Evangelistic Praying with Thanksgiving (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Baxter, that marvelous pastor of the seventeenth century, wrote this: He said:

O, if you have the hearts of Christians, let them yearn toward your poor ignorant ungodly neighbors. Alas, there is but a step betwixt them and death and hell. Many hundred diseases are waiting ready to seize on them, and if they die unregenerate, they are lost forever. Have you hearts of rock that cannot pity men in such a case as this? If you believe not the Word of God and the danger of sinners, why are you Christians yourselves? If you do believe it, why do you not bestir yourself to the helping of others? Do you not care who is damned as long as you are saved? If so, you have sufficient cause to pity yourselves, for it is a frame of spirit utterly inconsistent with grace. Dost thou live close by them…or meet them in the streets…or labor with them…or travel with them…or sit and talk with them and say nothing to them of their souls or the life to come? If their houses were on fire, thou wouldst run and help them and wilt thou not help them when their souls are almost at the fire of hell?[1]

Are we thankful for our salvation?

Are we thankful for opportunities to share that salvation with others?

Today, I wish to look at 1 Timothy 2:1-4 and I want to focus on evangelistic praying.

Theme: We pray with thanksgiving for all and we pray for all to receive Christ.

Let’s read 1 Timothy 2:1-2:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 

  1. In verses: 1-2: The apostle Paul writes about the objects and contents of prayer
    1. Let me say right away that the point of our prayers is salvation for others. Look at verses 3-4: This is good, and pleases God our Savior,who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
    2. I see a principle once again that thankfulness is part of prayer, but I also see within this that it is all about salvation.
    3. I once heard Ray Ortlund Jr. say not to insult God with small prayers and then he said “God can save the Supreme Court.” We’ll come back to that idea. But let’s start at the beginning.
    4. Notice as we look at verse 1 that Paul urges the people; he writes, “I urge…” The verb this is translated from just carries the idea of encouraging or exhorting. Paul is exhorting us, challenging us to take this instruction on prayer so seriously. Now, what does he say?
    5. He says that we pray with petitions. This doesn’t simply mean that we make a list and get many people to sign it. No, this has the idea of our prayer life being a humble list to God. This carries the idea of pleading to God.
    6. Then Paul simply says, “Prayers.” I urge you to pray. The noun used for “pray” is the most general word we can use to pray. In fact, prayers of thanksgiving, prayers of praise, prayers of intercession and all other types of prayers fit under this noun’s definition.
    7. Then Paul urges us to intercession: this is praying on behalf of other people’s needs.
    8. Then we are urged to pray in thanksgiving. Never forget what God has given you.
      1. It is so easy to simply come to God with our needs while forgetting what we have been given. Things like giving thanks prior to eating a meal are not that common anymore.
    9. We pray in petition, intercession and thanksgiving: One source tells me: “These three terms indicates that the initial prayer term distinguishes the element of insufficiency by the requester, the second highlights devotion by the seeker, and the third underscores the childlike confidence of the petitioner.”[2]
      1. So these prayer terms are all very important. Prayers of petition show that we are merely human coming before God. We are insufficient and we ask for God’s help in humility. We pray in intercession simply coming to God with the needs of others. We come giving thanks recognizing what God has provided.
    10. Now, Paul writes under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that these prayers are to be offered for all mankind. No one is left out. Now, this doesn’t mean that we are to list everyone by name. We might, but this just means that we can pray for anyone. Don’t leave people out because you don’t like them, or because they are a different social class, or because they vote different, or because you didn’t vote for him or her.
    11. But verse 2 specifies a few groups to pray for. We must pray for kings and all those in authority. This is not the only time Paul mentions praying for our leaders. Our leaders have a great task on them; pray for them.
    12. Do you ever thank God for kings and leaders? Do you ever thank God for those in authority? How do we pray with thanksgiving for politicians? We are told to pray with thanksgiving.
    13. By the way, thanksgiving is the only element of prayer that will continue forever. Everything else will fall after we’ve entered His presence. For there we’ll only thank Him forever and ever. So this…that only eternal element of prayer must be a part of those prayers we offer even here.
    14. I am sure that we have a lot of great leaders: local, state, national to pray in thanksgiving for. However, we can also be thankful for our salvation.
  2. Now, in verse 4 the Bible says, God wants all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth. Now that verse is redundant. “Saved” and “knowledge of the Truth” are both used to mean salvation.
    1. This is a major principle: God loves all. It doesn’t matter whether you are male or female, black or white, American, or French, German, Egyptian, etc, etc and etc. God loves all. God wants all to be saved.
      1. False teachers likely taught that salvation was only for Jewish people, but that is not true. God loves all.
      2. Now, this doesn’t mean that all will be saved. God still gives us choice and we must choose Him.

So, a goal of our prayer is salvation. As we pray for people, pray for their salvation. Pray for their spiritual state. Ask God to make you think like an evangelist.

I have talked and prayed about an evangelical mindset. This means that we would be asking God to show us the real need out there. We ask God to show us the reality of heaven and hell. We ask God to help us to see people and ourselves the way that He sees people and us. This means we would see the grossness of sin, but also potential in Christ.

Close:

So, as we go into Thanksgiving, as we go into the holiday season, let’s pray. Let’s pray with thanksgiving. Let’s pray for salvation for all. Let’s pray that God shows us the need for salvation. Let’s pray that God opens our eyes. Let’s thank God for salvation.

Let’s pray.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

 

[1] http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/54-11/evangelistic-praying-part-1

[2] New American Commentary

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We Are Released from the Law, Bound to Christ (Romans 7:6)

Opening:

John Ortburg writes:

My friend, Jimmy, and his son, Davey, were playing in the ocean down in Mexico, while his family—his wife, daughters, parents, and a cousin—were on the beach. Suddenly, a rogue riptide swept Davey out to the sea. Immediately Jimmy started to do whatever he could to help Davey get back to the shore, but he, too, was soon swept away in the tide. He knew that in a few minutes, both he and Davey would drown. He tried to scream, but his family couldn’t hear him.

Jimmy’s a strong guy—an Olympic Decathlete—but he was powerless in this situation. As he was carried along by the water, he had a single, chilling thought: My wife and my daughters are going to have to have a double funeral.

Meanwhile, his cousin, who understood something about the ocean, saw what was happening. He walked out into the water where he knew there was a sandbar. He had learned that if you try to fight a riptide, you will die. So, he walked to the sandbar, stood as close as he could get to Jimmy and Davey, and then he just lifted his hand up and said, “You come to me. You come to me.”

If you try to go the way your gut tells you to go—the shortest distance into shore—you will die. If you think for yourself, you will die. God says, “If you come to me, you will live.” That’s it—death or life.[1]

The Bible talks about this in Romans. We are now in Romans 7 and this small passage is a continuation of chapter 6. Chapter 6 was about how our sin nature died with Christ. Chapter 7 now illustrates how we died to the law and we are free to live by the Spirit.

Theme:

We are released from the law, bound to Christ

Application: Walk by Jesus (Col. 2:6)

Read with me Romans 7:6:

But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Let’s also read Col. 2:6:

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him…

Some translations say: ‘“Walk’ in Him…”

  1. Look at verse 6. We are released from the law.
    1. The Bible says that we are dying to what once bound us.
    2. We were bound to the law, but not anymore.
    3. Do you think the law helps us to live for Jesus?
    4. Do you think the law makes us righteous?

Experiment Shows How the Law Leads to Sin

Robert Cialdini, a researcher and an expert on the theory of persuasion, conducted an experiment at the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. The park had a problem, as it made clear on a warning sign:

YOUR HERITAGE IS BEING VANDALIZED EVERY DAY BY THEFT LOSSES OF PETRIFIED WOOD OF 14 TONS A YEAR, MOSTLY A SMALL PIECE AT A TIME.

The sign plainly appealed to the visitors’ sense of moral outrage. Cialdini wanted to know if this appeal was effective. So he and some colleagues ran an experiment. They seeded various trails throughout the forest with loose pieces of petrified wood, ready for the stealing. On some trails, they posted a sign warning not to steal; other trails got no sign. The result? The trails with the warning sign had nearly three times more theft than the trails with no signs.

How could this be? Cialdini concluded that the park’s warning sign, designed to send a moral message, perhaps sent a different message as well. Something like: Wow, the petrified wood is going fast—I’d better get mine now! Or: Fourteen tons a year!? Surely it won’t matter f I take a few pieces[2].

  1. That is a humorous example and psychologist could get into how some people are natural law keepers and others are natural law breakers. I remember being taught about that in college.
  2. For example: some of you are driving down a country road in the middle of the night and you come to a red light and you will stop and wait and wait and wait. No one is coming but you wait and wait and wait. Is that you? Raise your hand.
  3. Others come to the red light in the middle of the night and you wait a second and think, no one is coming I am going.
  4. A better example is when the sign says “No right on red.” Isn’t it easy to say, “Come on it is 2:00 A.M.” But others would not dare disobey that law.
  5. The law does not make us righteous.
  6. This passage is not meaning the law is bad.
  7. Just turn to Psalm 19 or Psalm 119. The law is good, but we could not keep it.
  1. So, we are to serve in the Spirit.
    1. With children it is said to make sure you replace things if you take something away.
    2. In that manner we are released from the bondage to the law and instead we have the Spirit.
    3. The point is that our first husband was the law and he died, so we are free to marry our new husband Jesus.
    4. Paul writes about that in verses 2-5.
    5. The law side died with our sin nature when we committed to Christ. The law was good, but the need to keep the law in order for salvation died with our sin nature.
    6. This goes along with Romans 6:3-4: Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptizedinto Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
  • We are free to walk in the Spirit or live by Christ. Look at Col. 2:6: So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,continue to live your lives in him…
  1. Let’s apply this:
    1. We now serve Christ out of grace, not because of a law.
    2. We are not “in the flesh” (verse 5) we are no longer bound by our sin nature and the sinful passions. We are in the Spirit. We must live in the Spirit, being an imitator of God (Ephesians 5:1-2, 8 and 15; Col. 1:10 and 2:6)
    3. Now in the newness of the Spirit we produce fruit, spiritual fruit.
    4. We must live Christ victoriously, not as if I am defeated, stuck in sin.
    5. Our old sin nature, flesh nature, died with Christ (Romans 6:3). So, we are “pre-resurrected” with Christ as well. We must live this way. (Romans 6:4)

Closing:

God gave us grace and mercy.

Max Lucado shares:

The bank sent me an overdraft notice on the checking account of one of my daughters. I encourage my college-age girls to monitor their accounts. Even so, they sometimes overspend.

What should I do? Send her an angry letter? Admonition might help her later, but it won’t satisfy the bank. Phone and tell her to make a deposit? Might as well tell a fish to fly. I know her liquidity. Zero. Transfer the money from my account to hers? Seemed to be the best option. After all, I had $25.37. I could replenish her account and pay the overdraft fee as well. Since she calls me Dad, I did what dads do. I covered my daughter’s mistake.

When I told her she was overdrawn, she said she was sorry. Still, she offered no deposit. She was broke. She had one option, “Dad, could you…” “Honey,” I interrupted, “I already have.” I met her need before she knew she had one.

Long before you knew you needed grace, your Father did the same. He made an ample deposit. Before you knew you needed a Savior, you had one. And when you ask him for mercy, he answers, “Dear child. I’ve already given it.”[3]

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] John Ortberg, in the sermon The Way of Wisdom, PreachingToday.com

[2] Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, Think Like a Freak(William Morrow, 2014), pp 115-116

[3] Max Lucado, Cure for the Common Life (Thomas Nelson, 2008), pp. 69-70

Dead to Sin, Alive to God (Romans 6:1-23)

Slavery… think with me about slavery:

Frederick Douglass grew up as a slave in Maryland in the early nineteenth century and experienced slavery’s every brutality. He was taken from his mother when he was only an infant. For years as a child, all he had to eat was runny corn meal dumped in a trough that kids fought to scoop out with oyster shells. He worked in the hot fields from before sunup until after sundown. He was whipped many times with a cowhide whip until blood ran down his back, kicked and beaten by his master until he almost died, and attacked with a spike by a gang of whites.

But even so, when Frederick considered trying to escape to freedom, he struggled with the decision. He writes in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave that he had two great fears.

The first was leaving behind his friends:

I had a number of warm-hearted friends in Baltimore, friends that I loved almost as I did my life and the thought of being separated from them forever was painful beyond expression. It is my opinion that thousands would escape from slavery, who now remain, but for the strong cords of affection that bind them to their friends.

His second fear was this: “If I failed in this attempt, my case would be a hopeless one it would seal my fate as a slave forever.”

Today, people who find themselves in slavery to sin, and who think about escaping to freedom in Christ, may have similar fears. They may fear leaving behind friends. They may fear they’ll fail in their attempt to break from sin and live free for God.

They should take heart from Douglass’s experience. On September 3, 1838, he remembers:

I left my chains, and succeeded in reaching New York without the slightest interruption of any kind I have been frequently asked how I felt when I found myself in a free State It was a moment of the highest excitement I ever experienced I felt like one who had escaped a den of hungry lions.[1]

So, I wonder, are you a slave?

Let’s read Romans 6:23:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in  Christ Jesus our Lord.

Please keep your Bibles opened I want to apply this passage and this chapter. I will point out key passages in order to show how we got to this place.

My theme:

We are dead to sin, alive to God

Application:

Live for Jesus, we no longer have to be slaves to sin.

  1. First, in this passage I see that we died with Christ to the old self; therefore, we no longer have to live in sin. (verses 2-3)
    1. Look at verses 2-3: We are those who have died to sin;how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
    2. How many of us have been baptized?
    3. This means that we are baptized into Jesus.
    4. Paul gives this analogy of dying with Christ in baptism.
    5. Think with me about the cross. On the cross Jesus died for our sins. He died for all of our sins. If He did not take care of all of our sins then we would still have a problem.
    6. So, in that manner, Jesus died for all of our sins, they are dead. He died for them. In this way when we are baptized into Christ Jesus the sins are dead. Our old slavery is dead.
    7. By the way, do you think Frederick Douglas ever wanted to go back to slavery? NO! So why do we go back to our sin slavery?
  2. We have risen with Christ (Verses 2-3)
    1. Jesus died but we know that He is not dead anymore.
    2. Also we have been risen with Him.
  3. We have been risen with Christ and Christ is not living in sin, so we must live for Christ. (Verses 4-5) Look at the next few verses: We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the deadthrough the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
    1. We are joined with Christ, Christ does not sin.
    2. We are joined with Christ, Christ can help us conquer sin.
  4. In verses 16-17 I read we will serve someone or something, it must be Jesus.

Look at verses 16-17: Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 

  1. Verse 23: sin has a wage and it is death, but God freely gives us eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. We can trust in Jesus freely and receive the eternal wage.

The guinea worm is a parasite found in certain areas of central Africa. It begins its life as a larvae and often hitches a ride in a millimeter-long crustacean called cyclops.

When a human drinks water from a stream, the cyclops enters the stomach where gastric juices make short work of the cyclops. The larvae of the guinea worm, however, are not destroyed. The worms poke holes in the human’s intestine and go for a swim.

After about three months, the male and female larvae get together. About one year later a full-grown guinea, the width of a paper clip wire and up to three feet long, begins to move through the body of its human host, causing tremendous pain. Finally, the worm pokes out of the host’s body—probably through the foot. If not removed, the parasite will eventually lead to its host’s death.

Once the worm exposes itself, it can only be removed a few centimeters a day. Otherwise the worm will pull apart and die, resulting in infection and possibly death for its host. Sometimes the painful process takes weeks or months.

The guinea worm is like sin in three important ways:

First, sin is easy to get involved in. Just like drinking the water from a stream seems simple and harmless, so often does sin.

Second, sin is difficult to get rid of once it has taken hold. When sin “pokes its head” out of our lives, and we recognize it has to be dealt with, we should act. Forgiveness comes quickly, but many times the process of getting free from its pull is slow and agonizing.

Finally, like the guinea worm, sin when left unchecked can kill you.[2]

Close:

In Decision, Karen R. Morerod writes:

I was in a store shopping for a sweater. The cost needed to be minimal, so I went to the clearance rack to start looking. As I flipped through the sweaters, one caught my eye. It was the right color and the right size, and best of all, the price tag was marked $8.00. Without much more thought, I made my purchase.

At home I slipped on the sweater. Its texture was like silk. I had made my purchase so quickly that I hadn’t noticed how smooth and elegant the sweater was. Then I saw the original price tag: $124.00!

I gasped. I had never owned any clothing of that value. I had come home with what I thought was a “cheap buy,” but the original price was quite high. I had been oblivious to its value.

Just as with my sweater, I have often treated the power of Jesus’ blood like a “cheap purchase.” His grace, though free to me, carried a high price tag the life of his very own Son.[3]

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

[1] Kevin Miller, vice president, Christianity Today International, Wheaton, Illinois

[2] Kevin Bidwell; source: Men’s Health (December 1999)

[3] Karen R. Morerod, writer, “Lesson Learned from a Sweater,” Decision (November 1999), p. 39

Peace With God (Romans 5:1-11)

We talked extensively about justification last week, so today we are going to talk about the results of justification.

Recall that justification gives us complete forgiveness but also gives us Christ’s righteousness. Several years ago I was working on a roof and got roof tar on my shoes. I liked those shoes but for some time that tar was still sticky on the bottom of the shoes. So eventually I was told that gasoline would take care of it and that is what I did. I rubbed gasoline on the bottom of the shoes and it cleared things up. The gasoline made the shoes perfect, like a brand new pair of shoes. It still happened in time and space, meaning the situation with the roof tar actually did happen, that was not erased. But the gasoline made the shoes pure as if they were a brand new pair.

In justification we are forgiven and we receive Christ’s righteousness. We still sinned, but we are right with God because of Jesus.

There are two results of justification that the Bible talks about which I wish to focus on today. Today, we focus on Peace with God and reconciliation with God.

Let’s read Romans 5:1-11:

 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

My theme today is that we have Peace with God and reconciliation with God.

  1. First, because of our justification we have Peace with God (v. 1).
    1. I am only focusing on verses 1 and 11. This list is not complete. We also have access to God. We have Christian character, we have God’s love within, we have salvation from wrath.
    2. We have so many benefits because of justification. Our salvation is great.
    3. Think about “Peace with God.”
    4. You see, God does not need peace with us, we need peace with Him. We violated His standard. As a consequence of our sins we were at war with God. But as a consequence of Christ’s death and resurrection we are at peace. This is awesome.
    5. Amen!!!
    6. I believe that Peace with God goes along with reconciliation, so let’s look at that.
  2. Reconciliation with God (v. 11).
    1. In these 11 verses every time I see the verb “to justify” I also see Paul talking about reconciliation. In verse 1 Paul is talking about how we have peace with God. Then in verse 9 Paul is talking about how we are saved from God’s wrath. That is really what reconciliation is.
    2. Simply put to reconcile means to restore friendship or harmony. In Genesis, Adam walked with God in the Garden of Eden as friends. But then sin came and this separated him from God. ((I am extrapolating this from Gen 3:8-9 and the setting of the Garden of Eden. I am sure I have heard other scholars say this.)
    3. Have you ever had a time when you have a dispute with someone? We all have. When we are reconciled with God it makes God have peace with us. The dispute is gone. God has a dispute with us. He has a rightful dispute with us. We have offended Him. In a Biblical sense we have offended God’s holy law. Verse 6 says that we were ungodly when Jesus died for us. Verse 8 says that we were still sinners when Christ died for us. Verse 9 says because of this we are enemies of God. Ungodly! Sinners! Enemies!
      1. We need reconciliation.
      2. We need to be reconciled to God.
  • We had offended Him. We still offend him.
  1. We had and still do cross His perfect law.
  2. Review Romans:
  3. In Romans chapter 1 Paul spent most of the chapter writing about our ungodliness. In verse 18 He says the wrath of God is being revealed from Heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
  • You may say that that is not you. But it is. It is all of us.
  • Romans 2:1: You, therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
  1. Romans 3:23: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
    1. We all sin.
    2. It is amazing that for most of history people have tried to reconcile themselves to God or the gods. It’s true. For most of history there have been pagan religions making sacrifices or doing other religious things to try to appease the gods. We can see this in Native American religions. We can see this in Eastern religions. We can see this in Egyptian religions. We can see this in the Middle Eastern religions. You know that there were Israelite kings in the Old Testament that sacrificed their own children to Baal? They did this because they got into the pagan religions of Palestine.
    3. It took blood to cover sin.
    4. There is a movie “Kicking and Screaming” which is about a children’s soccer team. The team is trying to win and then they realize these Italians are their secret. So, they use them all the time, but they work for their uncle cutting meat and their uncle says, “Meat comes first.” One day they have too much meat to cut so they would miss the game. So a part of the team all goes to help cut meat. They show up just in time for the game with blood all over their uniforms. These young children are scared, seeing blood. The other team forfeits.
    5. That is what happened in the Old Testament. They would have been covered in blood in the sacrificial systems.
    6. But really if you read through the Old Testament they had several animal sacrifices to make in order to attempt to reconcile the relationship with God. But Hebrews says it doesn’t work. It wasn’t enough.
    7. Heb 10:11 Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
    8. In Christianity Jesus came to us. We couldn’t do this on our own.
    9. So we also, as Christians, have forgiveness through Christ, our sins are erased through justification and we have peace with God in reconciliation. Adam walked with God in the Garden of Eden and we also can walk with God as friends because of Jesus. (I am extrapolating this from Gen 3:8-9 and the setting of the Garden of Eden. I am sure I have heard other scholars say this.)
  2. We couldn’t be reconciled to God without being justified; however, reconciliation naturally follows justification.
  3. Hebrews 4:16 says let us approach the throne of grace with confidence. We can because of reconciliation.
  4. Ps 103:12: as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Let’s apply this. Every sermon should have encouragement and conviction. Every sermon should have grace and truth. This is because the Word of God gives us encouragement and conviction.

Are you living as free? Are you living as though you are forgiven by Christ, not only that, are you living with an understanding that you are pure to God, that you are righteous in God’s sight? Are you living knowing that you can approach God’s throne without a human mediator? Because of justification and reconciliation.

Or, are you trying to earn your salvation? Do you feel like you can’t approach God? Do you have a secret sin? Confess your sins to God. Accept God’s forgiveness and know that you are forgiven. Know that you are more than forgiven; you are pure, righteous, and reconciled to God. Your relationship with God was broken but it is restored. Many times we get self worth from trying to please people and trying to do things. Trouble is, we can never do enough to earn our salvation and make things right with God. But Jesus did it for us. Jesus has accomplished what we couldn’t accomplish. Lean on Him! Stop trying by yourself! Lean on Jesus. Then Jesus will give you the assurance of your salvation.

  1. Our Salvation is complete. Forgiven: Our sins are forgiven; our debt is paid by Jesus. Justified: we are righteous in God’s sight. It is as if we never sinned. Reconciled: There is no longer a barrier between us and God.

Close:

There is an old hymn by John Newton:

Approach My Soul the Mercy Seat

Approach, my soul, the mercy seat,
Where Jesus answers prayer;
There humbly fall before His feet,
For none can perish there.

Thy promise is my only plea,
With this I venture nigh;
Thou callest burdened souls to Thee,
And such, O Lord, am I.

Bowed down beneath a load of sin,
By Satan sorely pressed,
By war without and fears within,
I come to Thee for rest.

Be Thou my Shield and hiding Place,
That, sheltered by Thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him Thou hast died!

O wondrous love! to bleed and die,
To bear the cross and shame,
That guilty sinners, such as I,
Might plead Thy gracious Name.

“Poor tempest-tossèd soul, be still;
My promised grace receive”;
’Tis Jesus speaks—I must, I will,
I can, I do believe.

God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray