Why God Needed to Make Peace With Heaven

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. Colossians 1:19-20 NLT

Why did God need to make peace with heaven? This verse right here may help us understand just how real the war in heaven was. Even after Lucifer was cast out, those who remained may have still had their doubts. Did God really love them, or did Lucifer have some good points about God just being a tyrant? On earth Eve was convinced God did not care for her and she needed to eat the fruit and disobey, if she really wanted to be happy. While all this was going on, is it possible some of the remaining angels in heaven still had some questions? Have you ever been loyal to a boss not because you thought he was fair, but because you did not see any way out? So out of fear you remained loyal to him, still wishing you weren’t in that situation? If so, what did it take for you to reconcile the situation so you could have peace at work and not just conformity?

When the Son of God died on the cross He was not just atoning for Eve taking a piece of fruit she was told not to. Eve’s disobedience was a symptom of her doubts. The Cross of Christ did not just take care of the symptoms of sin. The Cross took care of sin itself! The Cross removed all doubt about God’s love. All questions in heaven and earth are answered at the cross! There can be conformity while rebellion is still in the heart. The cross goes way beyond bringing us into conformity and outward obedience. The cross replaces our thoughts of rebellion with peaceful thoughts towards God.

That which alone can effectually restrain from sin in this world of darkness, will prevent sin in heaven. The significance of the death of Christ will be seen by saints and angels. Fallen men could not have a home in the paradise of God without the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Shall we not then exalt the cross of Christ? The angels ascribe honor and glory to Christ, for even they are not secure except by looking to the sufferings of the Son of God. It is through the efficacy of the cross that the angels of heaven are guarded from apostasy. Without the cross they would be no more secure against evil than were the angels before the fall of Satan. Angelic perfection failed in heaven. Human perfection failed in Eden, the paradise of bliss. All who wish for security in earth or heaven must look to the Lamb of God.-Ellen White, Signs of the Times, December 30, 1889

Some have the idea that once we get to heaven, God will flip a little switch in the back of our heads that makes us stop sinning. After all, we will be in heaven and so we automatically won’t sin right? Wait. Where did sin begin? Heaven! The reason why humans and angels will not sin, is the same reason why God reconciled both heaven and earth to Himself. The cross of Jesus. The cross cures the root cause of sin which is doubting God’s love. The reason there will be no sin in heaven is not due to a mechanical correction that the flip of a switch will fix. The reason there will be no sin in heaven will be because the cross will cure humans and angels alike from ever doubting God’s love, and thinking we need anything God has not given us. There will be no reason to rebel. Rules without relationship causes rebellion. The love of Christ on the cross removes our fear of God, so we are not afraid to have an intimate relationship with Him. With our relationship cured we will have no reason to rebel. We won’t be conformists. We will be free thinking moral agents who are at peace with God because God is love.

You may study this week’s SS lesson here.

Joyce, Robert and Bradley

In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!.  Luke 15:7 NLT

There was much rejoicing today in heaven and at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist church this morning! Bradley was baptized, showing heaven and earth the love for Jesus that has been in his heart for some time now.. Joyce and Robert also took their stand for Jesus and their commitment to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Please enjoy the pictures and short stories.

Seeker's Class Picnic(Click on pictures to enlarge)

A few years ago the evangelism team had a special July 4th celebration at our church. Joyce, who lives in the neighborhood saw our sign and joined us. She had such a wonderful time she has been coming ever since. She joined my Seeker’s Sabbath School class, which is pictured here on a recent picnic, where we had class at the park. Joyce is on my right. Joyce has also joined a small study group, that Mike and Karmin help me lead out. She also was in the Best Weigh program with me, and was a big source of encouragement with all of her success. We already considered Joyce a part of our church family, but this last fall, during our “One Hope” evangelistic meetings, Joyce filled out a card asking to become a member. Joyce, who was already baptized into the Methodist church, where she faithfully loved and served Jesus for many years, joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church today on profession of faith.

Joyce writes, “I learn a lot about God in this church, and everyone is very friendly. I feel very comfortable in this church.”

Robert was a part of the Seventh-day Adventist church a while back, when the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist church was on Nebraska Avenue. Sadly, Robert and the church parted ways back then, but God has brought healing and that relationship has been restored. Robert has been back with us for about six years, and today, after meeting with Pastor Brad rejoined the Seventh-day Adventist church family. Welcome back Robert!

Robert says one of the reasons he is back,is becasue the Seventh-day Adventist Bible doctrines all make perfect sense.

Bradely

Bradley has been preparing for baptism for some time. He has attended my baptism class at Tampa Adventist Academy, and as pictured here, in my 5th and 6th grade Bible Chain referencing class, where he is learning with the rest of his class to give Bible studies and share his faith. Bradley’s sister Heather, has a small study group for teens at her house. While Bradley is not quite a teen yet, he attends and participates in the studies.

Vows

Pastor Brad went over the baptism vows before we voted Joyce, Robert and Bradley into membership.

Bradley writes: “I want to be baptized to wash away my sins and start a new life with Jesus.”

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“In their early years children may be useful in God’s work. . . . He will give them His grace and His Holy Spirit, that they may overcome impatience, fretfulness, and all sin. Jesus loves the children. He has blessings for them, and He loves to see them obedient to their parents. He desires them to be His little missionaries, denying their own inclinations and desires for selfish pleasure to do service for Him; and this service is just as acceptable to God as is the service of grown-up children.”  –Adventist Home, Page 486

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” For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him.” Romans 6:4-8 NLT

Bay Sunset

Please don’t let the sun go down on your life before you choose to be baptized and give your life to the One who gave His life for you. “Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT I would love to visit with you about making this step. You can contact me at laypastor@TampaAdventist.net