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Archive for the ‘Forgiveness’ Category

From my sermon yesterday:

But I would have you look at 1 Cor 6:9-11 once more. 1 Cor 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Look at that list. Look at those words – “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” I can’t imagine harder words than those. But do you know what Paul wrote next: 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. “And such were some of you.” I can’t imagine sweeter words than those. Look, I’m sure all of us here have committed sins on that list at one time or another. I’ve been an idolater. I’ve been greedy. I’ve lusted in my heart. But the gospel tells me that was what I was, not what I am now. Once those sins were my identity. Not now. Once those sins were my life. Not now. It’s not that I don’t ever do those things but they aren’t who I am.

And who am I? I am a washed, sanctified, justified sinner and that’s a world of difference than just being a sinner. I’m in Christ and God does not recognize me as those things I formerly were, he recognizes me by his own son. Why? Because Jesus’ blood covers my sin and his righteousness covers my sin. I can imagine that some of you have sins in your past, perhaps sexual sins, and you still feel so dirty and guilty, but you are trusting in Christ … these are God’s Word’s to you: “And such WERE some of you” … not are. Live in the freedom that Jesus has won for you. You have been washed and you are clean. Live like it.

Friends, this is the gospel of Jesus Christ and it is a trustworthy saying, that Jesus came into this world to save sinners of whom we are the foremost. There is not one person here who is not a sinner, of whom it cannot be said that the wages for their sin is eternal death, God’s judgment. But the gift of God is eternal life for all who will repent and believe. So, the call to turn from your sin, whether gay or straight, is not hate or hate speech but love … love compels you to turn from your sin (whatever sin that is) and come to Christ, just as love would compel someone not to make a decision that would ruin their financial future or to step away from a dangerous pit or to marry someone that will destroy their lives. If you ARE one of those persons, lost in your sin, living in your sin, not trusting in Christ, holding on to your sin and not onto Jesus, then why not be moved from ARE to WERE. Why not be washed today? Why not ask Jesus to cleanse you by his precious blood?

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From my sermon on Luke 12:8-12 …

So what does it mean to speak against Jesus? Answer, pretty much what you think. It means to speak against Jesus. It means to say things that dishonor him. It means to deny him. It means to say false things about him. And here’s the thing – the reason God gave you a mouth and lips and a tongue was so you could praise Jesus and honor him with your words. Can you see then that to speak against Jesus is no small thing; it’s a great sin. … But, praise God, it is a sin that God will forgive. Praise God, Jesus is a great savior. See the thief on the cross beside Jesus, reviling him and mocking him. See that same thief later acknowledging Jesus as the King of heaven. And see Jesus forgive him of his sin and say to him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Again, think of ole Peter – he denied Jesus three times but we read of Peter’s restoration in John 21. And think about the apostle Paul. Here’s a man that the Bible says at one was breathing murderous threats out against the church, a man that Jesus himself said was persecuting Him, a man who called himself a blasphemer, and yet was forgiven by God. Did Paul not write this trustworthy statement: “Jesus Christ came into this world to save sinners of whom I am the foremost.” And what about the people of Acts 3 whom Paul said had denied Jesus. By Acts 4 many of them were followers of Jesus. And friends, do you know people who at one time spoke frequently and ardently against Jesus, atheists, agnostic, skeptics, drunks, druggies, addicts, wealthy, poor, and more, yet they were saved by the grace of God, forgiven of their sins?

Look, before we try to figure out what it means to blaspheme the Holy Spirit, it might do us some good to think about the deep, deep love of God … he forgives sinful people who say sinful things against Jesus. Friend, if you speak against me, what have you done? You’ve spoken against a sinful man made of dirt. I probably deserved it. But if you speak against the spotless Son of God who gave you life, has never done a hurtful thing in his life, who has never done you harm, who has never made a mistake, who simply loved you so much he died for you, took God’s wrath for you, was mocked and hated for you, who was forsaken for you … then what do you deserve? But God says, “He will forgive even such a sin as that.”

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make-up on a corpse

Have you ever asked someone how they are doing and they reply, “Blessed”? Usually they mean that God has been good to them in the general sort of way – good health, money, family, etc. In other words things are going well for them. Nothing wrong with that. God is the one who gives us our daily bread and we should thank him for it. But if you don’t have the following “blessing” then no matter what “blessing” you have, it matters not. Read it:

Psalm 32:1-2 1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,

Consider that it does not say we are blessed for all the things the world says. It does not say:

  • blessed are you if your are financially stable or even wealthy
  • blessed are you if you have lots of women or men chasing you
  • blessed are you if you have a top-notch education that can open any door for you
  • blessed are you if you have rugged good looks or natural beauty
  • blessed are you if you have fame or popularity
  • blessed are you if you are athletically superior to others
  • blessed are you if your family has it altogether
  • blessed are you if you live a relatively stress-free life

It says that one who is blessed is one whose sins are covered. Friend, if the blood of Jesus is covering your sin(s) then you are blessed. And that means no matter what your state is, you are blessed. If your sins are forgiven …

  • blessed are you if you live in abject poverty
  • blessed are you if you are widowed or a heart-broken single
  • blessed are you if you can’t spell “cat”
  • blessed are you if your physical appearance is unattractive
  • blessed are you if no one pays you any mind
  • blessed are you if you are a first-class klutz
  • blessed are you if your home is broken
  • blessed are you if your afflictions seem more numerous than the stars

The point is not that you should desire any of those things above per se. The point is that if you have no covering for your sin, then you have nothing really. You have the appearance of blessing but that’s it. You have make-up on a corpse. But if Christ is your Savior, then you are above all people blessed. Rejoice then! Rejoice in the Lord always!

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z59134430

Here’s a few articles for you:

What Christian’s Should Know About Halloween

A Poem About Halloween (You have to watch this!) And you can click on the clip to see the video and words as well.

A good gospel/theological word about today

And here’s a clip from a movie you should watch:

 

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Sermon excerpt from Luke 10:17-20:

And I think that Jesus could see what was ultimately going to happen. He foresaw the doom of Satan, the end of his kingdom. He knew the kingdom of God had come in power and that Satan’s clock was ticking, that God’s purposes were coming to pass. It was just a foretaste (or foreseeing) of things to come, of Jesus’ kingdom swallowing up Satan’s.

And how will his kingdom do that? Well, it starts with Jesus first of all because of the power that Satan has. Satan has two things in his arsenal, two weapons more potent than anything else: the power to accuse and the power of death. And those two things are related. People are afraid to die because deep in their hearts they are afraid to face the judgment of God. And the reason they are afraid to face God’s judgment is because they are guilty of sin. And the Bible says that Satan, day and night, accuses all men before God and our own God-given consciences tell us he is right. He stands before God and says, “Look at Brandon. He lied on that day. He lusted on that day. He lost his temper on that day. He stole on that day. He loved sin more than you on that day. He loved a silly game more than you on that day.” And he reminds us as well. Every violation of every jot and tittle of God’s law is held up before our eyes and the eyes of God and our own consciences testify against us like the perfect prosecuting attorney and we know we’re guilty and Satan is right.

And we all know what’s on the business end of that accusation – death and God’s judgment. We know that the wages of sin is death. We know that the guilty shall not go unpunished. We know that if the Lord counts our iniquity none of us can stand. And Satan wields the power of accusation over us like a master blackmailer. You know the thing about blackmail – it never bothers you unless there’s some truth to the accusations.

But 2000 years ago … a man was born and he lived and he never sinned. I’m sure the devil sniffed all around him and conducted his own investigation and scoured his conscience but could not find one blemish. And for the first time in the history of mankind, he had nothing to accuse this man of or with. That’s why the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness are so huge – he was tempted and tried, but never sinned. And with no guilty conscience, Jesus could walk toward the cross and say, “the ruler of this world is coming; he has no claim on me.” (John 14:30)

And don’t you see this is the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ? If you are in Christ, your guilt has been laid upon Jesus. And Jesus has been judged in your place on the cross. And Jesus has died in your place. In Christ you have been accused, indicted, judged, executed, and resurrected. And now you stand in Him, forgiven, pardoned, cleansed, and free from any accusation. Can a Christian sin again? Sure. But that sin holds no condemnation upon the Christian because that sin has already been dealt with. This is what Paul wrote in Colossians 2:

13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Do you see it? The record of debt, your rap list, the accusers favorite weapon, has been set aside through the cross of Jesus Christ, cancelling that record and in so doing look what v15 says Jesus did: “He disarmed …” Or let Jesus say it differently: “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

What was he doing up there anyway? Accusing God’s people. He can’t do that anymore.

Rev 12:7-10 7 Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. [Sound familiar? Sounds like Luke 10:18. Now listen to what else it says.] 10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. [Do you see this? When Christ comes in power and authority Satan goes down. When Christ comes with salvation Satan goes down. That’s what Jesus saw. And how is the kingdom of Satan cast down? Next verse.] 11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

Do you see it? How do we conquer Satan? Through the blood of Jesus and our faith in Him. Even in the face of death, we conquer by holding on by faith to Christ and his sacrifice on the cross. This is how we fight. This is how we conquer – by trusting in Jesus even in the face of death, especially in the face of death, because the enemy can not hold death over us … why? Because he can’t accuse us anymore. He can’t say to the person who is in Christ, “If you die, you are going to hell.”

And he can’t say, “OK, if you die, maybe you won’t go to hell, but that’s it; there’s nothing left after that. It’s all over. You die.” He can’t say that because Jesus has broke the power of death by rising from the grave.

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A sermon excerpt from Luke 9:37-45:

The second thing I want you to see is The Method that Jesus used – the Method of Jesus. The mission is to seek and save the lost, to rescue a needy world, to destroy the work of the enemy and restore us. What about the method? Look at vv43b-45.

[43] And all were astonished at the majesty of God.

So, Peter and James and John are amazed up on the mountain. And now the crowd is amazed down in the valley. They are all amazed. But look at what the Scriptures say next. Talk about bursting your bubble. But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, [notice that] Jesus said to his disciples, [44] “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.”

Now, what is he referring to? What does he mean by “being delivered into the hands of men”? The cross, of course. Right? He’s referring to his passion, his betrayal, his arrest, his trial, his rejection, his death, his death by crucifixion. And remember, he’s done this already in vv21-22. The point I want you to see here is the timing. Here they are celebrating and in the midst of the clamor, the “bling” you could call it, Jesus pulls the disciples aside and reminds them of what he has already told them in vv21-22: that he was going to be rejected and killed. Why does he do that? Why does he interrupt the celebration? It’s because he is trying to help them see that the way he will really fix all things is not by a mountain-top transfiguration or a show of power, but by his bloody death on the cross. The main message of Jesus is that he did not come to wow people with miracles but as the humble God-man, to die on a cross, to suffer for our sins, to pay for our sins. And while everybody is marveling right now at how amazing Jesus is, one day very soon, the crowds will be cursing and mocking and scoffing and rejecting him, and that will be how he saves us. In a play on words, He will deliver us by being delivered for us.

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