1 Peter 1:18-19
Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things...but with the precious blood of Christ..."
Some may consider this an unpopular subject. "Pastor David...we need sermons on morality, how to live upright, good feeling kind of sermons! Why would anyone consider speaking on "atonement"…the subject of a sacrifice covering sins? Why “the blood of Christ”? We know that without blood there can be no life in the body! So in case you were wondering, I am glad you asked! There are 427 references to the blood of Christin the Bible 30x in NT…22 sermons in Acts by 4 preachers all deal with the death & resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
So Why do we sing about “the precious blood of Jesus Christ”? Why is blood so necessary?
BIG IDEA: The precious blood of Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary!!
We are examining today in ABF…atonement…what God does to reconcile man…pointing to the Lord Jesus.
God said that the wages of sin is death...death is the judgement for sin…Jesus paid that price for us! Jesus shed His blood...He died...so that you and I might be forgiven.
So as we focus on the blood of Jesus...it is the perfect sacrifice for our sins...His death on Calvary.
What is it about His BLOOD that makes it so precious to you and to me?
But to really know what it means we need to go all the way back to the Garden of Eden...to the time of the Fall... when Adam and Eve sinned...and sin nature was passed on to all their descendants...sin brought corruption on all creation…so now all creation groans...this is called the “curse”. And as a result , all creation groans because of the curse...it is in bondage to sin.
But even in Eden, God promised there would be a “Deliverer”. One who would “pay the price” to deliver mankind from the curse of sin. (Genesis 3:15 “He will bruise your head and you will bruise Him on the heel.”) All Scripture (66 books) point us to the coming Deliverer/Redeemer. the Lord Jesus...the living Word of God. So in the 1st Century Peter, the apostle wrote to the dispersed believers reminding them: “You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold...but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:19 ) When Peter wrote this “redemption” was well known...there over 60 million slaves in the Rome. They knew the reality of what was necessary for their freedom. A price had to be paid.
Many slaves had become believers in the Lord Jesus…they were now Christians and were part of local churches. They knew very well the word REDEMPTION. A slave in that day could purchase his freedom if he could collect enough money...or his master sell him to someone who would pay the price and set him free. Redemption was a precious thing in the first century.
So a working definition of “redeem” ...means to...set free by paying a price. A slave could be set free with the payment of money...but be sure to...you and I are a slave/bondage to sin...What amount of money can purchase a sinner’s freedom? The answer? Only the precious blood of Jesus Christ can REDEEM us.
2. The Blood of Jesus Christ is Precious because...IT CLEANSES...
A second reason why the blood of Jesus is so precious...is because it CLEANSES! (PAST/PRESENT) Believe it or not, you and I actually need CLEANSING!…every one of us are sinners...we have sinned...we have broken God’s laws. We deserve death. Our hearts are stained with sin…therefore we need cleansing.How can we cleanse ourselves? Going to church, being religious, sticking up for the environment, NO. We cannot cleanse ourselves from sin. You can’t live a good enough life to cleanse yourself!
We can only be cleansed of our sin by the blood of Jesus Christ! When Jesus died on the cross...He took our sin upon Himself...He actually became sin for us…He died in our place.
And so, as a result, 1 John 1:7 “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from ALL sin.”
When we confess our sins to Him...we are agreeing with Him that they are wrong...God does a cleansing work in our hearts. CLEANSING AGENTS...He does this by His Spirit (John 16) and His Word. Keep in mind the next time you plan to sin...that you are going to sin against a faithful and loving God. Don’t take lightly the grace of God. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue to sin that grace may abound? Absolutely not How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1)(“Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a right spirit within me...” Psalm 51:10)
The blood of Jesus is precious because...it REDEEMS, CLEANSES and it also SAVES.
3. The Blood of Jesus Christ is Precious Because... IT SAVES...
If we go back to the first Jewish Passover...the Jewish people as instructed by Moses took the blood of a spotless lamb and put it on the door posts and the lintels of their homes. So when the angel of death came to bring judgment on Egypt and secure their release...he would PASS OVER where the blood was spilt. The blood on the doorpost and lintels was all that was required!...NOTHING but the blood of the Lamb. They were saved from the God’s judgement on Egypt...destroying angel... passed over them, didn't touch them! In the same way...God sees the blood of Jesus Christ shed on Calvary...and He passes over us...we are completely covered...we don’t get what our sin deserves. We are SAFE...saved...preserved from God’s wrath upon sin.
The Israelite on that fateful night was not partly saved...he was completely saved. Exodus 12:13 God had said to them: “When I see the blood I will pass over you.”
Jesus is the Lamb of God...when God sees one who trusts in the blood...he is completely saved.
We are saved only by the blood of Jesus Christ. There is therefore now no condemnation...
4. The Blood of Jesus Christ is Precious Because... IT SANCTIFIES...
To “sanctify” = means to “set apart”...to “consecrate something as holy”... God has always required holiness. “Be holy as I am holy.” To fully understand this requirement...we need to go back to the Old Testament again...where the Jewish High Priest would take the blood of the sacrifices and sprinkle it on the instruments of the Temple...this was Ceremonial Cleansing...in the same way the Jewish priests were constantly washing themselves ...to sanctify them...to set them apart for their holy ministry...
The same blood that redeems, cleanses, saves...sanctifies...also sets you and I apart to live holy lives.Through His perfect sacrifice upon the cross God ...Jesus sanctifies you and I. Only Jesus can sanctify your heart...He cleanses your heart through the Spirit and the Word. Not sure who wrote this but it is true nonetheless: "There is no motive for holiness as great as that which flowed from the veins of Jesus." Hebrews 10:19 “Therefore brethren having boldness to enter the holiest by the blood of Jesus...
5. The Blood of Jesus Christ is Precious Because…IT SATISFIES...
God is holy...and a holy God...demands justice. You break the law...you pay the penalty for breaking the law. God sets the rules...and He says “the soul that sins will die...” “...the wages of sin is death.”
So how can we stand? How can anyone have hope? Again it is only because of the blood of Jesus Christ. 1 John 4:9-10 "In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
Your standard dictionary says “propitiation” means to appease someone who is angry...if you apply that here you get the wrong idea...you get the picture...of an angry God who has to be appeased for all that you do wrong. God is angry at sin...because He is holy...but the Bible reassures us that He is also loving....and He does what is necessary to satisfy His wrath. So the word “propitiation” means “...the satisfying the wrath of a holy God...and His holy law.”
Romans 5:9 “...having now been justified by His blood we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”
6. The Blood of Jesus Christ is Precious Because...IT RECONCILES...
When Adam and Eve sinned they basically declared war on God. But God did not declare war on them. Instead He provided continually ways for their sins to be covered. The Bible says apart from Christ we’re at war with God. Romans 8:7 “the carnal mind is enmity with God.” Man cannot negotiator bring any kind of peace...even if they are religious, moral, and upright living people. The only One who can reconcile God and man is the Son of God, Jesus Christ. It was not Jesus becoming flesh that reconciles...His miracles didn’t reconcile, His example didn’t reconcile God and man...ONLY through His sacrificial death upon the cross that peace was made. Colossians 1:19-22 "For it pleased the Father that in Him (Jesus) all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross."
6. The Blood of Jesus Christ is Precious Because...IT OVERCOMES...
In Revelation 12 there are believers who are experiencing great persecution for their faith. Revelation 12:11 “...they overcame Him by the blood of the Lamb....” They overcame Satan through the blood of the Lamb...in other words they knew in their hearts that nothing can rob them of their salvation which is in Jesus Christ alone. Believers in any age can rejoice...because the price that was paid is complete and victory is won! Satan has been defeated by the blood of Jesus Christ upon the cross! SO it doesn't matter what kind of opposition he throws at God's people...the blood has already defeated that accuser of the brethren! Please remember that...He who fights with the precious blood of Jesus cannot know defeat. Trust its power!The blood Redeems...Cleanses...Saves...Sanctifies...Satisfies...Reconciles and Overcomes. It never loses its effectiveness!
Make sure dear reader... Are you trusting Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross by faith today? Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
So it seems like everywhere you look…be it on the television or at the movies…marriage is almost a bygone word. Politicians and legislators have tried to redefine it and pop culture has tried to dismiss it or twist it. But someone needs to point out the obvious.
Your marriage matters! It is not a bygone word and nor is it a forgotten institution. God has blessed mankind with the obvious ability to relate with one another. Everywhere you turn you are in relationship. You relate with people. And for the most part…relationships actually work. In almost every context relationships between human kind is a beautiful thing. It is not necessarily based on dominance, it is not merely some animalistic grunting and groaning where only the strongest survive. But rather, God has created human relationships to be a beautiful thing. This beautiful thing can be traced back all the way to the Garden of Eden where we see a perfect human relationship between Adam and Eve as God originally designed it.
But that is where the trouble began. When Adam and Eve sinned against God, death and corruption entered their beautiful human harmonious relationship. Fighting, blame, accusations, insults hurts, use and even abuse sadly entered the human picture. And imperfect relationships, and marriages were the result. And so today, marriages suffer breakdown, the foundations that once held them stay together are now crumbling and deteriorating.
But this does not mean that marriage is meaningless and/or pointless. But rather, God, who designed the human relationship desires your marriage relationship to work by His grace. He wants to help your marriage last. He desires for you to know what His design is for love and marriage. There are a lot of voices that can be heard in today’s culture on the topic of love and marriage. But God’s Word, the Bible, has lasted far longer than any of them. And so instead of listening to a culture where the foundations of attraction, love, marriage and sex are rapidly eroding and twisting…God wants to share His perfect and lasting design with you.
Fellowship Baptist Church, Burford is hosting a two day Marriage Event called “The Mingling of Souls” (Yes…you got that right…the souls would be both you and your spouse) on Friday February 19 (7-10pm) and Saturday February 20 (9-Noon), 2016. Some of the topics that will be discussed frankly and matter of factly will help you understand all the stages of the human relationship we call marriage. You will probably laugh and you will probably cry…but for sure…you will be challenged as you discover God’s good design for love, sex, and marriage. For more information go to our website at www.fellowshipburford.com or contact Pastor David Virr at 519-449-5315 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
GIVE YOUR MARRIAGE A SOLID FOUNDATION!
I have heard it said that when writing a book you want to catch the reader in the first few lines. Most books have that line that grabs the readers imaginations or else they put it down and may never read it. But Matthew, under the inspiration of God chooses to start his book of the Christ…with a genealogy!
Many Bible readers generally skip over genealogies…you know the seemingly endless list of names, often difficult to pronounce and seemingly unimportant names of people who lived long, long ago...But for Matthew, the Gospel writer, it was vitally important. His sole desire throughout his gospel record was to point to Jesus as the rightful King.
If someone is going to be a king their royalty will depend on their royal lineage. They must be able to prove their right to the throne. This lineage that Matthew begins with...shows the kingly line of Jesus Christ.
As a genealogy...it shows that Jesus Christ is an actual part of human history….no one can question this fact. But it also shows that all of Jewish history from Abraham was preparing for His birth…God in His divine providence ruled and overruled time and time again to accomplish His great purpose…in bringing His Son into the world.
Someone has referred to this section as “The Skeletons in God’s Closet” Because it ain’t pretty! From Matthew’s listing…we see God’s beautiful hand of grace! Jesus was sent by a God of grace to be a King of grace! He was not going to be a rock star king! Nor a king of the law nor a king of iron force…but instead a King of Grace! His royal credentials speak of royal grace! And the people He chose to be His ancestral line…reveal the wonder of His grace!..Let me tell you today…this gives me hope...in fact it goes hope to every sinner!
GOD in His Grace PROVIDED A KING…through a line…I WOULD NOT HAVE CHOSEN…
I must confess through my idealistic eyes…I would not have chosen many on this list. But God did! Just for a moment follow along in Matthew 1:1-17 and pick out some of the well known names. People were known for unfaithfulness, immorality, idolatry and apostasy (walking away from God)…but God deals with them by grace.
Abraham…was a liar…and Isaac learned real well from his daddy and was a liar too…and the apple did not fall far from the tree because Jacob…was a schemer and a cheat and a swindler. Judah…While Joseph was resisting temptation and living a blessed and holy life in Egypt, Judah was hanging out with his daughter-in-law Tamar, who was disguised as a prostitute and he had relations with her and got her pregnant. So their son Perez was illegitimate…born out of immorality. Wow! Do you see where we’re going here?
Now, they weren’t all bad guys. Boaz was a very honourable man even though he married a Moabite woman who the Jewish Law forbid him to marry. Some of the kings were pretty good…David was a man after God’s own heart, but if truth be told…he was a murderer and he did commit adultery with Bathsheba who is also noted here in Jesus’ lineage.
And we may say with our self righteous judgement…it’s just not the lineage that I would have chosen. I would have chosen...you know pretty people. The best and the brightest. People who look good on a royal resume. Kind of like when Israel chose Saul to be the first king of Israel. They chose him because he looked like a king! He was handsome and stood head and shoulders above the rest. All in all he looked like a king. But make note... Israel chose him to be king…God didn’t. God instead chose David. A little ruddy shepherd boy that wasn’t even worth bringing in from the field to see the prophet. But doesn’t that show God’s goodness and mercy?
Aren’t you glad that God doesn’t just choose the best and the brightest?
He chooses to work through the weak things of this world that we might see His grace/strength. God’s glory shines through this motley group of people…that's the way that God works. People who were in no way qualified to be in the human lineage of the Son of God…
LESSON #1 God's Choice is Not My Choice…
God’s ways are higher…than my ways…(Isaiah 55:8-9) you and I may look at the exterior…and maybe quick to make a judgement…but God is the One who looks at the heart…God is the One who looks at the heart He is the Potter who makes His vessel the instrument of His grace!
LESSON #2…GOD in His Grace…Chooses to Work Through Imperfect People…
Jacob is a great example. Known for his deceitful scheming, yet it is through Jacob that God would lead and sovereignly rule and overrule in his life to bring him to the point of submitting to God.
Jesus was sent to overcome the imperfections…the failures of mankind. (Hebrews 11…imperfect)
LESSON #3…GOD in His Grace…Chooses to Use the Weak Things of the World…
All of these men were sinful and often known for some kind of weakness or unfaithfulness
But God was continually faithful to them…and His grace was always with them, even when they were in trouble or even in times when God was rebuking them. (See: 1 Co.1:26-31; 2 Co. 12:7-10)
LESSON #4…God in His Grace…Chooses to Use the Outcast…
Tamar…(v.3) In Genesis 38 Tamar, the recently widowed daughter in law of Judah, acted as a prostitute and tricked her father-in-law Judah into making her pregnant so that she could continue the line of her husband. Despite her prostitution and the incest…God’s grace fell on her and her son to be born as well as Judah.
Rahab...(v.5) In Joshua 2 also was a prostitute and a Gentile, a foreigner, living in Jericho. But she, in faith courageously rescued the 2 Hebrew spies. Not sure how she came to faith but somehow she knew about God and His people. By faith she knew she had better intervene on behalf of her family. She would married Salmon and became the mother of Boaz, who would be king David's great grandfather
Ruth...(v.5) - She too was another foreigner, a Moabite and was under the Old Testament curse against Moabites found in Deuteronomy 23:3 “No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the LORD forever”. She was a descendent of the incestuous Lot. But we love Ruth. Her story of faith and commitment God has resounded for generations!
Bathsheba...(v.6) was the woman involved in David’s scandalous affair and cover-up. She would become the mother of Solomon and
So as you can see in this list you have great people…but you have people with a past. You have men, women, adulterers, prostitutes, heroes, and Gentiles. And Jesus is the Saviour of them all. "Right from the start, Matthew is telling us that Jesus is immersed in the grit and the grime of fallen humanity…” To the world Jesus’ way seems foolish...but to those who are being saved it is the power of God! (1 Corinthians 1)
So what? God in His grace…took a lineage of broken, sinful, imperfect people and outcasts and used them for His purposes and His glory. He can do the same thing with us today. He can take worthless broken vessels like you and me and cleanse us with His blood and fill us with His presence and use us for His purposes and for His glory. No matter who you are, people like you are already part of Jesus’ story. Right from the start, God chooses the most sinful, broken, and unlikely people - people like you and me. (See Matthew 9:13) Tell me Matthew didn’t have this foremost in his heart as he walked with his Master and listened to Him speak and reach the last of people!
WHAT IS OUR RESPONSE...1. AWE-Some wonder…this is our Jesus! The King of Grace! It makes me want to sing of His grace…His love and mercy!
2. KNOW that God Includes You and me…the fact that God uses these imperfect, weak people reminds you and I that God will take us and use us for His own purposes. Jesus Christ is the friend of sinners who did not come to call the righteous but sinners…to call the Zaccheus’ the Simon Peter’s, James’ and John. Reflected in His choice of disciples! JESUS CHRIST IS THE KING OF GRACE!
Someone asked me for "my take" on last Friday's tragic attack...
So here it is briefly...
I want to be clear...my enemy is not the Syrian refugee! My enemy is not the radical or apocalyptic Muslim...nor is my enemy the one who straps a bomb to his body intent on killing innocent people... nor is my enemy the ideology of fear and jihad...my enemy is not the person who hates me.
Make no mistake...according to the Bible...the real enemy of my faith is Satan...my enemy is the enemy of God...the Bible calls him Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, the Liar, the Evil one...the Deceiver! This enemy goes around like a roaring lion seeking who he can devour. The modus operandi (operating method) of this enemy is to "steal, kill and destroy" John 10:10 Be sure you know...he is skillful, ruthless and cunning...but he is not all powerful...and his days are numbered.
Instead...the One who is greater...is the One who lives within me and in each and every Christian believer...Jesus Christ is eternally greater than the enemy. "He who is within you (Jesus) is greater than he (the enemy) who is in the world." 1 John 4:4
So...Christian friend ...make sure that you fight the real enemy. Know who your real enemy is...or else you may cause unnecessary collateral damage. Know your Bible...and pray for those who persecute you.
ASK 2015 “Where in the Bible does it say anything about Church Membership? Why insist on it?
When it comes to what we do as believers…we desire…to be in line with Scripture. How to be His people, but also how to be His Church. Principles/precepts that are just as current/relevant today as when first written. Some do not believe in Church membership i.e. not Biblical or expected by God. But when we take a close look at the Scripture we see that it is.
At Fellowship we take membership very seriously. We do not demand it, but rather encourage it. I firmly believe it is one of the ways that God uses to grow us into maturity…and conforms us into His likeness. That of course is the end result/goal. To be like Jesus. And so this morning I want to share with you some of the Biblical evidence that supports Church membership. Each serve as a strand of the the grand tapestry…church.
1. JOINING & ADDING WAS PART OF THE EARLY CHURCH…Acts 5:12-14 “And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were being done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly…And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.” (Also note delineation of v.11)
Here Paul gives Timothy (Ephesus) instructions on how to care for the widows in the church.
In this passage Jesus is giving His disciples step by step instruction on how to resolve interpersonal conflicts between brethren. NOTE: It is very clear and a very important part of the fellowship of believers.
Church membership is implied in the way the NT requires pastor/elders are to care for their flock. Of course elders can extend their love to anyone and everyone, and should, within the limits of their ability. But the question is whether the Bible tells elders that they are to have a special responsibility and care for a certain group…as in a group of members.
Consider where Paul tells the elders how to care for their flock. Acts 20:28
All of these aspects of membership are rooted in the truth that the local church is an expression of the universal church. Part of what it means to belong to the body of Christ is to belong to a body. The Church... both the LOCAL and the UNIVERSAL Church are a blood-bought gift of God’s grace…
Let me close by urging you to pray and to think this through for your own life. There is no such thing as the “Lone-Ranger Christians” …that would be a contradiction...because becoming a Christian means being united to Christ, and union with Christ expresses itself in union with a local body of believers. This is why the issue of membership is so important.
Are you an accountable member of a local church? Church membership is a blood-bought gift of God’s grace. It is LIFE SUSTAINING…FAITH STRENGTHENING…and JOY PRESERVING… More than we realize, it is a life-sustaining, faith-strengthening, joy-preserving means of God’s mercy to us.
(Adapted from Summer Sermon Series: ASK 2015 “Why Does God Allow Evil?”)
Most people ask “Why?” From our youngest years where we are beginning to use the mind God gave us, there is a desire to understand cause and effect. Why something does or doesn’t happen, why something is the way it is. We have inquisitive minds…is a God designed and a very beautiful thing. But the challenge is for mankind to use that inquisitive mind to desire truth, not just good ideas, not just some prevailing ideology or popular opinion…but actual truth…(i.e. just because Oprah say so does not make it truth! This is what Ravi Zacharias terms“…mass marketed spirituality” R. Zacharias)
So when we are confronted with the reality of terrible things currently happening or maybe in the past…we ask “Why?”
By the way…those who do not believe in the existence of God ask these same questions. They know something is just not right. For the ATHEIST…nothing can answer these questions. Why are children starving? Their answer… “why would there not be?” Why is there evil? “why not? For the professing atheist, with no higher authority to answer to…we are just a matter of chance, and if children are suffering…“C’est la vie!”…that’s life! In other words, we would have no reason to think that they shouldn’t be hungry. For the CHRISTIAN…on the other hand, many are afraid of these questions. Or we think we must limit God or try to defend God to explain why bad things happen. Sadly, many people use this as an excuse to reject or walk away from God because they do not like His answers. Others use these question to limit God or diminish God.
The question before us really is…a question about God’s character. It pre-supposes a belief in God…and that He is aware of mankind. And so if there is suffering God must be allowing it. If there is evil, then God is allowing that evil to happen. If bad things happen…then God must have a say in what happens. So the next question naturally becomes: Why does God allow human suffering? Why does God, who is a God of love…allow young children to starve to death or die of disease due to malnutrition? And finally, why does He not do something about it?
How could a loving God allow it? Many books have been written to try to explain what seems on the surface to be an irreconcilable problem… The Christian believer claims that God remains a God of love in the face of the evil, death, suffering and disease in this world. But if God is good and God is love…then why won’t He do something?…so He must not be as powerful as we think He is. Or maybe if God is truly all-powerful…and He chooses not to do anything…then how can He be a God of love and mercy?
Someone has said: that the major argument levelled against Christians goes something like this:
‘How can there be an all-powerful loving God when we see children dying, people suffering, and bad things happening to good people? Surely such suffering and evil means that either He is not powerful enough to prevent it or He doesn’t want to, so He is not totally good.”
First off let me say…God could eliminate hunger/evil if He so chose. Without a blink, He could. Jesus fed the 5000 and He healed diseases and even the most wicked demoniac. But why did He not obliterate hunger/evil/ when He walked on the earth? At one point in John 11 Judas criticized Mary for using an expensive perfume on Jesus when it could have been used to feed the poor/hungry…Jesus said “…the poor you will always have with you…”
In order to answer this question…we must go back to the root of it all and understand some foundational facts.
1.THE REALITY OF EVIL…
We often refer to evil as the bad things we see or read about in the news. Yet Theologians identify there is NATURAL EVIL…these are the destructive forces of nature.disasters, viruses, tornadoes, disease, earthquakes and famines…
2. WHAT IS THE ORIGIN OF EVIL/DISEASE/SICKNESS/HUNGER?
We must go back to creation…original design. In Genesis we have the first man, Adam, he represents the entire human race. When God created Adam, He gave Adam the entire Garden of Eden to live. God created everything in perfect working order. And He told Adam you got the Garden but do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But then Adam chose to sin…when he ate of the tree to which God had clearly stated “Do not eat of that tree…” Adam rebelled against God, by disobeying His clear Word of instruction…in essence…Adam told God that he wanted life without God. He (and thus we) wanted autonomy…to be independent of God. By the way, man is still doing this today…rejecting God’s authority for his own autonomy/independence.
It is a sobering thought…that if God gave us what we really asked for in Adam…total independence…and God completely leaves the picture. We couldn’t even exist… as He is before all things and in Him all things consist … and that He “…holds all things together by the power of His Word…”.
As a righteous God, He had to judge rebellion…He judged sin with death (spiritual and physical). God cursed the ground…every weed you pull from your garden is a reminder of the curse…every natural disaster, malnourished child, every sickness, disease and death, every bee sting, every evil that has ever been committed… and as a result the entirety, the whole of creation now groans because of sin…
And by the way…God had every right to completely destroy Adam and Eve for their rebellion. He could have easily wiped them out and started again. But why didn’t He? Grace, God’s amazing grace! Now everything groans…things get old, bodies wear out and tend to get run down or fall apart. We actually live in a world where we have a taste of what life is like without God…every time we watch or read the news we are reminded of what life is like without God…the death, suffering, evil, etc. But here is some good news.
3. GOD IS SOVEREIGN…OVER EVIL…GOD IS IN CHARGE…ABSOLUTELY!
Just consider some of these passages as you slowly read over them. Ask yourself who is in control of evil?
4. GOD ALLOWS ALL EVIL TO EXIST!
God takes full responsibility for the evil in this world…He did not create evil, but He allows it to point mankind to Himself. To a wicked king of Babylon whom God used to fulfill His purposes God said: “I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me….I form the light and create the darkness, I make peace and creat calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.”
WE PRAISE HIM FOR WHAT HE HAS DONE TO CONQUER EVIL! The cross! If there was no evil to conquer there would be no cross, and no Saviour! In Romans 3:5 we read that “…our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God…” The evil that we do, the evil that happens, the natural, the moral and the supernatural evil points us to the righteousness of God.
The GOOD NEWS is that God has defeated all sin and death when He died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the grave on the 3rd day! It was His righteousness that sent Him to the cross to pay for my unrighteousness. To once again redeem not just man to Himself, but all of creation that has been under the curse since the fall of man. Though there is strife/evil/sickness decay and death in all of creation today…it is not for forever. “For I consider that the suffering of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us…”(Romans 8:18ff)
Though God did not create evil…He nevertheless allows it to happen. MAN HAS SINNED…but GOD IS SOVEREIGN…evil does not dictate to God what to do…GOD is the One who ALLOWS EVIL…natural…moral…supernatural Why? For His own glory! Our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God. One day He will redeem all things to Himself….creation itself will be delivered from the bondage of corruption…and all evil will be done away with when He returns. There will be no more famine, child hunger…all evil done away!
“Top 10 Reasons Why Being a Dad is…the Coolest Job on Earth”
Today I want to share Top 10 Reasons Why Being a Dad is the “Coolest Job on Earth”. There s no perfect father except for our Father in Heaven. So, looking at His character/attributes we can learn how to be a good father. Even though this may be directly geared to Dads…I know we can all learn from these lessons.
REASON #10 WE GET TO GIVE OUR NAME TO OUR CHILDREN…
I recognize this may sound rather patristic, patriarchal or even sexist in this day and age. Hear me out! George Foreman…famous for many things: boxing champion, grill, celebrity, born again Christian, author on fatherhood, also a pastor and evangelist and, believe it or not…he has 12 children five boys and seven girls…and he named all five of his sons, George. When asked why he gave all his sons the same name, he usually quips something like, “If you’d been hit in the head as many times as me, you’d make life as simple as possible.” But if pressed for a serious answer, one of his answers is: “I named my kids George because I want all of them to remember who their daddy is.” This is coming from a man who had an absentee father. And his greatest passion is to be a father to the fatherless, having adopted two as well.
So everything we do reflects on the family name. The family name is important, we represent our Father in Heaven, but we also represent our earthly father and family. And in the same way we need to make sure our children know who their father is…Every thing we do reflects our family whether good or bad, reflected back on everyone in their family, just because they had a last name. Give your children a good name and teach them the responsibility of keeping it good.
REASON #9 WE GET TO GIVE OUR PRESENCE TO OUR CHILDREN…
All the way from Genesis through to Revelation one of the overarching themes of the Scriptures is the presence of God in our life. From the Garden of Eden, God was with His children…He pursued them, He loved them so much He went with them, He demonstrated His presence in their lives in many different forms, time and time again. “I will never leave you nor forsake you….I will be with you to the end of the age…Revelation 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, God Himself will, be with them and be their God.” Here is the perfect example of our Heavenly Father showing us that time spent with our children is a feature of fatherhood that is often neglected...and is probably one of the most important.
REASON #8 WE GET TO MAKE OUR HOME A SAFE HAVEN…
Look at Revelation 21:4 “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall been more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
REASON #7 WE GET TO BUILD INTO OUR CHILDREN’S CHARACTER…
Isn’t it amazing that God knows our failures…but He does not focus on them. We often quote Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God..” The Good News is really found in the next v.24 “…being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
As parents we need to be a never ending source supplying our children with GRACE…and the message of what they can do and who they can be as long as they keep their priorities in the proper order. There is no shame in needing help, no shame in needing to learn, no shame in needing grace.
REASON #6 WE GET TO SHOW OUR CHILDREN PARENTAL LOVE AND CONCERN…
Just think of how many times God showed His children concern? Genesis…Adam where are you? Exodus…when you go through the waters I will be with you…Judges…when God’s people cried out to Him in their distress He hears…all the way through the NT God the Father is concerned for His children.
In case you haven’t noticed there is no such thing as a perfect father. History is replete with men who were less than noble in their parenting. Maybe you to experienced inadequate parenting. But here’s the thing…Only God our Heavenly Father is perfect in all His ways. And how awesome it is to see how He uses the imperfect father to accomplish His purposes regardless.
REASON #4 WE GET TO COMMUNICATE WITH OUR CHILDREN…
One of the most obvious features of our Heavenly Father…the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ is His generosity. All the way through the Scriptures…He gave land, privileges, presence, He shared His glory with His Son (John 1:14), with His tasks (John 5:18), with His protection (John 10:28–32), His home (John 14:1–2), His joy (John 16:23–24). The Father gives (John 3:34–36). The Father gives His Son (John 3:16; 18:11); the Father gives His Spirit (John 14:16–17); the Father gives Himself (John 14:22–24).
No matter how you look at parenting…it involves sacrifice…it is the giving up of yourself to care for another. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God willingly gave the most precious thing He had…for those He loved!
Most of us have done things like this because we love our families. (See also 1 John 3:16) We stay the course, we do every thing we can to help our families succeed. We don’t complain or really even think of it as a sacrifice, we just do it because it’s right and we know it. We forget about expensive cars we once dreamed about, we put off lavish vacations and we are glad to do it because it helps our family.
We learned this from God who gave us love and the blessings we have in life. God is our father and He is the standard. It is not hard to live up to the standard, all we have to do is let God live through us. The hard part is keeping out of His way.
Why are “the people of the cross” so offensive? Why is there so much hatred toward Christians? Really. What is the distinguishing mark that makes them so offensive that fellow human beings would want to destroy them? Have you ever wondered why it is that those who follow a message of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness can be the target of such malicious hatred?
With the world watching in mid February…twenty one men, clad in the unmistakeable orange jump suits were marched on to a Libyan beach somewhere along the Mediterranean and were brutally slaughtered before a watching world…simply because they followed Jesus, and they were willing to die for their belief. The gruesome caption over the screen warned “…the people of the cross and the hostile Egyptian Church.”
I have read with sadness the stories of some of these men which were published in the days soon after the slaying. Young men in their prime, some had just married and some were about to be married. Some left behind a young wife and young children, whom they would never see again. According to WORLD Magazine many of them had already been suffering for their faith, they had already faced severe persecution in their home villages simply for what they believed. They experienced harassment, threats, difficulty finding jobs so much so that they could not support their families. And what I find personally emotionally staggering is that 13 of the 21 men came from the same village, and the same church family. What a heartbreaking loss for a local church and a local community to experience.
Now we know that it is more than just Christians who are being brutally targeted and murdered by ISIS. There are even fellow Muslims who do not subscribe to the extremist ideology of ISIS who do not capitulate and they end up dying for their faith as well.
But the question remains…Why? What did these men do to deserve such a horrific end?
Jesus, Himself, had warned His original followers and every generation that followed (even to the current generation)…that the world will, in fact, hate them. The world will hate Christians because they first hated Him, Jesus. And they will do so …without cause. Jesus went on to say that there will be some who will honestly believe that they are doing God’s holy work by killing Christians. And yes that is the prevailing ideology of the terrorist group ISIS. Go figure! You can read about it for yourself in John 15:18-16:4. But just imagine that for a moment…Jesus, the Son of God, a man known for His love for mankind, His grace, His mercy and His kindness…and His followers…okay albeit not perfect representations of Him, but for the most part they do their best to act, love and live like Him…and they are hated with such monstrous viciousness! This is very difficult to explain, and yet it is the reality in so many parts of the world.
What an honour to be known as “the people of the cross”. Make no mistake…the cross has always been offensive…originally a heinous instrument of the Roman Empire to inflict massive pain and cause an ugly degrading and horrific death. But it was on the cross that Jesus, the Son of God died for the sins of the world. So it goes without saying, if one hates the cross they hate Jesus, and they will hate those who follow Jesus.
Why do Christians love the cross? The cross is a symbol of what was accomplished by Jesus that day. It is through His death that mankind is freely offered forgiveness for sin. It is through the death of Jesus that we have life in Him. Believe it or not, it is only through the cross that people can know true forgiveness, peace and joy. It is through the cross of Jesus that the believer in Jesus Christ has forgiveness of sin…the debt of their sin is paid for in full. All because of the cross.
So how should we respond to those who hate “the people of the cross”? In Matthew 5:43 Jesus clearly said to His followers “But I say to you, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”Jesus Himself said this and did this. I recently heard an interview with a brother of one of the men who was murdered on that beach. Speaking Arabic, thankfully, it was translated into English… the brother was asked what he would do if he met the man who killed his brother…to which he replied “I would take him home and feed him a meal.” Then the same brother was asked if he would be willing to pray for the one who killed his brother? And he said “yes”. And he even did it on live satellite television, transmitted through out the mid eastern world. Of course this interview would never make the headlines on CNN or CBC yet “the people of the cross” are showing grace, mercy and forgiveness for the ones who hate them so much without cause.
The Christ of the cross and “…the people of the cross” would want you to know today, that the way of the cross leads to Jesus. You do not have to jump through religious hoops, or even change your behaviour, that is merely religion. The people of the cross do not have religion. They have a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. You too can have that relationship with God by simply trusting in Jesus’ death on the cross for the forgiveness of all your sins. To personally know that your sins are forgiven, provides you with hope, joy and peace not just in this life, but for all of eternity.
Pastor, Fellowship Baptist Church, Burford.
A response to I.S.I.S… By David Virr
At the time of writing this article, another American aid worker has been reportedly executed in a barbaric manner. Pictures in today’s media abound of many people being brutally executed.
Where on earth did I.S.I.S. come from? Were they tucked away in the corners of the Arab Spring? Was it while the world was watching the Syrian civil war or maybe as Iran was developing nuclear capabilities? No doubt about it they were growing and gaining momentum while the rockets were flying haphazardly into Israel from Hamas mortars. With the cover of all this regional strife this group of militant extremists picked up on their opportunity to evoke horror and terror into the hearts of all who stand in their way.
I.S.I.S. is an acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. It is no surprise and it is no secret that this is exactly what this murderous group wants to accomplish, it is their evil agenda. They want to establish their personal ideology, their belief system by force.
They are literally terrorizing the Mid East forcing millions of people from their homes and with the threat of death…forcing the conversion of anyone who does not hold to their extremist ideals, Jews, Christians and even fellow Muslims. They are violently taking control of towns and villages and they are killing anyone and everyone who disagrees with them regardless of their age and gender.
You must wonder at those who say that we should not intervene. From partisan politics to the every day there are those who disagree with using our military forces to stop this evil that is spreading through the Mid East. But my concern is not political…there will always be the divide…the difference of opinion. But make no mistake, this is most certainly a widening humanitarian disaster that is happening right before our very eyes in our generation, under our watch. And we say every year about this time… “Never Again! Never Again!”. We will not soon forget the haunting look of those British and American civilian workers…before they were brutally slaughtered…
A question to ask ourself is…Are we okay with this? Are we content with knowing that these atrocities are happening in the far reaches of the world? Do we just simply shake our heads and say it will never happen in our native land? We cannot be so sure.
This is troubling on many fronts…Wednesday, October 22, 2014 will forever be marked in our national collective memory as the day the centrepiece of our democracy was attacked and terrorized by a single gunman. Just two days before a car was deliberately rammed into a group of our Canadian soldiers killing one. Again we will not forget Corporal Nathan Cirillo and Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent.
The reality of evil in this world knows no boundaries, borders or continental divides. It is everywhere in the very heart of humanity. Nor is it bound to any one generation or people group. It is in the heart of all mankind, in every generation in every culture.
I did not grow up in the 1930’s and 40’s when Adolf Hitler was marching through Europe intent on making a certain kind of society, thinking that bloodshed, massacres and a holocaust were the tools necessary to accomplish such an evil atrocity. I have read with sadness that many just sat back and allowed it to happen. And of course in retrospect…with over 60 million lives lost it is probably the worst atrocity in the history of humanity. And to think that many just simply sat back thinking that there was nothing that could have been done.
There are some definite similarities between this I.S.I.S. group terrorizing the Mid East and the terror Hitler inflicted on the world. We know that Hitler had a distorted view of God…in a 1922 speech he wrote: “…my feelings as a Christian point me to my Lord and Saviour as a fighter.” He even claimed in his Mein Kampf, Hitler’s personal manifesto where he outlines his ideology and his plans…that his movement was indeed the will of God and “We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity…in fact our movement is Christian.” Later he would also turn against Christianity and saw it undermining his belief in the “survival of the fittest.” Wow! Even in the name of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace…a distorted obsessive militance is garnered.
It is no secret that I.S.I.S. is murdering anyone who disagrees with their stated theology, their beliefs ideology. They believe that they are doing Allah’s will by exterminating all those who disagree and have their own belief systems. And again, Christians, Jews and even other Muslims are not exempt.
It is also no secret that Hitler hated the Jews. He did everything in his power to get rid of Jewish people. He claimed that the Jews were responsible for World War 1 and the economic collapse. Both of course are untrue. I.S.I.S. also hates the Jews. Their desire is to exterminate the Jewish people. I have read of other similarities as well…such as just like I.S.I.S., Hitler started with a small army…but by the end of the war it took nearly the entire world working together to defeat him. Hitler said he would go so far and stop…this group, I.S.I.S. has stated that it will do what it has to in order to go the entire distance to accomplish their goals. Pledging jihad against the Jews, they want to destroy Israel whom they believe is the small satan.
So what do we do? Do we keep quiet hoping that the armed forces of various countries working together will defeat this terrorist threat while we cower quietly in our corner of the world? I would suggest that we can do four things:
KNOW…There is no point burrowing our heads into the proverbial sand. This problem will not go away on its own. It has been picking up steam and it seems to be widening every day. We should begin by knowing the facts. Know also that the propensity for evil in the human heart is the same today as it was in previous generations. There will always be men like Hitler and groups like I.S.I.S. who are following the dictates of their own heart. “The human heart is the most deceitful above all things, who really knows how bad it is?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
ACT…Do something. Write our politicians of every party to persuade them to act on behalf of people who are oppressed…to face this terror head on. It requires countries like our great country who have historically taken a stand against oppression in years gone by to take a stand today against this evil oppression before it is too late.
PRAY…I realize not everyone who reads this blog believes in prayer…but the one true God is fully aware of this evil wave of violence just as He has always been aware of evil in this world in every generation since the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. It is not hidden from Him. And when we call out to Him in faith He hears our prayer. And we need to pray for those who are running from I.S.I.S. Pray for courage for those who are facing this enemy. We need to pray that this evil movement of terrorism would be stopped. We need to pray also that hearts would be changed.
SUPPORT…stand behind our armed forces, and our government who is taking a bold stance to stand up against this evil tide. Simply because it is the right thing to do.
Comments, questions and discussion are always invited…David can be reached at email@example.com or on twitter @PastorDavidVirr…or just call 519-449-5315
Series: WHAT’S IN A NAME? (2013 Christmas Series)
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful...”
Names have always played a prominent role in society. It is how we identify each other today. It is vital for our communication. It does not suffice for us to simply say “Hey you!” The ancient world used names not simply for identification but also for describing ones character. So there is a lot in a name. Especially if we are talking about “the name above every name.” To the ancient Hebrew people the names of God meant the revelation of His nature/character. So names in the Scripture are extremely important. That is why the names of God were treated with great respect and reverence. Note: I strongly recommend doing a study on the names of Jesus throughout the Scriptures...there are well over 256 names given to Jesus Christ. All these Bible names have meaning, and when you study them ...it will always help you to a better understanding of who Jesus is. The psalmist knew the value of such a study Psalm 9:10 “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, O Lord have not forsaken those who seek You.”
One name of Jesus was given to Him almost 800 years before His birth. Found in Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called “Wonderful...”
Isaiah was a prophet of God who lived in Israel some 800 years before the birth of Jesus. It was a time of great spiritual, political and economic turmoil. Assyria was threatening to take every country into its growing empire including Israel. Isaiah actually had a mixed message. He foretold Assyria would indeed take over and govern at least a portion of God’s people. But he also foretold that God would deliver Israel from Assyria in the future. So it was a message of warning but also a message of hope. He promises that God is going to punish His own people very soon, but that one day He will deliver His people from the Assyrians.
But Isaiah also told of another deliverance entirely...a deliverance from sin and its terrible effects in our world. That also came true. How so? Isaiah knew that it would happen through a very special person who would be born in the future. He didn’t know when this Person would be born, but he’s certain that God will send Him at just the right time. The Bible makes it quite clear that Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled by the birth of Jesus some 800 years after the prophet wrote these words.
The word “wonderful” means something that is transcendently beyond the common everyday...something that is way out of the ordinary...extraordinary...it means something that is unlike anything else. When you stand beside Niagara Falls you say it is wonderful because there is nothing else like it. It is extraordinary...it surpasses all other waterfalls. That’s what “wonderful” means...all surpassing wonder...maybe even too difficult to comprehend...think about and marvel about the immensity of the all surpassing wonder of Jesus Christ. What a fitting name for the One who was to prove it by His life.
WONDERFUL COUNSELOR (Isaiah 9:6-7) When David killed Goliath with his simple little sling he did a wonderful thing...because no one ever did anything like that before. When the Red Sea opened up to allow the Children of Israel to cross on dry land escaping the hand of Pharaoh who was hotly pursuing them...when the sun stood still for Joshua...these were all wonderful things that happened...all surpassing wonder.
SO we need to ask: WHAT MAKES JESUS SO WONDERFUL?
1. His ADVENT was Wonderful...
Centuries before His actual birth it was foretold ...His birth had been prophesied again and again.
Consider the odds of these prophecies given centuries before could be fulfilled in one man. Josh McDowell in his book “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” tells the statistic...there are over 300 prophecies pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ. Many of which have already been fulfilled. Peter Stoner in Science Speaks determines the probability of one man fulfilling eight of the prophecies of the Old Testament for the Messiah to be 1 in 10 to the 17th power. Imagine what this means. If we took that many silver dollars (100,000,000,000,000,000) and laid them over the State of Texas, covering the state two feet deep. Now mark one of the silver dollars, stir them up, then blindfold a person, and tell him/her that they can travel as far as they want but must pick up one silver dollar and say that it is the marked one. What chance would s/he have of picking up the right one? It would be the exact same odds of anyone fulfilling eight of the Messianic prophecies by chance alone. He goes on to consider the possibility of any one person fulfilling 48 of the prophecies by chance. Here the odds jump to 1 in 10 to the 157th power. That means 1 with 157 zeroes beside it. Incredible and impossible odds...but this is the all surpassing wonder of Jesus!
2. His BIRTH was wonderful...
Everything about His birth was wonderful... every detail of the Biblical account of God becoming man assuming the form of a servant...is absolutely wonderful! No other birth has ever occurred like it...it was wonderful because of the fact that there was only one human parent...He inherited the nature of man and the nature of God...becoming fully God and fully man. He came to be the Prince of princes...the Lord of lords...and the King of kings...and yet no one even knew He came.
On July 24, 2013 Prince William and Princess Kate’s celebrated the birth of baby Prince George Alexander There was no shortage of hype and excitement as media covered all the details. An event celebrated with great expressions of joy all over Great Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth. Yet for Jesus Christ...the King of kings and Lord of lords there was no room for Him at the inn. Born in a stable and then cradled in a feeding trough. And yet angels would proclaim Him on a lonely quiet Judean hill side to a sleepy group of shepherds. Isn’t that all surpassing wonderful. He gave up all the glory of the world to be born of a poor woman.
Think of why He came...He came to give rest to the weary, He came to bless, not to curse...He came to lift up and not to cast down...He came to seek and to save that which was lost...to give sight to the blind, to open prison doors and to set captives free...He came to reveal the Father’s love to the world. Wise men came seeking Him at His birth guided by a star from across the desert. Nothing like this ever announced the coming of anyone else into this world. As soon as His birth was known the Herod ordered the slaughter of the Innocents at Bethlehem... Joseph had been warned in a dream took the child to Egypt.
3. His CHARACTER was Wonderful...
No one has ever come close to Him in perfection of character. It is wonderful that the greatest character ever known should have come out of obscurity to become the most famous in all of history. Came at such a time and to such a people...the same kind of people are living today. And yet Hebrews 4:15 tells us: “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are...yet without sin.” Be sure to understand that He was tempted just like you are tempted every day of your life...yet He was without sin. Not once did He slip into sin 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” He didn’t have an ounce of sin in Him...impeccable, stainless...get this Jesus was never converted, He never had to repent of anything...because there was nothing in His life that was sin. No one could point the finger at Him. He was holy, harmless and undefiled.
4. His LIFE Was Wonderful...
Think about His life for a moment...He combined deity with humanity in Himself...God was made manifest in the flesh. (1 Timothy 3:16) And yet He was unselfish, so sinless that His enemies could not bring a charge against Him. And not once did He do anything to help Himself. He had the power to turn stones into bread...yet He did not. He had compassion on the multitude...His first miracle performed not before a great tabernacle of people but in a quiet little village of Cana...He had continuous compassion whether it was to a blind man on the side of the road or the hungry multitude. He wept for the city of Jerusalem.
What power He demonstrated over the forces of nature...He turned water into wine...He raised Lazarus from the dead. He calmed the storm...walking on the water, He healed the Gerasene demoniac, He demonstrated His power over the devil and demons and disease and death. The apostle Peter preached a message in Caesarea of Philippi to Cornelius and his house...telling them about Jesus. Acts 10:38 “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” There is absolutely no part of His life that is questionable as to His character...His entire life was wonderful!
5. His MINISTRY was Wonderful...
When John the Baptist was in prison he heard about what Jesus was doing. So he sent two of his disciples to Jesus, asking: "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?" Jesus sent this answer to John: "The blind receive their sight; the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them" (Matthew 11:5)
Jesus is still at work today...but many refuse to see. Franklyn Graham the son of Billy Graham has been preaching this past week in Thailand to over 70,000 people and literally thousands have been coming to faith in Jesus Christ! Today Jesus’ work has not changed and that test of His power is as apparent in nearly every part of the world today as it was in Galilee. If you have eyes to see the works of God, you will always find them going on. The heavens declare the glory of God, but there are people so blind they an’t see His work in anything or anywhere.
6. His TEACHING was Wonderful...
People sat spellbound when Jesus preached. Simple, clear and understood by all. He always made sure that those who were listening were understanding. He illustrated with stories, parables and object lessons...word pictures...No one ever had to take a dictionary out on the Sermon on the Mount...they understood Him. He didn’t give a rip what the religious establishment thought of Him or what He said. The stories Jesus told...are timeless...The Prodigal Son...the unforgiving servant...the foolish virgins. Jesus taught that He was equal to God. "He who hates Me hates My Father also. " (John 15:23). Ever know of anybody else making such claims? He said, "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." He was offering to bear the burden of the whole world. Think of it! He said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly...I am the Good Shepherd...the good shepherd gives His life for His sheep." (John 10:10) And, "I am the resurrection and the life; and he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die." Surely He was wonderful in what He taught!
7. His SALVATION is Wonderful...
He is able to save to the uttermost. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the power/right to become children of God to those who believe in His name.” John 1:12 Because of what He came to do...and what He did... your sins can be forgiven. Because of what He did, you can live a life of purpose and meaning... you receive the gift of eternal life. He was wonderful in that He prophesied of Himself...He foretold how He would die...it is even wonderful that He knowing all things still was betrayed by one of His own trusted disciples...but He knew it all. It is truly wonderful that He was sold by such a low price...wonderful that He was condemned to death on such a cruel cross...tortured so cruelly before being sent to the cross...the timing of His death on the Passover...He being the real Passover lamb who takes away the sin of the world. Wonderful that so many people were in Jerusalem at that time...saw the sun darkened felt the shake of the earthquake when the veil of the Temple was torn in two. “O the wonderful cross”! His resurrection was wonderful...foretold to His disciples...that He would rise on the third day and yet everyone of the them seemed to forget all about it...they thought He was dead...all hope was lost... His resurrection was wonderful...no human mind could ever have imagined the possibility. An angel rolled away the stone the linen clothes were folded and put on the place where He had been laid. How wonderful in that He appeared to His close friends...to Mary in the Garden of Gethsemane. How wonderful it was that she recognized His voice when He said her name. How wonderful that He met with His disciples and made them breakfast and commissioned them. How wonderful that He showed Himself alive and well to over 500 of the brethren...if Jesus had never risen from the dead we probably wouldn’t be here this morning. Our faith would be in vain. It is through His death burial and resurrection that a wonderful price has been paid by a wonderful Saviour for a sinful race...you and for me. How wonderful that He ascended to heaven and He sent another Helper....one who would be with them.
8. His IMPACT is Wonderful...
The effect of His teaching upon the world has been wonderful. He left no great educational institutions to perpetuate His teachings. Instead He committed His Word to a few humble fishermen, whose names are now the most engraved in all history. If we merely looked at this from the human perspective...you would expect it all to be forgotten within a matter of years. Jesus never wrote a sermon. Jesus never published books, blogs or tweets. He never had radio spot, a FACEBOOK account ,or a weekly podcast or the internet...and yet His Word has endured for over two thousand years. His Words have gone to the ends of the earth, and they are still words of life that bring life and light to the darkness of this world.
Jesus Christ is true to His name...He is WONDERFUL...He is a wonderful Saviour now. Look at Him today. Consider Him today. See His wonderful plan of salvation! Biblical Christianity is not a dying religion...in fact there has never been a time when the love of Jesus Christ has gripped the hearts of humanity as it does today.
And now one more and it is PERSONAL... He is true to His name, He is a wonderful Savior because I know that He saved me. I know that I am a child of God, He is a wonderful Savior because He is able to save to the uttermost now. I know this because He has given to me a second chance. He is wonderful to me...If you have trusted Him for forgiveness of your sins...He has saved you...He has pulled you up out of the pit of the muck and mire of this world and He has set your feet on solid ground...that solid ground is Jesus Himself.
“Wonderful grace of Jesus, greater than all my sin how shall my tongue describe it where shall its praise begin? Taking away my burden setting my spirit free for the wonderful grace of Jesus reaches me.”
Let me ask you this today...Has this wonderful Saviour saved you? Do you know Him as your Saviour? Have you ever given Him your case? The proof of His all surpassing wonder is so overwhelming that He does save, and that He has been saving people just like you and me for centuries. Be sure of this one fact no one has ever been saved from their sin except through Jesus Christ, the Wonderful Saviour.
About our Pastor...