Tag: forgive sins

Served by the prophets!

Scripture reading for October 12th: Jeremiah 30-33, 1st Peter 1

Key Scriptures: 1st Peter 1:10-12 “Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look,”

Peter loved Jesus and His Word! He had denied Christ three times, but was restored by Jesus with three questions concerning his love for Him. Peter knew salvation was found in Jesus Christ alone by grace. He also knew the Scriptures and writings of the prophets were Holy Spirit inspired. Jesus had opened the Scriptures to him and the Holy Spirit, living in him, now revealed truth that enabled him to preach the good news. The prophets of old were serving their generation as well as Peter, the Apostle of Jesus Christ and generations to come should the Lord tarry!

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your amazing Word written down through the prophets and confirmed to me by the Holy Spirit. Fill me with Your Spirit today to preach the good news and serve this generation!

Jeremiah 31:33-34 “”For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put My law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know Me, for the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity and I will remember their sin no more.””

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Jesus: Priest of the New Covenant

Scripture reading for October 23rd:  Hebrews 8

“The point of what we are saying is this:  We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle, set up by the Lord, not by man.”  (Hebrews 8:1-2)

Jesus was a High Priest of the Order of Melchizedek.  He is alive and seated at the throne of heaven at God’s right hand, a place of eternal honor.  He now serves, not in a humanly constructed sanctuary or temple, but in the actual Tabernacle in Heaven.  He offered one sacrifice–His own blood and body–for the sins of all men and women and sat down, his work of sacrifice now finished!

In contrast, the High Priests of the Order of Aaron were men who offered gifts and sacrifices prescribed by the law of God.  The did this in a copy of the heavenly temple given to Moses on the Mount Sinai when he received the Ten Commandments, part of the Old Covenant.  Under this Old Covenant, the people were obligated to keep or obey God’s law and offer sacrifices of blood when they failed unintentionally.  The problem with this covenant was that the people disobeyed and broke the covenant.  The Law could only reveal sin, it could not deliver men from sin!  The blood sacrifices could only cover sin, not cleanse the inner man from sin and guilt.

But now, Jesus Christ is the mediator of the New Covenant.  By faith in Him and His Blood, all who believe will be saved from sin’s penalty: death! We can know God personally and have His law written inside.  “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”  (Hebrews 8:12)

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“Peace be with you!”

Scripture reading for May 4th:  John 20

On the first day of the week (Sunday) Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and found it open and empty.  She ran and told the disciples and John and Peter ran to check it out for themselves.  They came and saw the grave clothes folded up as well as the linen strips.  John says that he saw and believed that Jesus was alive.  But they left without seeing Him.  Mary stayed at the tomb and when she bent to look inside again, she saw two angels seated where the body had been.  They asked her why she was crying and as she turned away, she saw Jesus standing there but did not recognize Him.  He revealed Himself to her and told her: “Go to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to My father and your Father, to My God and your God.'”   (John 20:17)

Later that Sunday evening, the disciples were together behind locked doors because they were afraid of what might happen.  “Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20:19)  John says that Jesus showed them His hands and side where He was pierced.  The disciples were overjoyed at seeing Him alive!

“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you.”  And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.””  (John 20:21-23)  Jesus spoke peace to these men who had denied and deserted Him a few hours earlier.  He commissioned them to go into the world and seek the lost as He had done for the Father.  He gave them the Holy Spirit and authority to proclaim forgiveness!

 

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Faith can help your friends!

Scripture reading for October 15th:  Mark 1-3

Mark’s Gospel is concise and alive with the Good News of God with us and in love with us! Mark proclaimed Jesus Christ as the Son of God and Son of Man!  Mark wasted little time with preliminaries of the Jewish history of the Christ and prophesies of His birth.  He  told the story of Jesus living among His people and loving and serving them by teaching, healing, and casting out devils.  Jesus’ stories that revealed the kingdom of heaven and their own need for a relationship with the Father.

Crowds gathered wherever Jesus went.  He returned to Capernaum where he had done miracles and a crowd quickly gathered around a house where He was teaching.   A group of men brought a friend who was paralyzed to Jesus for healing.  Because of the crowd, there was no way to get him inside, so they carried him up on the roof.  They opened a hole big enough to let the man down and lowered him into the room.

When Jesus saw the faith of the friends, He immediately responded to the man by saying: “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)  This caused some religious leaders who were present to begin to question this statement.  After all, only God could forgive sins!  (Mark 2:7)

Jesus knew their thoughts and sought to help them believe.  He asked them which was easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven” or  “Get up, take up your bed and walk”?  In order to remove their objection, he told the man to get up, take up his bed, and walk.  The man got up, amazing the crowd and inspiring faith!

This story should motivate us to seek Jesus for answers to whatever problems we face.  Jesus honors faith and those who press through to Him for their needs!  Believing friends can also be a great blessing by taking the hurting to Jesus.  What friend do you know that may need your help today to get to Jesus?  Take a few minutes of your day to pray for him.  As the Lord leads, get another friend or two and go and lift him to Jesus together!  Miracles are waiting for those who break through!

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Walking in the light!

Scripture reading for November 30th: 1st John 1:1-10

John was the disciple ‘whom Jesus loved’.  John was the youngest of the disciples and one of the three who were in Christ’s inner circle, along with Peter and his brother James.  John was given the assignment to care for Jesus’ mother by Jesus from the cross. (John 19:25-27)  In his later years, (approximately 90 A.D.) John wrote these short letters to his ‘dear children’ encouraging them to grow and endure in their faith.

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have see with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched–this we proclaim concerning the Word of Life.  The Life appeared; we have seen It, we proclaim to you the Eternal Life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.  We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us.  And our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.  We write this to make our joy full.” (1st John 1:1-4)

John writes about his own personal encounter with Jesus.  It was a first-hand encounter that was on-going even at the time of the writing.  He wanted his children in the faith to enjoy fellowship with Jesus Christ and the Father.  This would make his joy complete!  This sounds like Jesus!  (John 15:9-11)  Knowing Jesus and the Father is eternal life!  (John 17:3)

“This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you:  God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.  But if we walk in the light , as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.” (John 1:5-7)

John’s message wasn’t original with him.  He got it from Jesus and passed it on!  If we claim to have fellowship with Jesus, we can’t go on walking in darkness and sin.  That would be a lie!  Jesus is the light of the world!  (John 8:12)  If we truly have fellowship with Jesus, we will walk with Him and confess our sins in true repentance!  Are you walking in the light of true fellowship?  Does your life show it?

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Who can forgive sins?

Scripture reading for October 13th: Mark 1-3

Mark’s Gospel is concise and active.  It is alive with the Good News of God here with us and in love with us.  This revelation is found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Son of Man!  Mark wastes little time with preliminaries of the Jewish history of the Christ and prophesies of His birth.  He gets right down to the action of Jesus living among His people and loving them by teaching, healing, and casting out devils.  He ate with the people and told them stories that opened up for them the kingdom of heaven and their own need for a relationship with the Father.

In Capernaum, a crowd gathered around a house where Jesus was preaching.   A group of men brought a friend who was paralyzed to Jesus for healing.  Because of the crowd there was no way to get him inside so they carried him up on the roof.  They opened a hole big enough to let the man down and lowered him into the room.

When Jesus saw the faith of the friends, He immediately responded to the man by saying: “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark 2:5)  This caused some religious leaders who were present to begin to think about how wrong this statement was to come from a mere man.  After all, only God could forgive sins!  (Mark 2:7)

Jesus immediately understood their thoughts and sought to help them believe.  He asked them why they were thinking these things and asked them which was easier to say, “Your sins are forgiven” or  “Get up, take up your bed and walk”?  In order to remove their objection, he told the man to get up, take up his bed, and walk.  This the man did to the amazement of the crowd!

This story should motivate us to seek Jesus for answers to whatever problems we face.  Jesus honors faith and no problem is too hard for Him.  We may not have faith ourselves, but believing friends can bring us to Jesus.  What friend do you know that needs help today to get to Jesus?  Take a few minutes of your day to pray for him.  As the Lord leads, get another friend or two and go and lift him to Jesus together!  Miracles are waiting for those who break through!  He truly is God!

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“Everyone’s looking for You!”

Scripture reading for February 16th: Mark 1:29-2:12, Psalms 35:17-28, Proverbs 9:13-18

“That evening after sunset  the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.  He also drove out many demons, but He would not let the demons speak because they knew who He was.” (Mark 1:32-34)  Jesus proclaimed the kingdom of God with power.  The proof of this was miracles and deliverance.  Jesus worked well after dark healing and delivering many in Capernaum.  The whole town gathered at Peter’s mother-in-law’s house to receive healing.  Crowds came to get in on what Jesus was saying and doing!

“Very early the next morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.  Simon and his companions went to look for Him, and when they found Him, they proclaimed: “Everyone is looking for You!” (Mark 1:35-37)  The secret to Jesus’ power and authority was in prayer.  Jesus took time to pray alone, seeking the Father’s will and then doing it.  It would have been easy to get caught up in the crowd’s interest and adulation, but Jesus wanted to please His Father first and last!

It would have seemed the perfect opportunity to do more ministry since everyone in Capernaum was looking for Him.  This was an evangelist’s dream: A large crowd of hungry people!  “Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else–to the nearby villages–so I can preach there also.  That is why I have come.” (Mark 1:38)  Jesus did not let the crowd influence Him from doing what He came to do.  He was under orders and moved because of some hidden agenda.  He had business to attend to elsewhere.  The crowd there had seen enough and there were many others who had not had an opportunity to experience the kingdom of God near to them.  Many others were still in bondage to the kingdom of darkness!

The lesson for us today is our need to stay in focus on our mission and the means to do that.  We must spend time alone with God in prayer!  God has personal instructions for each of us.  The crowd isn’t always right and what we did yesterday in that place isn’t necessarily what we should do today.  God is looking for you and me today, in the secret place!

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Receive the Holy Spirit

Scripture reading for November 5th: John 18-21

John’s account of the resurrection contains some information not recorded by the other Gospel writers.  John tells how Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early in the morning and found the stone rolled away.  (John 20:1-22)  She found Peter and “the other disciple” (John) and they ran to the tomb.  John got there first and was looking in when Peter caught up and went right on in.  They found the grave clothes and head cloth neatly folded where the body had been laid.  John saw this and believed that Jesus had risen from the dead.

Mary stood outside crying, and as she bent to look into the tomb, she suddenly saw two angels dressed in white.  They asked her why she was crying.  She responded that she was broken because she did not know who might have taken the body away and where they had put Him.  Turning around, she saw a man standing there.  She thought it might be the gardener and asked him where Jesus’ body might have been put.  Jesus spoke her name, “Mary” and she recognized Him.  “Do not hold on to Me, for I have not yet returned to the Father.  Go instead to My brothers and tell them ‘I am returning to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.” (John 20:17)  It is interesting that Jesus now calls the disciples His brothers.  He calls His Father and God, their Father and God!

On that evening of the first day of the week that Jesus rose again, the disciples were gathered behind locked doors.  Jesus came and appeared to them.  “Peace be with you!  As the Father has sent Me , I am sending you.”  And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 20:21-23)  This was the first thing John recorded that Jesus did when He visited them on that first day after the resurrection.  Jesus wanted them filled with peace.  He wanted them to have a vision and purpose to their lives: being sent into the world for seeking lost people.  He wanted them to be empowered with the Spirit enough to personally breath on them.  What joy this must have brought after the experience of Jesus’ crucifixion!

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