Glimpses of Grace; Oblivian

I am writing this morning from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, [so] shall all the heathen drink continually, yea, they shall drink, and they shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.  Obadiah 1:16 

On the cross, Jesus loved you so much, that He faced going into total oblivion to save you. To save the wicked He must die the death of the wicked. He did not die the death that the righteous die, which has a hope of a resurrection, as the righteous still  die that death themselves.  Jesus calls the death with a hope of a resurrection “sleep.” See John 11:11-14. The death with no hope of a resurrection is called “death” indeed. See Hebrews 2:9.  In order for Jesus to save the wicked He must face the death of the wicked. 

When Jesus cried out, “My God My God, Why hast Thou Forsaken me” He was not asking why God had forsaken Him till Sunday morning. If that were the case Jesus would not have felt forsaken. He would have felt secure knowing the Father would resurrect Him on the first day of the week. 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} 

There was no sense of self preservation when Jesus went to the cross for you. Tonight, January 6, at 7pm we will be having a special agape feast and communion service, led by Pastor Brad Cassell, to celebrate this agape love at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church. I would like to invite you if you are in the area. If not, here you can find a church in your area of the world to celebrate God’s great grace.

Glimpses Of Grace; Forgive Our Enemies

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV

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 25

What I need to remember, is not only did Christ become sin for me, He also became sin for those who have hurt me. Not only was Christ treated the way I deserved to be treated, so that I can be treated the way He deserves to be treated, but He was also treated the way my enemy deserved to be treated, so I can now treat my enemy the way Christ deserves to be treated.

If the cross is good enough to cover my enemy’s sin, it will also be good enough to cover my sin. If all the terrible things that happened to Jesus on the Christ are not enough to cover my enemy’s sin, then it won’t be enough to cover my sin either.  Forgiving my enemy is not saying what they did was okay. When I forgive my enemy, I am saying that I recognize Jesus’ sacrifice as a suitable payment for sin. When I refuse to forgive my enemy, I am insulting Jesus and telling Him His sacrifice meant nothing to me and is not a valid payment for sin.

If you are in the Tampa Bay area this Friday, January 6, at 7pm, I would like to personally invite you to an agape feast and communion service, at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church, where we will be celebrating God’s agape love.

If you are not in the Tampa Bay area, then please click here to discover God’s agape live near you, anywhere in the world.

Garments of Grace; The Coat of Different Colors

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Download the SS quarterly to your cell phone here.

But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:7 NIV-UK

As we take a look in this week’s SS lesson, on the life of Joseph, I would like to share something that I find very encouraging. While Joseph’s brothers treated him very badly, we see them make a complete change. They are repentant and converted. Joseph even refers to them in Genesis 45 as preserving a remnant? A remnant of what? Well in Revelation 7, Joseph’s family has characteristics that reflect God’s remnant church. Sure they had issues. In Revelation 3, God’s last day remnant church has issues as well. It is the only church of the seven churches that the True Witness has nothing good to say about! Yet Jesus calls this church to repent, and since there is no 8th church I have to believe that it does repent. Since Joseph’s family represents the remnant church, I believe they illustrate how God’s remnant people repent, and show us today what true repentance is.

Earlier, Joseph’s brothers had sold him into slavery in Egypt. They told their father he must have been attacked by a wild beast. This of course broke their father’s heart. Years later, when Joseph has made it to the throne of Egypt, his brothers come to buy food. Joseph tests them before revealing himself to them. His final test proves their repentance. Accusing Benjamin of being a spy and a thief, he attempts to lock him in prison. Benjamin is Joseph’s full brother, and son of the mother that Jacob truly loved and wanted to marry in the first place. The father did not want Benjamin to go on the trip after losing Joseph. Now, Joseph is threatening to put Benjamin in prison for spying and stealing. Read how Judah pleads to be thrown in prison instead. “Now then, please let your servant remain here as my lord’s slave in place of the boy, and let the boy return with his brothers. How can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? No! Do not let me see the misery that would come upon my father.” Genesis 44:33-34 NIV-UK. Judah is showing true repentance. Earlier in Genesis 44 Judah explains how they broke their father’s heart when he lost his first son. Judah is saying that he has broken his father’s heart before, and he will not break his father’s heart again. In fact he would choose to die and rot in a prison cell before he would let his Father’s heart be broken again. So will God’s last day Laodicean people repent as well, when they say with all their heart, “We have broken our Father’s heart before, and we will not break His heart again!”

2 Thessalonians; Compromise Harms The Church More Than Does Persecution

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

GC= Great Controversy

 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.  {GC 48.3} 

     The apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, foretold the great apostasy which would result in the establishment of the papal power. He declared that the day of Christ should not come, “except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” And furthermore, the apostle warns his brethren that “the mystery of iniquity doth already work.” 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 7. Even at that early date he saw, creeping into the church, errors that would prepare the way for the development of the papacy.  {GC 49.1} 
     Little by little, at first in stealth and silence, and then more openly as it increased in strength and gained control of the minds of men, “the mystery of iniquity” carried forward its deceptive and blasphemous work. Almost imperceptibly the customs of heathenism found their way into the Christian church. The spirit of compromise and conformity was restrained for a time by the fierce persecutions which the church endured under paganism. But as persecution ceased, and Christianity entered the courts and palaces of kings, she laid aside the humble simplicity of Christ and His apostles for the pomp and pride of pagan priests and rulers; and in place of the requirements of God, she substituted human theories and traditions. The nominal conversion of Constantine, in the early part of the fourth century, caused great rejoicing; and the world, cloaked with a form of righteousness, walked into the church. Now the work of corruption rapidly progressed. Paganism, while appearing to be vanquished, became the conqueror. Her spirit controlled the  church. Her doctrines, ceremonies, and superstitions were incorporated into the faith and worship of the professed followers of Christ.  {GC 49.2} 
     This compromise between paganism and Christianity resulted in the development of “the man of sin” foretold in prophecy as opposing and exalting himself above God. That gigantic system of false religion is a masterpiece of Satan’s power–a monument of his efforts to seat himself upon the throne to rule the earth according to his will.  {GC 50.1}