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Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Message for Sunday, April 3, 2011

"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.  Old things are passed away, and behold, all things are become new."

I am the first to admit that I am a flawed human being.  Looking back over my life I can say I have made many mistakes, bad decisions, and yes, even committed many sins.  Even my motives have not always been pure.  And just when I think that my motives are entirely selfless, in those rare moments of painfully honest insight I am forced to face the fact that even the best of  motives contain a mixture of selfishness, whether it be some hidden personal gain or some other factor that may be hidden from view.

In the Bible, in the book of Romans, the writer says, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."  And again, "For all our righteousness is as filthy rags before God."

This tells us that even on our very best days, even when we think we are the very best we can possibly be, God knows the real truth.  We are sinners.  Our thoughts, motives, words, and deeds are heavily influenced by our imperfections, our sinful nature.

But all is not lost.  We have a Savior who can do for us what we cannot do on our own.  In Christ we have new life, a new way of living and being in the world.  And when God looks upon us, He sees not the unrighteous sinful nature but the light of His Own Son, who dwells within us.

And that is how we walk in the newness of life when all else seems lost and hopeless.

3 great truths are inherent in this subject.

1. No one is beyond hope.  The point of the Biblical writers in telling us how sinful we are--all of us without exception--is to show that no one is beyond hope.  We are all equal before God.  God's love is a free gift that is offered to all.  If this is true for one, then it is true for ALL.

Thus, no matter how often you have turned Him away, no matter how much you have sinned, no matter how far you have fallen into the pit of despair, thinking you are totally worthless and hopeless, there is a Savior...just for you.  The Bible says, "For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."

Christ came specifically for the helpless and hopeless.  This means you.

2. The past is forgiven and thus remains firmly in the past.  Who you are today is certainly influenced by your past, your family heritage, your upbringing, your failures and past mistakes.  This is for sure.  But these things do not define who we are.  In Christ we are made brand new.  We belong to Him.  All is forgiven.  The Bible says, "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us."

An old hymn of the church says, "He'll forgive your transgressions and remember them no more."  In Christ all memory of our past life and its sins is erased from the Divine memory.  It is no longer held against us.  Amen!

3. Being 'made new' is not a one-time event but an ongoing process.  We are in the process of being made new each day.  We grow and develop, just as a child.

A gospel song says, 'And I know I'm not the man that I ought to be.  Many times I fall short of what He saw in Me.  And I know I'm not the man that I want to be, but thank God I'm not the man I used to be."

We remain imperfect in this body of flesh.  But God isn't through with us yet!  There are more mountains to climb, more rivers to cross, more changes to be made.  But with His strength and help we can do these things, not in our own strength but in the strength of the One who is all-powerful.

Thus, never let your past hold you back.  Never let misguided persons get you down by holding your past against you.  You are a new creation.  The old is gone.  The new is here!  You can walk in the newness of life through your faith in Jesus Christ and His shed blood on the Cross for you.

Prayer: O Lord, thank you for your wonderful forgiveness and for being the God of second chances, many chances in fact.  And if someone reads these words who needs you in their life, let them pray now to ask you to come into their heart, forgive their sin, and trust in You and your sacrificial work of love on our behalf on Calvary's cross...dying that we might live.  In faith we ask these things believing that in your holy Name the deed is done.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Song--To bless you today, here is a special song on YouTube that I hope will encourage your heart.  The Cathedral Quartet sings 'We Shall See Jesus,' featuring the great Glen Payne.

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