Whats Does Jesus’ Sacrifice Mean For Me? Freedom

23rd & 24th April

So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.

John 8:36

Jesus said in John 10:10, that the enemies purpose is to steal, kill and destroy, yet His purpose is to give us life and life in all of its fullness. Yet what does that look like for a believer? It means freedom!

We, as believers and followers of the resurrected Christ, have been given freedom from the bondage that sin brings, the condemnation, the lies, the hurts and the bitterness. We no longer have to hold on to those things but can live as free people. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 6:6 puts it like this, “we know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.” We are free. We are free to live shackle-less lives. We do not have to be bound by sins grasp.

Being free, gives us a platform to be who we are supposed to be in Christ. We longer have to hide behind the masks of ‘fitting in to look cool’ to a sinful world but rather when our identity is found in Christ, there is no one we have to impress anymore. We know we are loved and accepted by Christ. Period. This knowledge gives us the ability to live free lives. We can be all that God intended us to be. Free from all that caged us in!

So, as Jesus said, If the Son sets you free, YOU ARE FREE INDEED!

Whats Does Jesus’ Sacrifice Mean For Me? Acceptance

12th April

But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us, while we were still sinners.”

Romans 5:8

The Apostle Paul, in the book of Romans states that “…the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23). When we sin we deserve to be punished. Since God is our creator, anything we do against His will, is called a sin and is punishable. In fact, everyone one of us falls into that category. Yet when Jesus died on the cross, He paid the debt that our sin owed and in doing so, made us clean and right before God.

The Apostle Paul words it like this, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in His grace, freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins.” (Romans 3:23-24) We deserve death but instead we are given life and life in it’s fullness. Jesus didn’t wait for us to become good people or didn’t wait until we understood and accepted what He was going to do. Jesus died for us while we were still ‘sinners’. Jesus died for the very people who ordered His crucifixion. He died for the people who crucified Him. He died for all the religious priests who wanted Him dead. He died for us even in our lowest points.

So today, do not feel like you are distant from God because of your sin, or like you can’t talk to Him. Your debt has been paid, it has been paid in full. You are free and right in His sight. Accept His grace and love and let His view of YOU change your view of yourself. You are accepted!

 

The Great Divide Healed

24th March

Then Jesus shouted out again, and He released His spirit. At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart…”

Matthew 27:50-51

Can you imagine what a sight this scene would have been. The age old temple curtain torn in two revealing the Most Holy Place. Rocks cracking. The earth shaking. Darkness descending and thunder clapping. It sounds like a scene from an ‘end of the world’ film. Well in actual fact, it was the end of the world as it was known. Jesus’ sacrifice changed the destiny of man-kind forever and the temple curtain being torn signified an important change in our relationship with God.

According to the description written in Hebrews chapter 9, the temple, where people would gather to worship God, was divided into two. The Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. These two rooms were divided by a huge curtain as the Most Holy Place was were the tangible presence of God was. Only the High Priest could enter this room once he had cleansed himself of his own sins and only once a year to offer a sacrifice for the people’s sins.

But only the high priest ever entered the Most Holy Place, and only once a year. And he always offered blood for his owns sins and for the sins the people had committed in ignorance.”

Hebrew 9:7

The imagery described here in Hebrews would have been a very normal picture for the Jewish people of Jesus’ time. They knew the temple rules. The knew the role of the High Priest. And they knew that once a year he would make an offering for their sins.

Yet when the temple curtain was torn into two, it symbolised something greater than what they would have understood. It showed that by Jesus’ own sacrifice, He made a way that we no longer have to speak to God through a High Priest or have our sins forgiven by the sacrifice of the blood of a lamb. We now have a Perfect High Priest, Jesus Christ, who ever lives to make an intercession for us by His own blood. He became the sacrifice, He became our High Priest and He became our sin offering. Because of what Jesus did on the cross, we can freely enter into the Most Holy Place (God’s presence), and freely have a relationship with God without religious restrictions. Hallelujah!

Jesus flipped the script when the veil was ripped!

God’s Mirror

9th February

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and then forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

James 1:22-25

Yesterday we looked at the power of God’s word as a double edged sword, having the ability to tear down the strongholds of the enemy, and the ability to expose our sins and make us accountable before God through His word. Today’s message further highlights the power of God’s word to transform our lives. After all, the Word is living and has throughout generations brought people closer to Jesus through the revelation of God’s character.

James adds that God’s word should be like a mirror for us. We should be able to look into His word and see our lives reflecting the character of Jesus and reflecting His perfect law (i.e. righteous living). Rick Warren, the author of the best selling ‘Purpose Driven Life’ book, shares his reflection on James’ wise words and summarises James’ message with the following points:-

  • Read your Bible. “… whoever looks intently …” (look carefully..)

  • Review the Bible. “… and continues in it …” (do what it says..)

  • Remember the Bible. “… not forgetting what they have heard …” (don’t forget it..)

  • Respond to the Bible. “… but doing it …” 1 (do what it says..)

Simply put, reading God’s word should not become a religious act of reading one verse and then moving on with your day, forgetting what you have read and not even letting it transform your life. Reading God’s word, is about intentionally giving time to God, to allow Him to speak to us, reviewing what He is saying, remembering it and responding by putting into practice in our lives. It is then that we can experience true freedom and receive all the blessings God has in store for us.

The Shame Of Nakedness

14th December

At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves. When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hide from the Lord God among the trees.

Genesis 3:7-8

It all went wrong in Genesis… The moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit that God had forbidden them to eat, sin entered the world and immediately they felt shame at their nakedness. Prior to their rebellious act, Adam and Eve had no re-cognition of what nakedness was. Moreover, they were walking in the garden of Eden with God Himself. They were in His very presence because God was with them. Yet after they had sinned, Adam and Eve, shamed by their nakedness, made clothes out of fig leaves and to hide from God presence.

This is what sin does. Sin leads us into shame and guilt and separation from intimacy with God. That shame and guilt, in turn, leads us to want to hide from God or worse still, not to even talk to Him because of our un-worthiness. We make our own ‘fig leaf clothing’ to hide from God. Yet God’s intention was never that. He delighted to walk among His creation and enjoying intimate fellowship with us. And that is why He came!

Jesus came to the earth to break the chains of sin and shame. The shame that separates us from intimacy with God. He came out of the abundance of grace and love He has for us. He came to set us free from the mistakes that was humanity’s fault in the first place. He came to re-unite us into an intimate fellowship between us and God. Now instead of fig-leaves to cover our shame, He clothes us with righteousness and we are adorned with royal robes as sons and daughters of the Most High, bought, redeemed and saved by the precious blood of Jesus…. Jesus came to take away our shame.

The Joy Of A Forgiven Heart

14th September

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

Psalm 32:1-2

Every human has a desire and longing to be loved. Many try to satisfy that longing with drugs, drinking, womanising, and the like. Yet there is no greater joy than knowing you have been forgiven and accepted by your Creator; knowing that you have a purpose, a destiny and that God has a plan for your personally.

In 1678, John Bunyan released one of the most famous pieces of English Christian literature, the Pilgrim Progress. In his book, we follow the story of a man name Christian, who makes his perilous journey to Celestial city (Heaven). However, he carries on his back a huge bag like burden, which represent his sins. These burdens are finally relieved when he reaches the ‘place of deliverance’, a representation of Calvary’s cross. Although this story may be mostly allegorical, the truth remains that we are all on a journey. In life’s journey we may face dangers and temptations, yet the most liberating and life giving stage of our journey is when Jesus Christ sets us free from our sins. It truly is like a burden being lifted from our backs.

In today’s psalm, David also speaks of this joy, freedom and liberty that await a forgiven soul. Sin can so easily hold us down and feel like a huge weight on our lives. Yet when we are set free by the power of Jesus’ love, those chains are broken and we can walk upright in the power of His might and in the purpose and plan He has ordained for our life.

What joy awaits a forgiven soul, and those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt!!