Freely He Came
John 1: 1-14
We gather together today to appreciate the moment, but we also gather together to give thanks for what the Creator has done.
And on this day, He came and dwelt among Us. And when you think of Him, the passage reminds us of three things.
First, He was the word, He was the voice of God. The creative force that forged voice that everything. So, on this day, as we are celebrating parents, cousins, uncles and aunts, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Let’s remember that it all starts with God's word.
Secondly, He is life, He is the 'on switch' for everything that moves, walks, grows and develops. When we talk about life we're not just talking about physical life, not just talking biology. We're also talking about Jesus being the source of spiritual life. The Bible says without that Life, we're dead.
So, we are thankful that God has given us new life in His Son. This new life gives us the right & privilege of being called Sons and Daughters of the King.
And thirdly, He is light. He is the light that cannot be consumed by darkness. He is the light of insight and illumination. Simply put, He is the only way we can clearly see the Father's Love. And if we see the Father's love clearly, then and only then will we be able to express and give it to one another.
So, let's be thankful that this little baby we celebrate today is the divine word, the divine source of life and the light that shines in the darkness. He is the light that pierces the darkness in our lives.
And He is the only reason for joy, peace and happiness today. Thanks be to God.
Freely He died
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in that the Messiah died on our behalf while we were still sinners” Romans 5:8 CJB
Today in The Word, April 1, 1992 was a story entitled Each Chaplain Gave Up His Life Jacket:
Boarding the SS Dorchester on a dreary winter day in 1943 were 903 troops and four chaplains, including Moody alumnus Lt. George Fox. World War II was in full swing, and the ship was headed across the icy North Atlantic where German U-boats lurked. At 12:00 on the morning of February 3, a German torpedo ripped into the ship. "She's going down!" the men cried, scrambling for lifeboats.
A young GI crept up to one of the chaplains. "I've lost my life jacket," he said. "Take this," the chaplain said, handing the soldier his jacket. Before the ship sank, each chaplain gave his life jacket to another man. The heroic chaplains then linked arms and lifted their voices in prayer as the Dorchester went down. Lt. Fox and his fellow pastors were awarded posthumously the Distinguished Service Cross.
These pastors made the ultimate sacrifice for a noble cause. These pastors all understood the honor and value of delivering servicemen to battle. They understood the sacrifices these men were about to make. They understood the value of having soldiers arrive at their destination. Dying for our servicemen would make all kinds of sense.
But Jesus freely gave His life, not for the noble, not for the honorable, not for the righteous but for the sinner, for the unrighteous, and for the reprobate. Our Lord gave His life for those who were distant, who were alien, who were hostile, and who were enemies of His way. Most people wouldn’t make a sacrifice for these kind of people, but representing His Father, Jesus freely did this for us.
As we continue to read in Romans, the passage further teaches that love is best demonstrated by someone giving up their life for the greater purpose of others and the “others” includes enemies, jerks, reprobates, and criminals, not just good people.
That love does three things. The love of God shown to us through Christ insulates us from God's Wrath and from God's judgement, so we no longer have to live in fear. The love of God shown to us through the death of Christ also reconciles us with the Father. As we continue to read in Romans, Paul tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God. In other words, it restores our relationship and creates relational permanence. And thirdly, the love of God shown to us through the death of Christ secures us and not only secures our future, but it secures us and gives us a secure base to live from in the here and now.
So, the amazing thing about love shown to us through Christ’s life and death is that it insulates us from wrath and reconciles us with the Father and secures our relationship with God forever.
We Praise You for the action that was completed by your Son in His life and death on the cross. And we thank you for the love that you demonstrated to us because it reconciles, insulates and secures us. Help us to remember and remain in that love as we live our lives here on Earth.
Deeper reading: Romans 5: 6-11; Romans 8:31-39
Freely he suffered
Hebrews 5: 7-10; Hebrews 12: 1-3
NBC NEWS headline reads:
JUN 27 2016, 8:46 AM ET
Firewalk Participants Defend Tony Robbins After Dozens Treated for Burns
Participants at a Dallas event where about 30 followers of motivational speaker Tony Robbins were burned while walking on hot coals defended Robbins on Sunday, saying the incident had been vastly overblown
The story goes on to say. . . “that 7000 participants have successfully completed the fire walk over 35 yrs of doing the event.”
Those folks probably paid several hundred dollars to attend the workshop that was 3 or 4 days and to sit under the teaching of Anthony Roberts compilation of that event would be the fire walk. Jesus came and he knew a couple of the fiery coals he would be walking on would be suffering, sorrow, shame, hostility, humiliation of the cross.
But . . . He came anyway he freely gave up the privilege and position of being our God, you freely chose to join us and suffer, to show us what the Father's Love looks like.
In a day and age where we are fighting to gain or the keep privilege imposition we read about a God who was willing to give that all up for what. To show us his Father's Love For Us through him. As a consequence, he asked us “to sit under his teaching, to hear under” his teaching, in other words “to be obedient” unto the same privilege of humiliation, shame, hostility, suffering and sorrow at our own crosses. But also with the future promise that we will indeed be with him in heaven and have a place at the right and left side of the Father.
5 7-10 While he lived on earth, anticipating death, Jesus cried out in pain and wept in sorrow as he offered up priestly prayers to God. Because he honored God, God answered him. Though he was God’s Son, he learned trusting-obedience by what he suffered, just as we do. Then, having arrived at the full stature of his maturity and having been announced by God as high priest in the order of Melchizedek, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who believingly obey him.
12 1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
Freely He sent the Spirit
8 “When he comes, he will show that the world is wrong about sin, about righteousness and about judgment — 9 about sin, in that people don’t put their trust in me; 10 about righteousness, in that I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me; 11 about judgment, in that the ruler of this world has been judged. John 16:8-11 CJB
Unnamed missionaries: Russia: Anna* grew up in a dysfunctional, alcoholic family and suffered abuse. At the age of 13, she was forced to live on the streets of Moscow. Anna beat the odds and survived life on the streets. She eventually found a job and place to live. Anna even started attending a church and put her faith in Christ. However, depression continued to plague her.
I met Anna in church and started teaching her ballet, as well as studying the Bible with her. Although she has grown in faith, she has a hard time believing God loves her unconditionally, and that she doesn’t have to work to earn His love.
A few weeks ago, Anna dreamed that God spoke to her. In her dream, He told her how much He loved her and gave her a hug. Anna woke up feeling God’s love and presence in her life in a new way! We are praying that this will be a real breakthrough for her. Please pray with us that Anna would own God’s unconditional love for her and walk in that truth.
As He did in Anna's life, He can speak to me and you. In John 16, John tells us that the Holy Spirit's job is to come, to speak to us, and clarify things. Three things in particular: sin, righteousness, and judgment. It seems that he is saying that the teaching that we have learned about sin, righteousness and judgment from the world has lead us astray. It seems to breed distrust and set up hostility between us and God.
Without the Comforter in our lives we cannot know that God is loving. We cannot know that Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father and freely gives us, because of where He sits, good standing with God the Father. We cannot know that the source of judgment in this world has been judged and his power to judge, to separate, to confuse, and to divide has been conquered and overthrown.
If we just trust Him, He will help us discover that He loves us, that He will hug us, that we matter to Him, and that He's committed to us. He will see us through this life and clarify the things that are Divine from the things that are out of this world.
Help us to dig deeper, to understand farther, and to trust more in Your love, Your mercy, and Your grace for us so that through us other people can know how deeply they're loved by You. Amen
- John 16:5-15
- 1 Corinthians 2:9-16