Monday, November 17, 2014

Never Out Of Reach, A Word of Testimony, A Word of Hope!

Many a person has been in church.  Many a person has left.  Many a person has been in church while living in sin.  Maybe you are that person who thinks "I have fallen too far for God to save me.  It's too late for me." 

Well, I'm here to tell you that it is not too late!  I'm here to tell you that you are never too far from His reach!

Psalm 130
This Psalm states, 

Image result for pictures of psalms 130
"Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord!  O Lord, hear my voice!  Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!"

"If you O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared."

"I wait for the Lord,  my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, 
more than watchmen for the morning."  

"O Israel, hope in the Lord!  For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.  And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities."

This Psalm is a cry for redemption.  An acknowledgement of their desperate situation, should the Lord remember their sins.  A cry for the forgiveness of sins.  The psalmist not only begs for forgiveness and that their cries may be heard.  They acknowledge the mercy, forgiveness and redemption that is available from the Lord.

This Psalm appears to be the cries of someone who knows the Lord and is familiar with His character and His word.  Because of this I believe that it is written by a believer; a child of God who has strayed and is broken, contrite, and desiring to repent and be forgiven.

You may be a believer who has strayed.  Maybe you have strayed big one time or maybe you have been straying big and little for a long time.  You too can pray this psalm.  You can cry out to the Lord for forgiveness and mercy.  He desires to give it to you.  God's Son died so that it would be available to you.

The Apostle Paul encourages believers in Romans 8:38 by stating, "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

That is such wonderful news for all of those who are true believers in the one and only living God and have come to Him through faith in Christ Jesus His Son.
Run back to the Father.  He is waiting with open arms.

What If I Don't Believe?  
There are those who are well aware of their lostness as it were.  They know that they do not believe and perhaps they are not interested.  I beg you to keep reading.  Occasionally, I will invite someone to church or ask them about their faith and they will say something like this:
"Your church might burst into flames when I walk into it" 

"I'm just not interested" or "Oh, I know I'm going to hell."

Sometimes, these statements are made and you can tell, somewhere in their eyes, that they wish it wasn't true.  Others may say something like, "I hope I am going to heaven" or "I am a pretty good person".  I just hope my good outweighs my bad."

I have just one thing to say to all of those who think or say things like that.

I was dead in my trespasses and sins.  I desired the things of the world, the flesh, and the devil.  I was a child of wrath.  God's justice was going to be poured out on me for all of eternity.  Eternal suffering and conscious torment, from the very hand of the righteous judge, would be mine to endure forever. 

I was guilty of sinful rebellion against a holy God.  I did not have a way out.  This eternal judge was gonna do what good judges do.  He was gonna find me guilty of suppressing the truth in unrighteousness(Romans 1:18) and sentence me to eternal damnation.  I would experience the vengeful wrath that was due me forever and ever(Ephesians 2:1-3).  

Being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even as we were dead in our trespasses made us alive together with Christ.  BY GRACE I WAS SAVED!  I have been brought from death to life.  I have been raised up and seated with him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness to ME in Christ Jesus.  

For by grace I have been saved through faith.  But this is not my own doing.  This faith that I exercise through faith in Christ Jesus is a gift of God.  It is not a result of any works of my own.  I cannot boast in it.  I can take no credit for it.  Though I believe, it is as a result of being made alive in Christ. I believe by grace, through faith. 

I am His workmanship.  I was created in Christ Jesus for good works.  What is amazing is that God had these good works planned for me before He saved me. (Ephesians 2:4-10) 

He knew He was going to save me before I did!  What is even more amazing is that He has been planning on saving me since before time began!  Even greater, I  have been adopted into God's family!  He chose me to be His child in Christ Jesus before I was even born! (Ephesians 1:3-6) 


What An Awesome Truth! 
Oh, I didn't know this before hand.  I mean, How could I?   I was blind, deaf, and dumb.  I was dead! I was a rotting, stinking, corpse with no hope.  Just like you.  

However, once I was born again(John 3:16);  Once I was raised to walk in newness of life(Romans 6:4, Colossians 2:12); it was clear.  It is layed out lovingly in God's word.  

It's been true for many years for me.  But I heard it preached again today and it was like I just heard it for the first time.  That's the beauty.  When you realize where you were and gain appreciation for where you are; and you realize that it is not because of any goodness in you, but that it is all of God's amazing grace; You can't possibly be bored with it!  It's a fresh reminder every time you hear it. That's how awesome it is.

 It Can Be True For You Too!
You don't have to fear death.  You don't  have to think your gonna blow the walls off the church with your sinfulness.  You don't have to wonder whether your goodness will be "good enough".  

You can join me and a cloud of witnesses that bear testimony to the goodness of God in saving us. 
We bear witness to the love of God that manifested itself in that "while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."(Romans 5:8) 

What Christ Did For Believers
When Christ died on the cross, it was not simply the horrific physical suffering that He endured.  No, our Savior endured the holy wrath of Almighty God.  Our Heavenly Father poured out the punishment for the sins of all who would believe on His Son.  He bore the weight of our sin on that cross.  

When he cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?", it was because the Father turned away from His son, removing His presence.  This is not because He could not stand to see His Son suffer.  It was because He would not look at his Son whom was covered in all of our sins and iniquities.

Contrary to some teaching, His suffering did not continue in hell while His body was in the grave. When Christ said, "It is finished", it was over.  The Father's wrath was satisfied for every believer past, present, and future.   

So Christ took our sins upon himself on the cross, but there is more.  The perfect life that Jesus lived was a righteous life.  When our hearts are changed by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit, Christ draws us to himself, and we express genuine faith in Christ, Jesus's righteousness is placed on us.  This is known in theological terms as Christ's imputed righteousness.  It is Christ's righteousness that God finds pleasing and acceptable in His sight.
The resurrection is God's final stamp of approval on Christ's obedience.  It is the confirmation of the validity of all that had been done before hand in His life and death. 

There IS Hope!
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.  Today is the day of salvation(2 Corinthians 6:2).  God commands all men everywhere to repent and place their trust in Jesus(Acts 17:30)  You can have eternal life with Christ.  Cry out to Him to save you.  Cry out, "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner!"  
Luke 18:13
Don't stop until He does.  "Ask and it will be given to you, knock and the door will be opened, seek and you will find.  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened"(Matthew 7:7-8).  

He saved me, He can save you too.  
It is not too late!  You are not too far gone! 


A thankful and hopeful child of the Most High,


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