Wednesday, May 27, 2015

To some this may sound too narrow a view and too restrictive, but they fail to understand that their sin separates them from God and how serious that separation is.  Think about it for a moment.  If you were trapped in a burning building and a fireman came to you and reached for your hand and said, "Take my hand. There's only one way out and  I know it and you won't make it without me," what would you do?  That fireman can save or rescue you from death.  And that's what Jesus wants to do for you.  Only He is qualified and only He knows (IS) the way.

When you're ready to end that separation and become a child of God, see Romans chapter 10, verses 8-13.   God's gift of forgiveness and eternal life with Him has been offered to you and you can choose to accept that gift or decline it.  Either way, the choice is yours.

As for me:  "For I am not ashamed of the Good News about Jesus.  It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes - the Jew first and also the Gentile.  This Good News tells us how God makes us right in His sight.  This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.  As the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life.""    
Romans 1:16-17 NLT

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to Understand the Message of the Bible

At this point, I hope you’re beginning to understand God’s love and the gift of salvation that He offers us through Jesus.   It may not be totally clear yet, so I would suggest you begin reading the Bible at the Gospel of John and keep reading until you reach the end of the Bible.  As you do, ask God to guide your understanding and make your sin problem, the separation it has caused and the only solution God has offered, clear to you.  Consider the testimony of those who had encountered Jesus:

John – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. …  He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him”  Gospel of John, chapter 3 verses 16 & 36.

John – “I am the way, truth and life.  No one comes to the Father except He comes through Me.”  Gospel of John chapter 14, verse 6

Peter – “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”  Book of Acts, chapter 4, verse 12

Paul – “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”   Romans chapter 6, verse 23.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How to Understand the Message of the Bible

So what does God want us to understand today?

1.     We Need Help – Sin Separates Us from God   (post 2 weeks ago)

2.     God Loves Us, but is also Holy (Set Apart from Sin)   (post 1 week ago)

3.     Only Way to End the Separation – God Makes it Possible to Reconcile Us to Himself
Before the end-times restoration of the Kingdom, the problem of our sin had to be taken care of.  And that was done, when Jesus, as the sinless Son of God, suffered and was crucified, killed and buried as the perfect sacrifice once for all for the sins of the world.  The perfect judge, God, had to render a guilty verdict on the sin of mankind.  The penalty of that sin, death, had to be paid.   Jesus took upon Himself the punishment that each of us deserved and endured the penalty in our place, so that our sins could be forgiven completely by God.  And only Jesus was uniquely qualified to pay the price.  Only Jesus lived a sinless life, and therefore did not deserve death.  Only Jesus, spoke of His death before it happened and also that He would rise from the dead to confirm His sacrifice for our sins and to show us that there is life beyond the grave (His bodily Ascension as described in the Book of Acts, chapter 1 is a further indication).  To better appreciate what has been done for us refer back again to Ephesians chapter 2, only this time read the entire chapter and note in particular verses 4 thru 10 that we skipped over before.  Then return to the book of Romans and read chapter 3, verses 21-26.  Next read Romans chapter 5 to see what was done for you out of God’s great love.  Hopefully, you’re beginning to understand how Jesus is different and how serious sin is to God.   Read in the letter to the Colossians, chapter 1 beginning at verse 9 to appreciate the qualifications of Jesus and notice at verse 22 that through Jesus you can be reconciled to God and that Jesus will present you to God “holy, blameless and beyond reproach.”   If you have a checking account you know the importance of reconciling the balance per the bank statement to your checkbook balance.  And you know the bank statement balance may not be correct because of checks you’ve written that haven’t been cashed.  Also, your balance may not consider fees your bank has charged, so the correct reconciled balance may be different total from what both you and the bank show.  But notice with God, He’s the perfect One and He makes it possible for us to be reconciled to Him – this reconciliation is one way and only God is the one who is right.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How to Understand the Message of the Bible

So what does God want us to understand today?

1.     We Need Help – Sin Separates Us from God (last week's post)

2.     God Loves Us, but is also Holy (Set Apart from Sin)
God promised He would provide a means for the separation to end.   But we need to understand how serious this separation is and how we’re unable to rectify that separation apart from the love and grace of God.   Because as sinners, we’re unable to present ourselves to God as perfect, holy and sinless.   To gain an appreciation of how serious our situation is, see the Letter that the Apostle Paul wrote to the followers of Jesus at Ephesus.  Begin reading Ephesians at verse 1 of chapter 2 and read through verse 3.  You’ll see Paul reminding that all of us born into this world are “dead because of our sins.”  Now skip down to verses 11-13 and read this for a sobering indication of our condition.  Without Jesus, we have no hope and are without God.  We remain separated because of our sin.  If you need more proof, go back to the book of Romans, but this time chapter 3 and begin reading at verse 9 through verse 20.  When the Apostle Paul writes, “As the Scriptures say,” he is quoting from the Old Testament to show us that this is not a new problem for us – it’s always been the case, and he ends with the statement in verse 20 that  God gave the Law to Moses to “simply show us how sinful we are.”