Poetry Saturday—Christ Jesus Lay In Death’s Strong Bands

Christ Jesus lay in death’s strong bands,
For our offenses given;
But now at God’s right hand He stands
And brings us life from heaven;
Therefore let us joyful be
And sing to God right thankfully
Loud songs of hallelujah.
Hallelujah! 

It was a strange and dreadful strife
when life and death contended;
the victory remained with life,
the reign of death was ended;
Holy Scripture plainly saith
that death is swallowed up by death,
his sting is lost forever. 
Hallelujah!

Here the true Paschal Lamb we see,
whom God so freely gave us;
He died on the accursed tree—
so strong His love!—to save us.
See, His blood doth mark our door;
faith points to it, death passes o’er,
and satan cannot harm us. 
Hallelujah! —Martin Luther

The Ministry Of Reconciliation

Ministry of reconciliationWhen couples are divorcing, their most common complaint is summed up in two words: irreconcilable differences. The couple is saying that things have gotten so bad―and the distance between them has gotten so vast―that there is no hope at all of ever patching things up.

Sometimes we might be able to say that both husband and wife shared some of the blame. But this isn’t true in a spiritual divorce. When we are separated from God, it’s all on us. Paul describes us as powerless sinners, unholy enemies of God (see Romans 5:6, 8, 10). We did the leaving; we are the problem.

But in the desire to bring reconciliation, God puts it all on Himself―more specifically, on the death of His Son Jesus on an old rugged Cross. In Romans 5 Paul says our reconciliation was through Christ five times in just three verses (vv. 9-11).

As if it weren’t amazing enough that Christ’s death on the Cross saved us, justified us, and reconciled us, giving us a brand new start (2 Corinthians 5:16-17), God then gave us the same ministry that He undertook through Jesus: the ministry of reconciliation (vv. 18-19)!

What Jesus purchased for us on an old rugged Cross allows us to “become the righteousness of Christ” (v. 21). Not reflect His righteousness, not talk about His righteousness, but actually become His righteousness!

We have the supreme privilege of being able to bring the message of reconciliation to others who used to be where we were: powerless sinners, unholy enemies of God!

We have the awesome joy of being God’s righteousness to people who think their irreconcilable differences will keep them from God!

The greatest act of serving you could ever do for anyone is telling them that they can be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ’s work on an old rugged Cross!

Absolutely amazing!

We’ll continue our look at the Old Rugged Cross next Sunday, and I’d love to have you join me at Calvary Assembly of God.

No Plan B

The Old Rugged CrossIn my family, what starts off as Plan A at the beginning of the day is highly likely to end up as Plan K-13 by the end of the day! We just try to be flexible and roll with the changes.

But we must be careful about giving the characteristic of “flexibility” to God—He doesn’t need to be flexible and modify His plans. He has no Plan B; everything is His Plan A.

Jesus is described as being the sacrificial Lamb from before the dawn of Creation (1 Peter 1:18-20). And in Heaven Jesus is still known as the Lamb that was slain (Revelation 13:8 and 5:5-6). Jesus coming to earth to die on an old rugged Cross was always God’s Plan A. The whole time Jesus Christ was on earth, He knew what was happening.

Here are 5 things Jesus knew. He knew…

  1. …when His time had come, and that all things were about to be fulfilled through His crucifixion—John 13:1, 3
  2. …the exact sequence of events leading up to His death on Calvary—Matthew 20:17-19
  3. …the immutability of the Scriptures—Matthew 26:53-56
  4. …the infallibility of the Scriptures—Luke 24:25-27
  5. …that God would be glorified in fulfilling His Plan A—John 12:27-28

With this in mind, here are 5 things we should know. We should know…

  1. …that all my days were written down before the dawn of Creation—Psalm 139:16
  2. …God loves me more than I can fathom—Psalm 139:17
  3. …my life was always intended to be a part of God’s Plan A—Ephesians 2:10
  4. …no weapon formed against God’s Plan A for me will succeed—Isaiah 54:17
  5. …that God will be glorified in fulfilling His Plan A in my life—Romans 8:28

The old rugged Cross reminds us that God’s Plan A was always for Christ’s death to make it possible for our lives to make sense!

As Andrew Murray wrote: “God fully relied on His Son to see to it that His honor was respected. And in Jesus we too may bravely enter this covenant without fear that we will not be able to fulfill it. We can rely upon Jesus to see to it that He will bring everything to completion. Jesus has not only discharged our old debt but also undertaken the responsibility for whatever else may be required.”

I’ll be continuing our series on The Old Rugged Cross this Sunday, and I hope you can join me.

Links & Quotes

link quote

“That is the religion of ninety-nine English people out of every hundred who know nothing of divine grace—we are to be as good as we can; we are to go to church or to chapel, and do all that we can, and then Jesus Christ died for us, and we shall be saved. Whereas the gospel is, that He did not do anything at all for people who think they can rely on themselves, but gave Himself for lost and ruined ones. He did not come into the world to save self-righteous people; on their own showing, they do not want to be saved.” —Charles Spurgeon

Twitter stands up to ISIS. About time!

bu-030415-1Interesting research results from The Barna Group in What Millennials Want When They Visit Church.

“The engagement of God’s power never takes the place of the engagement of our will! The power of God in sanctification never makes us passive! The power of God engages itself beneath or behind and within our will, not in place of our will. … God will never appear with power in your will in any other form than a good resolve that you make and keep.” —John Piper

“Jesus is Amen as to His righteousness. That sacred robe shall remain most fair and glorious when nature shall decay. He is Amen in every single title which He bears; your Husband, never seeking a divorce; your Head, the neck never being dislocated; your Friend, sticking closer than a brother; your Shepherd, with you in death’s dark vale; your Help and your Deliverer; your Castle and your High Tower; the Horn of your Strength, your confidence, your joy, your all in all, and Amen in all.” —Charles Spurgeon

Read this in my Archeological Study Bible and thought this rang true for our generation still today: “This generation was not guilty of the gross idolatry of its forefathers. Rather, these Israelites had embraced a kind of dead orthodoxy, in which they tried to get by with the minimum that their faith required.”

The Old Rugged Cross

The Old Rugged CrossThe Apostle Paul traveled the known world preaching and teaching. Luke preserves some of his sermons for us in the Book of Acts, and Paul’s letters reveal the depth of and breadth of his Spirit-inspired thoughts. But of all the doctrines which this eminent apostle taught, there was one truth that stood out as the foundation for all others—

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).

The work that Jesus Christ did on an old rugged Cross is absolutely the most central message of all others. Without the Cross, no other doctrine makes sense.

Sadly, we spend far too little time looking at the Cross.

Join me this Sunday as we take a long look at the Cross and the Lamb of God Who was sacrificed on it. Our series is simply called The Old Rugged Cross.

Links & Quotes

link quote

Some good reading from today…

“Married women are notably safer than their unmarried peers, and girls raised in a home with their married father are markedly less likely to be abused or assaulted than children living without their own father.” See what else Eric Metaxas shares in Men Who Serve And Protect.

“A rejection, or in Scripture’s strong language, a crucifixion of the natural self is the passport to everlasting life. Nothing that has not died will be resurrected.” —C.S. Lewis

“If Bible Christianity is to survive the present world upheaval, we shall need to recapture the spirit of worship. We shall need to have a fresh revelation of the greatness of God and the beauty of Jesus. We shall need to put away our phobias and our prejudices against the deeper life and seek again to be filled with the Holy Spirit.” —A.W. Tozer

The state of California is going to pay abortion providers more money to kill babies. Guess where the funds are coming from? Yep, those doctors who are trying to save lives will be paid less! Bishop Jaime Soto speaks out.

Planned Parenthood wrote an open letter saying the word abortion is not mentioned in Scripture, so that somehow makes it okay to kill innocent lives. Pastor Garrett Kell has a wonderful, biblical response.

In a Family Talk interview with Ryan Dobson, here are some great quotes from Nick Vujicic: “Fear will disable you more than your physical limitations. … When we give God our broken pieces, he can turn our broken pieces into something beautiful. … You’re not important because of how many people know you; you’re important because you’re a child of God. … Don’t be a bystander, be on stand by. I will not allow a bully to bully others. I will not laugh at his jokes, I will not remain silent. I will stand up and say ‘Enough is enough.’”

“Our resources are the Christlikeness we win while immersed in battle. They are the lessons, the faith, the character we gain from warfare with the enemy.” —David Wilkerson

Simplicity

Simplicity does not mean watered-down, nor does it mean dumbed-down. Simplicity means as clear as possible.

Sometimes I get so grieved when I hear a pastor trying to “simplify” the gospel message for people. That definition usually means that they are removing any of the parts which might cause people to feel uncomfortable. That is not simplicity, but it’s a sell-out!

J.C. RyleHere’s how J.C. Ryle defined it—

“All the simplicity in the world can do no good, unless you preach the simple gospel of Jesus Christ so fully and clearly that everybody can understand it. If ‘Christ crucified’ has not His rightful place in your sermons, and sin is not exposed as it should be, and your people are not plainly told what they ought to believe, and be, and do—your preaching is of no use!” (emphasis added)

Pastor, by all means make the gospel clear, but make sure people do hear all of the gospel.

%d bloggers like this: