Monday, August 20, 2012

"Outbreak!" - My Article in the Southside Messenger

Spirit & Truth # 285
By Greg Smith

            In the 1995 movie Outbreak, a 100%-fatal virus sweeps through the Motaba River Valley in Zaire, threatening the entire country’s population.  The government’s solution—firebomb the valley, killing everything and everyone infected.  Years later, a monkey is transported to the United States, carrying the same deadly virus.  The question is whether a team of scientists can stop the outbreak’s spread before it goes nationwide.  It’s an intriguing fiction, though since the movie first broke out in 1995 there has been even more talk of pandemics and germ warfare.  No matter the fiction of this film, it is certain that there really is a 100%-fatal disease that has infected us all—sin.  

            Romans 5:12 (NIV) says, “…Sin entered the world through one man, [Adam] and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.”  While denominations debate the meaning of the term original sin, it is certain at least that we inherited from our forbears the tendency toward sin, and as soon as we are capable of making moral or immoral decisions, we choose to violate God’s command.  The New England Primer of 1690 put it this way:  “In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.”

            As surely as a deadly virus will kill, sin threatened to destroy all of humanity, but in a real-life, white-knuckle thriller of epic proportions, “…at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died 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 NIV).”  Scientists can invent an inoculation for a deadly outbreak, but patients have to take the vaccine in order to be saved from the plague.  In the same way, Jesus offers His eternal life freely to all, but you have to receive His gift for yourself.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23).”  That gift comes, not by injection, but by receiving Jesus’ forgiveness and making Him Lord of your life.

            You may have been to church many times before, and heard the message of salvation before, but never received Jesus’ gift for yourself.  If you’d like to receive His inoculation and be rescued from the plague of sin, then I invite you to take the first step by praying this prayer:

            Dear Lord Jesus, I believe that You are the Son of God, and that you died on the cross to save me.  You took my death upon Yourself and gave me Your eternal life.  I receive this gift of grace, and ask You to come into my life.  Thank You for forgiving my sins and providing me an eternal home in Heaven..  Guide me in all that I do, so I can grow in my relationship with You and walk in Your goodness the rest of my life.  Amen.

            If you prayed that prayer, then I suggest you begin your new life by reading your Bible and praying daily.  Find a good church where you can learn and grow.  Be baptized as a testimony of your faith, and tell others about the gift of life Jesus has given you.  And one more thing—I’d love to hear from you.  Drop me an email and tell me about the decision you’ve made for the Lord.  Now, I pray that your joy and excitement will go viral—and that Christ’s life will spread from you to your friends as you tell them your good news!

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