Monday, May 17, 2010

Our Redeemer - pt. 6

God’s joy is to see us changed, stripped of our sin. All the angels rejoice when one sinner falls to her knees and says, “Take me Lord. Make me yours. Forgive me.”
His joy is when we accept not just that redemption from sin, but also the redemption of our very nature when we learn to stand in him. When we claim our right to be fully redeemed in this life, not just for eternity, God dances with joy. When we say, “My sins are gone. Fill me with the fruit of my redemption, Lord,” that’s the joy that brings the marriage supper of the Lamb here to us today. Don’t wait to enter eternity, grasp it now!
You sit here today and maybe you have never committed your life to the hands of your Redeemer, but you want to now. Maybe you’ve been a Christian for a while, but you haven’t learned to persevere yet so that God can truly fill you with his fruit, maybe you keep falling into the sins of your past. Maybe you're doing a pretty good job of living for Christ, but you aren’t perfect yet. If you fit in any of those categories, would you pray with me now?
Jesus, you are our Redeemer. You came to take our sins from us. I want that freedom from sin that you offered. And I want to be clean and new. I wan to be filled with the fruit of my redemption, not just forgiven, but different, a new creation. Work in me, Lord, and don’t let up until you take me home to live with you for all eternity. Thank you Jesus for living both as the man who was tempted as I am and as the perfect crucified sacrifice, joyously resurrected!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Our Redeemer - pt. 5

This suffering that you want out of, it’s the road to true union with your redeemer. Is it a husband who has messed up so many times that you can’t trust him anymore? Then go to the Hebrew prophets and weep with the God who understands your pain, the God who had to divorce his beloved for a time but who went and got her back when she was repentant. Learn from him how he wants you to deal with this suffering so it will produce perseverance and mature your character.
Is your suffering those recalcitrant children who will not stay on the straight and narrow? Then sink yourself into Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and know the God who understands your pain, learn from him how to deal with those children.
Is it your body that fails you because age, illness or injury has robbed you of so many things you want to do? Go to the manger and marvel at the baby, utterly helpless and yet he is the same one who stood with the Father and the Spirit and said, “Let there be light!”
Are you afraid you’re going to lose your home in these tough economic times? Jesus said the birds of the air and the fish of the sea had places to lay their heads but the Son of Man had nowhere to call home. Think of the home, the paradise that really was Paradise, that he willingly left so that he could be tempted and tried even as you are.
If you’ve been abused, read the gospels and see the Jesus who said, “You will not touch me – this is not the suffering willed by my Father.” Learn what godly suffering is and reject all others. Take that suffering to the Lord and let him show you the way out of it.
Don’t ask God “why” you suffer, ask him what now! How will I draw closer to you through this suffering? How will you be glorified?
God suffered for the joy set before him. It was not just the incredible joy of that awesome day in the future when the sun will set to rise no more because it is no longer necessary because we can see the light of God’s glory without the veil. God’s joy is here today. It is in the woman who cannot rise from her bed, but she chooses the joy of the Lord anyway, and she praises him even while her circumstances are nothing to praise about. God’s joy is when a wife says, “I can’t forgive him again God. I know your will is to forgive, but I am weak. Be my strength. Help me to forgive in your strength” God’s joy is when a woman stands up and says, “I am God’s daughter. I will suffer for him when I must, but I will not be abused!” and she casts her fears aside and seeks the help she needs because God is her strength. ...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Our Redeemer - pt. 4

Why would anyone willingly take all these sins – sexual immorality, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, drunkenness, orgies, lust, evil desires, greed, obscenity, murderer, perversion, lies, perjury – upon himself if he’s not crazy! It’s a crazy kind of love that desired a very special relationship. See, when Jesus hung on that cross, he didn’t just cover that sin up, he took it away! He took from us our sexual immorality, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, drunkenness, orgies, lust, evil desires, greed, obscenity, murderer, perversion, lies, perjury. He threw it into the sea of forgetfulness. But it wasn’t just that the old had gone – he’s got a new waiting for us! If you empty a vessel of its opala and don’t refill it, it’s just going to collect more rubbish, so when we accept Jesus as our Redeemer, he doesn’t just redeem us from our sins, he redeems us for a new self. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us “the old has gone, the new has come!” When we abide in him, live intentionally with him, get to know him, hear him, choose to follow him, God produces fruit in us – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, righteousness, truth, compassion, humility, wisdom, knowledge, faith and hope.
When the New Testament uses the word “hope,” in almost every occurrence, it means “an attitude of confidently looking forward to what is good and beneficial; an expectation.” This is no wishy-washy “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow ’cause I’d like to hang some clothes on the line.” No, it’s a confident, “I hope, I know confidently, that God has a plan for my life.”
How do we develop this confident expectation? We get that through a mature character.
How do we get mature character? We get it when we learn to persevere. How do we learn to persevere? We be God-like! We suffer! ...