Sunday, June 14, 2009

I love church!

Honestly, today's sermon was so beautiful. It centered around 2 Corinthians 5, the whole chapter.
Our Heavenly Dwelling
1Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
6Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7We live by faith, not by sight. 8We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10For we must all appear before the
judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
The Ministry of Reconciliation
11Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though
we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sina]">[a] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The pastor spoke about being IN Christ rather than knowing ABOUT Chri st. How, (and this is one of my favorite parts) when you come to be saved in Christ, you are a whole new creation. It's not a remodeling process, it's a demolishment.

Verse 16 talks about how when we are saved, we change how we look at people. We shouldn't be looking at them to determine whether they are saved or not (the fruit they produce will show this to be true or not), but rather as a discernment. I'm not sure if I can put into words what this means (sorry).

Verse 20 talks about us being ambassadors for Christ. We need to stay in Christ in order to show His Way. And although we are often hard on ourselves for our own sins, He covers each one of those sins.

The pastor said there are three things that motivate us that are shown with in these verses.
1. To please the Lord (v. 9), which is a good enough reason to be our sole motivator. (Matt. 6:33)

2. Eventually, we will appear before the judgement seat of Christ (v. 10).
He said this isn't the judgment seat we hear about in Revelations, but rathe r that if you are saved, you still have to answer for what you did (or didn't do) on earth. It's sort of like an offering plate that will be passed around showing what you did or didn't do. Will you show up empty-handed in front of the Lord? I hope I don't.

3. Christ's love compels us to show others His Love and Salvation (v. 14).
It's like I have felt His Love so completely that I KNOW He loves me - and I know He loves you, too (yes, YOU). Again, sometimes we're so hard on ourselves about our pasts, our presents, our sins - we remember it all. God, however, forgives us. He doesn't forget, but He CHOOSES not to bring it up. When we are cloaked in Jesus' Righteousness, THAT is all that is seen - not our shortcomings.

To end it, the pastor brought forth the point that we live by faith, not by sight. Faith is how you choose to respond to the written Word of the Lord. How do you respond?

I know for myself, I am hard on myself and think I am unworthy of leading another to Christ or even sharing about what He's done in my life. However, I know that just by knowing His Love and being IN Him, I have the gift, the blessing, the opportunity to show others what they're missing out on (eternal life in heaven).

If you realize that you are a sinner (if you lie, cheat, steal, lust, etc.), then you should know that those sins separate you from God. He loves you so much but our sin is so icky that He can't be anywhere near it (like Howie Mandel and germs). However, His Son, Jesus, wants us to be together with God so He came to earth for us. And Jesus was PURE, just like God. He NEVER sinned (I know, it's so hard to comprehend) but He laid down His Life (I mean, He's God, He could have taken Himself off the cross or away from being persecute d) for us. Every drop of blood He shed covers every sin that you (and I) commit. That blood is pure, so it's like this white covering over our black sins (and how often does white actually cover black? Usually it all just fades to gray)! It's just so amazing because this God, who could leave us to rot on earth or in hell, chose to save us so we can live in heaven (later on, of course).
But it's not just that simple. It's not only the fact that He died for us. It's like a gift He has for us. And if someone has a gift for you, is it just automatically yours? No. You have to take it. And it's really easy to do that. You need to recognize that you're a sinner. And you need to be truly sorry for those sins and repent (turn away from) of those sins. Then, you need to say that you accept that Jesus died for those sins and He covers your sins. You need to give your life over to Him (which is not easy but it's totally worth it); let Him take the reins.
After that, it's all about growing in His Word and trying to walk in His Way.
I hope this wasn't too much, but it was really on my heart to share that with all of you. If anything, I really hope that you recognize the importance of Christ in your life. Even if you're not ready to give Him complete control, pray about it.

happy followers