Jul 13, 2012
Jesus Friend Of Sinners – Casting Crowns
No Strings Attached
“While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 NIV
When we love with expectations, we say, “I love you. But I’ll love you more if . . .”
Christ’s love had none of this. No strings, no expectations, no hidden agendas, no secrets. His love for us was, and is, up front and clear. “I love you,” he says. “Even if you let me down. I love you in spite of your failures.” – Max Lucado
Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. —Matthew 9:12
In India I worshiped among leprosy patients. Most of the medical advances in the treatment of leprosy came about as a result of missionary doctors, who were willing to live among patients and risk exposure to the dreaded disease. As a result, churches thrive in most major leprosy centers. In Myanmar I visited homes for AIDS orphans, where Christian volunteers try to replace parental affection the disease has stolen away. The most rousing church services I have attended took place in Chile and Peru, in the bowels of a federal prison. Among the lowly, the wretched, the downtrodden—the rejected of this world—God’s kingdom takes root.
Taking God’s assignment seriously means that we must learn to look at the world upside down, as Jesus did. Instead of seeking out people with resources who can do us favors, we look for people with few resources. Instead of the strong, we find the weak; instead of the healthy, the sick. Instead of the spiritual, the sinful. Is not this how God reconciles the world to Himself? “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. . . . I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matt. 9:12-13 niv).
To gain a new perspective, look at the world upside down as Jesus did. By Philip Yancey
We know, Jesus, that You sought the lowly ones
who were rejected by others. We want to be like
You. Open our eyes and show us how.
We long to be used by You to bless others.
Do you see a needy world through the eyes of Jesus?
Jesus dined with the Pharisees (Luke 7:36; 11:37), perhaps even with a member of the Sanhedrin (14:1). But Jesus ate so often with social and religious outcasts that He earned the reputation as “a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Matt. 11:19). He even appointed a tax collector as His apostle. When the self-righteous Pharisees criticized Him for socializing with those they considered the outcasts of society, Jesus said, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Luke 5:32).
How often have you been caught in a “guilt cycle”? This involves confessing the same old sin, telling God you’re sorry, and promising not to do it again (knowing that you probably will). Around you go, over and over. You’ve come clean dozens of times but still have no victory. Yet there is a biblical promise that states, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, emphasis added).
Friends, God is holding up His end of the promise. It’s people who fall short— we have turned confession into a rote recitation of our shortcomings. The attitude is, I’m disappointed in myself, but I am weak. God knows that. True confession, which means agreeing with the Lord about sin, is inseparably linked with repentance; they’re two sides of the same coin. To repent is to turn away from wrong. By looking at our sin from God’s perspective, we’ll see a vile, wicked habit with terrible consequences and will want to run from that as fast as possible.
In practical terms, to confess and repent requires the intentional decision to say, “By the Holy Spirit’s power, I’m turning away.” Satan will still tempt you, and failure remains a possibility. But God can break the chains of your sin, and He wants to set you free.
Victory can be immediate, or it can be a process of trading wrong choices for right ones. In some cases, temptation involving habitual sin never goes away. Then it becomes necessary to face each day in God’s strength. When you forsake sin, the power of heaven is there to help you.
“How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the LORD hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man.” (Jeremiah 31:22)
Long ago, the wise man concluded: “There is no new thing under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). That nothing is now being created is even recognized as a scientific law.
But God reminds us as He reminded His backsliding people of Israel that He has, indeed, created one new thing in the earth. Since only God can “create,” a really new thing would have to be produced directly by the Lord Himself. Of course, God had completed His original work of creating all things long ago (Genesis 2:1-3), including a marvelous mechanism for human reproduction. Nevertheless, because of man’s sin, He very soon had to begin a work of reconciliation, and this included a primeval promise that “the seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15) would come someday to accomplish this great work. Since all normal reproduction requires male seed, such a miracle would mean God would have to create a new thing when the appropriate time would come. At that time, as Isaiah prophesied many years later, “a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son,” and that Son would be “the mighty God,” who would establish His kingdom “with justice from henceforth even for ever” (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6-7).
Then, still later, Jeremiah reminded his forgetful people of this same great promise: God would create, by His mighty power, a new thing, a perfect human body, without inherited sin or physical blemish, and with no contribution from either male or female, in the womb of a specially called virgin. She would compass that “holy thing” (Luke 1:35) with warmth and love for nine long months as it grew in her womb. Then, in the fullness of time, “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman” (Galatians 4:4), to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). HMM
Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12
Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. — O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst
me: shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. — Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. —You, … hath he quickened, … having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. — Even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Matthew 18:21,22. Matthew 18:32-35. Ephesians 4:32. Colossians 2:13,14. Colossians 3:13.
This commandment have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.—1 John 4:21.
HE who loves God all else above,
His own shall also clasp
In circles ampler far of love
Than weaker arms can grasp,
And farther down through space and time
His sympathies descend and climb.
SIR AUBREY DE VERB.
THE true proficiency of the soul consists not so much in deep thinking, or eloquent speaking, or beautiful writing; as in much and warm loving. Now, if you ask me in what way this much and warm love may be acquired, I answer,—By resolving to do the will of God, and by watching to do His will as often as occasion offers. Those who truly love God love all good wherever they find it. They seek all good to all men. They commend all good, they always acknowledge and defend all good. They have no quarrels. They bear no envy. O Lord, give me more and more of this blessed love! It will be a. magnificent comfort in the hour of death to know that we are on our way to be judged by Him whom we have loved above all things. We are not going to a strange country, since it is His country whom we love and who loves us. ST. TERESA.
God is my defence. Psalm 59:9
The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; the God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour. — The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my Song of Songs will I praise him.
When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. — We may boldly say, The LORD is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever. — Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
For thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.
2 Samuel 22:2,3. Psalm 2:7. Isaiah 59:19. Hebrews 13:6. Psalm 27:1. Psalm 125:2. Psalm 63:7. Psalm 31:3.