Tuesday, 11/2/21 – Pressing on… The Four Words and You

The Four Words and You

This past Sunday our brother James Harrison spoke on the topic “Four Words that will Change Your Life.” Whether one realises it or not, each one of us is in desperate need of hearing these words – of hearing these words spoken to us by Christ.

The four words are these: “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:48).

These words must be spoken to us by Christ for, as their first hearers in another such instance rightly judged, “Only God can forgive sins.” (Mark 2:7, NLT).  And Christ indeed is God!

We prefer in our pride to compare our shortcomings with the comparably greater shortcomings of others, and one can always find a far worse sinner than oneself when one only searches among the fallen. But God demands we compare ourselves against His holiness. This is not an unfair standard. It is the unfortunate (for us) fact of God’s Nature that as light precludes darkness His holiness excludes all sin. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Jesus commanded (Matt. 5:48, c.f. 1 Pet. 1:15). “…without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews warns (Heb. 12:14).

The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them,” Paul writes young Timothy. These perhaps are those made plain when measuring one man against another. But God looks upon the heart (1 Sam. 16:7); He sees not only the visible sins of flesh and fancy, but also those sins of one’s spirit, as the verse continues, “… the sins of others trail behind them.” (1 Tim. 5:24). Whether or not we yet see our sinfulness the objective reality of it and our desperate need to hear the four words remain. Once heard, these words will indeed transform.

What must you do to hear these words? You must first come to this recognition of your unrighteousness in His sight. You must realize your helplessness to make matters right and acknowledge that His pure sacrifice in your behalf is the only plea upon which you may secure pardon. You must confess to Him this trust, turn away from all known sinful behaviour, make Him your Lord to obey and begin to grow by prayer, ongoing surrender daily, in Word and in fellowship with like believers.

Do these, and as John makes promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). You will know He has spoken the four words to you, and your life will begin to change.

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Friday, 7/9/21 – Tough Question: Could Jesus have sinned?

Could Jesus have sinned?

I think this is such a difficult question for us because it is finite and fallen minds that are trying to grasp it. But I’ll give it a try…

At the outset, there are a few things that scripture identifies as certain.

  1. Jesus was genuinely tempted: “ …for forty days he was tempted by the devil.” (Luke 4:2). “[Christ] …was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15).

  2. Jesus never actually sinned: “[Christ] committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth” (1 Pet. 2:22). “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf…” (2 Cor. 5:21a). “…tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (Heb. 4:15). “…in Him there is no sin.” (1 John 3:5b).

But the question is, Could Jesus have sinned? Was Jesus impeccable (unable to sin), or was He peccable (able to sin)?

The temptations Christ experienced were indeed very real, although of necessity a bit unique. For example, have you ever been tempted to turn rocks into bread? To leap off a tall building forcing angels to your rescue? To kneel before Satan to close a deal for all the kingdom’s of the world?

Similarly it is pretty safe to assume Jesus was never tempted to cheat on His Income Tax, envy or steal another person’s possessions (He owned all things anyway), or lust after a woman. In Christ God indeed became a very real man, but not a fallen man. Having no fallen nature which the devil might entice “God cannot be tempted by evil” (James 1:13b).

Yet still, He was tempted.

But could He have sinned? Could He have opted to turn a few stones to bread? Perhaps we find a clue in part of last Sunday’s message. If you recall, I mentioned how Christ acknowledged “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does…. By myself I can do nothing” (John 5:19, 30a).

And don’t we all feel that way when we are facing temptations? The flesh wants to say ‘yes’ and by itself it can do nothing to stop itself from yielding; but the spirit says ‘no’ and when we choose it we find victory!

John notes something interesting regarding this. He says, “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God.” (1 John 3:9). And “We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.” (1 John 5:18).

When God is in full control of us, we cannot sin either! And in Christ incarnate, God was in control at all times! What an example for us to strive to emulate!

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Monday, 3/30/20 – Pressing on…

Christians on the Checkerboard

20191220_091803There’s an optical illusion which has long amazed me. Perhaps you have seen it. It’s hard to believe, I know. Yet it is completely true: both checkerboard squares ‘A’ and ‘B’ are exactly the same shade!

woman in red long sleeve shirt holding her clothes

The reason our brains are tricked by this illusion is that we tend to view things in relation to the things around them. I remember when I was a rough and tumble kid my mom would say the reason she bought me darker colored jeans was “They don’t show the stains as much!” She was depending on the power of illusion to hide my soiled condition.

The devil can play that same trick on us! When Christians stray away from fellowship with other believers they can begin to see themselves in relation to the behaviours and values of the world rather than to the behaviours and values of the kingdom of God!

20191220_091821But God’s standards remain unchanged. His call upon us is to bring light into darkness, not to turn down the dimmer to blend with the sinner. Not that we believe ourselves to be without sin… no, no, no! But we who claim Christ our Lord and Saviour have a mandate to fear as well as to love our Lord. It is the fear of the Lord that purges our sin.

blur bokeh bright close up

We are called also to be lights in this world. To be bright lights in this world we need to be shone upon by the Brightest Light, revealing the dirty spots and soiled bits which need removal so we might shine unhindered. When we stray from that Light we are poorly illumined, blinded from seeing that darkness within us.

Jesus said “…if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt. 6:23). I think these words have application here. Just as our physical eyes can get accustomed to the dark so can our spiritual eyes. Soon we think a darkened room is bright, but it is not. We need frequent contact with the sun to show us just how dim the room really is.

Let the fiery brilliance of the Son purge you. Fear His rebuke. Embrace His Love.

 “By the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.” (Prov. 16:6)

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart…” (Deut. 6:4; Matt. 22:37; Luke 10:27).

More tomorrow…

To see and hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church… look for the March 29 upload. Or, link to the page from the church website.