Good Morning & Happy Sunday!!!
I hope everyone’s 2017 is off to a great start. I have been working at U-Haul a lot more since the turn of the calendar, but we’re going to be live streaming church this morning due to Lizzie being under the weather. So, that gives me a moment to sit down to see if the Lord’s got something for me to write about today, and as you’ve probably already guessed…He does from this verse here:
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” – 1 John 2:1 (KJV)
Friends. I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely thrilled that God doesn’t give up on me when I screw up on Him. Anyone else feeling me this morning? I’ve failed God so many times that if He was the kind of God that sat up in Heaven keeping score on a chalkboard I’d have at least 100 chalkboards filled up with marks. But, glory be to God…He isn’t that kind of God. Instead. He’s the kind of God that sent us Jesus to be our Advocate so that when we do screw up on Him we have the grace, mercy, and the precious blood of Jesus to wash away all of our iniquity and sin.
Now, listen. I’m by no means advocating sin nor am I saying it’s okay to live however you want. We all know or at least y’all should know that I believe if you’re walking with God then there should be some kind of evidence and fruit that God’s the Father of your life, Amen!?! However, what we also need to do is stop living like every little sin is going to cast us into the lake of fire because the Bible says that ALL of our sin is washed away by the precious blood of Jesus. Remember the hymn!?! What can wash away my sin…nothing but the blood of Jesus!?!
Now, that doesn’t mean that when we fail God (notice I said when not “if”!?!) we shouldn’t have some anguish and sorrow over it, but the Bible also says that when we fail Him we should come boldly before His throne to ask Him for the mercy and grace we need in that time of help. Look. Really practical point from a daddy here…are you ready!?!
If Lizzie does something wrong (and she knows she’s done wrong and is in trouble) she thinks that I’ve forgiven her when she says she’s sorry. However, the truth is, before she even comes to me to say she’s sorry I’ve already forgiven and forgotten what it was that she’d done. Now that doesn’t mean I didn’t put her on a time out or spank her butt (a good father chastens those he loves, don’t spare the rod), but by the time she’s come to seek forgiveness she’s already got it. Why!?! Because she’s my daughter and I love her. Oh…there’s that love covers thing again, huh!?! So, God loves us so much that He sent Jesus to be sin for us, to take the punishment of sin for us, allowed Jesus (His Son) to shed His blood to wash away our sin, but some how we think that we’re going to hell because we did such and such since we’ve been a Christian.
Check this out, friends…love…true love…as we know from 1 Corinthians 13 bears no record of wrongs done unto it. Married people…it’s the same thing with my wife. I know women operate much differently than men, but by the time my wife comes to apologize for anything she’s done I’ve already forgiven and forgotten what it was she’s apologizing for…yet three of the most important words outside of “I love you” are these three words: “I forgive you”. We know from the Word of God that we have an Advocate and a High Priest that was touched and tempted with the same things we are…yet He remained without sin. However, what that is why we can come boldly before Him to obtain grace and mercy in our time of need. How many of you know that our greatest time of need is when we’ve missed God, and we are coming to Him to confess our unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)? How many of you know that before we even approach the throne we’re already forgiven?
“Recognition of our sin nature may bring a feeling of imperfection and grave hopelessness to our souls. However, the magnificent love of God fills this overwhelming void in our hearts through Christ Jesus. By His blood, we have a righteous advocate who presents us pure and blameless before the almighty God. Thus, we are given the tremendous victory over death as His righteousness conforms us into His image” – Blue Letter Bible Devotional
There’s nothing that we’ve already done, are currently doing, or will do in the future that God hasn’t already forgiven. You see, friends, the Cross has a perfect record. You know how we always talk in sports terms about the greatest teams or players or whatever? Well…in sports terms the Cross is the greatest dynasty of all time because while there are sports franchises and players that have undefeated records…the Cross has been undefeated since it was conceived in the mind of God. The Cross was already the plan before the foundations of the earth. It just is recorded that it happened over 2,000 years ago, but the Cross has never been nor will it ever be defeated.
So, when we go to the Lord asking Him to forgive us we can go there knowing that what we’re asking God to forgive us for has already not only been completely forgiven and washed away…but it’s already forgotten. We all know that the Bible says our sins are cast as far as the east is from the west into the sea of forgetfulness. God doesn’t forget what we did because He’s a forgetful God…but because there literally isn’t anything to forgive because ALL our sins as whosoevers who have called upon the name of the Lord to be saved have had our sins washed away completely by the Blood of Jesus the moment we become whosoevers.
I just want to encourage your heart today. So many of us are trying to earn the acceptance of a boss or a significant other or spouse or parent. So many of us liken our Heavenly Father to that of our earthly father’s, but He’s so much more. He truly loves us more than we can even imagine, and has done more for us that we’re aware of. He sees and knows that so many of us our burdened by trying to meet the conditions of others…and that’s why He wanted to make it so easy for us. He wanted to ease the burden upon our shoulders of having to earn His love, His acceptance, His forgiveness by freely providing it with only one condition…that we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that what Jesus did He did for us…and because of that we confess Him as our Lord and Savior.
Thank you for taking the time to join me for this message today. I hope that it’s helped to lift you up and encourage you. I want you ALL to know that I truly am thankful for every one of you that’s remained a part of the Christlike Ministries NWA Family. I’ve had many people come and go over the last few years, and I’ll admit that it used to bother me that people left. However, I’ve learned that’s part of the territory of being a pastor. I’m always going to find a way (intentional or not) to offend someone to the point that they want to leave, and there’s really nothing I can do to control that which is why I obey God when He leads me to write and trust Him with the results.
Before I close this message, I just want to give a sincere, heartfelt thank you to all of you who are still with me. There are many of you that have been with me from the beginning, and those of you who have just joined I hope you’ll find what you need from Christlike Ministries NWA. I love and appreciate you all.
The last thing I need to do before I close is make an appeal to y’all to help support Christlike Ministries NWA financially. We need your help to stay online friends. There’s no other way to put it. We have bills like any other family, but often it’s the ministry bills that wind up not getting paid in order to make sure the household bills get paid. In a few short months I’m going to have to renew the ministry domain name, I’m looking to upgrade what I can do on WordPress.com, and there are still outreach things God wants me to do that I can’t simply because the money to do them isn’t there. So, I’m going to ask y’all to really seek the Lord about what He would have you do to help support us financially. It is biblical to support ministries that feed you the Word of God, and so if you would like to sow into Christlike Ministries NWA please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to do that.
Well, friends, that is all for today. I hope that this has been an encouraging message for you today, and I also hope that you’ll join me next time. For now, I would simply like to wish each and every one of you a happy, healthy, and whole new year and thank you one more time for all of your prayers, patience, and support.
Blessings & Grace ~ Pastor B