This Thursday is Thanksgiving and I have so much to be thankful for. My biggest blessings are my wonderful family and church. Thank you for all of your support and encouragement. If you’re traveling this week, please be safe. Take some time to count your blessing and give thanks to the Lord for those around you who enrich your life. Thank you for the blessing you are to me!
Friday night, I got back from Sri Lanka and Thailand and on the way home the Lord was impressing on my heart how essential it is for us to remember He required only the sacrifice to be without blemish. The one who brings the sacrifice (you and me) is presumed to be a mess. That’s incredibly good news to me. It’s seems very sad to me that most of Christianity has become more about the Christian than the Christ. Each time we pursue self-improvement projects for ourselves and others we miss out on the transformative power of Christ. In some respects we might be able to modify certain behaviors but my sense is that our sins become more sinister, dark, and hard to deal with. Never forget the Gospel is Good News because it is Jesus + Nothing = Everything! Righteousness attempted by changing behavior puts its focus on self and while it may wear the mask of humility it’s really just about pride. In Romans, Paul says we aren’t sinners because we sin but because we were born sinners (in Adam). We aren’t righteous by doing right but because we’re born-again in Christ.
Romans 5:18–19 “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
Adam’s first sin was incredibly destructive and with horrible consequences. We didn’t become sinners by committing our first sin, we were born that way. That’s the bad news and I guess you have to really understand the bad news before you can fully appreciate the good news. If you think you’re a sinner because you sinned then you’re going to make the mistake of thinking the answer to the problem is to stop sinful behaviors. But the problem is much deeper than just our sinning, it is our sin nature. That’s where our incredible loving and gracious Father comes in. He sends His Son to become sin and die on the cross so by His perfect sacrifice we can receive a new nature and be made righteous. This is what it means to be born-again. The finished work of the cross is far more powerful than the sin of Adam. Jesus took our guilt, shame and condemnation and made us righteous! We don’t become righteous through self-effort and dogged determination. Righteousness is a gift we receive. Jesus offers life to all men.
Have you ever received this gift of righteousness? Remember, it isn’t about how good or bad you are. It really isn’t about you at all. Righteousness isn’t earned by being blameless but only and always given by the blameless One. We all come to Him the same way, sinners in need of a Savior. In our brokenness, in our weakness, in our failure God, meets us and transforms us. He makes us righteous. You are who God says you are!
We are well on our way to meeting and exceeding our goal of $15,000 for our Christmas missions offering to share God’s love and life with those afflicted with leprosy and AIDS in South Asia. As God leads, you can make an offering, marking your check “Christmas Missions” in the memo section, and the church will keep a record. If you’d like to support our missions projects while shopping for Christmas you can shop on Amazon through the link below and they will send us a gift from the proceeds.
If you weren’t able to be in services today and would like to watch our latest missions video please copy and paste this link into your browser: https://www.youtube.com/
Have an incredible week. I’ll look forward to seeing you Sunday.
You are loved!