Jul 27, 2015
Verse 1: Are you hurting and broken within, Overwhelmed by the weight of the sin, Jesus is calling. Have you come to the end of yourself, do you thirst for a drink from the well, Jesus is calling.
Chorus: O come to the altar, the Father’s arms are open wide forgiveness, was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ.
Verse 2: Leave behind your regrets and mistakes, come today there’s no reason to wait, Jesus is calling. Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy, from the ashes a new life is born, Jesus is calling.
Bridge: Oh what a savior, isn’t he wonderful, sing hallelujah Christ is risen, bow down before him, for he is lord of all, sing hallelujah Christ is risen.
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth. Job 19:25
The Innocence Project, founded in 1992, is dedicated to proving that wrongly convicted and imprisoned suspects are innocent. It uses DNA technology to establish innocence and also to find the truly guilty person.
Innocent people who are wrongfully convicted are desperate for someone to speak out for them. That was Job’s situation in the Old Testament. He was a righteous man (a sinner, but one who atoned carefully for his sins) who suffered greatly—a sign of guilt and divine judgment in his day. The book of Job is the record of his friends’ accusations of guilt and Job’s protestations of his innocence. Job longed for someone in heaven or on earth to be his defender, his advocate, his redeemer, and to declare his innocence (Job 9:33-34; 16:18-21). Ultimately, Job realized that if no one on earth would defend him, God Himself would. And even if it came after his death, he would “in [his] flesh . . . see God” (Job 19:26).
Job needed what we need—someone to redeem us from the guilt of our intentional and unintentional sins. Thank God that our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, lives—our Advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1)!
I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. George Frideric Händel, Messiah
Jesus commissioned His followers to go and make disciples, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 28:19). As the early church spread the gospel message, baptism would follow a new believer’s response of faith. It publicly signified that the individual was now a follower of Jesus.
Metaphors often communicate on a level that words cannot. Baptism is a powerful picture of our salvation experience. Through this act, we proclaim the good news that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again—and testify that we’ve welcomed His transforming power into our lives.
The Greek word for “baptize” in Scripture is the same term used to describe a cloth dipped in dye—it refers to total change. So by being plunged into the water, we declare that we’re choosing to die to our old way of life and are uniting with Christ. Our sin is buried with Him, and its power is conquered through His atoning death on the cross (Rom. 6:14). When we’re raised up out of the water, we affirm His resurrection. Baptism is a symbolic way of expressing that just as the Lord conquered death and rose again, we are spiritually resurrected from death into new life. We are born again and irrevocably transformed through the power of His Holy Spirit.
In the Bible, the word believe isn’t a conceptual word describing intellectual agreement alone. It is a word of action. Our belief should never be hidden like a light placed under a basket (Luke 11:33)—when unbelieving family and friends look at our lives, they need to see the gospel in action.
“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” (Galatians 3:1)
The Greek word for “bewitched” is used only this once in the New Testament and does not necessarily refer to witchcraft as such. The connotation is “fascinated” or “deceived.” Unlike most of his other epistles, the book of Galatians includes no commendations from Paul, nor even any prayer requests. Paul evidently was very disappointed in this church and its ministry.
He had clearly preached the gospel to them, setting forth “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2) among them, and they had apparently believed and started out well. They seemed to understand the great doctrines of salvation by grace and of liberty in Christ, and it was hard for Paul to understand how they had been so quickly led astray.
If anything, this is even a greater problem today than in Paul’s day. Professing Christians are being “tossed to and fro . . . with every wind of doctrine” (Ephesians 4:14)—not only with legalism (as in Galatia) but also with evolutionism, hedonism, emotionalism, materialism, and many other unscriptural heresies. Many who profess to be Christians have, like the Galatians, been “bewitched” by clever persuasion and peer pressure into such deceptions.
They may consider themselves especially enlightened in some way, or intellectual, or just up-to-date, but Paul would call them “foolish” just as he did the Galatians. In Christ alone—our Creator, Redeemer, and Lord—are “hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). As Paul concluded his letter to the Galatians: “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). HMM
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. —Luke 2:10
The announcement of the birth of Christ came as a sunburst of joy to a world where grief and pain are known to all and joy comes rarely and never tarries long.
The joy the angel brought to the awestruck shepherds was not to be a disembodied wisp of religious emotion, swelling and ebbing like the sound of an aeolian harp in the rising and falling of the wind. Rather it was and is a state of lasting gladness resulting from tidings that there was born in the city of David a Savior which is Christ the Lord. It was an overflowing sense of wellbeing that had every right to be there….
Man is lost but not abandoned. The coming of Christ to the world tells us both of these things. Had men not been lost no Savior would have been required.
Had they been abandoned no Savior would have come. But He came, and it is now established that God has a concern for men. Though we have sinned away every shred of merit, still He has not forsaken us. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
This is indeed a message of great joy! Thank You, Lord, that while we were eternally lost in our sin, You did not leave us there. Amen.
We have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (2 Corinthians 5:1)
A lot of people talk about going to heaven in spite of the feeble hope popular religion affords. Any valid hope of a state of blessedness beyond the incident of death must be in the goodness of God and in the work of atonement accomplished for us by Jesus Christ on the Cross.
The deep, deep love of God is the fountain out of which flows our future beatitude; and the grace of God in Christ is the channel by which it reaches us. The Cross of Christ creates a moral situation where every attribute of God is on the side of the returning sinner.
The true Christian may safely look forward to a future state that is as happy as perfect love wills it to be. Since love cannot desire for its object anything less than the fullest possible measure of enjoyment for the longest possible time, it is virtually beyond our power to conceive of a future as consistently delightful as that which Christ is preparing for us.
And who is to say what is possible with God?
To whom belongest thou?” Reader, let me assist you in your response. Have you been “born again”? If you have, you belong to Christ; but without the new birth you cannot be his. In whom do you trust? For those who believe in Jesus are the sons of God. Whose work are you doing? You are sure to serve your master, for he whom you serve is thereby owned to be your lord. What is your conversation? Is it heavenly, or is it earthly? What have you learned of your master? If you have served your time with Jesus, it will be said of you, as it was of Peter and John, “They took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.”