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My heavenly Father, we thank you for this blessed opportunity to come to listen to you and your word.  Speak to our hearts today Father, as always; not by might nor by power, but by your Spirit. Thank you so much for the gift of your Spirit, and we are so looking forward to him teaching us on this day and this time. In Jesus’ name, Amen. 

The Bible is God's voice made audible; so, every time we open the word of God, it is as if God himself is speaking to us. I trust you are excited to hear from our loving Father today.  

When Jesus came to this earth, he came to reveal somebody. John 14:9 tells us who that person is:

Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father? (John 14:9).

Wow, amazing. Based on what we just read …and one of the reasons why the studies were done this way… is so that we could get into the habit of looking into the Bible for ourselves and with the help of the Holy Spirit, discover what the answers to the questions are. Based on what was just read, who did Jesus come to reveal?

The Father

That's right, Jesus came to reveal the Father. And if you remember in this particular passage Philip had asked the question in the previous verses …..“show us the Father” and Jesus said, “Philip, I've been so long with you and if you've seen me you've seen the Father”. So, when Jesus was teaching, it was really the Father in Christ teaching… when Jesus was healing it was the Father in Christ doing the healing… when Jesus was loving the people, it was the Father in Christ loving the people. Jesus came to reveal to us who the Father is. Our first study was on ‘God is love’ …. Jesus came to reveal that character, that love of the Father.

In the world our loving Father is getting a bad rep … when bad things happen, the enemy somehow has deceived people into thinking that, if God really is a God of love, then why is God doing that, or that he's taking pleasure watching all this.  

But the Bible tells us that God is love and that is the very character that Jesus came to reveal. By the time Christ came on the scene, the Father's character had been distorted.  The sad thing is, it had been distorted largely, in part, by the religious leaders. What God wants to do with us, I believe today is, he wants to show us who he really is and that is he's a God of love. You don't have to hide from him, you don't have to look over your shoulders, he's not waiting for you to make a mistake so that he can pop you upside the head. No, no, no, no, my friend, that is not the kind of God we serve. He is a God of love.

I remember a member’s statement. “you know what, thank you, thank you….whenever I listen to you talk about our heavenly Father, it makes me want to serve him more.  I'm not afraid of him.”  I just want our friends here to know that you do not have to be afraid of him. He loves you.

Where was the Father when Jesus was reconciling the world?

2 Corinthians 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Wow, isn't that text powerful my friends? Based on that text, is Jesus trying to convince God to love us?

No, no, no. Absolutely not. When Jesus was reconciling the world to himself, our Father was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.

Look at what the Father was not doing “not imputing their trespasses unto them.” One translation says “God was not counting our sins against us.” Isn't God good, Friends?

He's not counting our sins against us. He is reconciling and that's why the Bible says in Romans 5:10 “for if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God... 

But how far-reaching is this love? Jeremiah 31:3. 

The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Wow, what kind of love is that friends?

But he says I have loved thee with what kind of love… everlasting. Now check this out … that means never-ending … can you imagine what this world would be like if husbands and wives allowed the love of God to dwell in them whereby they loved each other that way? 

Sometimes we come in thinking so differently about the way God feels about us. We're thinking that okay, I need to do more of this… to show God that I deserve his love. But the truth of the matter friends is … even before the foundation of the world … even before you were born … you were thought about because God is our creator, and we can prove that in Jeremiah 1.

But the point of the matter is that even before you came out of your mother's womb, the bible lets us know that we were already accepted in Christ before the foundation of the world. Amen, Amen.  So, knowing that God loves you unconditionally… it's not a matter of me trying to do what all that I have to do to be accepted by him… no friends. I can rest on the fact that he loves me and now my attitude and my action is always my response to him first loving me. 

 Romans 5:5.

Hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 

With the Holy Spirit, God's love is shed abroad …and by the way, what does that word shed mean? The word shed abroad means that it is placed explicitly … in a broad sense … in our hearts, but it's put there by the Holy Spirit and the only way that you and I can really think that way… that renewing of the mind 

The reason why you and I have hope, and I'm glad that it begins that way, is because the bible specifically says that we are …speaking of the human race … was deceived. He judges us differently than he does the devil because Satan understood God's love fully and rejected it, by which you and I were deceived, so, we are on a different plane than he is. For him, there's no more hope than if he has committed the unpardonable sin. His fate is sealed, but there's still hope for you and there's still hope for me and the Father wants you to know that he is not against you. Amen, all right.

What did this love that the Father had for us, what did it cost, what has it caused Jesus to do for us?

In Hebrews 2 verse 9 we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels, for the sufferings of death crowned with glory and honor that he … by the grace of God … should taste death for every man. Wow isn't that amazing? So what did the love of God cause Jesus to do for us … and I should say has caused Jesus to do for you and me?  Although it was experienced back then, you and I are still receiving the benefits of it today …

believe it or not, so what does the bible say … that the love of the Father had caused Jesus to do? Well it's the whole thing … he was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death. By the way, how was he made a little lower than the angels … what did he have to do to be made a little lower than the angels … become man …

Wow! Now friends; aren't you thrilled to know … If he had not fully become man, then he would not know how to help you when you are tempted.  Amen. But it means a little bit more than that … do you know that Jesus understands sexual temptations, he understands all temptations that you can think of …he gets it … you are not alone my brothers and sisters. Jesus understands you and there's a verse that says

that in all their afflictions he too was afflicted.

You know what that's saying, every time you cry, Jesus is so into it with you and me that when you cry …guess who's crying? Jesus is crying … the Father is crying. When you are hurting … when you're suffering… the Father, the son, they are crying with you.

Because while Christ is one with you, he understands everything that you're going through. But, now notice what the bible says: he tasted death. I'm sure we could go a lot on this and we probably have a whole lot that we can say about that but the one point that I want to make out on is this … when the bible says he tasted death … it's saying that Jesus experienced the equivalent of the second death or the eternal death for you and me. But what implications does he have for you and I today?

When the bible says the wages of sin is death, right. We learn that he's speaking of the eternal death. Now check this out … what should happen to you every time you sin, I should die, you should die, you should die … what is the only reason why you and I don't die … because of God's grace and his mercy … his grace and his mercy, but the fact that Jesus has already tasted that death for you, he's already paid the price for us.

Somebody once said that Jesus went to hell and back … so that man could have eternal life. The point of the matter in this friends is that Christ paid the penalty. 

There's no reason why anyone should be lost even though we know that that's going to be the case … and that should break our hearts. But there's no reason … because the Father has done so much for you. So, by the way, notice the bible says he has tasted death for every person, for every man … not just those who believe, by the way, but for everyone, right?

And the only reason why… and I know the atheists today will tell you that there is no such thing as God and yet they don't even know the only reason why they are alive today is because of Jesus. Amen.

That's the only reason that they are alive … all these others you know talking about Jesus … this and the only reason why folks

are alive today is because of Christ and because of what he did. All right? what standard of perfection was broken when man sinned in one man?

 The bible tells us there in I John 3:4, sin is the what … transgression of the …. what everybody? the law, of the law, the bible tells us that the law is righteousness and the bible also says that the gospel is the righteousness of God and so the law and the character of God are the same. Have you ever heard of this quotation before … that the law is an exact transcript of the character of God, right. Remember what Paul said: the law is holy, the law is just, and the law is good.  Is God holy, yes.  Is God just, yes. Is God good, yes. So the law then is a perfect mirror of the very character of our heavenly Father and so when man sinned in Adam, that perfection … by the way … the perfection still stands, as the Father is concerned … but as far as man is concerned, that perfection was broken. But God is good, the bible tells us and this is very important. What does the bible say about disobeying the law?

Galatians 3: 10.

For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

All right, so this is very important. You have heard that it was said the only thing that we're gonna take out of this planet when Jesus comes is our character. But my brothers and sisters, that is not the truth, it's not our character, it's the character of the Father … Amen, this is what we need to understand.

The bible does not say that we are sinners because you rob the bank, we are sinners because in one man, all have sinned.  That is why all our lists that say “I don't do this … I'm good” … that's not the way that our Father judges whether we are or not … the truth of the matter is, if you … even from the time you were born till … if you had never done anything wrong … you still would not qualify for heaven. Yes, that's correct, and the reason being is because all have sinned in one man … all fell short. Yep, as a matter of fact, I don't know if you ever saw this before … go quickly with me to Genesis 5 and we want to read verses 1-3. I think that will bring it out for us.

“this is the book of the generations of Adam in the day that God created man” … by the way, man is ‘mankind’, so it's speaking of Adam and Eve or mankind in the likeness of God made he him.

Now, let me ask you this friends … in whose likeness was man created? In the image of God … but notice when God says “in the likeness of God” … notice he did not say ‘man’ … notice he said “in the likeness of God made he him” …  meaning who … Adam. Notice that Eve was not made the same, … created the same way Adam was. Now it's not to say that Eve is not dust, but God took Adam from the dust of the earth … but when he got ready to create Eve, he took Eve from where … we all came from Adam.

Now check this out … verse 2 … “male and female created he them and blessed them”. Notice what their name was called … their name was called Adam or mankind in the day they were created. Now notice verse 3, that's the power and Adam lived 130 years, begat a son and his likeness  … when God created man or Adam and Eve they were created in the likeness of who? God.  But after sin- when Adam had a son, that son was no longer created in the likeness of God but rather in the likeness of a Adam.  After Adam's image that is what you and I fall into place.

Friends, that is why Jesus is positively important. Amen – awesome -- all right -- but there's hope. But this is where I wanted to get out with the question the bible goes on to say … “curse is everyone who does not continue”. So in other words friends, what the bible is [and that's insane] is that if you're depending on the works of the law to be saved, then you would have had to find yourself outside of Adam because the bible tells us …”in Adam all have sinned” and you would have had to been perfect … not perfection as you and I know perfection, but perfection as far as God's righteousness is concerned and you and I know that you and

I don't have any of that and the law cannot [although the law demands righteousness but the law] can't make any one of us do that or make you and I righteous.

Only, as you know what the bible says about Abraham, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness”.  So there's good news … so we're not done yet … there's good news! good news! let's go! All right, so how did Jesus redeem us? … So now that we know that curse of everyone, how did Jesus do that in Galatians 3:13.

The bible says that Jesus himself became a curse for us. Thank you, Lord, oh my goodness! You know one of my favorite verses says that ‘he who knew no sin’ … and we want to make sure that we understand … while Jesus was fully man …  and we want to make clear … the bible says he became a curse for us in Galatians chapter 3:13. By bearing the curse that was ours and dying in our place … wow! what an amazing sacrifice! And you know this amazing sacrifice-- God's amazing sacrifice-- it's free to us, but it wasn't free to him-- it cost him something-- but for you and I friend, it is free.

And so then … and we'll end with this … whose righteousness and sacrifice was sufficient for the redemption of man? Jesus’ righteousness. 

I remember I was teaching on something of dissimilar with a group of young people and I'll never forget … this young man came up to me afterward … you should have seen his face … it was beaming bright and he said, ‘Pastor, I knew Jesus was important, but I just never knew that he was that important’.

Friends, this is where God wants you and I to understand this amazing sacrifice that he laid out. He laid that price for you and me because he loved us so much. God sacrificed.

There are people that have been in this church for years …  and not just our church but other churches as well … who do not yet have the assurance of salvation. By the way, I want you to have that assurance today. I want you to go with me quickly to 1 John 5 real quick. In 1 John 5, I want you to see something and I'm gonna ask you a question. I want you to answer with positivity. All right, I John 5 verse 10 … no, verse 11. Are you guys ready? Verse 11: And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

This life is, by the way, the bible says has given …. is that future tense? that's past tense? eternal life and this life is wherein his son Jesus … now check verse 12:  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

Now let me ask you a question. Friends do you have the Son? Yes, yes, we have the Son. So if you have the Son [based on God's word] not based on how you feel, right … not based on if you made a mistake this morning … based on what the word of God says … if you have the Son what do you have, eternal life!

In life can we trust the word of God, yes! Can we depend on the word of God? So when the devil comes and he tries to tempt you out of doing that … you let him know that God's amazing sacrifice was for me, it was for me! Amen his amazing sacrifice and because of that we gotta talk. Amen. There you go. I don't know about you friends but today I feel like I need to tell more people about this man … that God is not out to get you … no, he wants to save you! Yeah.  At this time, let's close with a word of prayer.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for what we have studied today. It's an amazing sacrifice that Christ made for us … a sacrifice out of this world … the sacrifice that even took place and since before this world … because Christ was the lamb slain before the foundation of the world. And we thank you Jesus for taking us within yourself and living in such a way that you preserved … you protected humanity in yourself so we did not go into extinction, and for that Lord, we are grateful. May we live for you who died for us and rose again and see you come again to take us home soon. In Jesus name and for his sake because he deserves to receive all of us as his reward. Amen.

21 Days of Prayer

The storms of this life often threatens to overflow and overwhelm us; but in God's Word we find reasons to keep swimming; keep striving; keep pressing and holding on. In this series we explore 21 reasons why we can have hope, even in a world, or personal experience, that feels hopeless. 

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