Online Discussion Guide

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1. Why Jesus?

1.1. How do people deny the reality and significance of life after death?
One solution is to deny the issue's significance. We are told death is a natural part of life, and we should embrace it. When we draw our last breath we will cease to exist. That's it. But at least we can take comfort knowing the cycle of life continues after us.

1.2. How do some major world religions deal with the issue of life after death?
Practically all faiths believe something awaits us on the other side of this life. Here are examples from three major world religions:

ISLAM - For Muslims, the purpose of life is to live in a way that pleases Allah-the Arabic word for God. This is done so they may gain paradise. In the end, a person's eternal fate is determined according to an accounting of his or his good deeds outweighing the bad. + / -

HINDUISM - This is the world's third largest religion after Christianity and Islam. Hinduism teaches that the soul never dies, but is reborn in human or animal form each time the body dies. This cycle of death and rebirth is called reincarnation. Hindus may expect up to 10,000 reincarnations before spiritual perfection is attained. + / -

BUDDHISM - The focus in Buddhism is not about a relationship with a God; instead, it's about achieving freedom by totally letting go of all feelings and passions. That freedom is known as Nirvana. Zen is Japanese Buddhism. + / -

1.3. Is the bar set too low?
One common trend in all religions, except Christianity, is the requirement of personal achievement—we must do something to reach perfect peace or attain God's favor. But this has some major problems. How do I know when I have been good enough? Since I am imperfect, why must the holy, sinless God lower His standards to accept the imperfect and sinful behavior of His followers? Let's read what the Bible says.

1.4. What are we really capable of?
All religions, except Christianity, are based on humans accomplishing some requirement of God. However, the Bible tells us the truth about human capabilities in the third chapter of Romans.

Human beings are capable of doing things that seem wonderful and noble to us, but it is God alone who is perfectly holy and just. His absolute purity demands our absolutely purity if we are to live with Him in paradise after this life. Each of us is weighed down by sins that deserve God's punishment.

1.5. What is God willing to do about it?
Well, everything! Knowing we are powerless to save ourselves. He sent His Son Jesus to do something completely revolutionary. God's eternal Son took our human nature upon Himself and—as our Substitute—kept God's Law perfectly throughout His life. Then He made a great exchange by giving us His perfect life of obedience and taking from us every sin and failure. He carried them to the cross where He suffered their consequences in our place.

When Jesus rose from the dead after His death on the cross, He defeated death—the enemy we could never conquer—so that we could receive the gift of eternal life. Jesus said,

While every other world religion, ideology and philosophy requires God lower His standards so people can measure up to go to heaven, Christianity maintains God's perfect standards. It does this while offering a perfect Savior who rescued humanity from brokenness, pain, imperfection, failure and sin.

1.6. What is God's ultimate plan?
We could not connect to God, but the good news is that God connects with us. He has been doing this from the beginning in amazing ways. To restore our connection to God which had been shattered because of sin, on the cross Jesus willingly pays the penalty for our sin—with His own death! This is the most authentic, startling and reckless love that could ever be imagined. + / -