But although He made the world, the world didn’t recognize Him when He came.  Even in His own land and among His own people, the Jews, He was not accepted.  Only a few would welcome and receive Him.  But to all who received Him, He gave the right to become children of God.  All they needed to do was to trust Him to save them.  All those who believe this are reborn!  Not a physical rebirth resulting from passion or plan - but from the will of God. John

Now we rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God - all because of what our Lord Jesus Christ has done in dying for our sins - making us friends of God.

When Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race.  His sin spread death throughout all the world, so everything began to grow old and die, for all sinned.  (We know that it was Adam’s sin that caused this) because although, of course, people were sinning from the time of Adam until Moses God did not in those days judge them guilty of death for His laws - because He had not yet given His laws to them, nor told them what He wanted them to do.  So when their bodies died it was not for their own sins since they themselves had never disobeyed God’s special law against eating the forbidden fruit, as Adam had.

What a contrast between Adam and Christ who was yet to come!  And what a difference between man’s sin and God’s forgiveness!

For this one man, Adam, brought death to many through his sin, but this one man, Jesus Christ, brought forgiveness to many through God’s mercy.  Adam’s one sin brought the penalty of death to many, while Christ freely takes away many sins and gives glorious life instead.  The sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to be king of all, but all who will take God’s gift of forgiveness and acquittal are kings of life because of this one man, Jesus Christ.  Yes, Adam’s sin brought punishment to all, but Christ’s righteousness makes men right in God's sight and gives them life.  Adam caused many to be sinners because he disobeyed God, and Christ caused many to be made acceptable to God because He obeyed.

The Ten Commandments were given so that all could see the extent of their failure to obey God’s laws.  But the more we see our sinfulness, the more we see God’s abounding grace forgiving us.  Before, sin ruled over all men and brought them to death.  But now God’s kindness rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans

Now here is the explanation of the story I told about the farmer planting grain!  The hard path where some of the seeds fell represents the heart of a person who hears the good news about the kingdom and doesn’t understand it; then Satan comes and snatches away the seeds from his heart.  The shallow, rocky soil represents the heart of a man who hears the message and receives it with real joy, but he doesn’t have much depth in his life, and the seeds don’t root very deeply, and after a while when trouble comes, or persecution begins because of his beliefs, his enthusiasm fades and drops out.

The ground covered with thistles represents a man who hears the message, but cares of this life and his longing for money choke out God’s word, and he does less and less for God.  The good ground represents the heart of a man who listens to the message and understands it and goes out and brings thirty, sixty, or even a hundred others into the kingdom. Matthew

And then He told them, “You are to go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone, everywhere.  Those who believe and are baptized will be saved.  But those who refuse to believe will be condemned.” Mark

He never sinned, never told a lie, never answered back when insulted; when He suffered He did not threaten to get even; He left His case in the hands of God who always judges fairly.  He personally carried the load of our sins in His own body when He died on the cross, so that we can be finished with sin and live a good life from now on.  For His wounds have healed ours!  Like sheep you wandered away from God, but now you have returned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls who keeps you safe from all attacks. 1 Peter

This is the message God has given us to pass on to you!  That God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all.  So if we say we are His friends, but go on living in spiritual darkness and sin, we are lying.  But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from every sin.

If we say that we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves, and refusing to accept the truth.  But if we confess our sins to Him, He can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.  (And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.)  If we claim we have not sinned, we are lying and calling God a liar, for He says we have sinned. 1 John

Christ is the exact likeness of the unseen God.  He existed before God made anything at all, and, in fact Christ Himself is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth, the things we can see and the things we can’t; the spirit world with its kings and kingdoms, its rulers and authorities; all were made by Christ for His own use and Glory.  He was before all else began and it is His power that holds everything together.

He is the Head of the body made up of His people - that is, His church - which He began and He is the Leader of all those who arise from the dead, so that He is first in everything; for God wanted all of Himself to be His Son. Colossians