We cannot begin to think, talk, or act towards unity until we fully understand unity with God. If we do not have unity with God as individuals or collectively as a church, we will never have unity. The main idea of the message is: Be perfected in unity by being in unity with Jesus.
Jesu will meet a man who is without hope and in desperate need of salvation. He is a man abandoned by society and left in the wilderness while everyone waits for him to forever vanquished. Imagine living a life that nobody wants to be in your presence. His end will be good news for the city of his upbringing.
The deeper our understanding of sin, the more we may understand grace and forgiveness. A shallow understanding of sin will result in a shallow love of Jesus. If we think we have little sin to forgive, our worship of Jesus will be lacking. The woman at Simon’s home shows an extraordinary understanding of the forgiveness of sin. She goes to Jesus despite great risk of public ridicule and shame. She values Jesus more than she values what others may think. Let us be a people who prove we believe we are forgiven much by loving much. Let us not be ashamed of loving our Savior. Let us be a people who weep openly at the feet of Jesus because we are thankful that He gives His life so we may live forever with Him in glory.
In God’s wisdom, He lovingly provides a way to be just and loving at the same time. He gives the world His beloved Son, who willingly takes the punishment we deserve. When people put their faith in God’s salvation from sin, by believing Jesus takes their punishment, they are saved from God’s judgment. God’s holiness and justice make salvation necessary. God’s love makes salvation possible. Jesus’ message is simple. Do not be offended by Jesus. Don’t stumble over the rock of salvation. Those who put their faith in God’s wise proclamation of salvation are saved. Believe God’s proclamation of salvation as perfect wisdom.
The prophetic testimony of the sure word of God is compelling and reliable. I implore you to think about Jesus's ministry, teachings, and His life. Remember that Jesus is seen alive and His disciples went to their grave believing Him as risen from the dead. Believing in Jesus requires faith in believing the testimony of God’s word. Put your faith in Jesus, the compassionate Savior.
Death is sobering. Let the thought of dying permeate your thinking right now. You may say, “But I don’t want to think about death, it hurts.” I know. Thinking about death can hurt. But, to not think about death is irresponsible and immature. Death stings like a scorpion’s deadly poison. But what if there is a truth that eliminates the sting of death? What if there is life after death? Is there more than just this life? Whether or not there is life after death, or stated another way, “a resurrection,” is the most important truth for all people. If there is a resurrection after we die, it changes everything. It impacts how we live before we die. If there is a resurrection, we need to prepare for what comes after we die. If there is a resurrection, does it change the purpose and meaning of the life we have now? Does the resurrection lead to a life that is eternal, or will we die once again?
In the first four chapters, Paul explains HOW we are saved by Jesus. In summary, he writes that we are saved by faith. Those who believe Jesus dies for their sin, and that Jesus is the substitutionary punishment for us, are saved. After explaining how to be saved, the Apostle Paul changes the subject in chapter five. He answers a very important question, which is, “WHY are we saved?” What motivates God to save us? Why, does God choose to save people. Paul addresses God’s motive for salvation. The short answer to Paul’s question is simple. The reason we are saved is because of God’s love. We know the answer because we are familiar with what Jesus said to Nicodemus. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” God loves the world. That’s why.
Throughout Luke’s gospel, we will see two responses to Jesus. Some people respond like the people of Nazareth, and they want to throw Jesus off a cliff. They like Jesus up until a certain point. They are no different than people of today. People today like Jesus up to a certain point. But, as soon as the topic of sin emerges, talk of Jesus is no longer welcome. The gospel is not enough. Others, like the disciples who continue to follow Jesus, are willing to hear the truth, even when it gets difficult. When Jesus asks them, “Do you want to stop following Me as well?” Peter responds, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” (John 6:67-69) What about you? Do you believe Jesus is the Holy One of God who has words of eternal life?
How do we see serving? How do we imagine heaven? Do we imagine heaven as the angels serving us as we put our feet up? On earth, we all imagine our greatest joy is found in being served by others. How delightful does spending eternity serving sound to our ears?
We are to place our hope in the eternal worship of His glory. This age will come to an end. All who put their faith in Christ will live forever with joy and satisfaction basking in the presence of God. We look forward to our eternal worship of enjoying God. We will say, “I have now understood why I am created. My purpose is to enjoy my God. God is the source of all my pleasure and gladness. My soul is full. My heart leaps with passion. I need not turn anywhere, but to look into the face of My Savior who loves me. I am content, consoled, and filled with peace as I am held close to His bosom.”
Made Alive in Christ 2 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
Before we finish, take a moment to notice the work of God throughout this chapter. God delivers the verdict of guilt. God expresses His displeasure with the situation. God sends His Right Arm because there is no other choice. God declares the victory over evil and wickedness. The same Right Arm of God defeats evil and is our precious Redeemer. God makes a covenant with those who Christ redeems. We bring nothing to our salvation except our confession of sin and our willingness to turn from our ways and follow God’s ways. We put our faith in Christ, the Right Arm of God, and He does the rest.
At the end of the age, believers like Bonnie, will who walk the highway of holiness, rejoicing in their salvation. The trees of the field clap their hands, and the mountains and the hills break forth with joy as they walk by. They are people blessed by God. Call upon God while He is near. Ask Him to show you your heart. Ask Him to help you be sure that you are a genuine believer who gives evidence of His work of grace. Trust in God and you will not be disappointed!
Verse five of this passage is an amazing picture of our salvation and one which helps us to think rightly about our salvation. The basis of our salvation is not on our merits but upon the character and glory of God.Shout for joy, expand your tent, and fear notfor your husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)The well-being Jesus offers is to have peace with God. The healing Jesus offers is healing from our rebellion. The Palm Sunday people are disappointed.But, those who see Jesus carrying their grief, sorrow, and sin, are not disappointed. Jesus makes us righteous. He makes us right before God.For the Scripture says, “whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
God expects us to respond to His work of salvation. We are to endeavor to respond to God’s saving work according to His word of truth. This passage reveals five ways we are to respond to our salvation.God expects for us to herald the good news of peace and happiness and that our God reigns.We are to break forth in joy knowing we receive all things in Christ.As we herald the good news and when people ask us about our joy, we are to point to the cross as the only way of salvation.We are the temples of the living God.
The fact that we are not righteous is the number one problem facing all people. God is righteous, and He expects righteousness in all people. God will not allow immorality in His kingdom. We, who are unrighteous, put locks on our doors to keep unrighteous people out. God, who is perfectly righteous, has a sign over the gate to the entrance to His kingdom which reads, “no unrighteousness allowed.” Because we are unrighteous, we need righteousness. It is our biggest and greatest need. Without righteousness, we may not step one foot into the kingdom of heaven.
The Messiah of Israel is amazing. The descriptions of Him in Isaiah tell us that He is a great champion and ruler who reigns with perfection. The reason God reveals Him in the Scriptures is so that we get to know Him. And, in knowing Him, we welcome Him as King with worship and adoration.
Let’s all be like King David, a man who God says is seeking God’s heart. Let’s cry out to the Lord, and say, “Pardon my sin for it is great. Forgive me, not for my sake or because I deserve to have my sin forgiven but forgive me so that You may glorify Your mercy. Make me an object where You may show forth the glory of Your divine attributes. Let the universe see how You pour out Your love. Do it for Your glory and that Your name will be famous.”
As we celebrate missions, let’ remember that the ultimate goal of missions is the accomplishment of God’s Mission. God’s mission is to freely offer the rich treasures of Jesus Christ to needy people. We live in a world filled with needy people who are looking for answers. Jesus is the answer. The gospel is good news. Jesus promises to meet our every need. He offers peace and rest. He gives our lives purpose and meaning. He protects us from our enemies and gives us safety and protection. Only Jesus offers forgiveness of sin and everlasting life. If you know Jesus, rejoice. Know that He is meeting your needs.
All of us are (or should be) in an unceasing, unwavering war against our idols. Our culture has just as many, if not more, idols than the people of Babylon. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The idols of today are deceptive, and in most cases, we don’t realize they are idols. Know this, the idols of today all promise power, riches, comfort, joy, and safety. Just like Bel and Nebo, we hope our idols will control our destiny.
God is saving us from living in eternity in shame. God restores us to a place of honor by sending His Son. The death of Christ on the cross paves the way for God’s objective of restoring order to be complete. God is merciful and loving. He is abounding in grace. The Bible says that when Jesus died on the cross, not only did He bear our sins, but He also wore our shame (Hebrews 12:2). He was in complete shame, being mocked and ridiculed.
If someone asks us, what is God doing, what is His plan with creation? We may answer with Isaiah 45:8. God is pouring down righteousness upon the earth. In every nook and cranny, in every place where evil exists, God is pouring down His righteousness. At the end of the age, the entire earth will be dripping and soaked with His holy rain. Everything God does with His creation is right and good.
We are frail physically. None of us has any guarantee we will be alive tomorrow. We are frail in our faith. We experience doubt. We may be on the super-faith path one moment, and a train-wreck life experience comes our way, and we find we need the help of others to clear the doubts away. We are frail in our morality. Many who appear to be mighty Christians have fallen only to find themselves humbly licking their sin-inflicted wounds. Success in our Christian walk happens not because we are super-Christians, but because God’s grace keeps us in His hand.
We need to tell all people to draw near and listen. We warn people of coming tornados and hurricanes. If there were an imminent threat of terror, we would warn as many as we could. Sound the warning sirens. Put up the hurricane flags. There is a great disaster coming to the earth, and it is far worse than any disaster the world has ever seen. Tell people to get to the shelter of God’s wings.
God takes our weakness and failures, and He works all things for good. He takes us sinners and makes us glorious by conforming us into the image of His Son. He makes those who are dead and gives everlasting life. He takes away our sin and gives us His righteousness. God makes us who are weak more than conquerors. We serve an amazing, loving, gracious God.
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