Suppose for a moment that you had a captive audience with any living human on the planet that you didn't already know.
If you had five uninterrupted minutes—but only five minutes—with them where they would listen to anything you had to say, what would you say to them?
Here is what I would like to say:
Hi, I'm Tim.
I realize you don't know me and I don't know you or anything about you.
I don't know what is happening in your life, what weights and burdens you are carrying on your shoulders, your occupation and interests, etc.
But there are some things I know about you simply because you're human.
- I know that you and I are not on this planet by accident—that our lives have meaning and purpose which are greater than we realize.
- I know that you struggle with life's ups and downs and that deep inside, whether you know it or not, you long for something greater than yourself. We all do.
- I also know that you have made some mistakes—many minor ones...probably some major—and that you need forgiveness. So do I.
I have great news!
In case no one has told you before, I want you to know that there is a GOD who created this beautiful world we live in—everything we see around us, including that which passes by unnoticed.
And GOD created you and me.
He formed us carefully and thoughtfully within our mother's womb.
GOD is a giver at heart and He loves so much that He created people to share His love and blessings with.
GOD designed this world and all that is in it to work a certain way—for good. He designed humans to reflect His character and goodness in our own lives.
Unfortunately, because of our weakness, we each fall short of GOD's purpose for us.
GOD calls these mistakes sin.
Sin creates a problem for GOD because His holiness prevents Him from associating with sin.
Sinners like you and me need redemption so that we can individually have the relationship GOD intended for us to share with Him.
Thankfully, GOD is also the great problem solver. Two thousand years ago, GOD became a man named Jesus. Jesus is fully human and fully GOD and He lived a sinless life.
At about 33 years old, Jesus was crucified by envious wicked men, in accordance with GOD's foreseen plan. Jesus gave His life to create a way for you and me to have forgiveness. Perhaps you already know this. Perhaps you are already His disciple.
After three days, GOD raised Jesus from the grave.
Forty days later, after appearing to His disciples on numerous occasions, Jesus ascended into heaven.
Before He left earth, He told His apostles to go everywhere and make disciples, baptizing them in GOD's name.
To every person who believes and obeys Him, Jesus gives eternal life. This is the good news. There are innumerable religions in this world, but there is one Savior.
It is a historical fact that Jesus Christ lived on the earth.
He claimed to be the Son of GOD.
He was either a liar, a lunatic or He is Lord.
The eye witness accounts of His actions attest to His authenticity. His miracles attest to His supernatural ability. His life is a perfect fulfillment of numerous prophecies made hundreds of years before His birth. The absence of His bones are testimony of His resurrection.
Sadly, the forces of evil are also at work in the hearts of men.
Since Jesus was resurrected, countless people have perverted, added to and omitted parts of the simple yet powerful good news of Jesus.
Today, the most important and most prevalent of these perversions is the teaching that new believers are "saved" the instant they believe in Jesus as the Son of GOD, invite Jesus into their lives, or pray a specific prayer. Because this doctrine is so widely believed, it is likely that if you are a believer, you also may subscribe to this teaching.
If you do, I implore you to study what the Scriptures teach about the role of baptism in salvation.
I fear that many die thinking they are saved when they have not fully obeyed GOD's will for them. I don't want anyone to miss out on eternal life in heaven because they didn't know these things. The most important thing in life is to be "in" Jesus, which the Bible plainly shows occurs at water baptism. Jesus commanded it, the apostles practiced it and taught the early church to practice it, and they did.
Today, the most popular teaching is that baptism is an outward sign of a person having been already saved. Thus, there is no urgency to it, and I fear that, for those who teach and practice this form of baptism, there is no power to it either, because its purpose is different than the Bible teaches.
What I am telling you is unpopular.
But the evidence clearly shows that it is the truth.
If you don't know Jesus, please, come to know Him. I can show Him to you. He'll give you new life with purpose that satisfies the longing in your soul.
In order to know Jesus, you must follow Him. That means obedience.
Jesus commands us to be baptized in His name for the forgiveness of your sins so that you can be reborn and walk in new life. Please obey Him. Please be saved from the terrible destruction that will come upon those who refuse GOD's gracious gift.
Although I don't know you, I want you to know that I love you.
I love you enough to tell you things that you may not want to hear, but that doesn't make them any less true.
Even more importantly, I want you to know that GOD loves you and nothing you have done or could do is so bad that He couldn't save you.
That's what I hope I would say.
And yes, I did time myself to make sure I could say all this in five minutes without rushing.
How about you?
What would you say if given this opportunity?