Thursday, March 24, 2016
The other day I received a phone call from my dad and he instructed that they were had caught 32 fish where they had went fishing. He then proceeded to tell me in a polite way as only a dad can that I was to clear my calendar and go fishing with him. I was very happy to do so. It’s not every day that I get to go fishing with my dad. We had fun caught some fish and we when got home the work began. My work wasn’t complete or finished until we cleaned them. When the last one was cleaned we were finished. We were exhausted but filled with joy because our work was complete. There is a sense of satisfaction that comes with that. I am sure that at some point in a project you to where glad to say it is finished. The sense of accomplishment does the soul well. Well on this day over two thousand years ago the words “It is finished” were spoken by Jesus before he died on the cross. I invite you to read with me John 19:28-30 “After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (ESV) Have you ever thought about these words “It is finished”? The reason why these words are so powerful is because Jesus paid for our sin debt in full. He completed the work of redemption. He paid our sin debt with his own blood to God the Father so that we could be forgiven and adapted in God’s family. Here is our struggle, we want to add something to the finished work of salvation that Christ completed. The reason why we cannot add anything thing to the finished work of what Jesus did on the cross is because he said “It is finished!” When God raised Jesus Christ from the grave he showed that he approved of his atoning sacrifice that was done on the cross. Paul writes this in his letter to the Ephesians in 2:14-16 “For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” God is inviting you to place your faith in the finished work of his son Jesus Christ, your response to this invitation determines the outcome of your eternal destination. No matter what your religious background is God invitation is “Come to Jesus He is Risen!”
Monday, March 14, 2016
You know accepting help sometimes is the hardest part of living as a person. I want to do it one my own. When if the truth is known deep down I really could use some help to help me with whatever it is that I am doing. Do you have this same struggle with accepting help because you want to do it on your own? The most difficult part about becoming a Christian is accepting Jesus help in salvation. We cannot save ourselves he has to help us by doing the work of salvation for us completely. Being saved by Jesus is just the beginning. We cannot keep ourselves saved either, he does that for us to. You may struggle with this to, but being saved from ones sins is a work of God from beginning to end. What about approaching God through prayer. If you were taught to pray at the mealtime your parent probably taught you this prayer: God is great. God is good. Let us thank him for our food. Bow our heads we are all fed. Thank you Lord for daily bread. Amen! This is one of our weakness that we need help with as Christians-learning how to have a conversation with our heavenly Father. Jesus taught the Disciples how to pray because they asked him to teach them how to pray. But today, we have not only the word of God to help us to learn how to pray but we have a Helper, who will come along side of us and help us in our prayer life. Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to prayer for as we ought, but the spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27) Are we willing to accept the Spirits help in our prayer life. If we are willing to admit to the Lord that we need help in our prayer life then God’s grace is there to help us. We can then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) So if we have the help of the Spirit in our prayer life, and we can come boldly to the throne of grace to ask for help in time of need then why don’t we. If we listen to the guidance of the Helper, the Spirit of Truth, he will come along side us and help us, he will teach what to ask for in prayer and when we ask for what is on God’s heart we have answered prayer. I John 5:13-15 teaches us this. If you would like to learn more about the Spirit’s work in the life of a follower of Jesus I invite you to church Sunday.
Friday, January 22, 2016
Today, I am asking you to get your Bible and turn to Romans 7:1-4. We must remember that this passage builds off of the previous chapters. You may want to read Romans 5 and 6 before you continue to read. The Apostle Paul make the principle that is being taught clear—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives. “Romans 7:1” The use of the illustration of marriage helps us understand how this principle works even in today’s society. After giving the illustration the Apostle come to application which is where we need to camp out today and apply to our lives so that others around us can see that the gospel message is true and that Jesus is who He say’s he is. The believer’s in Rome happen to be both Jewish and Gentile, both died to the Law. The Jews died to the Mosaic Law and the Gentiles died to the law that God put on their heart that either accused or excused them. Today, when a person comes to believe in Jesus, that is they exercise faith in him and are born again they have died to the Law. The Apostle’s in Acts 15 had to help the early Church understand that they who were Jewish couldn’t keep the Law and the only person who could fulfilled and was raised again from the dead. Now in Acts 15 they gave clear directions for what the new believers were to do. Here is a quick question that I want you to ask yourself- Am I trying to keep the Law? If I try to keep the Law as prescribe in the Mosaic Law or even if I try to bear fruit to God on my own strength, then I will become a bitter person. I will become a Pharisee, trying to be righteous in my own strength. The way a believer bears fruit to God is to die to self every day and live for Jesus. It is the ministry and work of the Holy Spirit living in the life of the believer to bear fruit. It is our abiding in Christ, our relationship with him that is so vital. I want to you to take this passage of Scripture and turn it into a prayer to the Lord asking him to help you to be released from the law, to be set free from that which held you captive. So that you can serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. I want to encourage you to read and meditate on John 15:1-17. As you do the fruit of the Spirit that Paul mentions in Galatians 5:22-23 will become a reality in your life. I want to invite you to First Baptist Church this Sunday. If not with us there are plenty of great churches here in Lake City that love the Lord.
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
You know we all have choices to make. The choices that we make do have consequences. Some people think that because we are saved by grace we can sin and bring glory to God. Paul said, “By no means!” Some people believe that it is ok to sin since we are not under law but under grace. Let’s read,
What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:15-23 ESV)
Our choices do have consequences. The longer I live and reflect back on my life I must honestly admit to myself and to God the reason why I am where I am today is because of a choice that I made. When I chose to disobey God, I suffered the consequences of my choices. When I have obeyed God, the blessing of God have changed my life. The believer must take responsibility for their choices. No disciple of Jesus can ever say sin made me do! That would be a lie since we have read that the disciple of Jesus is set free from sin rule over them. As a disciple we learn to make decisions, choices based on what we have learned from God’s word and applied it to our lives. I must come to grips as Jesus’ disciple that he purchased me on the cross with his shed blood. He paid my sin debt to God. I am a slave of Jesus Christ and therefore I must obey my master. The interesting insight to this is he doesn’t force me to obey him. I should want to obey Jesus from the heart because of what he did for me. Are a disciple who obeys Jesus from the heart or do you have to learn obedience through the consequences of your sin? I invite you to come and worship with us in a local Church this Sunday so that you can learn more about being a disciple of Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
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?