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Weekly Word

Entries in Worship (3)

Saturday
Apr012017

Sharing Jesus Passionately

Matthew 28:16-20; Acts 1:7-8.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on March 26, 2017.

We have looked at three purposes of the people of God.  First we are to Connect to Jesus and each other in a living relationship.  If it is a living relationship then we will Grow spiritually to become more like Jesus.  Thirdly, if we are growing to be like Jesus then we will Serve one another selflessly.  This leads to the last purpose that we will look at, which is to Share Jesus passionately with those who are not connected to Him.  All of these “purposes” flow out of the first purpose and can be considered part of it.  Regardless, let’s look at this issue of sharing Jesus passionately.

There are many today who speak of a cultural arrogance of Christians.  What gives Christians the right to tell others that they do not have the truth, in any way?  For sure over the years Christians have sometimes confused spreading the Gospel with spreading a culture.  Still, the question is this.  Is it ever acceptable to teach someone else something that you believe to be truth?  It should immediately be evident that much of life could not happen without the concept of some teaching others truth.  A child that is born into the world is never left to discover truth all on its own.  They are taught what to eat, what to avoid, etc.  A person who wants to learn a profession goes to those who are already doing it, in order to learn the trade.  Once a person has grasped the collective learning to that point, then they are in a place to seek on their own what may not be understood up to now.  What I am saying is that we cannot intellectually reject the concept of telling others the truth.  We can only disagree with what they are promoting as truth.  As Christians we should not allow ourselves to fall prey to the idea that we should let others find the truth for themselves.  Those who promote such things firmly promote it as truth, which in itself is a type of hypocrisy.  No.  If you are Christian then do not apologize for believing God’s Word.  Instead, confidently take your place within the market of ideas, and share Jesus passionately.  You have as much right as the next person to speak your peace.

We will see today that there is another side to this matter.  Up to now we have been dealing with our relationship to other people.  Yet, there is also our relationship to God.  If God has given us truth that others lack, and He has told us to share it with them, then we would be rejecting His will not to share the truth with them.  Thus we would not be walking in faith, but in disobedience.

Today we will look at a passage that shares an interaction that Jesus had with his disciples after the resurrection, but before he ascended into heaven.  It serves as a transitional story from the works that Jesus did while he was on earth to the works that His Church did through his spiritual help.  If we understand anything today, I pray that we will see that we can confidently share the good news about Jesus with anyone we meet without feeling shame.

Jesus gives his disciples a mission

Though the disciples are not exactly clear what is going on, we know that Jesus is getting ready to leave earth.  He is going into the heavenly realm to stay at the right hand of the Father, until he is sent back to establish his reign over the whole earth.  This begs the question: What should his followers do while he is gone?  In this passage Jesus gives instructions for what his followers should be doing.  But, before we talk about the mission he is about to give, let’s look at the condition of the disciples.

Their understanding of who Jesus is and what he is doing had received a complete upheaval at the cross.  They are in a state of shock regarding his death, and yet another shock regarding his resurrection.  Thus Jesus is helping them to make the transition from all that they thought Jesus was to the truth about it.  In some ways they were right, but in very big areas they were also wrong.  Verse 17 shows us that though they worshipped the Lord, some still doubted.   If they are going to be able to do what Jesus is asking them to do then they are going to have to overcome their doubts and learn to worship Jesus as divine.  The same is true today.  What were these doubts they had?  Maybe they doubted that this was really Jesus because their mind just couldn’t accept it.  Maybe they doubted whether they wanted to continue to follow him.  Regardless of what their doubts were and what our doubt might be today we must face them.  Doubts are a very real part of faith.  You can’t have faith without there being some doubts over which to believe.  As we take our doubts and lay them before God in prayer, we will recognize that He has given us very real proof and evidence on which we can believe.  Ultimately doubt and faith is about whether we trust Jesus or not.  So read the Gospels over again and ask yourself if you trust the One who was willing to go to the cross for you, or the wisdom of those who have not.  Christians accept Jesus as more than a great teacher, or a great example of faithful suffering.  He is all that and yet more.  He is the One and Only unique Son of God, who is worthy of the worship of mankind.  He is unique in that he was never created, and in fact, all things that were created were created through him.  What the disciples did that day was considered blasphemy to the Jews.  They accepted the divinity of Jesus and gave worship to him.  To worship Jesus was to recognize his absolute value above all created things and equality with the Father.  Though he was truly human, he was also God.

Then in verse 18 Jesus preempts his instructions with an important truth.  He had been given all authority from the Father over all authorities in heaven and on earth (both the spirit world and the natural world).  This is important because the mission is going to require them to enter into the domain of earthly rulers and spiritual rulers, and promote Jesus as Lord.  This would be seen as an act of insurrection and treated as such by those same rulers.  Thus earthly rulers would challenge Christians on a very physical plane.  What gives you this authority?  In the same way wicked, spiritual rulers would resist.  They would have a better grasp on why Christians have authority to enter their areas of control.  But they would resist nonetheless.  Thus the existence of the Church becomes a means by which all authorities of earth are put on notice by the King of all kings that their time of judgment is rapidly approaching.  Our message to all the citizens of these domains is this: Flee the coming judgment on these rulers and their domains by renouncing them and join the kingdom of Jesus by pledging allegiance to him.  Christian you must understand that anyone who tells you to quit talking about Jesus, is themselves in rebellion to the highest authority of the entire cosmos.  We must not waver in the reality of who Jesus really is.  It is by his authority that we have the right to tell others the truth about their condition and situation.

So this leads us to verses 19 and 20.  These verses lay out the mission that Jesus has for his followers.  The heart of it is to disciple all nations.  So that starts with inviting people to become students of Jesus.  The emphasis of the word “nations” is meant to emphasize the individuals that comprise the nations, and not the geopolitical entities and their governments.  We are not called to Christianize all governments, but rather to “Christianize” all who want to become disciples of Jesus out of every nation that exists.  Now, I have taken time to make a rough diagram of the mission to make it easier to discuss.

Our command or imperative is to disciple all nations.  So we are to help others to become disciples of Jesus as we are.  Also, there is no biological, racial, or cultural boundary that we are limited by.  Christ has authority over all nations and thus authorizes us to make disciples from all nations.  All of this is not to be done forcefully.  All disciples must do so of their own choosing.  We are called by Jesus, “come follow me,” but not forced to do so.  Thus all Christians are volunteers in the service of Jesus. 

Now that we have the principle parts of the command, let’s look at the qualifiers.  The English version makes it look like our command is to go.  However, in the original language it is a verbal adjective that is describing the disciples.  The emphasis is not that everyone who claims to be a disciple must go to all the nations, but that the disciples are to be a “going” people.  Thus, whether we are doing our part by going across the street to our neighbor, or going to the ends of the earth, this is our collective responsibility.  Thus Christians who are not missionaries to other nations, are still “goers” because they are sharing Jesus within their own area and they help to support those that go to other nations through prayer and funds.  We cannot ever become a people who hide behind walls and wait for God to take the world away.  Rather we are called to advance into the most evil of environments and proclaim the judgment of God to those dark forces that rule them and proclaim deliverance to whosoever wants out of those kingdoms.  Christians must not be cowards who hide in fear.  Rather, we must be those who take our fears, much like our doubts, and place them before God, as we ask for courage to walk in faith.  We must have a going heart.

The next qualifying phrases refer to making disciples.  Although Matthew’s version does not explicitly mention this proclamation, Mark’s version says “go and preach the gospel.”  Thus we make disciples by first proclaiming freedom.  Then we baptize those who respond in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  In other words, we introduce them into the new community with a symbolic act that represents what is happening in their life.  They are dying to the old life and being raised up to a new life in a new kingdom.  This basically represents a person switching allegiance.  What must those spiritual powers think every time a believer is baptized in the name of Jesus?  It must be salt to their wounds as they lose another person from their grip and come one step closer to their judgment.

The next part of making disciples is to teach them all that Jesus commanded.  Part of what Jesus taught was that his apostles would be enabled by the Holy Spirit to lay down the whole truth for the Church of Christ (John 16:12-13).  He didn’t have time to lay everything out for them.  But He would lead them by the Holy Spirit.  Thus the Bible speaks of the foundation of Christ and his Apostles.  The truth must be taught to these new believers so that they too can become teachers and disciplers.

Of course I have continued the diagram to include what Jesus says about himself.  Notice the parallel.  In a sense he says, “This is what you are supposed to be doing, and this is what I will do.”  He promises to be with his disciples always, even to the end of the age.  Thus the promise is not just for the first century and the first disciples.  It is in force as long as is given to the Church to proclaim the gospel and as many generations.  So how is Jesus with us?  Acts chapter 1:7-8 helps us to understand this.

In this passage the disciples wanted to know what would happen to Israel as a nation at this time.  But Jesus tells them to wait for an event in which the Holy Spirit of God would come upon the disciples of Jesus and help them to be the witnesses and teachers that they were called to be.  So, it is through the Holy Spirit that Jesus is with us.  In fact, in some places the Holy Spirit is actually called the Spirit of Christ.  Why?  He is called that because He is not acting on His own, but leading only in the direction that the Son of God desires.  So what is this age that Jesus refers to and when will it end?  The best way to describe it is to see it as a time of God’s gracious offer of citizenship in His coming kingdom to whosoever will.  Of course Satan fights hard to blind people to the truth and even to pull people back away from Christ.  He will never give up until he is completely removed by God (see Revelation 20:10).  Take time today first to pray for the help of the Holy Spirit.  You were never meant to do this alone.  Thus we have the Holy Spirit and we have a community of others who are in communion with the Holy Spirit.  Second, ask God for focus on how to be a witness of His love and His truth.  Ask Him for help to speak the truth in love and with passion.  Yes, you must become convinced that these things are true before you can worship Jesus and serve Him in this purpose of telling the whole world.  This Age of Grace has a point in which it will end.  We are not told a date or number of years.  We are simply told to be faithful.  May God help His Church to be awake and alert in these perilous times.

Sharing Jesus audio

Monday
Jan112016

Believe For Greater Things- Hannah

1 Samuel 1:1-28.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on January 10, 2016.

Again, I remind the reader that this series is an adaptation of a sermon preached by General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God USA, George Wood, at its 2013 biennial meeting in Orlando, Florida.

We first looked at Sarah who laughed at what God promised to do in her life.  Then we looked at Naomi who plodded through until she obtained what God promised.  Today we look at Hannah who wept in the midst of the promises of God.  Hannah’s weeping is not the weeping of doubt and fear, but that of faith that wrestles with God and gives birth to the things that God is building in us and doing through us.  Hannah will stand as an important person as her son Samuel would become a prophet, priest, and judge of Israel.  He would also be the one to appoint and anoint both Saul and David as king of Israel.  Let’s look at this story in 1 Samuel 1

The Faith of Hannah

In verse one it may appear at first that Elkanah is of the tribe of Ephraim.  However, the word can also be used of a person who only resides in that area.  Elsewhere it is made very clear that he is from the tribe of Levi, but lives in Ephraim.  You may remember that the Levites did not have their own “territory.”  Rather they had cities throughout all of Israel.  During this period the temple had not been built yet, and Jerusalem was still under the control of the Jebusites.  Shiloh was the place where the tabernacle was set up and all Israel brought their sacrifices.  This was also not a time of great spiritual fervor.  During the time of the judges Israel was very manic in its faithfulness to God’s commands.  Samuel will become the one to turn Israel back to the Lord and help them navigate the transition from judges to a king.

I will also give a few moments to point out that a polygamous marriage lies at the heart of this story.  Some will point to the fact that God did not outlaw them in the Law as a sign of His approval.  However, Jesus answers this line of reasoning in Matthew 19:8 when he says, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”  If God had given Israel a law that outlawed everything that was sinful, none of them would have survived.  The purpose of the Law was not to correct every wrong.  But rather, it was to convict every one of sin and guilt before God.  The Law was perfect at teaching religious people that they too were sinners, guilty before God, and in need of a sacrifice to cover their sins.  God allowed things like divorce, slavery, and polygamy not because He approved of them, but because they would serve a purpose in His plan of salvation.  These things become word pictures of very real spiritual things that we would not be able to understand otherwise.  Every time we see a polygamous marriage in the Bible, we see friction and problems.  It was not this way from the beginning.  God gives Adam one wife and together they are to become one flesh, working and operating as a cohesive unit before God and the world.  That said, this family does seem to be a family that is devoted to the things of God and worshipping Him.

Hannah’s faith endured difficult circumstances.  In verse 5 we are told that the Lord had closed her womb.  It is common in the Bible to see God as responsible for all things.  This is not the tendency of modern Christians.  We wince at such statements and try to ameliorate them through some means of protecting the righteousness of God.  The ancients did not think this way, or at least the Holy Spirit that was inspiring them did not.  God is not afraid to stand and declare that if something happens then He has sent it.  Of course this raises all sorts of questions and the answers to those things vary depending on the circumstances.  We do know that God never does moral evil.  However, He does allow things that we call bad to happen in our lives.  We are told that He does so because bad things can have good impacts.  We also see throughout the Old Testament that women who are unable to have children are a vital part of God’s plan of salvation.  Sarah couldn’t have children.  Rachel couldn’t have children.  These became a template of the barren made fruitful by the miracle of God.  This did not make it any easier for Hannah.  Her faith had to wrestle with the fact that God had let her be barren.

On top of this verse 6 tells us that the rival wife, Peninnah, taunted and provoked her.  Peninnah had no problem having children and became proud and arrogant over this fact.  She was not content to enjoy her blessing.  Instead she rubbed it in the face of Hannah through mean and spiteful words.  Perhaps, it was more in response to the love that Elkanah had for Hannah.  Regardless, Peninnah makes a choice that is wicked and evil.  Hannah’s faith was severely tested by such persecution.

Instead of lashing back at Peninnah we are told that Hannah wept before the Lord.  She took her pains and sorrows to the Lord in prayer.  The difficulties that we face in life will do one of two things.  It can harden us towards God and man as we learn to take others on and make our own way.  Or, it can break us and soften us towards God and man as we learn to depend upon the way of the Lord.  Hannah chooses the second.  She turns towards the mercy of God rather than to the things of this world to satisfy.  No amount of food will satisfy.  No amount of favoritism from her husband will satisfy.  Nothing in this world could take the place of the mercy of God for her.  A problem that Christians in America have to deal with is the tendency for us to be so satisfied with the many blessings of God in our life that we have little passion for the things that really matter.  We can give intellectual assent to the plight of those who are not believers, but do we weep in prayer over them?  Do we weep in prayer over our spiritual barrenness and the wholesale rejection of God by our society?  Or, do we just shrug our shoulders and move on to the next entertainment?  God help us to have a passion for His things to the point that we are weeping in prayer before Him.

Though our Lord warns us against making vows, in verse 11 we see Hannah making a vow to the Lord.  Notice what she is asking for.  She wants a son and yet she asks not for herself alone, but for God’s purposes also.  Yes in some ways asking for a son is selfish and yet, she then says she will give the child back to the Lord to serve Him at the Tabernacle.  Here we see that having a child is about more than just the physical.  Yes, she wants a child, but she wants the mercy of God more.  Somewhere in her struggles with Peninnah a spiritual insight develops in Hannah.  Two contrasting spirits are depicted:  the proud, arrogant ability of mankind, and the broken feeble frailty of mankind.  Hannah’s prayer is about finding out which of these two spirits God loves.  In fact the love and compassion of Elkanah becomes a picture of God’s love.  God despises the fruitfulness of the proud and arrogant, but He gives grace to the humble and feeble.  The first problem we have with prayer is that of simply doing it.  We are too often guilty of simply not praying like we should.  But, when we do pray, we can make the error of praying for things that satisfy our desires alone.  Thus we become guilty of gobbling up the grace of God without much thought to the purposes of God in giving them to us.  Peninnah was physically fruitful and a blessing to her husband.  But, instead of seeking to honor God with this, she only satisfies her desires.  In that she becomes like the devil and antagonizes another.  The gifts in our lives are given to enable us to serve Him.  They are not badges of God’s approval for which we are entitled to be smug over one another.  Am I guilty of looking at my child as a source of my happiness, fulfillment, and pride, without giving thought to how I can honor the Lord with this young person?  Do I pray for a better paying job without giving thought to how I would honor God with it?  Our actions prove which manner of spirit we are choosing to embrace.

While Hannah is weeping she has a discourse with Eli the High Priest.  It is in this encounter that Hannah senses that the Lord has heard her prayer.  We are told in verse 20 that Hannah gave birth to Samuel.  She raises him until he is weaned and then takes him to the tabernacle to hand him over to the Lord.  The normal joy of raising a child and watching them grow would not be hers.  Yes, she would see him each year and even give him a new change of clothes, but it would only be a shadow of what she would have if she raised him.  Hannah is putting her son on the altar and giving him over to the Lord.  This is a perfect picture of worship.  It is a form of honoring the Lord.  Hannah gives to the Lord what is most precious to her and thus honors Him in front of all, especially Peninnah.  We see Hannah joyful as she worships the Lord even as she gives up what she prayed for.  But for Hannah this is about more than having a child.  If you take time to read the rejoicing prayer of Hannah in chapter 2 you will see that Hannah’s faith took her thoughts much deeper than the struggle between rival wives in a polygamous marriage.  By the Spirit of God Hannah prophesies about an Anointed King (Messiah) that God would send to bring His judgment to the ends of the earth.   In fact this is the first mention of the term Messiah in relation to a promised deliverer.  May God help us to follow the example of Hannah and take our difficulties and the difficulties of people around us to the Lord in prayer.  May we learn to weep over the things that really matter in life and seek the throne of grace for help in our time of need.  May we intercede for our families, cities, nation, and world and weep over the reality that they are lost and without God.

Hannah audio

Tuesday
Aug112015

Undermining God's Purpose

Luke 19:45-48.  This sermon was preached by Pastor Marty Bonner on August 9, 2015.

The term “undermine” has no shocking origin.  It refers to the fact that valuables are often underneath large amounts of overburden (earth that has no value to the miner).  Even though mining has been honed to quite a science we still have cave-ins today.  In 2010 a mine in the Atacama Desert of Chile had a single block of stone break free from the mountain and fall through each layer of the mine in a collapsing chain reaction.  When the dust settled it was recognized that this “stone” was at least 45 stories tall and had trapped 33 miners half a mile under the surface.  It took 17 days to drill a hole to the location of the miners and find out that they were still alive.  After 69 days, the world was able to see these miners return to the light of day.  The greater the thing you undermine the greater the consequences if you don’t do enough to mitigate your actions.

Today, Jesus reminds us that God has purposes that he is accomplishing.  It is easy for his people to lose sight of those purposes and, in fact, undermine them.  The eternal purposes of God are far “heavier” than that 45 story block of stone.  If we do not let God correct us, we will eternally endanger ourselves and the lives of our loved ones, and eventually suffer a spiritual collapse.

Jesus Removes That Which Offends God

On the heels of being declared King-Messiah by the large crowds of people, we see Jesus resolutely head to the temple and begin to clean house.  Over time the leaders of the temple had instigated and allowed practices that were undermining the purpose God had in having a temple in the first place.  Let’s take a closer look at the problem.

The temple presented a very practical, logistic problem.  People were required to bring animals for sacrifice, and those animals needed to be inspected and judged.  Also, once a year a temple tax had to be paid in the Hebrew coinage.  Some people were traveling great distances and thus would have trouble trying to bring animals to Jerusalem.  They would also have foreign money and would need to exchange it to pay the tax.  On top of this many people didn’t have their own flocks and would need to purchase animals once they got to Jerusalem.  Thus people would bring money with them in order to exchange currency and secure an acceptable sacrifice.

Now sometimes the solutions to problems can create other problems.  So, at first, people would get animals in the surrounding area and bring them to the temple.  At some point, the place of getting an acceptable animal kept moving closer to the temple until it was moved into the outer court of the temple (also known as the court of Gentiles).  On one hand this was more convenient for the people and allowed them to buy “pre-approved” animals.  This convenience led to what it always does, higher prices.  In fact Jesus called it a den of thieves.  They were price-gouging the people.  This solution had begun to undermine the purposes of God.  The people were commanded to come, give sacrifice and pay the tax.  Yet, the priests and vendors were taking advantage of that situation to “rob” the people.  When leadership takes advantage of those who are trying to obey God’s commands, it has crossed a line that God will not tolerate for long.  This happens in the Church today.  Many false leaders have taken advantage of the fact that people are commanded by God to believe on Jesus and become a part of his Church.  They undermine God’s purposes as they fleece the flock and abuse their authority. 

Another problem is that the vendors in the court of the Gentiles had become an added distraction to worship.  Now let me first say that even if everything was done perfect, there would still be plenty of distractions to worshipping God.  They still had to bring an animal that would be relieving itself wherever.  They would also have the slaughtering of the animals and other people.  We should never fool ourselves that worship of God in this flesh is meant to be a perfect event.  The flesh is always distracted.  Part of the challenge of a believer is to learn to see God in the midst of those distractions.  In fact, salvation and redemption is messy business.  But the lust for money and convenience was adding more distraction than was necessary.  Also, the rip-off prices would fill the heart of people with anger at men, and ultimately anger with God.  “Why should I come to Your temple and get robbed?  Is this just?”  It is hard to worship when you feel like you have been abused.  Commercialization within the Church diminishes and trivializes our participation within it.  Leaders may think they have created a wonderful thing, but they are undermining the ability of people to truly worship.

God Desires Prayer From All Nations

Jesus reminds the priests that God’s purpose was that the temple be a place of prayer for all nations.  He does this by quoting from Isaiah 56:6-7, which says, “Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants-everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant- even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer.  Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”  Thus God wanted His temple to be a place of prayer, and not just for Israel.  That passage says that God wants to make the Gentiles joyful in his house.  Prayer is basically a person reaching out to God and interacting with Him.  This was done with sacrifices and words.  Whether to cover sins or to honor God, prayer is our approach to God.  The symbolism of the temple speaks to the importance of approaching God correctly.  But we should never lose sight of the main point.  There is a way to approach God, interact with Him, and be accepted.  This is a joyful thing.  Whether we are glorifying Him, petitioning Him, or confessing and repenting before Him, we can know that He accepts us.  This was being lost through the actions of the leaders of that day. 

God’s heart is to take those who are separated from Him and to bring them near.  The whole chapter of Isaiah 56 is worth reading because he is dealing with the reality that some people were separated from going all the way into the temple.  In fact, the closer you got to the temple the fewer people who could continue.  Thus those who were not Jews could only approach the first level.  Then the next level was the Court of Women.  Only the Jewish males could go in to it.  Then there was the temple building itself.  Only the priests could enter the Holy place.  And then only one priest, the High Priest, could go into the Holy of Holies, and it only on one day out of the year.  Some people see this cynically and say something to the affect that they couldn’t worship a God who appears so racist or misogynistic.  However, they are completely misreading the reason for these barriers.  Isaiah 56 is a prophecy to Eunuchs and Gentiles who could feel badly about being separated.  He encourages them not to be discouraged.  You see the whole point was to show that no matter how “qualified” a person was in the flesh, it still couldn’t guarantee their hearts were in the right place.  The High Priest in the days of Jesus wasn’t even a son of Aaron.  He had manipulated and bribed his way into the post.  It was those who were most removed from God in the flesh who were the most easily brought near in the Spirit.  In fact, Israel as a nation rejected Jesus and when the Gospel went to the Gentile nations it was initially received my many.  Thus instead of thinking God is racist, recognize His well illustrated point that no race, biology, sex, station in life, or physical ability can ensure a person’s heart will truly believe God and worship Him.  Yes many worshipped God with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him.

The New Covenant

So what does this say to us today?  Yes, it can apply to us under the New Covenant.  First of all, we should receive Jesus as our King.  Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords, and God requires all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).  There also is no other name under heave given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).  Jesus is the master and we are His disciples.  Thus His Word is authoritative in our life by His position.  Yet, he has also saved our lives by dying on a cross for us.  Thus His Word is authoritative in our life by His value to us. 

We should also let the King cleanse our life.  Jesus knows exactly what it is that is getting in the way between us and God.  If we accept Him as king then we should also accept His judgments of the things in our lives.  He prunes us and enables us to be fruitful.  Thus the true believer in Jesus is in a relationship of learning to surrender to the wisdom of Christ.  It is easy to say that all our sins were covered 2,000 years ago and thus we don’t have to worry about sin at all.  However, this overlooks the fact that to embrace Jesus as our savior is to admit that we need saved, aka “I am a sinner.”  Jesus didn’t die so that we can keep on sinning.  Rather, He died so that we can be freed from our sins and enabled to truly change.

Lastly, we should draw near to God in Spirit and in Truth.  Regardless of what you are in the flesh, God has enabled you to come into the Holy of Holies through Jesus.  Regardless of race, gender, or lineage, you can come into the holiest place of all, the throne of God.  He accepts you not because of your flesh, but because you put your faith in His Son Jesus.  Let embrace and worship Him today!

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