No one comes to God before first recognizing that he/she is separated from God.
7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? ~ Genesis 3:7-9
WHERE ARE YOU? Obviously, God knew where Adam and Eve were, geographically and otherwise. The Omniscient God did not ask them the question to gain information. Rather, He asked them the question to make them think. And by their answers to help them and us understand the effects of sin.
When God confronts us in our sinful state, He first wants us to know our spiritual location. God is unchanging and unmoving, God is our Rock. Continue reading “Redemption: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION”
No matter how much we deny, distort or disguise the evidence of sin, we can never change the fact of sin… Only God can remove the stain and penalty of sin. The longer we hide from Him the longer we have to live with the cancer of sin eating away at our lives… Nobody forces us to sin and God does not put us in a situation where we must sin. We are NOT powerless. We CAN choose to resist the influence of others. We CAN rise above our circumstances.
6And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. 8And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 9And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? 10And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 11And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? 12And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. 13And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
In the series on the Origins of Redemption, God’s plan to redeem mankind was explored. We saw that God immediately identified the steps of redemption through the questions He asked Adam and Eve: Where are you? Who told you? Did you eat? What [hast thou] done?. God wanted them to realize that
- Sin separates us from God,
- Sin ruins our perspective on right and wrong
- Sin must be confronted
- Sin must be overcome
Therefore, the redemption process consists of
- Coming to God
- Accepting God’s view/perspective/outlook (given though His Word)
- Confessing sin
- Overcoming sin (through the work of the Holy Spirit in us)
Now we will examine man’s (wrong) response to sin, in order to learn what should NOT be done by anyone who sins. Continue reading “The Wrong Approach to Sin”
As we seek to make daily life decisions the key question is NOT, “Is this solution good for me?” The key question is, “Is Jesus in it?” In other words, instead of seeking “a solution”, we seek Jesus for He alone has the RIGHT solution.
22So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. 23And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. 24And the people murmured against Moses, saying, “What shall we drink?” 25And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, 26And said, “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee.” 27And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters. ~ Exodus 15:22-27
Water, H2O, is the most important chemical that the human body needs to ingest for regular operation. The Hebrew children had just seen God hand them a terrific victory over the Egyptians who the Red Sea had consumed after the Hebrews had walked safely through its parted waters. However exhilarating victories might be, they are quickly forgotten in the pursuit of our basic needs, like water. The Hebrew nation had traveled for three long days and was now desperate for water and when they finally found some, it was bitter; too bitter to drink. Continue reading “Branch Treatment: Turning Water from Bitter to Sweet”
…the Believer who is completing his course of suffering for Christ’s sake is completing the process of ceasing from sin. In other words, suffering for Christ’s sake transforms the Believer from sin-FULL to sin-LESS; suffering for Christ’s sake perfects Believers.
“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake” ~ Philippians 1:29
Our text communicates an often forgotten truth: Each and every Christian has been graciously given the opportunity to BOTH believe in Christ AND to suffer for His sake. The first gift—belief in Jesus—is frequently discussed in our churches because it is easy to grasp its centrality to salvation: becoming a born again child of God; a new creation set to work in God’s Kingdom.
However, the second gift—“to suffer for his sake”—is no less important. Indeed, the verse indicates that the gifts are given conjointly; that is to say, one gift cannot be accepted without accepting the other. To accept the gift of salvation is to accept the gift of suffering for Jesus’ sake; to receive one is to receive both: faith in Jesus and suffering for Jesus are two sides of a single coin. Indeed suffering for Christ’s sake is so fundamental to the life of a Christian that Scripture tells us: Continue reading “Suffering: The Forgotten Gift”