Christian Living In Light Of The Cross -With New Living Translation

Trop

You may download a printable version of the In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides -NLT here.

Christian Living

 

Brief overview: We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with the principles of heaven. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things which will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. (Rom. 12:121 John 2:6Eph. 5:1-21Phil. 4:82 Cor. 10:56:14-7:11 Peter 3:1-4)

 

Why it is important to understand the truth about Christian living:

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…” 2 Corinthians 5:20.  We are to represent Christ to the world.

Why it is important to understand Christian living in light of the cross:

 

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.  John 14:1-3

Last year I went with a friend to The Tampa Bay Ray’s stadium, Tropicana Field, where we watched the first place Rays defeat the second place Red Sox 2-1.

While at the game I noticed several Red Sox fans. You could easily spot them with their Red Sox shirts, caps, and jackets. I even sat by one. He assured me that the long fly that Ortiz hit to deep right center for an out would have been a homerun at FenwayPark, where the Red Sox play their home games.

I noticed something about the Red Sox fans. They came into our home ball park but still dressed and acted like they would at Fenway. They did not buy the Tampa Bay Rays t-shirts and caps and try to blend in at all. While most of them were very polite and pleasant to be around they still made it clear that Tropicana Field was not their home and the Rays were not their team. They did not mind looking like visitors. They did not mind that they dressed and looked different. They were proud of their team and where they were from.

As Christians, let’s let the world know earth is not our home. While being as polite and pleasant to be around as possible, let’s still let it be known, our home is in heaven, not here. We do not blend in with the world because we are not a part of this world. Let’s not be afraid to look different and act different. Let’s be as proud of where we belong as the Red Sox fans were proud of where they belong.

Further Study on Christian Living

 

Christian living in the family

 

Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship. For the Christian a marriage commitment is to God as well as to the spouse, and should be entered into only between partners who share a common faith. Mutual love, honor, respect, and responsibility are the fabric of this relationship, which is to reflect the love, sanctity, closeness, and permanence of the relationship between Christ and His church. Regarding divorce, Jesus taught that the person who divorces a spouse, except for fornication, and marries another, commits adultery. Although some family relationships may fall short of the ideal, marriage partners who fully commit themselves to each other in Christ may achieve loving unity through the guidance of the Spirit and the nurture of the church. God blesses the family and intends that its members shall assist each other toward complete maturity. Parents are to bring up their children to love and obey the Lord. By their example and their words they are to teach them that Christ is a loving disciplinarian, ever tender and caring, who wants them to become members of His body, the family of God. Increasing family closeness is one of the earmarks of the final gospel message. (Gen. 2:18-25Matt. 19:3-9;John 2:1-112 Cor. 6:14Eph. 5:21-33Matt. 5:3132Mark 10:1112Luke 16:181 Cor. 7:1011Ex. 20:12Eph. 6:1-4Deut. 6:5-9Prov. 22:6Mal. 4:5,6.)

Christian living in the church

 

The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, for service to all mankind, and for the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. The church derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word, and from the Scriptures, which are the written Word. The church is God’s family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head. The 18.)church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish. (Gen. 12:3Acts 7:38Eph. 4:11-153:8-11Matt. 28:192016:13-2018:18Eph. 2:19-221:22235:23-27Col. 1:17,

The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness. (Rev. 12:1714:6-1218:1-42 Cor. 5:10Jude 3141 Peter 1:16-192 Peter 3:10-14Rev. 21:1-14.)

The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children. (Rom. 12:451 Cor. 12:12-14Matt. 28:1920Ps. 133:12 Cor. 5:1617Acts 17:2627Gal. 3:2729Col. 3:10-15Eph. 4:14-164:1-6John 17:20-23.)

The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him, our Lord and Saviour. In this experience of communion Christ is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we partake, we joyfully proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again. Preparation for the Supper includes self-examination, repentance, and confession. The Master ordained the service of foot washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a willingness to serve one another in Christlike humility, and to unite our hearts in love. The communion service is open to all believing Christians. (1 Cor. 10:161711:23-30Matt. 26:17-30Rev. 3:20John 6:48-6313:1-17.)

 

Christian Living and Entertainment

 

 

What should we avoid?

Stay away from every kind of evil.1 Thessalonians 5:22 NLT

What should we not fall in love with?

Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. 1 John 2:15-17 NLT

Note: No one in this world will love and care for us the way God does. God does not want us to let the gods of this earth to come before Him. Not because He is on an ego trip or being selfish but He is jealous for our welfare. He knows He is the only one who cares for us the way He does. No Hollywood celebrity, rock star, or athlete is willing to give their life for us the way Jesus did. Let’s give our live to the One who gave His life for us.

 

 

What is Paul’s counsel?

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Philippians 4:8 NLT

What is David’s resolution?

I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar. I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them. Psalm 101:3 NLT

Christian Living and Dress

 

Can we make our own rules?

I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.  We are not able to plan our own course. Jeremiah 10:23 NLT

What happens when we make our own rules or follow our own inclinations or opinions?

There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death. Proverbs 16:25 NLT 

 

What should we set before the people?
Go out through the gates! Prepare the highway for my people to return! Smooth out the road; pull out the boulders; raise a flag for all the nations to see. Isaiah 62:10 NLT

Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.  Isaiah 62:10 KJV

 

Note: The NLT and KJV tell us to raise a flag or a standard, and also to remove stone or boulders, which could cause others to stumble. This effects the way we dress, as the way we dress could cause others to stumble spiritually.

What are we and what are we to do?

Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.  1 Corinthians 6:19- 20 NLT

What did God tell the people to take off?

For the Lord had told Moses to tell them, “You are a stubborn and rebellious people. If I were to travel with you for even a moment, I would destroy you. Remove your jewelry and fine clothes while I decide what to do with you.” So from the time they left Mount Sinai the Israelites wore no more jewelry or fine clothes. Exodus 33:5- 6 NLT

Note: When God’s people experience revival they remove their jewelry and “flashy” or “fine” clothes. They dress modestly.

 

How does god portray apostate Israel?

I will punish her for all those times  when she burned incense to her images of Baal, when she put on her earrings and jewels  and went out to look for her lovers but forgot all about me,”  says the Lord. 

 Hosea 2:13 NLT

 

How is the corrupt church described?

So the angel took me in the Spirit into the wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, and blasphemies against God were written all over it. The woman wore purple and scarlet clothing and beautiful jewelry made of gold and precious gems and pearls. In her hand she held a gold goblet full of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality. A mysterious name was written on her forehead: “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.” Revelation 17:3-5 NLT

How should God’s people adorn themselves?

And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. For women who claim to be devoted to God should make themselves attractive by the good things they do.  1Timothy 2:9- 10 NLT

What should be the only ornament of a Christian?

 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.  You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.  This is how the holy women of old made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands.1 Peter 3:3-5 NLT

What kind of people are we to be?

 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.  And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.  He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds. Titus 2:11-14 NLT

Worship: Conformity, Compromise and Crisis in Worship

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Sunday’s section of this week’s SS lesson asks, “What are some things your own society does not condemn that are clearly condemned by the Bible? More important, how much has society impacted you and the church in regard to these issues? That is, what things clearly condemned in Scripture might the church take too lightly, directly as a result of the influence of society?”

Things that used to shock the world several years ago are now freely accepted by the church. This makes me wonder, is the church following the Word of God, or just trying to stay a few paces behind the world in paganism? In 1939 the world (not the church, the world) was shocked when Rhett Butler told Scarlett, “Frankly my dear I don’t give a d—n” on the silver screen. Today it takes a lot more than that to shock not just the world but the church. Satan is smart enough to make a small gradual effect on the church. Before you know it, things that the world once saw as sinful, the church within time freely condones. It seems as though sin is relative. Well that’s not a bad movie compared to this movie which is even worse. This swimsuit is not that immodest once you consider what they wear on South Beach. Smoking marijuana is not as bad as Crack.  So, are we trying to follow Jesus, or just make sure we are not following the world too closely? Is our goal to be like Jesus, or is it to just not be too much like the world? Could it be that our goal is actually somewhere in between Jesus and the world? Is the Bible our guide, or is society and the Bible our guide?

Being a single Christian man in my forties I am surprised at how many older Christians believe sex outside of marriage is okay. People will not come right out and say it, but I believe many in the church today think the “no sex before marriage” rule only applies to teens. They bend the teachings of the Bible to agree with what is socially acceptable instead of the other way around. Even homosexuality is gaining acceptance in some churches. We are satisfied with the explanation that they must be born that way, totally forgetting the words of Jesus that we must be BORN AGAIN! Fact is, we all are born sinful so we must all be born again, including the homosexual. Of course the sex and entertainment world is not the only area we have let society dictate. I once heard a pastor in Texas say, “a homosexual church is not in any more open rebellion against God’s Word than is a church that keeps Sunday instead of the Bible Sabbath.”

Ancient Israel did not want to be governed by God’s standards, but rather wanted to have a king and be like the other nations. Today some churches want to gauge their success as though it is a worldly business. Instead of comparing themselves to the Word of God, they like to look at growth graphs and charts to gauge success just like worldly businesses do. When we gauge our success the same way the world does, we then try to use the same means to achieve success. I would like to point out at this time Dueteronomy 13:17-18. “He will increase your numbers, as he promised on oath to your ancestors—because you obey the LORD your God by keeping all his commands that I am giving you today and doing what is right in his eyes.” Success comes from the Word of God and not being socially accepted by society. In modern society we have the same challenge as ancient Israel. Are we going to follow God’s Word, or just stay a few paces behind the world?

There is another and more important question that should engage the attention of the churches of today. The apostle Paul declares that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” [2 Timothy 3:12.] Why is it, then, that persecution seems in a great degree to slumber?—The only reason is, that the church has conformed to the world’s standard, and therefore awakens no opposition. The religion which is current in our day is not of the pure and holy character that marked the Christian faith in the days of Christ and his apostles. It is only because of the spirit of compromise with sin, because the great truths of the Word of God are so indifferently regarded, because there is so little vital godliness in the church, that Christianity is apparently so popular with the world. Let there be a revival of the faith and power of the early church, and the spirit of persecution will be revived, and the fires of persecution will be rekindled.  {Great Controversy, p. 48}

Acts 9; From Persecutor to Disciple

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Acts of the Apostles Chapter 12

This chapter is based on Acts 9:1-18.

And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. Acts 9:17-18

As soon as Saul was converted he was introduced to Ananias and was baptized into the church. He had been called by God. “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ”.  Galatians 1:12 Still God had an elder lay hands on him in Acts 9 and be baptized into the church.

Thus Jesus gave sanction to the authority of His organized church and placed Saul in connection with His appointed agencies on earth. Christ had now a church as His representative on earth, and to it belonged the work of directing the repentant sinner in the way of life.  {AA 122.2} 

 

Many have an idea that they are responsible to Christ alone for their light and experience, independent of His recognized followers on earth. Jesus is the friend of sinners, and His heart is touched with their woe. He has all power, both in heaven and on earth; but He respects the means that He has ordained for the enlightenment and salvation of men; He directs sinners to the church, which He has made a channel of light to the world.  {AA 122.3} 

You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light Of the Cross.

Acts 3; At The Temple Gate

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Acts of the Apostles Chapter 6

The disciples of Christ had a deep sense of their own inefficiency, and with humiliation and prayer they joined their weakness to His strength, their ignorance to His wisdom, their unworthiness to His righteousness, their poverty to His exhaustless wealth. Thus strengthened and equipped, they hesitated not to press forward in the service of the Master.  {AA 57.1}  

A short time after the descent of the Holy Spirit, and immediately after a season of earnest prayer, Peter and John, going up to the temple to worship, saw at the gate Beautiful a cripple, forty years of age, whose life, from his birth, had been one of pain and infirmity. This unfortunate man had long desired to see Jesus, that he might be healed; but he was almost helpless, and was far removed from the scene of the great Physician’s labors. His pleadings at last induced some friends to bear him to the gate of the temple, but upon arriving there, he found that the One upon whom his hopes were centered, had been put to a cruel death.  {AA 57.2} 

      His disappointment excited the sympathy of those who knew for how long he had eagerly hoped to be healed by Jesus, and daily they brought him to the temple, in order that passers-by might be induced by pity to give him a trifle to relieve his wants. As Peter and John passed, he asked an alms from them. The disciples regarded him compassionately, and Peter said, “Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none.” As Peter thus declared his poverty, the countenance of the cripple fell; but it grew bright with hope as the apostle continued, “But such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.  {AA 58.1} 

 In this story what Jesus promised is already taking place; Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.  John 14:10-12

 I believe the church is the body of Christ, and through Christ it is capable of perfectly manifesting God’s love and mercy and bring healing from the power of sin and the diseases that are brought on by the consequences of a sinful world.

 When Peter healed the lame man in Acts 3, he could have taken all the credit, and saved himself ridicule for proclaiming the name of Jesus. The Holy Spirit led Peter right back to many of the same leaders who there in the judgment hall when Peter denied Jesus, to escape ridicule. Just like with us, when we fail on one point God forgives us, but also leads us back through the same situation so that we can get the victory on that point and move on. Peter did not fail the second time. This time, when asked by what power this miracle was done, he boldly declared it was by the power of Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord we can accept the forgiveness of Jesus and experience His victory for ourselves, instead of making the same mistakes over and over again! The second time around, Peter lets God’s love and power flow perfectly through him!

You may find more studies and devotionals at In Light Of  The Cross.

Acts 1; God’s Purpose For His Church

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8

The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to “the principalities and powers in heavenly places,” the final and full display of the love of God.  Ephesians 3:10.  {AA 9.1} 

The Great Controversy between Christ and Satan is over the character of God. Is God love like He says or is He a cruel tyrant as Satan claims? The former quote reminds me of another quote in Christ Object Lessons, “Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.”  {COL 69.1}  What God is wanting to place in the hearts of His people, is not a cold, formal or legalistic perfection. God is a forgiving God no doubt! He is not perfecting the church so that we can earn our way to heaven. Heaven is a gift. God is not watching our every move, looking for something to check off against us on His list. The character is revealed, not by occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts.  {SC 57.2

God is not perfecting His church so they can earn salvation. However He is empowering His church to perfectly represent His love and character to a world starving for love. There is a trial going on. We are not on trial, God is. Satan is accusing God of being a cruel, loveless tyrant. The world is sitting in the jury box, and what God needs from His church is proper representation of His character so that in this trial the jury can make an educated decision about the character of God. God accepts mankind, but mankind will not accept God until it knows for sure that God is indeed the God of love that He says He is. This is where God needs help from His church.

The church is God’s fortress, His city of refuge, which He holds in a revolted world. Any betrayal of the church is treachery to Him who has bought mankind with the blood of His only-begotten Son. From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth. In every age the Lord has had His watchmen, who have borne a faithful testimony to the generation in which they lived. These sentinels gave the message of warning; and when they were called to lay off their armor, others took up the work. God brought these witnesses into covenant relation with Himself, uniting the church on earth with the church in heaven. He has sent forth His angels to minister to His church, and the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against His people.  {AA 11.2}

     Through centuries of persecution, conflict, and darkness, God has sustained His church. Not one cloud has fallen upon it that He has not prepared for; not one opposing

force has risen to counterwork His work, that He has not foreseen. All has taken place as He predicted. He has not left His church forsaken, but has traced in prophetic declarations what would occur, and that which His Spirit inspired the prophets to foretell has been brought about. All His purposes will be fulfilled. His law is linked with His throne, and no power of evil can destroy it. Truth is inspired and guarded by God; and it will triumph over all opposition.  {AA 11.3} 

     During ages of spiritual darkness the church of God has been as a city set on a hill. From age to age, through successive generations, the pure doctrines of heaven have been unfolding within its borders. Enfeebled and defective as it may appear, the church is the one object upon which God bestows in a special sense His supreme regard. It is the theater of His grace, in which He delights to reveal His power to transform hearts.  {AA 12.1} 

 

Everyone in whose heart Christ abides, everyone who will show forth His love to the world, is a worker together with God for the blessing of humanity. As he receives from the Saviour grace to impart to others, from his whole being flows forth the tide of spiritual life.

 

The Jewish leaders thought themselves too wise to need instruction, too righteous to need salvation, too highly honored to need the honor that comes from Christ. The Saviour turned from them to entrust to others the privileges they had abused and the work they had slighted. God’s glory must be revealed, His word established. Christ’s kingdom must be set up in the world. The salvation of God must be made known in the cities of the wilderness; and the disciples were called to do the work that the Jewish leaders had failed to do.  {AA 16.1}

AA=Acts of the Apostles, COL=Christ Object Lessons, SC=Steps to Christ.

You may find more studies and devotionals on my personal website In Light of the Cross.

Jesus Wept: The Bible and Human Emotions, Lesson 1

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area and home of the 2004 Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

These are my thoughts on emotions and principles as we begin our study on this quarter’s Adult Sabbath School lessons. You can download the Adult Sabbath School Lessons onto your android phone here.

” ‘I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy’ ” John 16:20

Hockey is not my favorite sport, but I have been to a few games. I have seen players skating at full speed, miss the puck and slam themselves right into the wall. Some get hurt doing that, but in a few minutes they are right back at it. I am thinking, after I slammed my body into a wall like that, I would be more careful next time. Maybe don’t skate so fast. Maybe don’t try so hard, after all, you could get hurt. While a hockey player’s emotions and passion for the game will not allow him to do anything less than slam into the wall and also the ice at full speed, off the ice we have learned not to let our emotions and passions get the best of us. After getting hurt, we metaphorically skate a little more carefully around the wall and on the ice.

I have talked to people who have all kinds of pets at their home who have told me, they prefer pets over people, because their pets won’t hurt them. At least not emotionally, which is the worst kind of pain there is. People who have been both physically and emotionally abused say they handle the physical pain a lot better than the emotional pain. And to the brain, pain is pain regardless if it is physical or emotional. I have had Bible studies with teenage boys who play games with their electronic gadget games all the time. Some people find their obsession with these electronic games as being anti-social, but I have found over time, that the boys are not anti-social. They just have been hurt many times by people and so they stick to things that won’t hurt them like people will.

While our emotions open the way for grief and sorrow, we are also taught to be wary of emotions. People tell us not to sign any important documents while in an emotional state, just like they say not to drink and drive. It’s just a bad combination. We are told that love is not an emotion but a principle. That is part true and part false. Love is a principle, yes. In Ephesians 5, Paul tells husbands to love their wives, during a time when a lot of marriages were arranged by the parents. There may not have been any emotions or butterflies in their stomachs when they saw their wives. Their wives may not sweep them off their feet, but they were still to love them by following the principle of love which is others first. In order to love his wife, a man needed to put her needs above his own and the same is true today. Love is a principle which is others first.

In our church today we see a lot of emotionalism. Some are concerned that the principles of the church are being sacrificed for all this so called emotional worship. After all, the church has principles and we are not just all about emotions. We have seen drunkards respond to an altar call, sobbing while the music plays, and then the next day they are back on the bottle. We remind them that the church was built on principles and not emotions. Was it? Really? While Jesus was a man of principle He was also very emotional. He cried when He saw others weeping. He cried out over a city He was longing to save. He was emotionally distressed in His own personal Gethsemane. They don’t call it the passion week for nothing. Jesus was a man of principle and a man of emotions.

Consider this, a man and woman can be married and practice all the principles of love, such as putting the other person’s needs before your own. However, that principle alone is not going to produce anything. Now get a husband and wife to add a little emotion and passion to the principle and they will reproduce! Do you think, that maybe, the same God who planned it all out for a husband and wife to combine their passions and emotions with their principles in order to make new babies, also planned it out for His church to combine emotions and passion with our church principles in order to make new baby Christians who will also grow up in Christ to make more baby Christians?

In hockey there are skills and rules and principles that must be learned for a player to ever finally win the Stanley Cup. He can’t just skate his heart out on the ice, crashing into the wall all the time and expect to win. At the same time, he will never win the Stanley Cup without more than a few scrapes and bruises. He has to learn skills and principles, and protect his body, while still throwing his emotions and passions all over the ice to be slammed against the wall and crashed on the ice. So in the church and in life, we must follow principle, we must follow the rules, but we won’t get anywhere trying to protect and hide our emotions and passions all the time. You will never see me on a hockey rink, but I am determined to live my life the way Wayne Gretzky played hockey. I am headed full speed towards the puck or the wall or whatever is ahead. When I fall and get hurt I am getting back up and going full speed again, just like I have never been hurt. I am playing for something much greater than the Stanley Cup! I am so glad I have a Jesus who lives and loves me the way some people play hockey!

Matthew 27; The God-forsaken God

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Here is a sermon I have preached at least 50 times maybe a hundred. I plan on preaching this over and over until I die. I wanted to share it here for this Easter weekend.  It explores the depths of Christ sacrifice for us on the cross. If you would like you can also watch and share it on video. On the list of videos it is the one called “The God-forsaken God”. I have broken it into sections here for those who are busy and don’t have too much time to read.  

   

 
 

 

The Supreme Sacrifice

    

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring” Psalms 22:1 

 

 

 

  What was it that made Jesus’ death the ultimate sacrifice? Many times we think of the physical torture Jesus endured while on the cross, but many have suffered physically just as much. As a matter of fact, if you asked a cancer victim if they would like another year of chemo or six hours on a cross, they will choose the cross over chemo! What made Jesus’ death the ultimate sacrifice goes a lot deeper than they physical pain. He died a death no one has ever died yet. He tasted the second death.      John Huss sang hymns of praise while he was burning at the stake. If Huss could sing as he died for his faith, why wasn’t Jesus singing songs as He died too? Why was He instead crying out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Because Jesus died a totally different death than Huss or anyone else has ever died. Huss died knowing he was accepted of the Father, but Jesus had to be forsaken by the Father in order for us to be accepted.       “Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. ‘With His stripes we are healed.’ ” {Desire of Ages, p 25}  

 

      Crucified, not Stoned   

   “Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And [Pilate] saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify [him], crucify [him]. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify [him]: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”   John 19:5-7      

The law the Jews were talking about is found in the verse below, but notice the law states that one who blasphemes (which Jesus did not do but was accused of doing), should be stoned, not crucified.    

  “And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, [and] all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name [of the LORD], shall be put to death.”  Leviticus 24:16

 

 Notice in the verse below, the Jews were not ignorant of this law. “I and [my] Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.”  John 10:30-31    

   “And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:  His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged [is] accursed of God;)” Deuteronomy 21:22-23      If a man committed a crime worthy of death he could still ask forgiveness and have the hope of the resurrection, but if he was hung on a tree that meant he was accursed of God and it was good-bye to life forever. This is what Jesus experienced for you, so you could experience the acceptance of the Father. “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:6-7   

 

      Accursed of God  

    And Joshua said unto them, Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage: for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight.  And afterward Joshua smote them, and slew them, and hanged them on five trees: and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening.   Joshua 10:25,26    

  By hanging these five kings on five trees, Joshua was saying that they had their opportunity to accept Israel’s God and rejected Him so it was good-bye to life forever. This is the death Jesus tasted for us. He did not taste the death of the righteous as he did not save us from the death of the righteous. He saved us from the death of the wicked, therefore He tasted the death of the wicked. Jesus faced the death of the wicked which meant facing total oblivion Obadiah 1:16.      

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  Matthew 27:46      Jesus had always called God His Father. But on the cross, while He was tasting the death of the wicked, He could not call God His Father. He cried out “My God” and not “My Father.” He was not crying out why have You forsaken me till Sunday morning. You don’t forsake someone when you leave them for the weekend, you forsake them when you leave them forever!      

 

 “Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” {Desire of Ages, p 753}

 

 

   

What God did to His Son

 

   

 

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  Isaiah 53:4

 

 

 Isaiah 53:4 tells us He was smitten not by us or Satan, but by God! This verse is about what God did while Christ was on the cross. Jesus loved you so much He was willing to do way more than endure terrific pain for six hours! He was willing to say goodbye to life forever if that’s what it took to save you! The thought of living eternally in heaven without you was Hell to Jesus!       Sure, Jesus could have come down from the cross and saved Himself. He could have thrown down that crown of thorns and taken back His royal crown. He could have ascended back to His throne and the angels would have welcomed Him with open arms. He could have gone back to those mansions He talked about in John 14. But listen to what He says about those mansions, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 

 

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.”  John 14:2-3.

 

 

 Did you catch that? “That where I am there ye may be also.”  We always focus on the mansions in that verse, but what Jesus is focusing on is the being with you part.       See, while Jesus had mansions, golden streets, a throne and angels who would bow and worship and serve Him perfectly heaven just isn’t heaven to Jesus without you. So the thought of leaving the Cross and ascending back to His throne without saving you, just didn’t appeal to Jesus. Jesus loves you more than He loves life itself. His feelings for you are beyond love- you are His passion. Do you love Jesus more than you love life itself? Is He your passion?   

   

Tasting Death for Every man

 

 

 

 

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”  Hebrews 2:9

 

 

 Some may say, “How could Jesus have died the second death while prophesying of His resurrection?” Good question. Remember though, feeling and knowing are two different things.  Many people know flying is safer than driving, but you put them on a plane and they sure don’t feel safer! Jesus may have known He would be resurrected but He sure did not feel it! Also the Bible tells us He tasted the second death in the verse above.        Jesus obviously has not tasted the first death for every man, we taste that death ourselves. The first death Jesus does not even call death, He calls it sleep. Jesus did not taste sleep for every man, He tasted death, the second death. Jesus never lost faith in His Father. But His faith was not in His own salvation but in your salvation!       

 

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?  Romans 8:32

 

 

 

God gave all when He gave His son! Jesus was willing to say goodbye to life forever to save you! He gave all of His life! Will give Him all of your heart?

 

 

   If you would like to talk to me about giving your heart to Jesus, you may contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net    

For more Easter devotionals click here Click here for “Was the Atonement for an Angry God or an Angry Race?”