gift is the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you, for your children, and for everyone who is far away. It is for all the people that the Lord our God will call to come to Him” (Acts 2:38,39).