VIDEO Access – Our Benefits Package

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access. Romans 5:1-2

The Secret Service was trying to determine how a woman gained access to the President’s private club in Florida. She had two passports, four mobile devices, a laptop, and a thumb drive allegedly containing malware. Since then, security has been tightened, and access is more stringent. We live in a world of limited access, heightened security, perplexing passwords, and dangerous hacking. Everyone is interested in access.

The Bible uses the word “access” three times to describe our freedom in approaching God. Romans 5:2 says “we have access by faith” through Christ to the Father. Ephesians 2:18 adds, “For through Him we both [Jews and Gentiles] have access by one Spirit to the Father.” And Ephesians 3:12 concludes, “We have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him.”

God is not only an endless refuge for us in times of need, He is always accessible. God uses facial recognition software—when you approach Him, He sees the countenance of His Son. He uses a simple password—JESUS. And one thing is for sure—heaven will never be hacked!

“God the Father,” to whom we have our access; “God the Son,” through whom we have access; “God the Holy Spirit,” by whom we have our access. John A. Broadus


Our Benefits Package – Romans 5:1-5 – Skip Heitzig

The Older Brother

[They] muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Luke 15:2

 

Author Henri Nouwen recalls his visit to a museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he spent hours reflecting on Rembrandt’s portrayal of the prodigal son. As the day wore on, changes in the natural lighting from a nearby window left Nouwen with the impression that he was seeing as many different paintings as there were changes of light. Each seemed to reveal something else about a father’s love for his broken son.

Nouwen describes how, at about four o’clock, three figures in the painting appeared to “step forward.” One was the older son who resented his father’s willingness to roll out the red carpet for the homecoming of his younger brother, the prodigal. After all, hadn’t he squandered so much of the family fortune, causing them pain and embarrassment in the process? (Luke 15:28–30).

The other two figures reminded Nouwen of the religious leaders who were present as Jesus told His parable. They were the ones who muttered in the background about the sinners Jesus was attracting (vv. 1–2).

Nouwen saw himself in all of them—in the wasted life of his youngest son, in the condemning older brother and religious leaders, and in a Father’s heart that’s big enough for anyone and everyone.

What about us? Can we see ourselves anywhere in Rembrandt’s painting? In some way, every story Jesus told is about us.

By: Mart DeHaan

Reflect & Pray

How might you reflect again on the story Jesus told and on the Rembrandt painting? As the light changes, where do you find yourself?

Father, help me to see myself for how much You love me.

The Spirit and Our Walk

Galatians 5:16-26

Have you ever felt like quitting the Christian life?  Perhaps you have tried to be the kind of person you think God wants you to be: You’ve established a consistent quiet time with the Lord, during which you read the Bible and pray. But still you seem to have one struggle after another. So you think that you might be missing something—or that maybe this life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Let this be a comfort: Many believers, myself included, have toiled through periods of defeat.

The key to living a life of joy, peace, and victory is found in Galatians 5. Notice that I did not say a life without conflict or one free of temptation, trial, or heartache. Those are part of the human condition. But we can triumph through the power of the Holy Spirit.

In fact, today’s passage makes clear how vital it is for believers to live a Spirit-filled life. When a person trusts Jesus Christ as Savior, he or she is saved and steps from darkness into light. But believers do not then just stand around. As followers of Christ, we fall in step with the Holy Spirit, who helps us to stay on our feet when we are wobbly, to move uphill without tiring, and to stand again after we have fallen. We rely upon Him as our Guide, Comforter, and source of strength.

Does getting through a defeat feel more like crawling than walking? Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is right with you, and He has all the encouragement and power necessary to get you on your feet again. Our journey with Christ can’t be lived alone—rely upon God’s Spirit to escort you each step of the way.

For Me to Live Is In Christ

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)

There are many motivating reasons for serving the Lord. One, of course, is His many merciful blessings on our behalf. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1).

Then there is the incentive of rewards: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12). There are also many rewards even in this present life for dedicated Christian service: “Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come” (1 Timothy 4:8).

The great need of the lost is also a tremendous motivation for Christian service. This was the burden of Paul: “For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more” (1 Corinthians 9:19).

But surely the greatest of all motives is the constraining love of Christ. Not our love for Him, which is poor and weak at best, but His love for us. This is the constraining compulsion that makes us live and love and witness for Him. Because He loved us so much, therefore we no longer live for ourselves but unto Him who died for us.

As our text notes, if Christ died for all, that can only mean that “all were dead,” or more literally, “all died.” Therefore, if we live, it is because we have been “bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20), the terrible price of the never-equaled suffering and the uniquely cruel death of the sinless Son of man. “For to me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). HMM

Ignore Distractions

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: but one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

—Luke 10:41-42

Failing in his frontal attacks upon the child of God, Satan often turns to more subtle means of achieving his evil purpose. He resorts to devious methods in his attempt to divert the Christian from carrying out the task God has committed to him. He often succeeds by involving the saint in some other lesser occupation and so distracting him….

Satan’s distracting words often come from the most unexpected quarters. Martha would call Mary away from sitting at the feet of the Master. Sometimes, if we are not careful, our best friend may distract us. Or it might be some very legitimate activity. This day’s bustle and hurly-burly would too often and too soon call us away from Jesus’ feet. These distractions must be immediately dismissed, or we shall know only the “barrenness of busyness.”   WTA028-029

Father, keep me today from the myriad distractions that would keep me from the main thing. I long to stay at Jesus’ feet. Deliver me today from the “barrenness of busyness.” Amen.

 

We were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress

Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith.—1 Thessalonians 3:7.

 

Just as God leads I am content:

I rest me calmly in His hands,

That which He has decreed and sent—

That which His will for me commands—

I would that He should all fulfill,

That I should do His gracious will

In living or in dying.

Lampertus Gedicke.

 

Divine Providence means the arrangement of all our life, not only of its bright side, but also of its dark. It may mean sickness as well as health; death as well as life; loss as well as gain; peril as well as safety; shipwreck by sea and accident by land; murrain to our flocks; sickness in our homes.

Anthony W. Thorold.

 

Howbeit your faith seeth but the black side of Providence, yet it hath a better side, and God shall let you see it. We know that all things work together for good to them that love God; hence I infer that losses, disappointments, ill tongues, loss of friends, houses or country, are God’s workmen, set on work to work out good to you, out of everything that befalleth you, When the Lord’s blessed will bloweth cross your desires, it is best, in humility, to strike sail to Him, and to be willing to be led any way our Lord pleaseth.

Samuel Rutherford.

 

Have No Condemnation

“In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” Jer. 50:20

A glorious word indeed! What a perfect pardon is here promised to the sinful nations of Israel and Judah! Sin is to be so removed that it shall not be found, so blotted out that there shall be none. Glory be unto the God of pardons!

Satan seeks out sins wherewith to accuse us, our enemies seek them that they may lay them to our charge, and our own conscience seeks them even with a morbid eagerness. But when the Lord applies the precious blood of Jesus, we fear no form of search, for “there shall be none,” “they shall not be found.” The Lord hath caused the sins of His people to cease to be: He hath finished transgression, and made an end of sin. The sacrifice of Jesus has cast our sins into the depths of the sea. This makes us dance for joy.

The reason for the obliteration of sin lies in the fact that Jehovah Himself pardons His chosen ones. His word of grace is not only royal, but divine. He speaks absolution, and we are absolved. He applies the atonement, and from that hour His people are beyond all fear of condemnation. Blessed be the name of the sin-annihilating God!