Friday, September 25, 2015

Rough flight coming to an end

A few weeks back I wrote that this would be a very rough flight as we discussed sin and God’s righteousness. Today I want you to experience the love of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
If we are not careful we will overlook a very important sentence in this paragraph. We have already learned about the righteousness of God, about responding in faith to God’s promptings, and our sin. The love of God is such that he justifies us, that is, he sets us in a right relationship with himself as a free gift. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Are you a person that prefers to give gifts or receive gifts? If you are the one that enjoys the buying, surprising and giving then you are able in a simple and small sense to understand the way the Father feels in offering you His gift of grace. He sent Jesus to purchase this gift for you. If you are the person who enjoys receiving the gift, opening the package and finally seeing the surprise waiting inside, you have a package awaiting you, full of peace, joy and love, the gift of Jesus.
With any gift there comes a time of decision, you have to decide whether to receive or to reject. If you receive this gift you are not promised an easy life or a life of luxury while on this earth. However, you are promised an eternal life spent with the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit in Heaven, perfection for eternity. Rejecting this gift, will result in Jesus, who could have been your advocate, instead denying He ever knew you and you living eternally in hell. Are you truly certain that Jesus knows your name or will he deny YOU?

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Changed Heart

Circumcision of the Heart
Have you ever sang this song, Change my heart oh God”? For us to really be in a right relationship with God and with others around us we need Jesus Christ to do for us what we cannot do ourselves. That is to change our hearts. Here in this passage of Scripture we will read Paul addressing Jewish Christians who were counting on their ethnicity and the outward sign of the covenant(circumcision) to get them into heaven. He raises from question that they would have asked as a result of reading the first two chapters of Romans. Let's read what he writes to the church.
For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. “Romans 2:25-29”
Paul is writing to the Jew Christian letting them know that if they can keep the whole law without sinning their circumcision is profitable. They are not able to keep the whole law therefore their circumcision is unprofitable. Notice the line of thinking that the Apostle uses. If an uncircumcised man is able to do this then his uncircumcision will be counted as circumcision. The problem is this, some of the Jews were counting on their ethnicity and circumcision to keep them from experiencing the righteous judgment of God. Today, I’m afraid that we are guilty of propagating something just as bad. We may be guilty of counting on our Christian heritage, the church we grew up in and our outward baptism we experienced as a child or an adult. If our heart is not changed by Jesus Christ none of this will get us into heaven. Let’s read the last sentence again. There is a heart matter that must be taken into account. Circumcision that matters is not the outward one that the Jew was counting on, nor the outward act of water baptism or sprinkling. The circumcision that matters is the circumcision of the heart. The baptism that matters is the baptism of the heart. If God has not baptized and placed you in the body of Christ you do not have forgiveness of sins, no power to live the Christian life today and no eternal home in heaven? Ask Jesus these two questions: Am I yours? Am I holy? The Holy Spirit of God will answer these two questions. If you belong to God you’re set aside for his purposes. When a person is baptized by God they hunger and thirst to know him, to know Jesus and to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. All who are saved by the Lord will grow to be faithful believers living for Christ. If you are struggling with sin I invite you to come to Jesus and ask him to change your heart. He can take the sin away and give you a new heart with the strength you need to walk with him.