A ‘Bottom-Line’ Verse

Posted on February 21, 2020

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By David Ettinger

A Tough Audience
It’s difficult to make headway regarding the Gospel with wildly successful people. After all, they reason, we have everything life has to offer; why do we need Jesus?  

I imagine this would be the response of mega-rich, mega-famous, and mega-idolized celebrities such as LeBron James (sports), Brad Pitt (actor), and Beyoncé and Taylor Swift (singers). If one were to share with them why they need Jesus Christ in their lives, they would say: “Need? Me? I don’t need anything!”

But they miss the point – and the recent death of basketball superstar Kobe Bryant should bellow this out – that eternity is potentially but a second away.

The Sobering Truth
When people ridicule, or at the least diminish, the reality of Christ and humanity’s need for Him, they are ignorant of one of the “bottom-line” verses of the Bible.

The sobering truth of this verse is found in Acts Chapter 17, where the apostle Paul is discussing the living God with a group of skeptics in Athens. In describing God, Paul quotes Greek philosopher Epimenides, who beautifully wrote: “For in him we live and move and have our being” (v. 28).

Because by God’s power we exist, Paul warns that “in the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (v. 30). In other words, the revelation of a Savior for humanity was not widely known, but with the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is no longer any excuse. His truth has been continuously going forth for 2,000 years. For the most part, the world knows who Jesus is.

Which all leads to this “bottom-line” verse: “For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).

A Verse for Unbelievers
Implied in this verse is eternal judgment and condemnation, therefore, this bottom-line verse serves as a warning for all who go to their graves without having bowed the knee to Jesus and confessing Him as Lord.

(Believers face a separate judgment – for works done during our lives on Earth. See 2 Corinthians 5:10 and Romans 14:10).

But for unbelievers, the criterion for judgment is different, as it rests not on earthly achievements, but in what an individual “did” with Jesus Christ. 1 John 5:11-12 lays it out: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”

Technically, every human being has eternal life. Those who have bowed the knee to Jesus will spend eternity with Him in glory (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17); those who have not will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:14-15).

The Bottom Line
So, if you ever have the opportunity to speak with a world-famous superstar – LeBron James for example – try to share Christ with him. He will probably say something such as:  “I have everything the world has to offer, why do I need Jesus?”

You can reply: “Because, Mr. James, the bottom line is this: ‘For God has set a day when He will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed – the Lord Jesus Christ – whom God raised from the dead.’ If you go to your grave without confessing Him as your Savior and Lord, you will not escape His fiery judgment.”

No one escapes death – not LeBron, Brad, Beyoncé, or Taylor – and no one escapes judgment. You either face Christ with our sins washed clean and justified by Him, or face Him in the filthy rags of our unbelief, and in that case, all the fame, riches, and adoration in the world is not going to save you.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).