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Sunday, March 7, 2021

Repentance In Salvation

 


This is the manuscript of the sermon delivered at Christ Church on March 7, 2021. This is the fourth sermon in a series "The Answer To Eternity's Most Important Questions"

Theologians and Bible students sometimes refer to “the scarlet thread running through the Bible.” By this they mean that the Bible’s theme is Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for the redemption of mankind.  This scarlet thread which runs through the Bible also, identifies the message of salvation through faith in God. 

One element of salvation is the act of repentance. Before we can be saved from our sins, we must repent of those sins. This theme of repentance also runs through the Bible like a scarlet thread. Repentance is an absolute necessity in our Christian experience.

For an audio recording of the sermon click the YouTube link at the end of this manuscript.  

To see a video of the entire service click this link https://youtu.be/PzZFRe57Jgw

Scripture Reading: 

Mark 1:1–15 The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,  as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” —  “a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’ ”  And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”  At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”  At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.  After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Text:

Mark 1:14‭-‬15 NIV After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Introduction

Theologians and Bible students sometimes refer to “the scarlet thread running through the Bible.” By this they mean that the Bible’s theme is Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for the redemption of mankind.  This scarlet thread which runs through the Bible also, identifies the message of salvation through faith in God. 

One element of salvation is the act of repentance. Before we can be saved from our sins, we must repent of those sins. This theme of repentance also runs through the Bible like a scarlet thread. Repentance is an absolute necessity in our Christian experience. We read just the first 15 verses of Mark chapter one, but I encourage you to read all of it because it tells of Jesus’ early preaching in Galilee.   The entire chapter gives us the two elements of salvation: repentance and faith. These two, repentance and faith cannot be separated. It is even hard to say at what point repentance ends and faith begins.

In this series we have seen what it means to be lost and what it means to be saved. Today and next Sunday we are going to talk about two elements of salvation: repentance and faith.

I. Repentance in salvation involves a knowledge of sin.

“Repent.” is a churchy word that many, even those outside of the church, are familiar with, having seen it on billboards or heard about it in sermons. 

The basic meaning of the Greek word for “repentance” is a changing of mind or a turning away. So repentance means that we must change our minds about sin and turn away from it. 

This begins with a knowledge of sin.

But what actually comprises repentance? The word “repent,”  means literally to stop and think again. With our culture moving along from day to day at a blistering pace, it is imperative that we first stop and think soberly about what we believe regarding eternity— we must repent. 

The second aspect of repentance when someone is coming to faith in Christ is a change of mindset when they realize they have been wrong regarding their beliefs about Him, and their complete dependence on Him for forgiveness from their sins. 

Third, repentance is to no longer rely on our own capacity and wisdom. 

And finally, repentance is complete submission to God and His Word. 

Repentance, and this is important, is not when you cry over your sin, it’s when you turn from it and change to follow the Lord instead.

A. Admission of sin. 

Someone has said that the three hardest words for a person to say are “I have sinned.” But this is exactly where we must start in repentance. We must admit to ourselves and to God that we have sinned and that we are unworthy.  

Isaiah 64:6 NIV All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Romans 3:21‭-‬24 NIV But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

Sometimes the first step in salvation is realizing that you need it.  It’s like looking in the mirror and suddenly saying you are a “dirty rat".  I realize that’s pretty drastic and dramatic but I want us to understand how important that first step is; this is not an easy admission to make because most of us have a pretty high opinion of ourselves. Nonetheless, this is where we must start in repentance. 

Romans 12:3 NIV For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.  

“When we repent, we think like God thinks about sin. We renounce it just as Christ renounced it.

B. Sin against God. 

In the knowledge of sin, we not only see ourselves as sinners but we also come to realize that all sin is against God.   Here’s what David said;

Psalms 51:4 NIV Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.

God has placed us here on earth with free will; we have a freedom of moral choice, and he has revealed to us His way of life. When we fail to do it His way, we fail God himself. We sin against Him, and ultimately only He can forgive our sin.


II. Repentance in salvation involves sorrow for sin.

A. As we realize that our sin is against God, we must have sorrow for that sin. 

This is the very reason that repentance is necessary before we can be forgiven. If forgiveness were indiscriminately passed out without any regard for the person’s sense of sin and need of forgiveness, it would be nothing but a light treatment of sin, with no real meaning.   Forgiveness is never just mere toleration of sin. Toleration passes too easily into indifference. Forgiveness is the restoration of right relationships between God and people.

A distinction must be made between real sorrow and mere remorse or a guilty conscience. You can go to any prison and find people who are sorry for what they have done and even sorrier that they got caught. But they are not so sorry that they would never do it again. Fear of punishment is not all that is involved in repentance. You can easily have great emotion because of sin and still not repent. Repentance carries an element of sorrow, sincere regret that leads people away from their sin and causes them to turn to God for forgiveness.

When John the Baptist preached to the people from the shores of the Jordan River, he demanded from them “fruits worthy of repentance”

Luke 3:7‭-‬9 NIV John said to the crowds coming out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

What he meant was that, if we have repented of our sins, we need to show it in the way we live.

B. This is the repentance of complete submission and commitment your life to Christ. 

One of the greatest stories in Christian literature is the story of Saint Augustine. He was a debonair and sophisticated. And like all the wealthy young men of his generation, he had a mistress. His first mistress he kept for sixteen years. After he got tired of her, he got himself another one, and later, yet another. 

Augustine also liked to go to church on Sunday and would hear messages that would lift him and cause him to reach for spiritual things. So he had a conflict with himself. He prayed, “O Lord, I want thee. I will give myself to thee” but, in his mind there was a little parenthesis—he was not going to give up his mistress. So God didn’t answer the prayer with the parenthesis. He did not give Augustine spiritual power. Finally, one day he got down on his knees and prayed. He gave the Lord his whole self, including that parenthesis. And the minute he did, he received forgiveness and power.

 III. Repentance in salvation involves turning from sin.

First repentance in salvation involves a knowledge of sin, second repentance in salvation involves sorrow for sin.

The third element in repentance involves the renunciation, repudiation, and the actual turning from sin as an act of the will. When we realize that we have sinned, and when we become sorry for that sin, we turn away from our sin and turn to God. Repentance is not complete in just knowing that we are sinners. Neither is repentance complete in feeling sorrow or remorse for our sin. It becomes complete when as an act of the will we repudiate our sin and turn from it. All three elements are necessary for repentance: knowledge of sin, sorrow for sin, and turning from sin.

The requirements of true repentance indicate that the decision to turn away from sin is not simply an intellectual change of mind. The mind includes the whole moral nature of an individual. When we repent of our sin, our whole life is reoriented with Jesus Christ as the center.

Repentance is not a once-and-for-all act. The Christian life, is a life, of repentance. The initial act of repentance when we first trust Christ as Savior is just the beginning of a life of repentance.

Repentance, then, is an act of grace whereby we realize our sin, experience sorrow for that sin, and turn to God in faith. It is a change of mind toward sin as well as a change of action. It involves the emotions, the intellect, and the will.

Generations later, we are still drawn to sin, just like Adam and Eve. We evade the truth, we make excuses, and lay the blame on others. We must constantly confess our sins and repent often on a daily basis and some days many times. 

God has issued us a command that has eternal consequences.

Luke 13:1‭-‬5 NIV Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way?  I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.  Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem?  I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Acts 17:29‭-‬31 NIV “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”

This is God’s wish for us. And it should be a command that we take pleasure in following.

Repentance and faith are really two sides of the same coin. Repentance is turning from sin. Faith is turning to, trusting in, and relying on Christ. Repentance is not a “work” anymore than faith is: we simply renounce our sin and rely on Christ.

 Conclusion

Luke 23:39‭-‬42 NIV One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”  But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ”

In other words this criminal repented.  Here was Jesus’ response

Luke 23:43 NIV Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

With his response, Jesus gave four characteristics of salvation that you can trust and believe in.

First, he said “today.” When you die, you either go straight into the presence of God or you go straight into separation from God. Salvation is immediate. The moment you ask Jesus Christ to save you, it’s done. 

Second, salvation is certain. He said, “Today you will.” He didn’t say, “You might” or “I hope.” His answer wasn’t, “Let me think about it” Jesus said, “You will.” When you accept Christ, you can be certain of your salvation.

Third, salvation is a relationship. Jesus said, “You will be with me.” 

Salvation is not a religion. It’s not rules or regulations or rituals. It’s a relationship. That relationship doesn’t begin when you get to heaven. It begins here on Earth. Jesus Christ wants to be your best friend; he wants to talk with you all the time. God made you for a relationship with him!

Fourth, Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Heaven is a real place, and it’s forever. 

Now to anybody that has not accepted Jesus as Savior I want to point something out to you.

Two criminals were crucified with Jesus, one on either side. Jesus gave them the choice of salvation, and he gives you the same choice. He won’t force you to love him. He’s not going to force you to trust him or accept heaven.

One of the two criminals rejected Jesus. The other turned to him in faith.  If you haven't done it already you have the same choice today.  

The Bible says, “This is the hour to receive God’s favor; today is the day to be saved!” (2 Corinthians 6:2 GNT).

Romans 10:13 says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (NIV). Do you believe these truths about salvation? Are you ready to call on the name of the Lord? 

Repentance involves knowledge of our sin, sorrow for that sin, and turning away from that sin to God. The turning away from sin is faith. Repentance and faith belong together. As you now repent of your sins, will you not also turn to God in faith to accept his forgiveness and his offer of salvation?

Choose to settle the issue of your eternal destiny today. 


Sermon Audio



Sunday, February 28, 2021

How We Can Know God




This is the manuscript of the sermon delivered at Christ Church on February 28, 2021. This is the third sermon in a series "The Answer To Eternity's Most Important Questions"

The majority of Americans believe in God, and many believe that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God. Which brings up the question: how can  we know that there is a God?

Today I want to talk about two of the indisputable ways we can know. 

  1. We can know God by the mystery and majesty of creation

  2. We can know God by the mystery and majesty of Christ

For an audio recording of the sermon click the YouTube link at the end of this manuscript.  

To see a video of the entire service click this link https://youtu.be/Zu9Pwdg-Jp4

Text: 

Matthew 11:27 NIV All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.


Introduction


The majority of Americans believe in God, and many believe that Jesus Christ is the divine Son of God. Which brings up the question: how can  we know that there is a God?


Today I want to talk about two of the indisputable ways we can know. 


  1. We can know God by the mystery and majesty of creation

  2. We can know God by the mystery and majesty of Christ


I. We can know God by the mystery and majesty of creation (Matt. 11:25).


The mystery of creative power is hidden from us. We cannot know the Creator or the meaning of his creation unless he reveals himself to us. We come to the majesty of creation with humility because we are faced with a reality of such scope and power that we know almost instinctively that its source is beyond human imagination or accidental happening. This way of knowing God is sometimes referred to as “general revelation” and it is available to everyone.


Paul talked about this general revelation in his letter to the church in Rome when he said there is no excuse for ignoring the existence of God. 


Romans 1:20‭-‬25 NIV For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.  Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.


Robert Jastrow, an internationally known astronomer and authority on life in the cosmos, who founded and directed NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and served as a professor at both Columbia University and Dartmouth College. In his book God and the Astronomers, Jastrow once claimed to be an agnostic in religious matters. Agnosticism is the view that the existence of God, of the divine or the supernatural is unknown or unknowable. Another definition is the view that "human reason is incapable of providing sufficient rational grounds to justify either the belief that God exists or the belief that God does not exist.  So Jastrow had neither faith nor disbelief in the existence of God.  


His studies in astronomy, however, led him to believe that the universe had a beginning and that it will be impossible for scientists ever to discover exactly how that beginning came to be. Scientists have had great success in tracing the chain of cause and effect backward in time. But they can only go back so far and the barrier to more knowledge of creation seems insurmountable. 


It is not a matter of another year, another decade of work, another measurement, or another theory.  It is pretty apparent that science will never be able to solve the mystery of Creation. For the scientist who has lived completely by power of reason, this story ends like a bad dream. 


Jastrow believed the time of creation was some twenty billion years ago. Somewhere out in the great, dark vastness of the universe there just may have been a God who called it all into being. This is further evidence of the compelling nature of general revelation, which brings people to a shallow faith. It is not final, nor is it conclusive as regards Jesus Christ, but it is for many a place to start. 


Jesus calls the Father “Lord of heaven and earth.” 


Matthew 11:25 NIV At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.


Just what does that mean?


Jesus has just finished condemning three towns in Galilee where He has performed miraculous works and powerful preaching. Despite seeing the power of God on display with their own eyes, the people of these towns failed to repent of their sin and to believe that Jesus was the Messiah.


Matthew 11:20‭-‬24 NIV Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.  But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you.  And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades.  For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day.  But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”



Why did these people fail to believe in Jesus? A possible clue comes in what Christ praises God the Father for;


Matthew 11:25 NIV At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.


In other words, Jesus praises the Father for keeping the truth from those who are thought to be smart according to the world's standards, or at least according to themselves. 


What are "these things" that are hidden? In the case of what Jesus has just been talking about, they are things that should be obvious. 


If Jesus displays power that can only come from God—power to raise the dead and heal impossible illnesses and cast out demons with a word—then He must be the Messiah. Why wouldn't anyone believe that?


Jesus identifies two possible things. First, those who are thought to be wise and understanding in this world tend to overestimate the value of their own minds. Intelligence comes with the temptation to excuse away anything a person does not like or prefer. This is not fundamentally different than the way a person with great wealth can fool themselves into thinking they need nothing and no one else—not even God. Since Jesus was not what many self-labelled wise men expected from the Messiah, they decided Jesus cannot be the Messiah.


1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.




Second, this statement,  you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children", implies that God hides what should be obvious from those who are arrogant. In a sense, He helps them to not understand what they choose not to understand. This is similar to the scripture that said God hardened Pharaoh's heart.  


Exodus 7:3‭-‬4 NIV But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in Egypt, he will not listen to you. Then I will lay my hand on Egypt and with mighty acts of judgment I will bring out my divisions, my people the Israelites.


The fact of the matter is that Pharaoh’s heart was already hard.  He resisted God and God allowed it in order to make an example of him.  


Exodus 8:15 NIV But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.


On the other hand God the Father reveals what is obviously true to "little children." 


Matthew 11:25 NIV At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.


This is often true of actual children, but Jesus talks about adults becoming like little children.


Matthew 18:1‭-‬5 NIV At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.


Another time He says something similar about coming to God with the confident trust of a child.


Mark 10:14‭-‬15 NIV When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”





 II.We can know God by the mystery and majesty of creation, but more importantly, we can know God by the mystery and majesty of Christ (Matt. 11:27).


While many people may be drawn to hope and beginning belief by the reality of creation, redemption, reconciliation, and salvation are in Christ alone. 


There is a quote from Eugene Ionesco the founder of the Theater of the Absurd.  Which is a term for the style of theatre that presents plays that focus on ideas that express what happens when human existence lacks meaning or purpose and communication breaks down.


Here’s the quote “The world has lost its bearings. Not that ideologies are lacking to give directions: only that they lead nowhere. . . . People are going round in circles in the cage of their planet because they have forgotten that they can look up to the sky. . . . Because all we want is to live, it has become impossible for us to live. Just look around you!” 


In this astounding time of scientific search to the mystery of life and of human despair at the absurdity of life, how can we put a face on God? 


Here is what Jesus said,


Matthew 11:27 NIV All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.


The apostle Paul called Jesus Christ “the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. . . . For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in Him.   You will find that at Col. 1:15, 19 


Jesus Christ revealed some very specific truths to us about the nature of God.


A. The birth of Jesus indicates that God, in order to restore the relationship with mankind, entered fully into human life. 


Matthew 1:20‭-‬23 NIV But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

John 1:1‭-‬5, 14 NIV In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


Hebrews 2:5‭-‬9 NIV It is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, about which we are speaking. But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him?  You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor  and put everything under their feet.” In putting everything under them, God left nothing that is not subject to them. Yet at present we do not see everything subject to them.  But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.


God through Jesus became one of us in order to restore the relationship between Him and His creation. 


B. Our Lord Jesus taught us to call God Almighty “Father.”


Matthew 6:9‭-‬10 NIV “This, then, is how you should pray:  “ ‘Our Father in heaven,  hallowed be your name,   your kingdom come,  your will be done,  on earth as it is in heaven.


John 20:17 NIV Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ”


C. In his life Jesus demonstrated how to live in a basic, trustful relationship with God.


John 5:19‭-‬23 NIV Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.  For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.  For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.  Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,  that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him.


John 8:28‭-‬29 NIV So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up  the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.  The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him.”


John 14:16‭-‬21 NIV And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—  the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be  in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”


D. In his death Jesus hung between heaven and earth, between God and man. Crushed beneath our iniquities, Jesus died for us.


The sin that entered Adam and Eve’s nature was passed on to all their descendants. 


Romans 5:12 NIV Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—


 In other words, all people were guilty, and Satan could use this as accusation against them, demanding that they should die.


But what did Jesus do for us?


Isaiah 53:4‭-‬6 NIV Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.



Jesus is the only human being in all history who was completely pure and without sin, He was the only one who could “stand in the gap,” the only one on whom Satan had no claim. He was the only one who had not deserved death, either physical or spiritual. But, fulfilling the purpose for which He had come to earth, Jesus voluntarily offered Himself. He was crucified as the ultimate, blameless sacrifice. He died as the Lamb of God, the atonement for all mankind. He bore the punishment of all our sins, and died.  The just for the unjust. Through this sacrifice, all those who believe in Him are able to obtain forgiveness.


E. Through Jesus’ victory over death at the resurrection, he has invited us to the victorious life. 


Jesus’ death on the cross of Calvary was the culmination of His incredible work of love for us. By His death He reconciled those who believe in Him with God, and through His life He opened a way back to the Father for those who follow Him. Through death over sin, Jesus conquered death itself. 


Hebrews 2:14‭-‬15 NIV Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.


By His life He gave us life.   We know that death cannot rip us from the Father’s hand.


Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NIV For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Conclusion


Yes, Jesus Christ is unique, one of a kind. But he is willing to share life with all who will believe. He has given us eternal life “in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren” 


Romans 8:28‭-‬30 NIV And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.


Humans were made to walk and talk with God. They were made to worship and serve God and live by the law of heaven, which is love, rather than by the law of the world, which is greed and hate. Jesus makes life complete. Until one comes to know him, life at its best is but a fraction. If you want to find the best way of living, you must go to Jesus Christ.


Through Jesus Christ, God came down to dwell among people. He came to die on a cross to take away our sins. By his death he removed everything that separates sinners from God. Through faith in Jesus, we are forgiven and received by God as his own dear children.


Only Jesus can take a person to heaven when this life is over, because only Jesus was both competent and willing to bear the penalty of our sin on the cross. Because he has paid the wages of our sin, he is able to offer us the gift of eternal life.


The heart of our Lord’s appeal is simply this: you can know God by trusting him. In trusting him you will finally come to know him. Only in the life of the Son do we have any assurance that we can know God as he really is: God the Father, Lord of heaven and earth, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and Father to all who will turn to him in trusting faith.


Jesus reveals the only way to God, the truth about God, and the kind of life that is received from God. Accept him by faith, and you can rejoice in being spiritually alive.


Benediction


 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


 “The Lord  bless you and keep you; The Lord  make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ’


Sermon Audio