The birth date of Lord Jesus can be approximated by analysis of Luke
2.1 - 2.2. These two verses establish that Jesus was born shortly after the issuance of a census decree by Caesar
Augustus, and during the time that Quirinius governed Syria.
According to history books...
- Caesar Augustus was the first emperor of Rome. He reigned from 27
B C to AD 14. Augustus ordered a tax census of the empire which was issued about 8 BC, but probably did not actually
go into effect until 6 BC. Citizens were usually given a period of several months to comply with such a decree,
once it went into effect.
- Sulpicius Quirinius was twice governor of Syria. His first governorship
was from 4 BC to AD 1.
Based on the historical facts given above, most Bible scholars agree
that Jesus Christ was born in 4 BC or 5 BC.
By the way, the years AD (anno Domini -- the year of our Lord)) began
with the year 1, not the year 0.
I won't pretend I can answer Pratt's question with anything less than
a book-length essay, and even that wouldn't fully cover the subject.
Let me start off by saying this...
- What does God require in order for a person to be saved? Answer --
faith plus NOTHING.
- What does God require of a person after he or she becomes saved?
Answer -- EVERYTHING!
God wants everything from a Christian? Absolutely
- To receive Christ means that you have given yourself over to Him
completely. ALL of you is His, and all of Him is yours.
- In Matthew 5.48, Jesus stated God's expectations of you as follows,
"Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect."
- Naturally you aren't perfect yet (no living Christian is) but perfection
is the goal that God has for you, and He WILL get you there. From you -- God wants it ALL!
Over and above the preceding general answers, here are a few specifics about the things in a Christian's life that make
God glad, or sad. For each such item I list there are many Bible
references. I will only cite one or two for each one but I can give you more if you so request.
1) How you use your money
(1 Cor 16.2).
- When a Christian gives God his all, that isn't limited to just the
Christian's soul & spirit. It includes everything the Christian owns now & in the future, to include money.
- God does not want or need your money, but He does expect you to remember
that it IS His money, so that you use it in ways that you believe He would use it.
- By the way, this isn't a one-way street. God has made you a joint-heir
with His Son, Jesus, so that everything God possesses is yours.
2) How you use your talents and abilities (1 Pet 4.10).
- My OPINION -- God is more disappointed if you waste the gifts and
abilities He has bestowed upon you than He is if you squander your $$$.
3) How you use the time God has allotted to you (1 Pet 1.17, Ps 90.12).
- Many people tithe 10% of their $$$ to God.
- My OPINION -- God wants at least a tithe (10%) of
your time given to Him (in prayer & Bible reading) and to His
4) How you deal with the sad and difficult times of
your life (Jam 1.2-3, Rev 2.10, all of the book of Job).
- Some Christians are fair-weather friends unto God. They praise and
worship Him in the good days.
- However, when bad times come, they expect God to INSTANTLY fix everything.
- If He doesn't quickly respond to their prayers (for His own good
reasons) they turn away from Him and His Bible and His church.
- The bad times tell God who REALLY loves Him.
5) How you deal with temptation (John 14.21).
- My OPINION -- with God, it's not just important that you resist temptation,
but it is equally or more important as to WHY you resist temptation.
- God wants you to understand that any sin you commit affects Him,
and not just yourself. If you shout in anger, God's ears are offended. If you steal, you steal from God. If you
hate someone -- anyone -- God is hurt.
- When I taught in a Christian Hi School, one of my male students (in
a private conversation) told me how he resisted lust. His conversation went something like this...
- "When I see a chick in a string bikini at the
beach, or something, with all she's got hanging out for me to look at, I'll be honest -- it really turns me on.
At those times I remind myself that Jesus DIED to save that chick, so she and that gorgeous body of hers won't
go to hell. I tell myself that God would dearly love to have that chick as His own daughter. When I do that I always
find myself thinking about how nice it would be if she was my little SISTER -- in Christ, of course. When I do
that, the chick suddenly becomes a lot more to me than just nice boobs and a cute rear end. It always works for
Now THAT is looking at temptation from God's viewpoint. (P.S. -- Bellgamin
learned a lot more from his students than ever he taught them!)
6) How you treat and relate to other believers in
Jesus Christ (Heb 6.10).
- Some Christians are oh-so-friendly at church. They shake hands and
give hugs all around. But do they give of themselves to their brothers & sisters in Christ?
- It's nice to pray for the old lady who is barely making it on her
social security. But taking her some of the extra food that you cooked for dinner is REALLY ministering. What you
give to her (or some other needy person) you give to Jesus.
- Read Mt 25.35-40!
You mowed a widow's lawn for her? Guess what, the lawn in front of Christ's home in heaven just got mowed -- by
7) How you react to the "orders" of your
leaders at work AND in the church (Heb 13.17).
- Are you loyal -- a joy to lead & supervise, as Heb 13.17 requires?
- Or are you resentful, sullen, & uncooperative?
8) How well you represent God in the world (Mt 10.32).
- God wants the world to KNOW you are a Christian. He wants the world
to know it because you TELL the truth, and because you LIVE the truth.
- No, God does NOT want you to be a Bible-thumping, "holier-than-thou"
person. God just wants you to tactfully (but pointedly) let people know that you are His.
- Which people? The people you work with, your neighbors, your family
-- everyone. Being shy about being a Christian is
being ashamed of God!
9) How much you long and pray for the soon return
of Jesus (2 Tim 4.8).
- God has a "special trophy" that He will present to you
if you are truly faithful is praying "Maranatha!" (come, Lord Jesus).
10) How carefully you prepare yourself to give unbelievers
the reasons for your faith in God (1 Pet 3.15).
- 1 Pet 3.15 tells you to be READY to tell others about Christ. It
is interesting that it doesn't mention anything about knocking on doors to witness to people, & that sort of
thing. It just says -- be ready!
- Not that there is anything wrong with street preaching or knocking
on doors. In fact, those efforts for the Gospel are wonderful.
- My OPINION -- the reason 1 Pet 3.15 merely says to be ready lies
in item #8 above. If the people around you know you are a Christian -- if they SEE Christ in your life -- you won't
need to go to them. They will come to you!
- Oh yes, when unbelievers are having a good old time they may be reluctant
to have you around. But when bad times come, they start looking for people like you -- people who have "connections"
with God. This has been my experience many times.
- I remember well how my eldest daughter (the 1st one to be a Christian
in our family) lost many of her friends when she received Christ. I felt so sorry for her, and VERY angry with
the Bible-thumpers who had (in my opinion back then) led her down a primrose path.
- But over the years I noticed that the folks who didn't want my Christian
daughter around any more when they were partying, suddenly showed up late at night, tears in their eyes, to ask
her for help in times of sorrow and crisis.
Oh yes -- God has MANY ways of preaching that do not involve pulpits
or knocking on doors.
How you live your life -- that's the message that reaches people (for good or for bad) more than any other. So live your life
for God and BE READY -- people will come to you, seeking God. Amen.