Tag: forgiveness of sins

A God who Amazes!

Scripture reading for October 4th:  Nahum 1-3, Habakkuk 1

Key Scriptures:  Habakkuk 1:5  “”Look at the nations and watch–and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if your were told.  I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth. . . .”” 

Habakkuk had questions for God.  It appeared that God was allowing injustice in the land of His people.  It appeared that God was tolerating evil and wrong-doing.  But God answered him by telling him to look at what He planned to do:  use a wicked and ruthless nation to judge His people!  This was a hard concept to grasp.  A good and holy God who used even the wicked for His good purposes.  God’s people would have a hard time believing in God’s plans to save them too, when His Son Jesus Christ revealed the way of salvation!

God’s amazing salvation:  “”Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.  Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you:  ‘Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, if if someone told you.'”  (Acts 13:38-41)

 

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Repent and be baptized!

Scripture reading for May 6th:  Acts 2

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 2:36-39  “”Therefore let all Israel be assured of this:  God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”    When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”  Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”  

Peter, on the day of Pentecost, stood up and preached a powerful message of the gospel concerning Jesus Christ.  He preached to those who were gathered there, many who had participated in the crucifixion of Jesus and remembered the events of that day and those following.  As he preached, the Holy Spirit brought conviction on the multitude and they cried out for instruction!  Peter clearly told them how to respond!  Repentance would mean turning from their old ways of rebellion and sin to Jesus Christ and asking Him to forgive them.  Upon receiving grace and cleansing, they were to be baptized in water–immersed–as an act of public witness of their inner cleansing by faith in Christ.  They would then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit–given by the Father to all who would believe!

Observations for over-comers:  Repentance is the first step of clearing the conviction of the conscience from the weight of guilt as the Holy Spirit deals with a heart.  King David gives us a great example of what that looks like in Psalm 51.  “Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”  (Psalm 51:1-2)

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Let us reason together!

Scripture reading for July 16th: Isaiah 1-4

The book of Isaiah is a rich resource of prophesy and New Testament truth.  Jesus Christ said of Isaiah that he “saw My glory and spoke about it.” (John 12:41)    Jesus began His ministry quoting from Isaiah 61:1-2 (Luke 4:18-19).   His book is considered by some to be a miniature of the Bible as a whole.  The first 39 chapters record Isaiah’s messages of judgment.  Like the New Testament, the last 27 chapters contain messages of hope!

In the first chapter Isaiah had a four-point sermon outline that went something like this:  (A)  Charges of sins,  (B)  Threats of coming judgment, (C)  Call to repent,  and  (D),  Promises of restoration if they repented.

Isaiah’s charges against Judah and warnings of judgment could apply to us in the American church today!  The people of Judah were delivered  from bondage by God himself, but they willfully forgot God.  They had turned their backs on God and rebelled against their own Maker!  (Isaiah 1:2-9)  The consequences were physical afflictions, a land under a drought, and cities burned with fire through war!  God likened them to Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities He had destroyed by fire because of their gross wickedness.

God was fed up with their hollow religious meetings and meaningless offerings.  He hated their festivals and was burdened by their shows with no substance.  He promised to hide his face from them and would not respond to their prayers.  (Isaiah 1:10-15)

God called them to repent while there was still time.  Their hands were full of blood and needed washing.     God was concerned  with the needy and weak who were being exploited.  (Isaiah 1:16-17)  He tried to reason with them about the stain of their sins.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow. . .” (Isaiah 1:18)  This may be a strong warning that their sin, like leprosy, was quickly taking them towards death.  Leprosy turns the skin white and it loses all feeling.  Their king, Uzziah, had died of leprosy because of pride and rebellion. (2nd Chronicles 26:16-21)

The fourth point of God’s message promised that if they were willing and obedient, they would eat the best of the land, but if they refused and rebelled against His advice they would be devoured by the sword.  The choice we make determines the consequences and future reward or judgment!  If we listen closely, God’s reasoning is easy to follow!

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Peter and the Gentile Pentecost!

Scripture reading for June 16th:  Acts 10:24-48

Peter got out of his comfort zone, and went with the men to the house of Cornelius.  He found a large crowd of people awaiting his arrival and explained to them how God had helped him overcome his religious fear of becoming unclean in the house of a Gentile.   (Acts 10:27-28)

Peter asked Cornelius why he had sent for him. Cornelius told Peter and the crowd about the vision he had and instructions to send for Peter.  “Now we are all here in the presence of God to listen to everything the Lord has commanded you to tell us.” (Acts 10:33b)  This invitation opened the door wide for Peter to preach the full Gospel message!

After telling the people that God accepts people of all nations who fear God, Peter preached Jesus Christ. “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.  You know what happened through out Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached–how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him. (Acts 10:34-38)   He then told them about the crucifixion and resurrection on the third day and Jesus’ command for the disciples to preach that Jesus is the judge of the living and dead.  Peter told about forgiveness of sins for all who would believe in Jesus’ name.

As Peter was preaching, the Holy Spirit came on all who were listening.  Peter and his Jewish Christian companions who had been baptized in the Holy Spirit at the first Pentecost now heard these Gentiles also speaking in other tongues and praising God!  God was no respecter of persons or nationalities!  Peter ordered them baptized in water and stayed to instruct them.

Have you experienced Pentecost?  Don’t just read about it and think it was nice for them!  It is for today!  “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–fr all whom the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)

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Out of the Depths, I Cry!

Scripture reading for June 30th: Psalms 128-134

When journeying to the House of the Lord, one begins to think about the need to have mercy for our sins.  We are all sinners and are aware that we have broken God’s laws.  Those laws are initially written on our conscience.  For Israel, they were written on tablets of stone and then written into the Law of God as received by Moses.  Breaking of those commandments brought the need for God’s mercy and forgiveness.  A sacrifice of blood must be presented by one of the priests.  God must accept the sacrifice and forgive the one who offended Him and broke His law.

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; O Lord, hear my voice.  Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.  If You, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness; therefore You are feared.” (Psalms 130:1-4)  As the psalmist travels onward toward the temple,  he begins to call out to God for mercy.  He knows his need of forgiveness and mercy and asks unashamedly in faith.  He also acknowledges that none could stand if God kept a record.  We know that He does keep good records!  (Revelation 20:11-12)

The psalmist waited in anticipation for the Lord.  The waiting was one of eager expectation of God’s mercy and comforting presence.  “O Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with Him is full redemption.  He Himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.” (Psalm 130:7-8)

Like the psalmist in this psalm,  we anticipate the second coming of Jesus Christ and know that our sins are forgiven and that we have a glorious future in His presence.  This blessed hope causes us to cleanse our lives from all sins and live in the same holy expectation.  (Titus 2:11-14)  Like the watchman waiting for the morning, we wait for the trumpet to sound and Jesus Christ to return.  His unfailing love is better than life and full redemption includes a glorified body and unspeakable joy with Him forever!   He will redeem Israel from all her sins as well as they trust in Him!   Praise the Lord!

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Who Can Forgive Sins?

Scripture reading for October 15th:  Mark 1-3

Mark’s Gospel is concise and active.  It is alive with the Good News of God here with us and in love with us.  This revelation is found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Man!  Mark wastes little time with preliminaries of the Jewish history of the Christ and prophesies of His birth.  He gets right down to the action of Jesus living among His people and loving and serving them by teaching, healing, and casting out devils.  He ate with the people and told them stories that opened up for them the kingdom of heaven and their own need for a relationship with the Father.  One story of a healing is the subject of our study today.

As a result of a spectacular healing of a man with leprosy, people were coming from everywhere to find the man who could bring these miraculous results.  Crowds gathered wherever Jesus went.  He returned to Capernaum where he had done miracles and a crowd quickly gathered.  There were so many that people were crowded around the house to hear Him preach the word.  A group of men brought a friend who was paralyzed to Jesus for healing.  Because of the crowd, there was no way to get him inside, so they carried him up on the roof.  They opened a hole big enough to let the man down and lowered him into the room.

When Jesus saw the faith of the friends, He immediately responded to the man by saying: “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)  This caused some religious leaders who were present to begin to think about how wrong this statement was to come from a mere man.  After all, only God could forgive sins!  (Mark 2:7)

Jesus had immediate understanding of their thoughts and sought to help them believe.  He asked them why they were thinking these things and asked them which was easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven” or  “Get up, take up your bed and walk”?  In order to remove their objection, he told the man to get up, take up his bed, and walk.  This the man did to the amazement of the crowd!

This story should help us to see how faith should motivate us to seek Jesus for answers to whatever problems we face.  Jesus honors faith and no problem is too hard for Him.  We may not have faith ourselves, but believing friends can also be a great blessing by taking us to Jesus.  The obstacles must be pushed or broken through so we are not discouraged or denied!  What friend do you know that needs help today to get to Jesus?  Take a few minutes of your day to pray for him.  As the Lord leads, get another friend or two and go and lift him to Jesus together!  What a joy to delight Jesus with your faith!  What a blessing faith-filled friends are!  Miracles are waiting for those who break through!  He truly is God!

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