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Joy of Being in the Saving Business!
16:30-31 And he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what must I do to
be saved?" So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and you will be saved, you and your household."
I came out of our house and saw a car stuck in the snow bank on a curve
near our garage. In other years, we have seen cars end up there. So far
none of them have ended up in the garages or houses near that particular
icy spot. Now normally, that curve would not be a problem. But when the
road is slick. if a person violates the ten mile per hour speed limit it
is possible to end up stuck.
the "Good Samaritan" that I am, I went over and tried to help
push the car out. A young women had been driving. She was late picking
up a daughter from a relative who was caring for her. I could not budge
the car. So I got a little sand and put it under the wheels, and I
pushed while she spun the wheels with no luck. So I got an ice hoe and
started freeing up the snow around the tire and bumper that seemed to be
the problem. While she used my cell phone to call her relative to tell
her she might be late, I got in her car and rocked it out. I heard her
yell over the phone, "Oh he's got it out!" Then she thanked me
over and over again for being her knight in shining armor and
"saving" her. Normally, I am the one with a problem that needs
fixing, and I have to rely on others to "save" me. This time I
got to do the saving and it felt good.
Lord has made it clear that we are to help one another. We are to love
one another as God gave us commandment (1 John 3:23). But often we are
like the ruler in Luke 13 who says, "Who is my neighbor (Luke
10:29)?" The Jews would have normally considered other Jews
neighbors, but not Samaritans or other non-Jews that they called dogs.
Christians know that they are to help other Christians, but what about
unbelievers? What about other ethnic groups? What about drug addicts,
the homeless, and the openly gay community? Sometimes we seem to fear
that by helping them we will only enable the poor to stay poor and the
immoral to continue living in immorality. Our instructions are clear
however. We are told, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do
good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith
(Galatians 6:10)." Doing good to all is the way we show our love,
It does not suggest that we approve the actions that caused the
problems. I helped the young lady get her car out, but I also suggested
that maybe she ought to slow up.
Genesis 4, Cain tried to dismiss the fact that he had killed his brother
by pleading ignorance about where Abel was and by asking the Lord if he
was his brother's keeper (Genesis 4:9). Yes, we are supposed to be our
brother's keeper. We do have a responsibility for those who are less
fortunate that we are. If we do our "saving' the way the Lord does
His, we will do it because we want to show favor that is not deserved
even if that enables the person to continue in a destructive lifestyle.
We can pray for them, we can counsel them; and where there is a church
problem with sin, we can discipline them. But ultimately, we are our
brother's keeper; and we must help them with their practical needs. We
also need to help them spiritually.
have "saved" other people that needed practical help and it
felt good. I want to have more opportunities to do that and I hope I am
not too blind or busy to take advantage of those opportunities. But I
have also been the instrument that the Lord has used to "save"
people from the penalty and power of their sin. That feels even better.
Paul and Silas must have been ecstatic when they realized that the Lord
had called them from Turkey to Greece to see a man who was guarding them
in jail saved.
felt good to be able to "save" this gal who slid into the snow
bank. I wonder how it makes the Lord feel when He realizes that He has
been the means of seeing another person delivered from the penalty and
power of sin? I know there is joy in heaven when sinners repent (Luke
15:7, 10). I may never be Roy Rogers or Superman, and I may never really
be a knight in shining armor. However, I can dream can't I? This saving
business is the best business there is, particularly when people are
for the week of February 6, 2011
Best Love Story of All!
4:7 "Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were
the upright ever cut off?
ever perished being innocent? The Lord did! Fortunately He didn't perish
eternally. He was raised from the dead; and now those who of us who
deserved to perish eternally because of our sin, do not have to perish.
the Lord truly innocent? Pilate thought He was. He washed his hands in
front of the crowd to declare his own innocence in executing an innocent
man. But, of course, what he was doing was wrong whether he washed his
hands or not. Pilate's wife thought the Lord was innocent and warned him
not to be a part of his execution. Judas, who betrayed the Lord, also
thought he was innocent. He knew he was betraying innocent blood but
apparently expected the Lord to use his "magical" powers to
keep from being harmed. When that didn't happen, he was remorseful; but
he couldn't undo what he had so foolishly done. Matthew 27 records all
of these declarations of innocence. Yet the Lord was still crucified for
being the Son of God. That was considered blasphemy by the Jews. But it
isn't blasphemy if it is true, and the resurrection of the Lord declares
this to be true.
of us hate to see a miscarriage of justice. Today many people who have
been found guilty of crimes committed years ago have been declared
innocent through technological advances involving the testing of DNA.
But while this is terrible, since many of these people have spent years
in jail, these people were thought to be guilty. The Lord was thought to
be innocent, and yet He was crucified. What a miscarriage of justice
this was, particularly when religious leaders were the ones wanting Him
to be crucified.
without a relationship with Christ can be very cruel. It tends to be
self-serving and hypocritical. Generally religious people tell others
about their supposed sins without dealing with their own. The Jews
proclaimed Jesus a sinner because He made Himself the Son of God while
even Pilate knew that the only real sin was their own hypocrisy and envy
(Matthew 27:18). It is easy to point out the sins of others while
failing to deal with our own. The Lord tells us to deal with our own
sins so we can see clearly to deal with the sins of others. Matthew 7:5
says, "Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and
then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's
Lord had no sin. He was the One who perished being innocent so the
guilty do not need to perish. We who are saved are not good (Romans
3:12), instead we are forgiven (Ephesians 4:32). The injustice of man
has proven the goodness of God. The goodness of God is seen in his love
for the guilty and in His willingness to sacrifice His innocent Son in
whom was all His delight in order to spare the guilty that He loved. If
there is a true love story for Valentine's day, this would be it.
for the week of February 13, 2010
Good Money after Bad!
2:21-22 "No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment;
or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made
worse. "And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the
new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins
are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins."
business, sometimes we make bad investments. There is a tendency to
think that spending more money on a bad investment might turn it into a
good investment. But by spending more money, all we are doing is
throwing good money after bad. It would be better to accept our losses
and save our money. In a similar way, new cloth cannot properly repair
an old garment and new wine cannot be put into old wineskins. What does
this mean? The law was the old garment that new cloth could not repair,
and it was also the old wineskins that were not able to hold new wine.
Christ had come to preach good news, but a people used to fasting and
failure under the law were not ready for the changes that the Lord was
bringing to them. He was healing. He was mingling with publicans and
sinners so that they could have new lives. He was bringing joy. He was
not setting aside the law, but He was bringing something that the law
could not provide. He was bringing salvation from the penalty of sin. He
was bringing deliverance from bondage. He was freeing the Jews from the
deadness of religion to live a new life in Him. While the Jews had
failed under the law and so do we, they still wanted the comfort and
structure of a legalism that brought death. They weren't able to see
that the Lord wanted to free them from failure and servitude to sin. But
since ritualism and law was what they knew, the Jews wanted to throw
good money after bad. They wanted to continue doing what had not worked
and will never work. The law brings guilt, the Lord brings forgiveness
and justification and joy.
we still have people who are trying to please God by keeping the law.
But they pick and choose which laws they think we should keep. Some want
us to keep the Sabbath. Others want us to obey the dietary laws. Some
churches seem to think that they should be patterned after the priestly
rituals of the old testament. But I don't hear any of them valuing men
and women differently as was done in the old testament. See Leviticus 27
for valuations of people dedicated to the Lord. I don't see farmers
leaving their ground unworked every seventh year. I have never seen
debts forgiven and slaves set free as required by the law. Generally, I
don't think most Christians are willing to stone the immoral today. Nor
are they willing to stone unbelievers who blaspheme the name of the Lord
as required under the old testament law. Many people believe that the
covenants of the old testament that were given to Adam and Eve and then
to Noah and ultimately to the children of Israel are the covenants of
the church today. They fail to realize that when the Lord said to Adam
and Eve and then to Noah to go forth and multiply, the new wine
counterpart would be to go into the world and preach the Gospel so that
people are born again and disciples are multiplied.
has always been through faith, but the Lord says that the ceremonies
have changed. We no longer have a temple and animal sacrifices. We no
longer have circumcision as a sign of our covenant relationship with
Jehovah. Trying to live as though things have not changed destroys the
work that God is doing in this present day of grace. The principles of
the old testament have not changed. God still wants His people to
worship Him and Him alone. He wants us to judge sin "in the
camp", that is, in the church. But stoning in the old testament is
excommunication from the church in the new. Circumcision and the animal
sacrifices have been replaced with baptism and the Lord's Supper. The
old covenant is replaced with a new one according to Hebrews 8 and 9.
The old one had an earthly land, an earthly people and earthly promises.
The new one has a spiritual land (heaven), a spiritual people
(believers), and spiritual promises (eternal life). While God is not
done with the Jewish nation, even the Jews have to accept the "new
wine" in order to be part of this one church that God is calling
out of the world to Himself. To be part of the covenant people of the
old testament you had to be born right. You had to descend from Abraham,
Isaac and Jacob. To be part of the covenant people of the new testament
you also have to be born right. You have to be born again (1 Peter
don't fight physical battles anymore with physical weapons. We fight
spiritual ones with the Word of God and with prayer (Ephesians 6:17-18).
We have a new covenant, a new commission and a new joy. We know that the
new testament uses the old testament to illustrate Biblical Truth, but
when we make ourselves Israelites who are trying to obtain blessing
using the old testament covenants and promises, we are just throwing
good money after bad. We lose the strength and joy of the new wine that
has been provided in Christ.
for the week of February 20, 2010
between the Dead and the Living
16:47-48 Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst
of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So
he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. And he stood
between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped.
after breakfast, as I often do, I opened up the home page of our local
newspaper using the internet. There was a breaking news item telling
about a fire that had broken out on the east side of town. A passerby
who was from out of town and who is being called a hero saw the fire and
called 911. He then helped a seventeen year old out of the house. The
mother was on the second floor and was calling for help to get the
seventeen year old out. When the person who saw the fire went back for
the mother, the house was engulfed in flames and the mother lost her
am sure that family had not planned for the day to turn out that way.
But what I really wondered is, "Did anyone love them enough to
share the love of God with them?" Were they prepared for what
a sense a person who shares the Gospel stands between the "dead and
the living" and tries to save people from the judgment of God that
is going to fall on unbelievers. He tries to spare people from an
eternal separation from God. We are dead IN sins (Ephesians 2:1) when we
are born the first time. That just means that sin has separated us from
God and we have no "connection" with God, that is, no
relationship with Him. We walk the way an unsaved society walks. But
when we hear the Gospel, we who respond to it and who trust the Lord who
died for us, are born again. We are given a new life in Christ. We are
now dead TO sin where sin is our old master (Romans 6:2).
But being dead to sin, makes us
alive to Christ. Sin, the old master, no longer masters us and we live
now to enjoy a new life in Christ. In addition, we who were headed to
the second death (Revelation 20:14), are now headed to a life with the
Lord in that city where never comes night (Revelation 21:5).
was a great intercessor. He prayed for the people of Israel when they
rebelled against God and when they rebelled against him. He kept the
judgment of God from falling on them on more than one occasion. He stood
in a sense between the dead and the living. I am sure that it would have
been easy to see the rebellious Israelites as worthless and
unappreciative and to have given up on them. Even though Moses got
angry, he never ceased loving and interceding for those who sinned. On
the occasion mentioned above, a plague was stopped and people were saved
because Aaron was able to stand between the dead and the living
according to Moses' instructions.
wonder if we realize that we who share and preach the Gospel are really
standing between the dead (those who are in rebellion against God) and
the living (those who are saved). It is a solemn responsibility to
realize that we have the massage that saves and that Satan has the
message that kills and destroys and that we who are saved are trying to
stop the judgment that sinners deserves. According to John 5:24, when a
person trusts Christ, that person passes from death unto life.
a doctor and curing a disease must be great. Being a life guard and
saving a drowning victim must be really satisfying. These people are
standing between the dead and the living. But to preach the Gospel and
to see souls delivered from a spiritual death that is eternal, is the
greatest responsibility that mortal man can have. Someone met a physical
need to stand between the dead and the living for a seventeen year old
this week. I hope somebody, met that same spiritual need for this family
that experienced such an unexpected tragedy.
for the week of February 27, 2011