Posts Tagged ‘ salvation ’

June 23, 2017

June 23, 2017

PSALM 51-57

Focus Verse: Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will be converted to You.
Psalm 51:10-13

 

Psalm 51 is the perfect summary of the Gospel. Written after David’s fall into sin with Bathsheba, it summarizes the human condition of sin and the complete dependency on God to blot out our transgressions against Him.

 

This passage hits on that dependency from even before the first step of our salvation process. Before we even ask for forgiveness, the Holy Spirit is working on us, convicting us of our sins and softening our hearts so that we will have a willing spirit, ready to give up the past and turn to God’s intended future.

 

I really love verse 13, “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You.” Are you saved? Have you experienced God’s salvation and forgiveness? Then who are you telling about it? If you have been completely forgiven of your sins – if you truly realize how lost and broken you were – then you won’t be able to shut up about His grace and mercy in your life! You ought to be screaming it from the rooftops! I would challenge you, if you don’t feel that way about God’s forgiveness, you need a new revelation of how lost you really were. I would be so bold to say that you have too low an opinion of how bad you were really lost in your sins.

 

Jesus teaches in Luke 7:47 about the woman who anoints His feet with oil “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” If you find yourself lacking in love, ask God to reveal to you how lost you really were before He called you into His marvelous light. It will rock your world.

 

When you realize how good God has been to you, you can’t help but share Him with those who are lost. But notice what David talks about sharing with them. He doesn’t start with God’s law, he starts with God’s ways. What are God’s ways? Kindness, mercy, forgiveness, patience, LOVE. We don’t jump straight to their sin – without giving God’s love first, sin is an impossible gap for us to cross – but when we open up God’s love to them and show them God’s ways in dealing with us, the HOLY SPIRIT (not us) begins to close that gap.

 

So how much have you been forgiven? And who are you telling about it?

June 17, 2017

June 17, 2017

PSALM 21-25

Focus Verse: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
Psalm 22:1
All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
“He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
Psalm 22:7-8
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.
Psalm 22:14-18

 

Little Bible trivia for you: Psalm 22 is the most quoted Old Testament passage in the New Testament. It probably won’t get you any further in life, but you’ll know now if the question ever comes up on Jeopardy or in some Christian version of Trivial Pursuit.

 

But it makes sense, doesn’t it? I’m sure I’ll address this again when we hit Isaiah 53, but how can you miss the significance of this chapter in the Bible. King David wrote this about 1,000 years before Jesus Christ was born! Are you picking up what I’m throwin’ down?

 

If you were to read this chapter to someone who had little to no knowledge of the Bible, I guarantee that they would identify this passage as describing Jesus, NOT David. That’s how prophetic it is!

 

One thousand years before Jesus Christ was born, God was already working in the hearts of His followers how His only Son would die. The plan had already been made, even down to the last words that Jesus would cry out on the cross.

 

God’s plan to win your heart back to Him has been in effect since the moment Adam and Eve fell in the garden. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”, Paul tells us in Romans 5:8.

 

You are the apple of God’s eye. Do you believe it yet?

June 3, 2017

June 3, 2017

JOB 8-10

Focus Verse: “There is no umpire between us,
Who may lay his hand upon us both.
“Let Him remove His rod from me,
And let not dread of Him terrify me.
“Then I would speak and not fear Him;
But I am not like that in myself.
Job 9:33-35

 

I love this prophetic verse from Job. In the middle of your pain, don’t forget to look for the prophetic, and here is one of many from Job.

 

Job is looking for an arbitrator between God and himself, an umpire as it is translated here in the NASB. Someone who can somehow touch both God and man. Someone who can take the wrath of God away, and leave us nothing but the loving, forgiving, merciful and gracious God. Someone who can serve as a go between, so that we can speak openly and freely to God without fear. Who exists to take on that mantle?

 

On the other side of the cross, we know that God-man is Jesus Christ – the perfect combination of both God, and man. Fully human, yet fully God, Jesus stands in that gap that Job describes here, touching both God and man. And because He humbled Himself, and despite being perfect in every way, bore the full wrath of God’s rod that should have fallen on us, there is now no fear on condemnation for those who are in Christ; we can rest in His perfect love. We can enter boldly before His throne and speak to God as one would speak to a loving Father. There is no veil between us.

 

What a Savior! What a God!

June 2, 2017

June 2, 2017

JOB 5-7

Focus Verse: “Why then do You not pardon my transgression
And take away my iniquity?
For now I will lie down in the dust;
And You will seek me, but I will not be.”
Job 7:21

 

I love this! This is such an awesome tool to keep in your back pocket for rainy days. If you are following Jesus Christ and have repented of your sin, God cannot punish you.

 

Now, for those of you who aren’t doing the whole Bible reading with each of these passages, let me give you a quick recap so you can connect the dots with how these things tie together. Job’s friend, Eliphaz, has more or less told Job that the reason for his suffering is because Job has sinned against God. So the purpose of Job’s suffering is discipline to get Job to turn back to God.

 

The problem with that, is that God is a really good mailman. He is never going to deliver your mail to someone else without letting you in on that secret. Job has confessed his sins! He’s made sure that sin is not the reason that any of this has taken place, and that’s what prompts him to ask this question of God in verse 21.

 

And any good theology student (you don’t even have to have studied a lick of theology to pick up on the answer to this one) will tell you, God has forgiven every transgression and taken away all iniquity. As soon as we ask for it, God grants grace. That is at the very core of who He is.

 

That is the blessed assurance that we have in Christ Jesus. It’s my favorite hymn of all time: “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.” Does it get any better than that?

 

Here is just one facet of what Jesus Christ offers those who rest in Him: you no longer face the punishment of God. All of that wrath, every single bit of it, fell on Jesus at Calvary. That means that any pain, suffering or trial that you are currently going through is NOT punishment. It’s a test designed to grow you more perfectly into the image of God! That’s not going to make it hurt less, but it will give you reason to rejoice through it. God has counted you worthy of this trial and will give you His Spirit to guide you through it.

 

If I had to give the book of Job a subtitle, it would be this: “How to suffer well, so that Christ is glorified.” That is exactly what Job does. He suffers well. It doesn’t look pretty and there are times when Job wishes he were dead, but in the end, God judges that Job has suffered well.

 

Let us learn from Job, so that when we stand before God, He can tell us that we too suffered well. And never doubt that there is now NO condemnation in Jesus Christ – your punishment has been taken care of – your trials now are for your benefit, in this life or the next.

May 11, 2017

May 11, 2017

2 CHRONICLES 2-5

Focus Verse: The house which I am about to build will be great, for greater is our God than all the gods. But who is able to build a house for Him, for the heavens and the highest heavens cannot contain Him? So who am I, that I should build a house for Him, except to burn incense before Him?
2 Chronicles 2:5-6

 

This is the reason why everything we do as Christians should be great: to show the world that our God is greater than anything else this world has to offer. Solomon knew that this Temple he was going to build was going to bear the name of the God of Israel, therefore it had to be better than anything else…what an enormous task!

 

We need to approach everything in our lives the same way. Remember, you are God’s temple now. That means that when people look you, they should be so blown away by what they see that they know the God of the universe lives in you. They should be so blown away by the things that you produce, by the attitude that you exhibit throughout your day, by every part of your life, that they leave praising God because of what they see.

 

Now if you are anything like me, you just read all of that and though, “Crap. I am nowhere close to any of that.” And that’s ok. Solomon was there too with the Temple. He knew that nothing he could possibly put together, not the greatest building the human mind could conceive, would be good enough for God. That’s just how great God is. And Solomon approached the Temple with the right attitude in light of this.

 

Solomon came humbly before the Lord. He acknowledged that nothing of human hands would be great enough for our great God. We need to approach Him with the same attitude in regards to our Temple. That there is nothing we can do that is good enough for Him in our own strength.

 

So what can we do? If nothing our human hands can do is good enough for God, how can we ever hope to offer Him something worthy of His name? If only there were some way to have hands that were both human and God.

 

Was that subtle enough for you?

 

This is exactly who Jesus Christ came to be – the perfect combination of man and God. Therefore, the only way to offer anything worthy of God has to come from His hands.

 

And that is exactly what His ascension provided us. When Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father, the gift of the Holy Spirit was released ten days later on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit came on those who confessed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and is still doing the same today. When we believe in Jesus Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to have complete control of our lives, we become the hands and feet of Jesus. We become the kind of Temple that the glory of God can fill – the kind of Temple worthy of His great name.

 

“’Not by might nor by power, but by MY SPIRIT,’ says the Lord of Hosts” (Zechariah 4:6)

March 1, 2017

March 1, 2017

DEUTERONOMY 5-7

Focus Verse: “For you are a holy people, who belong to the Lord your God. Of all the people on earth, the Lord your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure. The Lord did not set his heart on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other nations, for you were the smallest of all nations! Rather, it was simply that the Lord loves you, and he was keeping the oath he had sworn to your ancestors. That is why the Lord rescued you with such a strong hand from your slavery and from the oppressive hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.”

Deuteronomy 7:6-9

 

You are God’s special treasure. James calls us God’s prized possession in 1:18. No matter which way you slice it, God loves you so much. You are the apple of His eye, his favorite child, everything to Him. I could stop right there and that should be enough for anyone to reflect on and be in awe about for all of eternity. YOU are number one in God’s book. The Author of life! Creator of the universe! The Great I AM! And He has set His sights on you as the object of His affection.

Now I think any of us who have half of our wits about us would naturally ask the obvious question: why?!? Sure, there are some who might be thinking, “What’s not to love!” I’d venture a guess to say that they’re not really seeking a strong relationship with Jesus at the moment. The Gospel has a way of breaking that attitude in half once we realize we are nothing more than a broken sinner saved by grace.

The majority of us, even if we aren’t actively walking with Jesus, will wonder why God, if He really is everything He says He is, would want something as broken as us. I ask myself that question about my wife! Why would I think anything different when we are talking about the One who created all of the worlds around us?

God answers that question for us here in Deuteronomy 7:7-8. He didn’t rescue the Israelites because they had the numbers to take over the world. He didn’t rescue them because their military was top notch, their tactics light years beyond all the other nations. God flips Darwin’s theory of natural selection on it’s head and picks the lowest of all nations, the weakest, the most socially unacceptable, slaves, to become His prized possession. And all because He loves us! That’s it! That’s the only reason!

This theme is skillfully woven all the way through the Bible; God choosing the foolish things of this world to shame the wise. Why? Because the wise don’t realize they need a savior. The religious experts can’t even recognize the Messiah when He is standing right in front of them, but a group of uneducated fishermen fall to His feet.

How are you God’s prized possession? How are you his special treasure? Are you completely dependent on His love or are you trying to earn that favor? Do you need a Savior? Or can you do it on your own?

Let’s become fools for Christ today. Let’s set Him as our prized possession, let’s set Him as our special treasure, as our one and only, because that’s where He has set us. We are God’s number one even though we don’t deserve it. Doesn’t He deserve to be ours?

January 25, 2017

January 25, 2017

EXODUS 22-24

Focus Verse: “Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, ‘We will do everything the Lord has said; we will obey.’

Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.’”

Exodus 24:7-8

Oh how I wish this statement were true. Unfortunately, it took only about a month and a half (that we know of) before the Israelites reneged on their end of the bargain with God.

That’s why that verse 8 is so important. BEFORE they failed to live up to their end of the bargain, blood was shed on their behalf. I think that will preach on it’s own right there…but I’ll connect the dots anyway.

Before the foundation of the world was laid, you were bought with a price. God knew every misstep you would take, and still thought you were worth it. God knew when he entered into this covenant that we would be unable to hold up our end (see Genesis 15). The plan had already been established; the Son of God would pay the debt that we owed.

Now we have the power to live up to our end of the agreement. Through Christ. In Christ. Because of Christ.

What a Savior!