Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hope in Christ

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,  “therefore I will hope in him." (Lam. 3:22-24, ESV)
Hope is seen even in Judah's worst moments.  Jeremiah reminded them and us that "the Lord's love never ceases…"
The prophets words remind us to trust in God because "The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him" (Lam. 3:25, ESV). 
Are you one who is seeking?  Jesus says, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8, KJV).
The Lord has provided “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3, KJV).  He has provided salvation (Matthew 1:21; John 3:16-17; Hebrews 5:8-9), redemption (Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Ephesians 1:7), sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:13), and justification & peace with God (Romans 4:25; 5:1, 16, 18).
What Jesus has provided is HOPE for all mankind – a faithful expectation.
Paul speaks of this hope to Christians at Rome:
Romans 5:1-2, ESV “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
Romans 8:24-25, ESV “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”
Jesus Christ is the “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27, KJV).  He provides all that we ask and seek. The prophet Jeremiah said “the Lord is good to those who wait for him and to the soul who seeks him.”  May we ever study and come to know Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Jesus said that we must believe in Him (John 8:24), repent of our sins (Luke 13:3), confess our faith in Him before others (Matthew 10:32-33), be baptized for our salvation (Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:38; 22:16), and ever live faithfully to Him (Matthew 10:22; Revelation 2:10).  For this is God’s plan of Salvation and the only HOPE for the world (John 14:6).

~Wayne Rodgers

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Precious Blood Of Christ

Redemption is defined as the act of delivering from sin or saving from; Repayment of the principal amount of a debt or security at or before maturity; the act of purchasing back something previously sold.[i]  Josh McDowell wrote: “If Jesus Christ was who He claimed to be, and He did die on a cross at a point of time in history, then, for all history past and all history future it is relevant because that is the very focal point for forgiveness and redemption.”[ii] The apostle Peter wrote:

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1:18-25).[iii]
As Peter unfolds by inspiration that which is most “precious” when it comes to our redemption, we are reminded: that it is not with “corruptible things” (v. 18), that it was planned before the foundation of the world (v. 20), that it is found in the Gospel (v. 21), that in it souls are purified (v. 22), and that we are born again of incorruptible seed, the word of God (v. 23-25).  Let us consider verse nineteen of this passage noticing the precious blood of Christ.
Thayer defines “precious” as that which is of great price, held in honor, esteemed, held especially dear.  Consider its use in scripture: “There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat” (Matthew 26:7), “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord.  Behold the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it…” (James 5:7).
The apostle Peter speaks in chapter two of Christ as “chosen of God, and precious” (2:4) and as the “chief corner stone, elect, precious…” (2:6).  In Second Peter, Peter wrote of the Christian’s “like precious faith” (2 Peter 1:1).
As the definition indicates something of a great price, consider the great price of the church.  Luke wrote: “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).  The church is held in high honor, esteemed, and held especially dear because of the great price which was paid: The Son’s Blood!
Why blood?  While most cringe at the mere thought of it, few like to speak of it.  Yet, it is vital for atonement.  The closest literal meaning from the origin of the word means: “AT – ONE”.  This idea is seen in both testaments:
Exodus 32:30 “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin.”
Leviticus 1:4 “And he shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering; and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him.”
Leviticus 9:7 “And Moses said unto Aaron, Go unto the altar, and offer thy sin offering, and thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself, and for the people: and offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; as the LORD commanded.”
Though the English word “atonement” is not found in our New Testaments in the KJV, it is seen in the word “reconciliation” of Romans 5:11 - “More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”  It is also seen throughout New Testament teaching in the following verses:
Hebrews 10:4 “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.”
1 John 1:6-10 “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Revelation 1:5 “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”
Not just any blood will do!  Not mine, not yours, not an animal’s…only that of Christ.  The Hebrews’ writer spends a great deal of time dealing with this subject under the theme of “the blood of Christ is better” (Hebrews 9:6-14).
The designation of “Christ” occurs 522 in the KJV denoting that Jesus was anointed or consecrated to His great redemptive work as Prophet, Priest, and King of His people.[iv]  Jesus of Nazareth was proved to be the Christ.  John the Baptizer spoke of Jesus as “the true Light”, the “Word made flesh”, “one preferred”, and “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world” (John 1:6-29).
Jesus spoke of himself: “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions” (Matthew 22:41-46).
Peter spoke of the Christ answering Jesus: “thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), and his entire sermon on the day of Pentecost was concerning the Christ: “Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you…” (Acts 2:22).  Peter went on to say:
“Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses” (Acts 2:29-32).
Paul spoke of the Christ, as well:
Acts 17:2-3 “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.”
1 Corinthians 1:23 “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;”
1 Corinthians 2:2 “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
Acts 18:5 “And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.”
Because Jesus is the Christ, His precious blood can wash our sins away.  To the Christian, the blood of Christ is SO DEAR!  To the Sinner, the blood of Christ is SO VALUABLE!  To the God of Heaven, the blood of Christ is SO HONORED AND ESTEEEMED!

[iii] All verses from King James Version of the Bible, electronic edition unless otherwise noted.
[iv] Easton’s Bible Dictionary, electronic edition.

This article was published in the Preachers Favorite Passage at: