Posts Tagged ‘Savior’

1 John 2:1-2

1 John 2:1-2 has the Apostle continuing his exhortation around sin. “My little children, I am telling you this so that you will stay away from sin.” We know from the prior chapter that sin is a fact in the life of every person, hopefully an occasional fact, but fact none-the-less.  And we also know that there is forgiveness from that sin through Jesus.  But John wants to be clear that as Christ Followers we need to be concerned about sin.  And more importantly, we DO NOT have to sin.  We choose to on our own.  God does not make us sin.  The devil does not make us sin, contrary to the saying ‘the devil made me do it’.  In fact, we sin and need to stay far away from it.

That’s one of the lessons around sin we need to learn.  The best way to not sin is to stay far away from the temptation that causes us to choose sin.  All the resources for spiritual victory are ours in Jesus Christ and that resource is never withdrawn. Yet we will fall. “But if you sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. His name is Jesus Christ, the one who is all that is good and who pleases God completely.” The great news is that God not only knows we will sin, but He put a fix in the grand scheme of things to cover our shortcomings with the One who ‘pleases God completely’ – Jesus Christ.  We’ll never make it to eternal life with God any other way.

So God’s desire is that we don’t sin. Yet when we do, there is provision made – an Advocate, a defense lawyer on our side. Our Advocate is Jesus Christ Himself. But He is far more than an advocate as He stands in our gap between our lack righteousness and God the Judge who will stand in judgment when we leave this earth. Jesus is our defender, even when we sin now. God is not shocked by human behavior. He has seen it all in advance. So God made a way for sinful man to have eternal life with God. When we stand as the accused in the heavenly court, before our righteous Judge, God the Father. Our Advocate stands up to answer the charges on our behalf.

He is the one who took God’s wrath against our sins upon himself and brought us into fellowship with God; and he is the forgiveness for our sins, and not only ours but all the world’s.” A human defense lawyer argues for the innocence of his client. But our Advocate, Jesus Christ, admits our guilt – and then enters His plea on our behalf, as the one who has made an atoning sacrifice for our sinfulness that should lead us to eternal separation from God, save His death on the Cross. Alford wrote “Christ has, as our sin-offering, reconciled God and us by nothing else but by His voluntary death as a sacrifice and has by this averted God’s wrath from us.” That’s our Savior’s love for us.  And He did it for the whole world!

1 John 1:7-10

In 1 John 1:7-10 we see some of the most revealing truth in scripture around sin.  John begins by painting a picture of what the future could be.  “But if we are living in the light of God’s presence, just as Christ does, then we have wonderful fellowship and joy with each other, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from every sin.”  The positive outcome we can all experience is ‘fellowship and joy and cleansing’.  But there is a big IF….we have to be living in the light.  We know that on this side of eternity, sinless perfection is not possible. Yet we can still live in the light, so John does mean perfect obedience.

So perfection is not the goal.  The Christian life is described as walking, which implies activity. Christian life feeds upon contemplation, but it displays itself in action. “Walking” implies action, continuity, and progress. Since God is active and walking, if you have fellowship with Him you will also be active and walking. The question is will you walk with Him, or on your own path.  We need to admit we’ll miss the perfection required for salvation, but know that Jesus came to take care of that if we’ll walk with Him.  “If we say that we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth.” We are sinners in need of a Savior.

So we need to admit it and follow the path to being forgiven.  Confess, repent, receive God’s grace, be saved.  It all begins with the recognition that we are sinners and need to be forgiven.  “But if we confess our sins to him, he can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.” God has offered forgiveness.  He paid the maximum price to be able to give it to us freely – Jesus, His only Son, went to the Cross carrying our sin – and the result is God’s gift of grace.  It is ours for the taking, but it does require us to take action.  We have to be willing to take the act of faith and receive Jesus Christ as Savior.

God had a perfect plan, and He executed it fully. “And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.” That was the sole purpose for Jesus coming to this earth.  He came to live among us as a human for 33 years, but ultimately He came to carry our sin to the Cross and defeat death and sin and provide victory for eternity.  It boils down to us being willing to admit we are a sinner.  We are.  Scripture is clear that all of us have sinned.  Just a quick glance around the world, or the room validates that truth.  But the positive result of faith in Christ – eternal life based on God’s gift of grace – can only happen when we admit our sin and take the step to have that forgiven through Jesus’ death on the Cross.  “If we claim we have not sinned, we are lying and calling God a liar, for he says we have sinned.” Are you lying to yourself?  We all need a Savior.  Are you sure of your eternity?

John 1:12-18

John 1:12-18 has John continuing to describe Jesus.  When we believe in Him, when we receive Him as the Son of God who was sent to cover our sin and set us free, we are transformed into the people God intended for us to be.  We are not made perfect here on earth, but we are set apart as sons of God.  “But whoever did want him, who believed he was who he claimed and would do what he said, He made to be their true selves, their child-of-God selves”. We become what God created when we get to know Jesus. Our status changes.  “These are the God-begotten, not blood-begotten, not flesh-begotten, not sex-begotten”.

Jesus came to earth and became like us.  It was God’s plan for our redemption, but in order for that to happen, Jesus has to come off His throne at God’s right hand and live life like we do as human beings, suffering and experiencing rejection leading to His crucifixion, so He could die, be buried and then raised from the dead victorious over sin and death that we might be set free.  “The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish”. There was no mystery or mistake, it was God’s plan all along.

John the Baptist spent his time pointing to Christ as the Messiah who was sent by God to deal with our sin problem.  “John pointed him out and called, This is the One! The One I told you was coming after me but in fact was ahead of me. He has always been ahead of me, has always had the first word”. He was faithful unto death to point everyone to Jesus, the true Messiah and God’s appointed solution.  We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift”. John makes it clear that Jesus is the only thing we need.  He is the answer.  He is way.

God has pointed to this time throughout scripture.  This isn’t a mystery, but a fulfillment of prophecy.  “We got the basics from Moses, and then this exuberant giving and receiving, This endless knowing and understanding— all this came through Jesus, the Messiah”.  God’s revealed his plan bit by bit through history, and now John is shouting from the mountaintop that the Messiah has come.  And God is showing us something that had never been experienced before.  “No one has ever seen God, not so much as a glimpse. This one-of-a-kind God-expression, who exists at the very heart of the Father, has made him plain as day”. God is doing a new thing, and that love, the sending of His only Son to become the sacrifice for our sin, reveals the very heart of God and His love for us!  What a God.  What a Savior!

Romans 2

Romans 2 has Paul continuing to lay it out there and confront the thinking of the religious leaders of the day.  “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things”.  Hypocrisy is a never ending challenge for mankind.  We tend to say one thing and do another, or hold people accountable to standards we don’t follow ourselves.  That is not how God does things.  God will judge each of us on our own merits, and on His standard of righteousness.  We will have no excuses.

While judging others may make us feel better, it is futile and takes the focus from where we need to be focused – on our own coming judgment.  “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed”.  It may seem like we are climbing higher when we tear others down and judge their actions, but we’re going to stand before God and have to give account.  And there will be no hiding.  “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury”.

Each if us will face God and have to give account for our works.  It won’t matter that our parents did this, or our spouse did that, or our family has been sitting in the same pew on Sunday morning for decades and given lots of money to the church.  God cares about one thing – how we have lived in regard to His standards.  “God shows no partiality”.  There will be no passes.  It will be our life being judged for its own merit based on God’s requirements of godliness, holiness and righteousness.  And the news won’t be good.  “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified”.

Harsh words, aren’t they.  The truth of the matter is that all of us will miss the mark.  Not one of us can enter eternity based on our own efforts.  We are sinners who selfishly live the way we want and do the things we want without obedience to God.  We’ll stand before Him and face that truth.  The only hope we have is to claim His gift of grace – the blood of Jesus who went to the cross to give us a way to cover our sin before a perfect Judge on that day.  It is our only answer to the sin we are all guilty of committing that will ultimately lead to God’s judgment if we don’t have Jesus as our Savior.  Are you ready to stand before God.  Don’t go there unprepared.  Discover the saving grace of Jesus Christ who came that we might be set free from our sin and spend eternity with God!

Mark 16

Mark 16 picks up with Jesus in the tomb, or is He?  “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him”.  Some of the women who had followed Him to the Cross and watched Him die, come early the day after Sabbath Day to put spices around the body.  They did recognize a potential problem – the big rock Joseph had put in front of the tomb.  “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb”?  They knew it was much bigger than they could move on their own.

They arrive and find that the stone had been rolled back so they enter the tomb and “they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed”. Talk about a shock.  You just don’t expect someone to be sitting there in a dead man’s tomb.  But this isn’t just any dead person.  This was Jesus.  The stranger told them to “See the place where they laid him”.  He obviously was gone, but they needed to see it for themselves.  And then they were sent to “go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee”.  It’s exactly what Jesus had told the disciples himself, but now that He was alive it was time to tell them again.

So “they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid”.  They didn’t do a great job telling the disciples, but Mary Magdalene did tell a couple of them.  Jesus begins to show Himself to the twelve, but they couldn’t believe their eyes or ears.  So “he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen”.  Faith isn’t about what makes sense or seems reasonable.  Faith if believing things unseen.  It’s the foundation of Christianity.

Jesus commissions them to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”.  That’s what each of us as Christ Followers are to do.  The message is powerful and needed.  “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned”.  We have the cure to the biggest problem the world has ever seen – sin.  That cure is God’s grace provided through the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross.  And He Himself commanded us to go and tell the world – all the world – of that free gift of grace. It’s why He came to this earth.  And once He had commissioned the disciples, He was ready to return to the Father.  “So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them,  was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God”.

Thoughts From Others – My Sermon Notes from Sunday – Church on Fire – Acts 20:17-38

Matthew 12

Matthew 12 has Jesus being chased by the religious leaders.  The disciples were hungry and plucked some heads of grain to fill their stomach.  The Pharisees get all bent out of shape and accuse them of violating the law. “Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath”.  Jesus takes them on head on.  He then goes into the temple and meets a man there with a whithered hand.  They ask “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?”—  so that they might accuse him”.

The religious leaders want to trip Jesus up.  He asks them a question about caring for their sheep on the Sabbath, and then gives them the answer: “So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath”.  That wasn’t the satisfactory answer in the mind of the religious leaders.  They were very upset and “the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him”.  Jesus launches into a discussion of how evil begats evil and good produces good.  Fruit that is bad comes from bad trees.  Fruit that is good from good trees.

Jesus draws a line in the sand.  “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters”.  Faith is a black and white proposition.  Jesus isn’t something that can be partial – it’s an all or nothing proposition.  You can’t sort of believe in Him.  You have to make a choice – to believe and receive His gift of grace on the cross that pays for the penalty of sin, or to face the holy God that will judge us based on how we have lived.  Jesus makes it clear what we’re going to face.  “On the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned”.

We’re going to face God and have to explain how we have lived.  God is holy and just – He won’t be able to tolerate sin.  So unless we are able to stand before Him and give an account that completely aligns with His law and standards we’re going to fall short.  Scripture is clear that every one of us will be in that position – guilty of sin and without excuse.  That’s when our decision about Jesus will come into play.  If we’ve got a personal relationship with Him as our Savior and Lord, His shed blood will cover our sin and God will invite us to spend eternity with Him.  If we don’t, we’ll stand there on our own merit and fall short.  “The tree is known by its fruit”. We’ll be seen as sinners and evil in God’s sight.  We need Jesus.  Now is the time to get right with God.

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