She was made for this – as was I. As are you.

One of the best things about being a child of God is to know what your Father is like. You see, we don’t live in a world where He is missing and can’t be known, but with every molecule He is making His glory clear to the children of this world. With every blistering sunrise as it creeps over a distant horizon to every drop of rain that falls He is making one thing very clear – He alone is God.

Not only is He telling us that He is God, but also that He is good.

I remember entering into the room where I would ask my Bride to marry me; I was shaking with excitement and humbled to tears. With everything that happened that day I remember one thing was very clear, that God was there. He was there as He always is, making and molding us until He stepped back and said, “It is good. It is very good.”

And good it has been! And by faith, it will always be.

I have been married for about two months now, and I cannot begin to draw up all of the sweetness from the depths of this joy. She is kind and sweet, bold and wise, perfect and perfectly flawed, acquainted with truth and grace. There is no glimpse at a sunrise or galaxy that paints a more beautiful picture of the majesty of God as there is in the company of my Bride. She was made for this – as was I. As are you.

We were made to reflect the image of the knowable God. Our hands were made for grace and our mouths were made for praise. We are His workmanship. We are ambassadors in the foreign land of this world to make the majesty of the true King known.

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As we approach another day, how are you looking for the knowable God? Is He there in your day, or is He hidden? Are you looking? Better still, how are you the display? How are you carrying the torch of freedom into the barren land of shame that most of us live in? God is so greatly beyond compare, making beauty from the ashes! Do you feel like ash? Oh how marvelous and terrific you are and made for His glory! Be still. Be grateful.

DRAGONS CAN BE BEATEN

Summer is finally here, and I am finally out of college! —-Yes, it took me five years – we call that taking a victory lap.

So, with all of this extra time that I have found, since I am not writing papers or having to read text books, I have been able to pick up some books that I normally wouldn’t have the chance to read.  I chose a couple of classics of course: The Narnia series and The Lord of The Rings.

I forget just how wonderful it is to hear language that is so big and imaginative. (Sad that some of my THEOLOGY books aren’t described that way)

I was reading The Horse and His Boy, the third installment of the Narnia series, last week when I was just taken back by how Aslan (the Lion) was described by C.S. Lewis. It’s as if he searches the depth of the English language and uses all things good to describe this larger than life Lion that makes you want to take a deep breath and hope that something about him is real. Which of course, if you know what Aslan represents, is true. He is real.

The point being, language takes us into a deeper place of imagination and reality.

Imagination, in that it makes us think and meditate on things with an air of wonder about them. A trip to the moon; Pirates fighting on a sea of ramen noodles; A giant Lion who heals the sick and conquers death. Imagination brings us to places that we may never see, but we’ll surely hope for.

Reality, in that there is something about our imaginations that don’t just tease with our minds about things that aren’t real, but rather make the things that are real around us more wonderful. I think that is what is so special about letting our imaginations run wild. We get the world we live in a little sweeter; we get the world to come with wide-eyed wonder.  Can you imagine what God has prepared for us!

G.K. Chesterton, a 19 century theologian, says this about fairy tales:

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

Understanding the wonder of language better than anyone, Jesus used to tell His disciples stories too. Stories that still fascinate the world 2,000 years later.

I want to encourage you this Summer as you may find yourself with some extra time to please consider grabbing a good book and letting your heart leap for joy at the world that God has made for you. This one, and the next.

Amplify the truth,

Austin

Church Words – Mercy

Church Words – Mercy

 

Holiness – Glory – Redemption – Grace

 

Grace: God___giving____ us something that we _do___ ___not___ deserve.

Mercy: God _not__ ___giving____ us something that we __do__ deserve.

 

Ephesians 2:1-10

 

Ephesians 2:1-3

j And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body1 and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.2 But3 God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; cit is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

 

You Were Dead! – Children of Wrath.

 

If we say that _sin__ is no big deal, then we say that __God__ is no big deal.

 

Sin: There is an infinitely valuable, powerful, rich, wise, loving God; the ultimate source of happiness, the ultimate source of peace and rest, the soul-satisfying God.

And we say, “I don’t want you…You’re not good enough…I don’t trust you.”

 

Problem with Sin: There is a completely loving, soul – satisfying, peace giving God in whose presence is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11), hope, peace, rest, delight!

And you can’t have Him!  Sin separates us from God. 

Isaiah 59:2 “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

 

 

Ephesians 2:4-   But God!!!

 

But3 God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.

 

 

Life Preserver Illust.

 

 

 For by grace you have been saved through faith.    Eph. 2:8

 

Church Words – Redemption

Church Words – Redemption

 

Intro:  last few weeks messages….Holy & Glory

 

Illustration: money bags – telescope/microscope – contours and shapes not ambiguous and complete mystery.

 

 

What is redemption?  What is redeem?

Repurchase…regain possession of.

 

“to set free by the payment of a price” – Bought is the Greek word agorazo, which pictures a slave being purchased in the ancient public slave market. Christ purchased believers out of the slave market of sin and set them free.

 

 

 

 

 

The benefits of redemption include forgiveness of sins

 

 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins,  according to the riches of his grace,  Ephesians 1:7

 

Propositions:

 

In Him – Jesus

 

we have redemption –  There is our word redeem. So, if we are ‘bought back’ we must have been removed or separated.

 

through His blood – He bought us back with His blood – see 1 Peter 1:18-19 *

 

the forgiveness of our sins – He ‘bought us back” He payed for sin…What does someone have to pay for sin with?   Romans 6:23. **

 

according to the riches of His grace – The sweet and incredible GIFT of buying us back. We didn’t earn it, but He gave us redemption.

 

 

Let’s put it all in a sentence.

 

In Jesus, we have been bought back to God, and our sins have been payed for by His blood which we did not earn but receive as a delightfully wonderful gift.

 

Why did He redeem us?  Joy/delight   (He wants to give you the best thing there is…Himself)

 

He had to have the desire to redeem us (we are valuable in His sight)

 

 

* 18 knowing that you rwere ransomed from sthe futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,19 but twith the precious blood of Christ, like that of ua lamb vwithout blemish or spot.  1 Peter 1:18-19

 

** Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Jesus said to him, “I am lthe way, and mthe truth, and nthe life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

freedom from the law’s curse 

Galatians 3:13

13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written,”Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” –

 

adoption into God’s family

Galatians 4:5

5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.

 

 deliverance from sin’s bondage 

Titus 2:14

14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

 

 

 

 

Church Words – Glory

Church Words – Holiness

 

 

God’s holiness is what separates Him from all other beings, what makes Him separate and distinct from everything else. God’s holiness is more than just His perfection or sinless purity; it is the essence of His “other-ness,” His transcendence (set apartness). God’s holiness embodies the mystery of His awesomeness and causes us to gaze in wonder at Him as we begin to understand just a little of His majesty. He is one of kind.

Completely unique – love, mercy, wisdom, etc…  inability to be defined

 

1 John 1:5 – God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (pure)

Revelation 15:4 – Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. (alone – only you)

Exodus 15:11 – “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness…” (different)

Psalm 145:17 – The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. (Just / right)

 

 

As obedient Children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

 

– Obedient children (Romans 8:12-17)

  • Do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. (Romans 12:1-2)
  • Holy in your conduct (sinless purity)

– Be holy as He is holy. (Leviticus 20:26)  (As He is supremely valuable – seek after that which is supreme – Jesus)

 

 

 And if you call on Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 

 

– Judges impartially according to each one’s deeds (Matt 16:27)

– Conduct yourselves with fear.

– ransomed not by perishable things but with the blood of Christ.

  • Like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.    (The gospel is the display of God’s holiness and His glory)
  • The cross: This is how much He was willing to pay to make you happy in His holiness.

 

 

He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

 

– He was foreknown before the foundation of the world.

– Was made manifest for you.  (He has forever been holy)

– God raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory.

– So that your faith and hope are in God.

 

 

 

Church Words – Holiness

Church Words – Holiness

 

 

God’s holiness is what separates Him from all other beings, what makes Him separate and distinct from everything else. God’s holiness is more than just His perfection or sinless purity; it is the essence of His “other-ness,” His transcendence (set apartness). God’s holiness embodies the mystery of His awesomeness and causes us to gaze in wonder at Him as we begin to understand just a little of His majesty. He is one of kind.

Completely unique – love, mercy, wisdom, etc…  inability to be defined

 

1 John 1:5 – God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (pure)

Revelation 15:4 – Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. (alone – only you)

Exodus 15:11 – “Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness…” (different)

Psalm 145:17 – The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. (Just / right)

 

 

As obedient Children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

 

– Obedient children (Romans 8:12-17)

  • Do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance. (Romans 12:1-2)
  • Holy in your conduct (sinless purity)

– Be holy as He is holy. (Leviticus 20:26)  (As He is supremely valuable – seek after that which is supreme – Jesus)

 

 

 And if you call on Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 

 

– Judges impartially according to each one’s deeds (Matt 16:27)

– Conduct yourselves with fear.

– ransomed not by perishable things but with the blood of Christ.

  • Like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.    (The gospel is the display of God’s holiness and His glory)
  • The cross: This is how much He was willing to pay to make you happy in His holiness.

 

 

He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

 

– He was foreknown before the foundation of the world.

– Was made manifest for you.  (He has forever been holy)

– God raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory.

– So that your faith and hope are in God.

 

 

 

Liberty And Justice For All

Most of us know the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19, how they were a people filled with sexual immorality, and most commonly associated with homosexuality.

Well, their infamous destruction isn’t all that it seemed to be.

We tend to believe that God rained down fire and ash on the city because of some licentious  behavior, but in fact, it may have been for a different reason.

Look at Genesis 18:19

“19 For I have chosen him (Abraham), that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”

The Lord is calling on Abraham to lead in “keeping the way of the Lord”.

What is that? Verse 18 says, “by doing righteousness and justice.”

Here is a look at what the book of Isaiah credits the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah to be:

“16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, 17 learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. 18 Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:”

They were a people of injustice. They weren’t merely a sexual immoral people, but a Godless city of pain and social repression.

What we typically think of when we read this story is how unfair that it is that God would destroy a people just because of their sexual orientation. That is not what He did.

We tend to take that even a step further and find it unfair that God would judge anyone, and therefore rebuke all of His judgement.

But think about what judgement actually is.  Think about what justice actually is.   There is no mercy without it.

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were suffering under oppression from a lack of justice in their city. Isaiah says that there was no justice for the fatherless or widows (Isaiah 1:17).

You see the picture of how God’s intervention would be saving and wonderful to some, and awful to others.

But the cool thing about this story is how Abraham views it earlier in chapter 18. There he makes an argument with God that since He is a just God, then would He destroy the city if there were fifty righteous people in it? God replies: No.

Abraham then proceeds to reduce that number of righteous people – testing his luck with God – all the way down to ten people. To which God replies: No. I will not destroy the city if there ten righteous people in it.

Abraham is essentially asking God if someone else’s righteousness is able to save someone else’s wickedness. To which God replies: Yes.

What Abraham never gets to is asking God if one righteous person could spare the punishment for many people. To which God would have replied: Yes.

The problem with Sodom and Gomorrah is that there were none in the city that were righteous; no not one (Romans 3:12).

The gospel is justice for all of us. God is coming to save the oppressed and judge the oppressor.  We are both.

Our sin holds us torment and we need a savior. Our sin makes us tormentors and we need to be taken captive.

God’s mercy comes radically from His justice.

One righteous man can save not only the city, but the hearts of all peoples, of all nations, for all times if we just believe in Him.

Thank you, Jesus.