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Alive! magazine No. 169"Alive!" magazine

"Alive!" is a bi-monthly topical evangelistic tract, which has been published since the 1960s. The present editor is Gordon Smith from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Copies are available at £8.00 per 100 (plus postage). Generous discounts are available for quantity, and the tract can be personalised at £1.00 extra per 100. Christmas and Easter editions are produced, but otherwise the tracts are undated and can be used at any time of the year. To order Alive!, send us an e-mail via the Contact Us page to take out your subscription.

A follow-up booklet for enquirers is available from STP, and a similar booklet can be read online at the "Alive!" web site.

"Alive!" is undated, and back issues are available at £1.00 per 50 (plus postage).

From the current issue of Alive!

Best Shot!

by Ernie Bartlett

Best ShotGolf can be a dangerous game. A man was once passing near to a golf course, when a missile whizzed over his head. It proved to be a golf ball sliced by an inexperienced golfer. The surprised passer-by may well have been badly or even fatally injured, if it had struck him. It was definitely not the golfer’s best shot!

In the past, many people have been asked the all-important question: “Are you going to heaven?” Often, the response is, “I hope so.” Some might even say in golfing language, “I’m giving it my best shot.” Many upright citizens may say, “Sir, I expect so. I’m definitely giving it my best shot.”

Giving your best shot may be a strategy for good golfing and for other things in your life, but it’s useless for getting to heaven. Our best is not good enough for God – that’s why Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came into the world to make a way back to God.

Take, for example, Nicodemus (John ch.3); being a ruler of the Jews, he was the religious equivalent of someone like the Archbishop of Canterbury today. Unlike many of the Pharisees of his day, he was fair-minded. He acknowledged that Jesus had come from God and that the miracles He performed were evidence that Jesus was genuine. But the Lord had to say to him, “You must be born again!” Many of us cannot come up to the moral standard of Nicodemus and if he needed new birth, then so do we!

Snake on a poleThe Lord summed it all up in words that Nicodemus could understand, by giving the illustration of a story from the Old Testament. There we read (Numbers ch.21) that the children of Israel had sinned and, as a result, they were attacked by poisonous serpents and some died. In order that this judgment be removed, Moses consulted God. Moses was commanded to make a serpent (snake) of brass and put it on a pole. He was told that whoever had been bitten and looked on the brazen serpent would live.

The Lord Jesus, commenting on this story when He spoke with Nicodemus, stated… “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life in Him” (John 3:14-15). Jesus is the Son of Man! The people of that time were familiar with the term “lifted up”. It referred to crucifixion. So Jesus would be crucified. Anyone believing on Him would not suffer the judgment of sin, but have everlasting life.

Are you relying on your best shot (your “good works”) to get you to heaven? If so, you are wide of the mark. Don’t rely on your own skills and abilities, which can never meet God’s standard, but rather put your trust in the Lord Jesus and confess Him as your Saviour. He died, taking the judgment for your sin.

From the previous issue

Bound for Glory

by Stephanie Pulman

Bound for Glory?I went to my local railway station to purchase tickets for a journey which I take regularly. Everything was done very efficiently and my tickets were placed in a small red folder which had the words ‘Bound for Glory’ on the front cover.

The place I was visiting was an ordinary town. I did not know of any historic buildings or famous places to see in it; and I was not meeting with any person of importance. So, why was I ‘Bound for Glory’? Upon closer examination, I discovered that it was an advertising slogan for places like London and Edinburgh. No doubt, the train company was hoping to encourage further ticket sales for what it deemed to be exciting destinations!

I began to realise that I was ‘Bound for Glory’, but not because of a service which any rail company could give me. With due respect to English and Scottish people, but London or Edinburgh are no better or worse than the town of my departure – Berwick-upon-Tweed. However, I am ‘Bound for Glory’ because the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth from Glory.

We read in the New Testament of the Bible about the Lord Jesus; His birth at Bethlehem and His wonderful life; healing sick people and even raising dead people to life again. Even with such mighty activities, most people did not want to know Him and so He was crucified on a cross. This was not for any wrong that He had done, but because of the sins of everyone who have ever lived in this world. His dead body was then placed in a tomb, but after three days He rose from the dead. Those who had believed in Him during His lifetime on this earth, saw Him in resurrection. After 40 days, the Lord Jesus ascended back to ‘Glory’: “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19).

Everyone who believes in all that Jesus has done and accepts Him as their Saviour can now truly say they are ‘Bound for Glory’. It is as simple as – “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). One day all who have trusted in Jesus will be with Him in Glory to spend eternity with Him and praise Him for all that He has done.

The important question is, Are you ‘Bound for Glory’? You can be! Just trust in Jesus today and you can get aboard the heavenly train where Glory is your destination. The Lord Jesus spoke about believers as those who would “…be with me where I am, and to see my glory” (John 17:24).

If you go down, you’ll soon come up again!

by David Anderson

As a lady passed by a funeral director’s shop in Newcastle upon Tyne, with two of her nieces, one of them noticed a special coffin displayed in the window. (It was a black and white striped coffin especially designed to appeal to Newcastle United F.C. supporters.) She said to her aunt, “Look, there’s a coffin we should buy for Uncle James!” The aunt was horrified: after all, her husband was only in his early forties. Later on in the day, she related this story to her husband at a family gathering to celebrate her birthday. Amidst the ensuing laughter, her brother-in-law quipped, “That’s all right, James, if you go down, you’ll soon come up again!” (He was referring to the fact that the Newcastle United F.C. team was relegated to the Championship of the Football League in May 2016 season only to gain promotion back to the Premier League in May 2017.) Such is the passion of football supporters that relegation and promotion issues are expressed in these extreme terms of living and dying. In this particular case, for Newcastle United F.C., relegation in 2016 was deemed to be equivalent to death, whilst promotion in 2017 is like being resurrected. But the brother-in-law cleverly stated a fact that he knew would be immediately appreciated by this Christian family. Christians have the hope of resurrection and of eternal life!

After death the judgment!

However, every one of us needs to understand that death is not the end of our existence. We all need to be prepared for what follows: the day of resurrection and the subsequent judgment (Hebrews 9:27-28). The Lord Jesus clearly stated that judgment follows resurrection. “Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His [ the Son of Man’s] voice and come out – those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned. …I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just” (John 5:28-30). In the Bible, resurrection means that our bodies will be raised out of the decayed state of dust and ashes to be rejoined to our spirits, from which they were separated at death. This will happen so that God can righteously judge every person for everything we have done in our bodies, throughout our lives on earth. “For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: ‘ “As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “Every knee will bow before me, every tongue will confess to God.” ’ So then each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10-12).

Will you come up, to go up into life?

I have never met anyone who does not want to go to heaven when they die. The vital question is, “When you come up again, will you go up?” It was certainly inferred in the brother-in-law’s comment that James will go up. Why? Because James believes that Lord Jesus truly means what He said, “Whoever hears my word and believes [ God the Father] who sent me [ to be the Saviour] has eternal life and will not be condemned [ at the judgment seat]; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24 with 1 John 4:14).

Will you come up only to be sent down below?

The Lord Jesus said that some people who rise from the dead will be condemned – sent ‘down below’ to suffer the everlasting punishment of the second death. Your eternal destiny is decided by your personal attitude concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).

If you have not already trusted Christ as your Saviour, do so today and know that you are on your way to heaven.

No Excuses

by Ernie Bartlett

In the county of Essex, when approaching a certain speed camera, there is this wording pasted on the outside of the yellow box containing the camera, “no excuses”.

If you are caught breaking the speed limit and the camera flashes, you will get a letter in the post. The document first asks who the driver was. He/she is given a choice of three options: a) pay the fine and have penalty points put on his/her licence; b) go to court and argue your case, but if the court finds you guilty, the fine may be greater; c) under certain circumstances, you may be offered to go on a speed awareness training course. You have to pay for the course, which is similar to the amount of the fine, but no points will be added to your licence. The authority, who manage the cameras, will not enter into any correspondence with you concerning such an incident.

In Paul’s letter to the Romans in the New Testament, there is a similar statement, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).

In the past, when men looked into the sky they saw the stars. Today, with powerful telescopes, we can see so much more. We understand that some planets in our own solar system are so far away from us, it would take more than a life time to reach them going at tremendous speeds. In this we see the greatness of the Creator.

In recent years, through knowledge of DNA – the hereditary material in every one of our cells – we have come to understand the complexity of the human brain, of our blood cells and many other parts of our bodies. The psalmist expressed it like this: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). From the Bible, we learn that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, came from heaven and was prepared to suffer such humiliation on a Roman cross, this being the price that God demanded in order to pay the penalty for our sins. We are reminded of these things throughout the year: at Christmas, His birth; at Easter, His death and resurrection. We cannot say we didn’t know; we all have eyes to see the wonder of God’s creation, and throughout the year we have reminders of the life and death of Jesus, His Son.

One day, when we each stand before God, we won’t have any excuses for not believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. We already have the evidence, in creation, in our own selves, in the love of God through Jesus’ death. Now, at this present time, we have an opportunity to get right with God. All it takes is a simple prayer: “Lord Jesus, thank You for dying for me on the cross. This day I will receive You as my Saviour and from this day with your help I will live for you. Amen”. Will you say this from your heart and say it now?

Scripture quotations on this page taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION (Anglicised edition) Copyright© 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica (formerly International Bible Society). Used by permission of Hodder & Stoughton Publishers, an Hachette UK company. All rights reserved. ‘NIV’ is a registered trademark of Biblica (formerly International Bible Society). UK trademark number 1448790.

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