Christ Over All: Christ is Your Life

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Each Monday I’ll be putting up my sermon notes and audio file for the sermon series from Forest Hills Baptist Church “Christ Over All: A Study from Colossians”. This is an edited copy of my sermon notes, not a transcript of the sermon. You can listen to the sermon audio above or directly for at the church’s website

“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (Colossians 3:1–4, ESV)

Can people really change? We tend to be skeptical don’t we? We seems to be pessimistic about people’s ability to change, including Christians.

That lady in our Sunday School class who continually gossips and complain, seems to be destined to do so forever.

That Negative friend who always tears everyone else down always tends to be negative forever.

That brother who is enslaved to the brown bag of liquor seems to never be able to break away from his slavery.

The prideful pastor who thinks so highly of himself continually looks down on others as inferior.

The teenager who seems addicted to pornography and just can’t seem to break away from the enslaving pictures on his computer screen.

The husband who seems unable to love his wife because he lusts after other women seems to forever do so.

As we encounter these people and even ourselves it is easy for us to just throw up our hands and say, “He’s just being who he is, people never change!”

Yet, the Bible teaches us that people can change. A prideful punk kid named Joseph becomes a humble obedient servant of God. A weak and cowardly man named Gideon went on to be a mighty warrior for God. The bloodthirsty Paul who made it his life work to kill Christians became the world’s greatest Christian missionary. Change is possible and the Bible is filled with stories of men and woman who change when they encounter God.

Yet, we tend to be very confused about the Christian life often thinking we can do it ourselves within our own might or we tend to just throw up our hands and give up! How do people truly change? How can we really grow in our Christian walk? How do we deal with these sins that seem so enslaving to us?

The key to true change rests in our identity in Christ. As we study Colossians today we will see that, We must have our identity in Christ if we hope to live the Christian life.

Colossians So Far

To understand the significance of these four verses at the start of Colossians 3 we have to understand the rich theology and doctrine that Paul has been teaching us so far. He begins the body of his letter by celebrating Jesus who is the image of the invisible God. He highlights Jesus as the divine creator who is pre-eminiant over all. Just like our series title states, Christ is Over All. He rules and has authority.

Paul has also been teaching heavily on our union with Christ. Paul emphasis that the identity and life of the Christian is tied to the person of Christ. By faith we are united to Christ and we live our life in him. We are saved by the blood of Christ as he reconciles us back to the father. Through Jesus’ life and death we are united, wedded to him by grace.

Therefore, we should not go back to worldly rules and regulations for they are of no value and unable to truly change. Paul has addressed the false teaching happening in the church warning them and condemning these false teaching as worldly and of no value. Rules and regulations cannot get us any closer to God and rules and regulations cannot change us. Behavior modification seems to be all the rage today as we try to manage our vices through will power, but Paul tells us that its an empty pursuit. You can’t change your heart by managing your external behavior. True change must go deeper. We can’t truly kill the weeds in our life by mowing them down. We must get on our hands and needs and allow the Spirit to pull up our sin by the root.

The puritan John Owen said it like this, “mortification from a self-strength, carried on by ways of self invention, unto the end of a self-righteousness, is the soul and substance of all false religion in the world…all other ways of mortification are vain, all helps leave us helpless; it must be done by the Spirit.”

Colossians 3:1–4 serves as a pivotal change in the book of Colossians. Largely what has been taught in Colossians so far is deep teaching and doctrine. These first four verses mark the transition from Paul’s teaching of doctrine to his applying it in the Christian life. Christian Doctrine and Application are not two separate ideas. Christian thinking must always lead to Christian living. Paul takes these four verses in Colossians 3 in order to help demonstrate how our union with Christ fuels the ethical teaching he begins to teach in chapter 3. True change results from finding our identity in Christ. The more fully we understand our union with Christ the more our life is filled with Christ’s life. Paul in these verses actually is going to make an even bolder claim - You cannot live the Christian life without first being united to Christ by faith.

Two Great Mistakes When it Comes to the Christian Life

Many Christians tend to be confused over the essence of the Christian life. From my observations (and also from Paul as we’ve seen in Colossians) there tend to be two opposite but equally dangerous understandings of the Christian life. Before we talk about what the Christian life is, lets first talk about what it is not. Here are the two mistakes in understanding the Christian life.

1. The Mistake of AntiNomianism

AntiNominanism is simply the idea that as a Christian we simply don’t care about holiness or the Christian life at all. AntiNomianism literally means “against the law”. The first dangerous mistake about the Christian life is to not care about the Christian life at all. These so called Christians will point back to some point of time in which they made a decision for Christ but then go on to live completely apathetic to Jesus. These people really don’t care what Jesus says about their lifestyle. “Who cares if I sin, I made a decision twenty years ago”. These people continue to live in sin, unrepentantly thinking Jesus doesn’t care about their sexual sin, their materialism and selfishness, and their entertainment choices. Those who reject the Christian life think of salvation as simply a get-out-of hell free card like you’d pick up in the monopoly game. Salvation for them is just fire insurance, something to pick up before they die, but completely avoid the Christian life. These are the professed Christians who refuse to belong to a church, refuse to repent from sin, and refuse to live out there faith in any visible way. These are those who claim to be healthy trees but who produce bad fruit, not good fruit.

“he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.” (Colossians 1:22–23, ESV)

2. The Mistake of Legalism

An equally dangerous mistake in the Christian life is to think that the Christian life is what causes us to achieve salvation. This is the mistake of legalism. Its the complete opposite of antinomianism. While antinomianism says I’m saved so who cares how i Lives, legalism says “I care how I live, so that I can be saved”. Legalists put up rules and regulations and intensely pursue good Christian living in hopes that they might be good enough to garner salvation. Legalism rejects grace and salvation by faith in exchange for a works based righteousness. The legalist thinks that what saves him is his own goodness, not the grace of God. Paul also addressed the danger of legalism in colossians too doesn’t he?

“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—” (Colossians 2:20, ESV)

So the Christian life is not anti-nomianism meaning Jesus doesn’t care how I live at all, and the Christian life is not legalism meaning I have to live the Christian life to earn my salvation. What is the correct way to think about the Christian life?

The Correct Understanding of the Christian Life

The Christian life results from understanding who we are in Christ and we live our life out of that identity of being in Christ.

It is important we understand the order Paul gives us. He first lays out the indicatives of the Gospel, before ever giving us the imperatives. What are indicatives - Well those indicative verbs are those that express meaning and identity. The indicatives tell us who we are. So in Colossians 1–2 Paul has been outlining who we are in Christ. At the start of Chatper three he tells us “If then you have been been raised” or “For You have died”. In other words, Paul says that before we have any hope of living the Christian life we must first and foremost understand who we are in Christ.

Paul is preparing to outline for us so very practical ethical teaching of the Christian life. He is going to spend most of chapter three telling us how the Gospel impacts our life. How it tells us to put off an old sinful morality in exchange for a new morality and new life in Jesus. However, it all hinges on this important clause at the start of the chapter. Paul only admonishes us to attempt to live these things out because we have been united, and thus raised in the new life of Christ. “If then you have been raised with Christ”

So the indicatives of the Gospel - Who we are in Christ always come first. The imperatives are the commands - Do this, do that. So Paul says if you have been raised (indicative), seek the things that are above (imperative) the imperatives always come after the indicatives. This importance is crucial and the antidote to the mistake of anti-nominanism and legalism. It corrects both of the mistakes. When we are truly born again, saved by faith in Jesus it changes who we are. We have a fundamental change in identity. That identity then leads to new behavior and a new life.

So our identity in Christ leads to new action. Just what is our identity though in Christ? Who are we know that we are in Jesus?

  • In Christ, I am perfectly righteous, given the righteousness of Jesus I now stand before God blameless before him.
  • In Christ, I am a blessed given all the inheritance of heaven as my possession and given new life.
  • In Christ, I am adopted into the family of God. I live my life as a son or daughter of the king of kings.
  • In Christ, I am accepted though other people might reject me or mock me, in Jesus I have the full and permanent acceptance of God.
  • In Christ, I am reconciled through the blood of Jesus God has brought peace to my soul and I am no longer an enemy of God, but his friend.
  • In Christ, I am new. My old life has passed away and I am now a new Creation in Jesus Christ. My past no longer enslaves me because in Jesus I have his new resurrected life.
  • In Christ, I am protected from the powers of darkness and my own sin. God holds me in his hand.
  • In Christ, I am victorious as I live my life in the resurrected victory of Christ, though sorrows and defeats may come in this life, my life is sealed in the victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.
  • In Christ, I am loved greater than I ever hoped to be because God saw me at my worst and still choose me to be his child.

You see, when we understand our identity that is in Christ, when we grasp the indicatives of the Gospel then we have the Spirit’s power to enable us to live out the imperatives of the Gospel. True change in the Christian life results of seeking to live our life out of our new identity in Jesus Christ.

  • Because I’m righteous in Christ, means that I seek to live righteously because that’s who I am.
  • Because I’ve been made holy by Jesus, this means I hate my sin and loath it and long to rid it from my life.
  • Because I’m God’s child, it means I want to live in a way that bring honor to my Father seeking always to obey his will.
  • Because I am a new creation, its foolish for me to go back to an old sinful way of living.
  • Because I am victorious in Christ, sin no longer has an enslaving hold over me and can be put together by the Spirit’s power.
  • Because I am accepted in Christ, I can live my life without fear of failure. Though I may fail in defeating my sin, God in his grace covers my failure in Christ’s acceptance.

This is why Paul gives the indicatives “You have been raised” before he gives us the command “Seek the things that are above” or “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth”. As we seek to live our Christian life we must always seek to live out our identity that comes from our union with Christ.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

Our Life is Christ

Another principle from this passage that is hugely important from this passage is that all of our life belongs to God. If we understand that the Christian life is a change in our identity and a change of who we are, it means that all of our life must be lived out in that identity. If we are joined to Christ by faith, it means all of our life is his!

We tend to compartmentalize our life so much as Christians. We have our life broken up into neat little segments that should not intersect with one another. I have my work life, family life, entertainment, life, church life, spiritual life, financial life all separated in individual containers that don’t interact or touch. This is not a correct understanding of the Christian life. The Christian understands that Jesus is the center of everything he does. All areas and compartments of our life come under his authority. Our identity in Christ must be evident in every area of our life. From what we say to what we watch, from what we read to how we spend our money. Christ is Lord over every inch of our lives. Christ is over all your life, not just a segment of your life. Christ is either Lord over all, or he is not Lord at all.

“If God be God over us, we must yield him universal obedience in all things. He must not be over us in one thing, and under us in another, but he must be over us in every thing.” - Peter Bulkeley

What areas of your life is not under Jesus authority?

Understanding the Christian Hope

Paul fleshes out this idea that if our life is in Christ, if we have both died and raised with him then our life is hidden with God. The idea behind this word hidden is not so much a secret, but God’s protection. When we turn our life over to God and place our life in his hands. When we by faith make him Lord over all, we place our life in good hands.

Al Parish was a professor from my college Charleston Southern University. He was an economics and business professor who garnered quite a lot of prestige in the community. But, it came to find out that Parish squandered nearly $90 million from about 460 investors in what the government called a massive Ponzi scheme. His personal wardrobe alone was valued at $2 million. His chartered-jet travel bills ran as high as $1 million, authorities said.

Many in the Charleston community had put their lives savings in this man’s hands to manage for them. The investment and trust in this man proved to be incredibly tragic.

How opposite is this from us trusting our lives to God! When we hide our lives and place them in his hands, he will not lose us and he will not disappoint us. Rather, by the power of God we will be preserved continuing in Christ as we seek to live the Christian life. When we are united to Christ it is a permanent union that cannot be separate though we fail in stumble. If we have truly been born again and if our identity has truly changed by the grace of God, our life is hidden with Christ.

When Christ appears, this Christ who is our very life, we too will also share in his glory. How amazing is this! We who were sinners, who were enemies with God have now been brought into share in the very glory of Christ. Because we are connected and united to him by faith when Christ comes again we will not only be saved from our sins but we will share in his glory.

God in his divine power will make sure we become who God says we are. As we seek to live the Christian life we struggle and its often tough killing our sin and living in obedience. Yet, When Christ our life appears this long pilgrim journey called the Christian life will come to fruition. In a twinkling of an eye we will be changed. The process of our sanctification will be made complete and those whom God has justified he will glorify!

Can We Change?

So can people really change? Yes, but true change only comes by having a change in identity. True change can only come by receiving a new heart.

Do you want to change? The first thing you have to ask yourself is do you know Christ? Have you turned from your sins and given Christ your life. Have you put your faith in Jesus and trusted him as your savior and as your Lord? If not, change will continue to be an impossible task. Sure you may be able to change a behavior here or there by your will power, but you cannot change your heart. Only God can do such a thing. If you do not know Jesus, I invite you to come and put your faith in him and experience a new identity that gives you the power of God to truly change.

For those of you seeking to live out the Christian life, remind yourself of you who are. Remind yourself of your identity with Christ, and let the incredible transforming love of God shape you and mold you into his image. Yes, the Christian life can be difficult. Putting to death our sin is tough work as we will see next week, but it is possible and it is possible only because God has given you a new identity through Jesus. Christian, Christ is your life. Do not put the imperatives before the indicatives. Today in your struggles remind yourself of who you are in Christ and rest in the fact that when Christ is your life, by the power of God when he returns your journey will come to an end and you will appear with Christ in perfect glory.

How Do We Change This World?

This world is broken. If you've watched the news at all the past few months it seems to be more evident than ever.  This world needs change.  How are we going to do it? It seems like everyone has a cause this day. Everyone is fighting for change. Young people in particular seem to have a zeal for social issues plaguing our day – world hunger, sex trafficking, racial injustices, poverty, and the list goes on and on. It is amazing to me that so many have a zealous desire to make a difference and to make this world a better place. I too have that same desire and passion. I want my life to make a difference. I’d love to see so many of the social issues plaguing our society to be transformed, yet I am a pastor. Many have a bad taste in their mouths when it comes to pastors and many consider the church and its theologizing to be a distraction (at best) or the cause (at worst) of the social ills that plague our society.

As a pastor one of my chief tasks is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all people. Why bother proclaiming the Gospel when there are so many hurting people and social woes? Isn’t proclaiming the Gospel an inefficient use of time to make a difference in this world? Not only do many non-Christians think this way, but unfortunately many Christan’s do too. The Gospel of Jesus is not a distraction from changing the world, but rather it is the only catalyst and hope for humanity. If we want to truly transform the world in which we live, there is no better way to do it than through proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus and calling people to believe in him. Let me give you three reasons why.

1. Only the Gospel Deals With Sin

Our modern secular world has no concept for sin. As we look at a broken world that includes child abuse, sex slavery, and mass murder the secular world has no terminology to explain what is happening. The reason for the broken of the world is the evil of sin, brought about through the rebellion of humanity. The fundamental problem of this world is not poverty or slavery or rape, the greatest problem is human sin. All these other social justice issues are just simply axils to the center cause of it all – sin.

Only the Gospel gets to the core of whats wrong with us. Education reform, gun control, and other political reforms cannot transform the depraved human heart. Only the Gospel of Jesus riches down to us in our core and causes us to be changed from the inside. Only in the Gospel are we born again as new creatures in Jesus Christ. That leads us to the second point.

2. Only the Gospel Changes People

Sure we may be able to modify our behavior with therapy or will power, but only the Gospel changes who we really are. True change happens as the Spirit of God brings new life within. If we really want to see our society change it will happen as God brings revival within the hearts of people as the Gospel spread to the ends of the earth. What can change a murders heart or who can transform a child molester? Only the grace of God.

3. Only the Gospel Advances God’s Kingdom

As the Kingship of Jesus advances throughout our world in the spread of the Gospel, then society transformation will follow. Social reform follows the Kingship of Jesus, it does not cause it. As more people turn from their sin and make Jesus the Lord of their life, the kingdom of God will spread. As God’s people begin to fill this earth then and only then will society be changed.

God’s kingdom will not fully come until Jesus returns again and establishes his kingdom here on earth. Until he returns the society woes will continue to plague us as the painful throbbing of our brokenness continues. Yet, until Jesus returns the proclaiming of the Gospel should be the chief work of every Christian (not just pastors). If you really want to see the world change seek to advance the Kingdom of God.

Only Jesus can bring racial reconciliation.

Only Jesus can help us channel our sexual desires in a way that glorifies God.

Only Jesus can give the spiritual riches of his inheritance to those who are poor.

Only Jesus can fill the stomachs of the hungry with the all satisfying bread of life.

Only Jesus can take the adulterer and offer forgiveness.

Only Jesus can penetrate the darkness of this world with the light.

Jesus is the hope of this world. As we fight for social causes – and we should – lets make sure we keep the Gospel in the forefront of all we do. Lets seek to advance the kingship of Jesus through the preaching of the Gospel and as that happens by God’s grace may we see this world changed.

The Reminder of the Cross

Today is the day in the Christian calendar when we remember and reflect on the death of Jesus Christ. There seems to be great confusion over exactly what happened on that cross and why it is such a pivotal event in human history. Many think that the cross is another tragedy of social injustice as an innocent man was executed unjustly. Others think it is a sad case of religious martyrdom, a good man who faced an unfortunate death. Yet the importance of Good Friday is monumental. The tragedy of that day was not that innocent Jesus was hung by violent, barbaric men, but that Jesus was crushed by the will of His Father. As we reflect on the great wonders of the cross – that horrific place of shame and judgement – we must remember why it is Jesus came into this world and why it was that he had to die. As a result there are a few things we must remember carefully as we mediate on the meaning of Good Friday.

The Cross Reminds Us of Our Condemnation

In the 21st Century most of us recoil at the doctrine of sin. We don't want to believe that there is anything fundamentally wrong with us or with humanity. We live in a culture in which we hate to be told we are wrong, let alone that we are deserving of judgement. Yet, the Bible teaches clearly that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Rom 3:23) and that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23). Despite our modern presumption of naive optimism we have about our lives, the Scriptures speaks the truth that many of us do not want to hear. We are sinners who are condemned before God and deserving of His just and righteous wrath.

The cross is a reminder of our own condemnation. As we remember what Jesus went through on the cross we must remember he did so in our place. It is my sin that nailed him to that tree and it was my judgement that Jesus endured. As we look to the cross we are reminded of the wretchedness of our sin and how costly and deadly the punishment for our sins truly are. Our sin was so detestable and horrid that the only way it could be paid was through the death of His son.

The Cross Reminds Us of our Redemption

The cross not only stands as a reminder of our condemnation but as a reminder of our redemption. It was God's great plan before the foundation of the world to redeem a people for his own possession. It was God's zealous desire to spread his glory through a people that led him to send His son Jesus on the greatest rescue mission the world will ever see. Jesus entered into this world not to be just a moral teacher or a great example, but the savior of the world. The way the Messiah achieved our salvific victory was through his fatal defeat.

The cross became the symbol of Christianity for good reason; it is the a constant reminder of the great love of God towards us in the crushing of his son. It is a vivid reminder of the great cost of redemption.

The Cross Reminds us of the Love of God

There is no greater indicator of the love of God towards us than the cross. The cross is the objective reality of God's love. It cannot be doubted or thwarted. We do not have to guess if God loves us; he demonstrated his love for us at the cross. As His suffocating body hung gargling blood in horrific torture he endured the suffering as joy for us. As Jesus tells us "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends" (Jn 15:13) or as John reminds us "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us" (1 Jn 3:16).

The Sorrowful Joy of Good Friday

The response to the cross should be a sorrowful joy and a mourning worship. At the cross we see our spiritual poverty and we weep over the deadly price of our own sin. Yet we rejoice in worship that God in his unshakeable love for us sent Jesus to die in our place.

As John Stott wrote in his classing book The Cross of Christ, "As we face the cross, then, we can say to ourselves both ‘I did it, my sins sent him there’ and ‘he did it, his love took him there'". Yes, the cross was something done by us and for us. It was our sin that placed him there but it was the love of Jesus that took him to the cross.

As you reflect over these humbling truths this day, remember the treachery of your sin, the lavish expense of your redemption, and the objective proof of God's love for you – the cross of Christ.

Yet also remember that "weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning" (Ps 30:5), and that as his body lay in the grave, resurrection is coming.

A Tale of Two Kings: The Difference Between Saul and David

Two of the most prominent Kings of Israel in the Scripture are Saul and David. These two men are given the most attention in 1 and 2 Samuel. David and Saul are foils of one another. Saul was rejected by God while David was a man after God's own heart. However, if you've studied their lives carefully both of the men had some incredible failures in their life. Saul failed to obey the Lord in his commands and David committed adultery with Bathsheba. If both men had grievous sin in their lives, why was one rejected and the other blessed? What is the difference between these two men? As we will see, the difference between the two Kings is in their response when confronted in their sin.

Saul's Response to His Sin

When Saul disobeyed the Lord's direct command, the prophet Samuel goes to confront Saul in his sin. Rather than owning up to his sin, Saul tries to justify his actions. (1 Sam 15:15) He makes excuses for his disobedience. Rather than owning his sin and asking for forgiveness, in pride he follows the foot steps of Adam and argues that his sin is not that big of a deal. He points the finger at everyone else rather than pointing it at himself.

Saul started out with a bright future. He was the first King of Israel. His anointing was cause for great celebration. Yet due to his sin and refusal to repent the Lord would leave Saul and reject him as King.

David's Response to His Sin

David too would commit some horrific sins, but his response is very different from Saul. Just as the prophet Samuel confronted Saul in his sin, the prophet Nathan would confront David. When the prophet calls David out for his adultery and conspiracy of murder, David immediately responds "I have sinned against the Lord". (2 Sam 12:13) David took ownership of his sin rather than making excuses. However David describes in detail the thoughts and emotions he was experiencing during this time in a beautiful song, Psalm 51.

David writes calling out to God for mercy. He owns his sin singing, "For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me". (Ps 51:3) David owns his sin and is truly broken. He lays himself bare before the Lord asking for forgiveness and restoration.

A Model of True Repentance

David serves for us as a model of true repentance that is accompanies saving. David sings "For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise". (Ps 51:16-17)

What God desires from us is true brokeness. Not self-justification and not even penance. He requires broken and contrite heart. In Matthew 5:3 Jesus kicks off the sermon on the Mount with the beatitudes. The first beatitude rings a powerful truth "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven". Those who enter into the kingdom of heaven are the Davids, not the Sauls.

In our sin, we must most own up to our spiritual poverty. We must confess our unworthiness and fall on our face. We must own our filthy rags that cloth us. Brokeness is the only proper response to our sin. Yet, brokeness is not only the proper response to proper, it is the only saving response. Where there is no sorrow over sin there is no genuine repentance. Those who have not recognized their spiritual poverty and their need for grace will not inherit the Kingdom. If we are not broken over our sin, then what need do we have of a savior? Only those who embrace the shame of their transgression can share in the glory of the cross.

Those who cry out "Woe is Me!" will find that God is more than gracious to blot out our transgression. By God's grace he sends a savior to spiritually destitute sinners, and rather than asking us to make up for our sins through good works (which we could never do) he sends a savior to die in our place.

Are You Saul or David?

The question is not "Am I a sinner". You are. Both Saul and David were great sinners. Yet one was broken over his sin and the other was apathetic. One was a man after God's own heart, the other a failed and tragic king. As you look at the sin in your life are you responding like Saul or David?

Do not attempt to justify your sinful actions. Own up to them and fall on your face before your God. Plead for mercy and grace. Confess your spiritual poverty. It is when we are broken that God will heal. He will take our filthy rags and give us the riches of Christ. He will forgive our sin and clothe us in the righteousness of Christ. The bitter tears of brokeness are quickly covered by the sweet blood of Jesus.

The Prostitution of Idolatry

We have whorish hearts. Every human being has a sinful nature that lusts for creation rather than the creator. Rather than embracing God, the lover of our souls, we run into the arms of false lovers. The heart behind all our sin is idolatrous adultery.  Hearing that we are all spiritual prostitutes might sting a little, but sometimes the truth does. Yet the good news is that there is a relentless lover of our souls who seeks after us.

The Rebellious Whore

In the Bible the book of Hosea describes and illustrates the spiritual prostitution that comes so naturally to our hearts. Hosea 9:1 states, "Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the whore, forsaking your God. You have loved a prostitute's wages on all threshing floors." Hosea goes on to describe how the people of God whore themselves out to food, drink, and pleasure in idolatrous worship.

Not only was this the heart of Hosea's message, Hosea's life was a living illustration. His own wife Gomer continually whored herself out to other men. Hosea not only preached about the heartbreak of adultery that God experiences in our own idolatry, he lived it.

Where are Your Idols?

Where are your idols? To which lover do you whore yourself out too? Are you fully and completely devoted to God? Although many westerners think we have progressed beyond the place of worshiping gods of stone, our society is just as pagan as ever. You can just watch a commercial break on TV and identify the idols we worship.

Sex. Money. Pleasure. Drunkenness. Partying. Ease. Comfort. Security. Success. Work. Fashion. Romance.

The list can go on and on. Although our idols are no longer carved out of wood does not mean that we are not an idolatrous culture. Despite the ways we whore ourselves out to these false gods, there is a God who is a loving husband and the greatest lovers of our souls who will not be content till we find all our joy, hope, and pleasure in Him alone.

The Lover of Our Souls

The God of the Bible is the great lover of our souls. He is the broken hearted husband who wants to love and cherish His bride. He is a jealous God who is not pleased when his children bend their knees to worship fake gods. He is a God who seeks us, who pursues us, and who resiliently chases after us. He made a way to purchase our freedom from the the spiritual sex slavery in which we find ourselves.

God purchases our redemption from the chains and control these idols have over us. He did it by laying down his life for us. He is the husband who came and took on the punishment, shame, and wrath that you and I deserve. His name is Jesus and on that cross the great lover of your soul provided a way for you to find true joy, peace, and pleasure in the warmth of His glorious presence. Where those false lovers disappoint and seek to use and abuse us, God loves us unconditionally. Despite our sin and disobedience He washes us and makes us clean in Jesus Christ.

Run to the Arms of Jesus

I do not know how you stumbled across this blog, but if your reading this the great lover of your soul longs to have you for himself. Turn away from the false lovers in your life that leave you empty and unsatisfied. Run to the arms of Jesus and grab his nail pierced hands. Stop prostituting yourself out to idols and turn to your savior and place your faith in Him. The great news about God is that not matter how great our sin may be, His grace is greater still. He extends His love to all, even to whorish spiritual prostitutes like us.

A Fireplace, a Baby, and a Restraining Embrace

At our house we have the joy of having a real wood burning fireplace. There is something about a fireplace that just sets a cozy atmosphere. Sitting on well-worn couch, drinking a strong cup of coffee, reading a good book while feeling the ambient warmth of the fire is the definition of relaxation. And no matter how fancy they may be, a gas fireplace just can't quite recreate the experience of a real wood burning fire-place. Since my wife and I enjoy using our fireplace so much we started early this year on a cool fall night. This was our first fire of the year and the first fire since we welcomed our little boy Jude into the world. Know at 8 months he is crawling and trying to get into everything. He is so inquisitive and wants to experience through his senses everything he can. He wants to touch and he wants to taste. As a result the roaring fireplace captivated his attention. He would fight and fight to get a closer look. To satisfy his curiosity I took him, held him in my lap, and we sat on the floor right in front of the fire.

As he felt the warmth radiating from that fireplace he became less than satisfied with just sitting in my lap. He fought with all his strength to leave my embrace to go and touch the fire. You see my little boy wanted to experience the fire in a way that would be harmful and dangerous to him. Rather than enjoying the fireplace in the way it was intended, he wanted to experience the fire in a way that would be harmful to him. Without my restraining arm, he would have very well gotten into that fire and would have been extremely burned. Yet Jude did not realize that my restraining embrace was not to keep him from joy but to keep him from harm. In love I did not allow him to go into the fire, despite all his squirming and groaning.

You know many of us think just like my son Jude when we begin to think about God and his law. God has given us good gifts to enjoy yet we often use those gifts in a harmful way that God never intended us to do. We take the gift of sex, and rather than using it the way God intended within the covenant of marriage, in the name of sexual liberation and autonomy we divorce our sexuality from marriage. We take the gift of food, and rather than enjoying a wonderful meal we gorge ourself and become gluttons, whose god is their stomachs.

Yet we see God's law and the morality he defines for us is not keeping us from joy but is actually protecting us from sin. Just as my grip around my son was protecting him from misusing the gift of fire, so God's law protects us from turning good gifts into idols. When it comes to the way the world operates, God has a plan and a purpose to the way the world works. When it comes to family, sexuality, money, honesty, and worship, God is not trying to keep us from pleasure, he is trying to keep us from getting burn. His commands are a gift to us and the word of a father who loves his children.

Although Jude did not understand why I wouldn't let him go into the fire, as his Dad I was protecting him. God does this for us by giving us his word to instruct us how to live. So look at the commands of God not as a opressive dictator but as a loving father. When we enjoy the gifts of this world the way God ended, then the warmth of a cozy fire is a great gift not a harmful burn.

The Gift of Rebuke

Few of us have ever thought of rebuke as a gift. We hate hearing that we are in the wrong. For many of us, our skin literally crawls as we boil with anger. The reason we hate to be rebuked is because we are so prideful. The fact of anyone, friend or foe, telling us we are wrong conflicts with the little wanna be king called ME we put on the thrown of our hearts. However, for the spiritually mature, rebuke is not an act of cruelty but of generosity. Rebuke from wise godly Christians is an incredible gift of God that he has given us. In Psalm 141:5 David tells us of the gift of rebuke when he writes,

Let a righteous man strike me–it is a kindness; Let him rebuke me–it is oil for my head; Let my head not refuse it.

You see in the eyes of David, the striking from a righteous man is a good thing. It is the ultimate demonstration of kindness. Yet so often we resist rebuke. The American virtue of self-autnomy resists this. In our minds there is no higher power or authority in our lives than ourselves. Rarely do we see rebuke as a kindness, rather we perceive it as judgemental, demeaning, an disresepctful. Yet this is not the Biblical understanding of rebuke. To be rebuked by the righteous is to receive a gift from God.

As David writes this Psalm, he knows rebuke is a gift to keep him from sin, yet he knows his heart will resist it when rebuke comes. Our puffed up heads resist the sweet annointing oil of God's favor. David prays to ask God to let him not resist rebuke in pride, but to receive it as a gift. Receiving rebuke from godly people in our lives is difficult, but something we must learn to receive with joy. There are times when a friend loves us enough to sit down and share with us hard truths. When that time comes we must be prepared to receive it as a gift. How do we do that?

Respond in Humility

Whatever is said, we must respond in humility. We understand that we don't have it all figured out. We are not following Jesus perfectly. We acknowledge that sin might be showing its ugly face in our lives even without our realization. When we hear rebuke, we must respond in humility knowing of our shortcommings and our desperate dependency on the grace of God.

Listen Reflectively

Whether friend or foe, when rebuke comes we must listen carefully to perceive the truth. This means we reflect on the words we hear. We ask ourselves reflective questions.

"Is this person speaking truth?" "Am I wrong in this area?" "Where do I need to repent?" "Is the Lord trying to get my attention?"

Thinking through questions like this will help you respond to rebuke as a gift.

Trust in the Righteousness of Christ

One of the reasons we struggle with receiving rebuke is because we are so geared up in a performance religion. We think being a Christians means moral perfectionism. We want to be self-sufficient in our own goodness. When rebuke comes the disillusionment of perfect person we imagine in the mirror shatters. When we are confronted in our sin or failures we must trust in the righteousness of Christ. Rather than trusting in our own goodness, we must trust in the goodness of Jesus. We fail. Jesus doesn't. When we face rebuke we must be restored in the confidence that comes from being clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

Preparing your heart in these three ways will help you be ready when God brings a loving friend into your life to rebuke you. Respond in humility. Listen reflectively. Trust in the righteousness of Christ. Then like David, we will begin to see rebuke as a gracious gift of God to keep us from sin and protect us from our own idolatrous hearts. Then we will grow in maturity as the annointing oil of rebuke sanctifies and matures us in Christ Jesus.

An Uninvited Guest - Luke 7:36-50

The Following is a Modified Version of my sermon from Luke 7:36-50 preached at Forest Hills Baptist Church on May 19, 2013.  You can access the sermon audio here. Imagine being invited to a formal dinner and there is a special guest of honor, an up incoming teacher everyone is talking about. You are invited.  You make it on the exclusive list.  It is at a huge house of a respected man in your community.

You arrive at the formal dinner, and it is going great.  You still can't believe you were even invited.  The discusions begin to break out with this respected teacher and you are just soaking it all in.  Then there is a ring at the door. The host with a surprised look on his face gets up and answers.

The all of the sudden, in barges a young woman dressed in a low cut blouse and a mini skirt. She looks like she is a prostitute. She  barges in and runs over to the guest of honor while he is eating and takes of her top and then takes expensive massage oil and begins caressing the guest and massaging his neck.

You are sitting their watching this whole scene unfold and everyone at the dinner is giving each other strange looks.  The guest of honor though doesn't stop this woman.  He is allowing this to happen!  Then you notice something really strange.  The woman is weeping loudly as she messages the guests neck. She is crying her eyes out in sorrow.

This is a bizarre scene, socially taboo, provocative, erotic, and scandalous. What would you do in this situation? What would you think about the teacher who just let the woman massage his neck? What would you think about the woman? How would you expect this up incoming teacher to respond?

Well this sort of scene is almost exactly what we see happen in Luke 7:36-50.  Read through the passage and ask yourself a question. Who are you in this passage? Are you like this sinful woman or are you like Simon the Pharisee?

Based off of Luke's description of this scene, this dinner seems to be based on a Greek Synopsium.  The way these dinners would work, is that a respected, wise host would invite several of the socially elite to have dinner with an important guest.  At this dinner party, they would recline along the table, laying down on their sides to eat.  This formal affair would involve a series of debate over crucial issues, centering around the special dinner guest.

This seems to be the type of dinner recorded in this passage.  Simon, a Pharisee and respected religious leader, invites the up incoming young Rabi, Jesus.  Jesus accepts the invitation and they are reclining at the table discussing and debating a variety of theological issues. This was a formal, socially elite type of an event.

A Sinful Woman Interrupts

The way homes were constructed back then is that in rich people's homes there was a semi-public area of the house. There was a section for the public to stand on the street and look in and observe the conversation and dialogue. With all the commotion going on about Jesus, I'm sure a lot of people were looking and listening intently about what was being discussed at this dinner.

Knowing this, it is easy to see how this sinful woman enters into the scene.  She was probably standing in the public area and then breaks social protocol by interrupting the dinner. All we are told about this woman is that she was a woman of the city, who was a sinner. This probably means that she was known for being a prostitute or at least for being sexually promiscuous. This woman sneaks up behind Jesus who is reclining at the table and began washing his feet with her tears.  She then takes an expensive ointment and anoints Jesus' feet with it.

What this woman was doing was socially taboo.  In fact the act she is performing could be considered an erotic one.  Woman in the 1st century did not take down their hair.  They kept it covered.  The only time you took down your hair as a woman is when you were in the bedroom. This woman taking down her hair in public is the social equivalent of going topless. Then she begins to wash Jesus' feed with her hair which is a very sensual act.  Then she impulsively takes this expensive ointment and anoints Jesus' feet with it. The strangest thing is that this woman is weeping, crying enough tears to wet Jesus' feet with them.

The Heart of the Sinful Woman

What can be said of this woman? She did not know much about Jesus, but she knew that he was a friend of sinners.  What desperation had led this woman to do such an act of love and sacrifice that would expose her to so much ridicule? She had hit rock bottom and had no where else to turn.  She throws herself at the feet of this rabi showing love in the only way she knew how, through sensuality. This sinful woman is broken. She knows she is a sinner. She knows what she has done with men behind close doors.  Her memories haunted her. Her sin always before her. At the end of her rope she had no one else to go to, nothing left to live for, so she throws herself at the only man she thinks she can trust. In her desperation, her shame, her guilt, her hopelessness she falls at the feet of Jesus.

Who are you? Are you this woman? Are you enslaved to the memories of your past sin? Do they haunt you when you lay your head down on the pillow at night? Do you feel used, abused, and totally abandon? Is there no one who loves you and no one you can go to? Are you in surrounded in the black darkness of despair? If so, you can connect with this woman. She is just like you and she throws herself at Jesus.

Oh the risk this woman took! Breaking all social etiquette she threw herself on a rabi she only has heard of not knowing how he would react! Would Jesus rebuke her? Would he threaten her? Would he refuse her love?

Jesus Doesn't Stop the Woman

This woman's risky action of love is not the only surprising thing in this story.  Jesus' response is equally shocking and scandalous.  Jesus doesn't stop the woman, but allows her to continue groveling and weeping at his feet. Rather than kicking the woman off, rejecting her, Jesus allows her to continue to show him deeply sacrificial love.

This is what really throws off the dinner party guests. They can understand a prostitute barging in and doing this.  She is a sinner, she doesn't know any better so they think.  But Jesus allowing this to happen? That is unthinkable! How could a respected religious leader and a man who claims to be a prophet allow such a thing to happen? This leads us to see Simon, the dinner's hosts reactions to this event.

 Simon's Reaction

We are told in verse 39 that Simon was thinking to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner." Not only is Simon disgusted by this woman who is a sinner, he is disgusted that Jesus would allow this. Simon then begins to question that Jesus is even a prophet. Men of God don't allow this sort of thing to happen to them, so Simon thinks.  However Jesus is not just a man of God, he is God himself.

Jesus, reading Simon's mind (cause Jesus can do that, he is God), says, "Simon, I've got something to say to you". Simon says, "Say it teacher".  Jesus then begins to respond with a parable of two debtors.  Two men owe money.  One owed 500 denari the other 50.  The lender cancels the debt of both men.  Jesus looks to Simon and asks him, "Which of these two men loved him more".  Simon answers, "I suppose the one who was canceled the larger debt"

Simon answers Jesus' question correctly.  The one that was canceled the larger debt would love the lender more. Then rather than rebuking this woman, Jesus rebukes Simon.

Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.” (Luke 7:44–46, ESV)

This sinful woman has shown more hospitality and love to Jesus than Simon did. Here Jesus begins to reveal to Simon his hardened heart. Simon didn't really love Jesus, he was just using Jesus to increase his own reputation. Simon is far more concerned with his own prestige and reputation. Simon, the self-righteous Pharisee does not know what it means to love God, and Jesus helps give us the answer to why.  Jesus sums up his point to Simon in verse 47:

 "Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven - for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little".

Why does Simon not show extravagant love like this woman does? Why does this woman love Jesus' so much more than simon does? It is because Simon does not see himself as much of a sinner. As a Pharisee he isn't like this woman, he hadn't whored himself out like this woman did. He was better than she was. He had kept the Law, he had been obedient to God.  Simon does not have a need for a savior and doesn't need forgiveness.

The Heart of Simon

Oh how wretched is the heart of a Pharisee! For they have blinded themselves to the depths of their own sin.  Thinking they can earn God's favor through their own obedience all the while neglecting their very own hearts.  They seem close to God outwardly but in reality their hearts are desperately wicked.  Like white washed tombs clean and spotless on the outside, they are rotting and decaying on the inside. Hypocrites is what they are! Self-Righteous in all their doings, obeying not out of love but in order to boost their own egos! They think they are sinless all the while ignoring one of the most condemnable of sins, the poison and detestableness of Pride!  Is Simon a little sinner? By no means! He is just as much of a sinner as this sinful woman, yet his own self-righteousness blinds him to the actual state of his soul.

The Heart of a Pharisee

Again I ask, who are you? Are you Simon? I suggest most of us, including myself are much more like Simon. Many of us have grown up in the church attending Sunday School going to church every time the doors were open. Unfortunately for many of us our devotion has not been to Christ but to religious tradition. We struggle with feeling morally superior to everyone else who is not like us.  Unfortunately for many of us our obedience has been only to fuel our own self-righteousness.  Rather than becoming aware of our need for Christ, we think we are so good we don't need Jesus.  Who are the Pharisees in our day? Unfortunately they are found in churches scattered across our nation. Many of us, including myself, have a pharisaical heart.

We have become so captivated with tradition, ritual, and habit that we have ignored the world around us.  When we come across sinners how do we respond? We look down in judgement to the homosexual condemning them in hate. We look down in judgement on the sexually immoral. We look down on those who spend their nights drinking away their cares at the bars. We despise the poor and self-righteously walk by the homeless.  So who are you? Do you have the heart of a Pharisee?

Who is Jesus?

The question remains, who is Jesus? In v. 48 Jesus tells the sinful woman, your sins are forgiven".  Then the debate really begins to break out around the dinner table. "Who is this who even forgives sins?"  You see Jesus is no ordinary Prophet.  He is no ordinary teacher.  Jesus is God in the flesh. He is the one true God who has the authority and power to look at this woman and forgive her of her sins. What this woman longed for more than anything was forgiveness and acceptance.  Jesus gives it to her.  Jesus tells us that what has saved this woman is her faith.  It is her faith that has saved her.  Who has she placed her faith in? Well she placed her faith in Jesus.

Just as this woman was forgiven of her sins by trusting in Jesus so you and I are forgiven by placing our trust in Jesus.  It is Jesus who came to earth on a mission, to save sinners.  Jesus would go to the cross, and he would be crucified paying the punishment due our sin.  At the cross Jesus paid not only for the sins of the sinful woman but also for the sins of the Pharisee. Jesus has done that for us!  He has laid down his life for you and for me, and all we must do is respond like this woman.  We must fall at the feet of Jesus putting our faith and trust in him as the savior of our souls.

Who is this Jesus? He is the savior of sinners.  He alone has the power to forgive sins!

So Who are You?

Are you like simon the self-righteous Pharisee? If so do not think of yourself as a little sinner, but a great sinner.  Repent of your self-righteousness and put all your hope on Jesus.  Become a fool like this sinful woman and throw yourself at his feet in desperation.

Are you like the sinful woman? Have you reached the end of your rope.  You do not know what else to try. Your plagued by guilt and you are all alone in this world.  Throw yourself at the feet of Jesus.  Jesus loves you and he died on the cross so that he could forgive you of your sin.  Come and place your trust in Jesus.

Am I Beyond Repair? - Our Holiness in Christ

2515800654 bd1562ae72 o Have you ever thought that you were beyond repair?  Have you felt like you have so many problems, that there is no hope for you?  I think many of us tend to feel this way so you are no stranger.  The good news is that there is a God who has not given up on you.  There is a God who can take your broken sinful life and make you holy and blameless.

In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians church, Paul makes a starling claim about the church in the first few verses.  Here is how he greets them:

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus…

Notice that verb in that greeting - "to those sanctified".  In the Greek, that word "sanctified" is passive and in the perfect tense.  The perfect tense was a tense to describe an action that has already been completed.  Passive means that the action is being done to the Corinthians.  So when Paul greets them, he greets them as those who have already been made holy.  Now, if you have ever read 1 Corinthians, you know just how astonishing that statement is.  The church at Corinth didn't seem to be a very holy church.  Here are a few of the issue Paul addresses in this letter:

  • There were fighting over who to follow (Ch. 3)
  • A guy was sleeping with his step-mom (Ch. 5)
  • The church was suing one another (Ch. 6)
  • There were marriage problems (Ch. 7)
  • Some were worshiping idols and practicing pagan religious rituals (Ch. 10)
  • There was gender role confusion & women were dressing immodestly (Ch. 11)
  • They were getting drunk at the Lord’s Supper (Ch. 11)
  • They were fighting over which spiritual gift was better (Ch. 12)
  • They had disorderly worship services (Ch. 14)
  • Some were denying the resurrection (Ch. 15)
A quick glance through that list will tell you one thing.  This church had issues.  They seem to be anything but holy, yet Paul greets them as saints.  How can this be?
The answer lies in the good news of the Gospel.  For those who are in Christ, we are given the righteousness of Christ.  We are declared holy and pure before God because of Jesus.  Jesus went to the cross and paid the price for our sins on the cross.  Through the cross, God has declared his people holy and blameless.  Although the church at Corinth has some major sin in its midst, Paul still addresses them as holy, because they have been made holy through Christ!

This has huge implications for you and me.  You see, our holiness is simply the outworking of who we are.  In Christ, we are holy.  So when the Scriptures call us to live lives of holiness, it commands us to be who we already are.  Our personal holiness is the outworking of who God has already declared us to be in Christ!  Even though we might feel like we are beyond repair, God in Christ has already made us holy.  Our salvation and imputed righteousness is secured through the blood of the lamb!  Be holy, because that is who you are.  That is what Christ has made you to be.

So are you beyond repair? If you are in Christ you have already been repaired through the cross.  Live your life now in obedience and holiness in joyful thanksgiving to Jesus.

How is God making you holy? How does the Gospel encourage you to be holy? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

A Gospel Meditation

Who can say he has understood the mind of the almighty? Who can say I have figured out the creator? Who can say "I have done this" apart from the Lord of the universe? All of humanity rests helpless in the hands of almighty God. He has the power to crush and the power to save, the power to destroy and the power to deliver. He can pour out in vengeance his wrath, or he can pour out his mercy in love.

However, our God is a gracious God. A God of justice? Yes. A God of mercy? Yes. In his divine forbearance, God passed over the wickedness of humanity. He looked over those with crooked tongues. He looked over those who fondle the breast of one not their own. He looked over those who weigh the scales deceitfully for monetary gain. He looked over these who are puffed up with conceit and arrogant in pride. He looked over those who outwardly display holiness, but inwardly are bitter and self-righteous. He looked over those who gossip on the street corners. He looked over all of us who took the infinitely valuable glory of God and mocked it with the damnable treason of self-worship. By God's grace he looked over all of our sins and all our condemnable thoughts, actions, and deeds.

But don't you know that God's kindness and patience is meant to lead you to repentance?

God would be just to annihilate us and throw us to the pit of hell at the littlest sinful action. Indeed, God should throw us into the fiery furnace as soon as damnable acts are committed. Delaying His wrathful judgement is allowing the further mocking of his transcendence and eminence to continue.

However, God is merciful. He has shown us great kindness in delaying his judgement. Indeed he has been patient because he has been waiting for His plan to come into play. God does not desire that any should perish, but that all would come to repentance and faith. As a result, God set forth a plan. It is a plan to crush the head of the serpent and destroy sin once and for all. This plan would be fulfilled by God himself. Indeed the creator would write himself into the story of humanity. God himself would become a man, putting on humanity and walking among us. God has become one of us. God is one of us, and his name is Jesus.

Jesus, the sinless son of God, lived his life and ministry on this earth for one purpose. That purpose was to become the solution to the problem of sin. That purpose was to redeem those human rebels who mock the glory of God. That purpose was to save those who are lost and have compassion on the weak. That purpose was to lay down his life, absorbing the wrathful punishment those rebels were due. Jesus himself became the sin bearer. Jesus himself became the sacrifice of atonement. God placed the wrath due our sin onto Jesus. He made him to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus paid it all. He paid your debt, and has credited all the riches of heaven to your account. God has provided a means of escape from the coming wrath, and that escape is through Jesus.

Why would God do this? Why would Jesus be willing to go to the cross for you and me? It is one of the great mysteries of why God would do this for us. I do not understand fully understand the why. Why would God deliver me from my sin? How could God show his love to me? Why would God want to adopt me as his child? It is an astonishing truth, but the truth it is. This is the great reality. This is the true story of the whole world. God has reached out to you through Jesus because He loves you and wants to save you from your greatest enemy, you. He wants to wash you and make you clean. He wants to use you for the spread of this glorious good news. He wants you to be apart of his family.

Trust in this most glorious king, who desires to save you through His son, Jesus. Call on the name of Christ and be saved from your sins. Put your faith in His work on the cross. Then joyously live your life proclaiming to all this great gift that you have been given. Proclaim to all the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus! Tell the world that hope has arrived, peace has come, and joy is found!