Isaiah 5:1-7, Philippians 3:4b-14,
Last weekâ€™s message, as with this weekâ€™s was and is based on Godâ€™s call for our repentance and for those who may not have been there or had been driven to sleep, I begin today with how it finished:
â€œHere today, should you believe in Christ as your Saviour and yet carry the pain of having fallen short, I urge you leave knowing that those issues have been taken care off and are no more. You have been set free from the past to the dawn of your new life. A life that may not be easier, but a life where the load is carried by Christ.
The saying life sucks is wrong, itâ€™s just that my way sucked and if you can relate to this in parts of your life, I urge you to leave in repentance. To join me not in just the repentance and asking for forgiveness of past sins and actions, but the repentance of turning from self to God and letting His will be your will and gain freedom with yourself as you come toÂ know the freedom that is in Christ.â€
To know freedom in Christ by repenting and turning away from self and our desires and back towards God and what he desires. Freedom in Christ sounds quite wonderful and it is because in Christ we see Godâ€™s unrelenting and forgiving love. His love that beckons all and his love that never turns away. His love that prowls around looking to save the lost and pick up the pieces of our lives so that we can see the masterpiece he has made. The jigsaw pieces of our lives he reconstructs not so he need see the picture it displays for he already knows the beauty while still broken, but so we can see it.
God The Father is love. Love as seen displayed on Mount Sinai when he gave Moses the Ten Commandments and his love as seen displayed on a hill called Golgotha when his Son Jesus Christ died hanging from a Cross that we may live, and live in His Freedom that was won for us that day.
Two aspects of the love of God to his people, to us that are good and yet for some in this day and age the Mount Sinai aspect is deemed akin to Cyanide poisoning and in a way they may be right because the scriptures do instruct us that the law leads to death. Just as Jesus instructs us that the law is good and after todayâ€™s readings intentionally producing the questions to each of us that when the vineyard owner comes–how healthy is our own harvest?Â And by the power of God, are we producing fruits of repentance? And if youâ€™re feeling a little uneasy with this than welcome to the party because as said many times the Commandments are Commandments and not the ten suggestions seen clearly when Jesus Him very self said He did not come to change them in any way, shape or form, and thank God He didnâ€™t otherwise imagine the chaos that would be upon us should they have been given the flick. I imagine we would see a world where the main aim of the game would be unrestricted self-gratification with off shoots such as greed, slander, murder, theft, unrepentant adultery, lack of respect between family members and all manner of ills.
Godâ€™s way and rules are good because the alternative of only our ways eventually leads from the seemingly insignificant right up to the â€œone world Governmentâ€ type scenario which consequently at some time would lead to ultimate power, and ultimate corruption and thatâ€™s why the first, the last and all in between has to be Godâ€™s word and Godâ€™s alone.
I mentioned last week that King Solomon blessed with wisdom said that thereâ€™s â€œnothing new under the sunâ€ or as we might say history repeats itself, repeating itself I would suggest here and now before our very eyes.
In the book of Kings Israel wishes to be like the other nations and asks for an earthly king to rule them and low and behold God appeases their request but with a notational warning and the later to be seen outcome that yes, if thatâ€™s what you want so be it, but there will be consequences.
Not seen later in Godâ€™s raining down fire and brimstone but seen later in that earthly kings make mistakes. Mistakes that ultimately gradually lead Israel further and further from God to the point that in order for them to see the truth, he let them over to their own desires and ways that ultimately resulted to unwise coalitions, defeat in battle and captivity as â€œprisoners of warâ€ so to speak and then and only then ironically did they see the truth of God and his ways and their need for him and in calling on him, he led them home once again only for the cycle to start again.
A cycle not of days or weeks but of decades and generations.Â A cycle that we may be apart of here in our own land. A cycle that we as individuals are apart of daily as we live out our freedom in Christ. The freedom Jesus gave not by throwing the baby out with the bathwater and altering or getting rid of the law of God in the Ten Commandments but by fulfilling it.
This is the freedom of Christ we have in relationship with Him and the freedom King David had in relationship with God the Father. David a spindly boy who took on and defeated the giant Goliath and King David the adulterer and at least guilty of second degree murder. And King David who God said was â€œa man after his own heartâ€ and in that we may ask how can this be so.
King David was the earthly king appointed by God just as the others were that ended up in captivity. David was a good bloke as were the others and just as David mucked up so did the others . So why this â€œman after Godâ€™s own heart business?
The answer is as simple and yet as overwhelming as our relationship to God the Father through our Saviour Jesus Christ because unlike some other kings who made mistakes which ultimately lead further and further away from God, King David when shown by God the error of His ways would fess up and say, yep your right again-please forgive me.
Is this not our relationship in Jesus?Â Jesus who said the law is good but fulfilled it because we cannot.
Our relationship through Jesus were we stuff up continually but fess up and ask and receive forgiveness in His name.
It is and is seemingly so simple that some have come to term it as â€œcheap graceâ€.
There is nothing cheap about grace. The grace earnt for us on that hill when like a raging river every sin, anguish, fear, hatred of others and of self-rushed onto a sinless man called Jesus. The Jesus that was one with the Father but under the crushing weight off our sin cried out not to His Father, but for the first time called not to His Father, but with a remotenessÂ of: â€œMy God, My God, why have you forsaken me?â€
Jesus Christ the Son of God. The Saviour, the performer of miracles and the only person to walk this earth sinless and in total love-the only one forsaken.
That is no cheap grace and that is the grace that gushes towards us like a raging river to sweep us off our feet and into the hands of Christ and before others to serve, forgive and respect them as weâ€™ve been given from our Father, His Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The Freedom we have, but the freedom we use for the benefit of those around us.
As you know, this weekend is double de-merit points weekend. A weekend that doesnâ€™t affect me because itâ€™s hard to add to the pain any further by doubling the penalty when youâ€™ve only got one point left.Â But thatâ€™s the point, when we lived up North the outback roads in the Northern Territory had no speed limit. Brilliant because if I was still there Iâ€™d have all my points left. But thatâ€™s not the point because even though thereâ€™s no speed limit rule, there is because if you hit a cow at 160 kilometres an hour-thereâ€™s more than points to be lost.
In Christ ours is not a case of losing points or gaining them because He has cashed us up for a never ending supply. But like in N.T., reckless driving is not about my safety as much as the safety of those with me in my car or the one coming the other way, never mind the police, amboâ€™s , emergency services people, doctors, nurses, family and friends that need to pick up the pieces. Pieces that may affect them for the rest of our lives.
You are free in Christ and no one can or ever take that away from you because in Christ God will never forsake you.
Thatâ€™s freedom, and so is it freedom to walk with him as we take his forgiveness, love and care to both those that dwell in it and to those that do not-because to either, we are not their saviours-but we do know him and He knows us, and that is not beside the point, that is the point.