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Faithlife

Choose Your God Wisely

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1 Corinthians 15:1-2

Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

There have been many great people throughout the history of the world.  These people have done many great things and left behind many great legacies for us to remember them by.   There were great humanitarians:

·         Consider Mother Teresa who looked out in the streets of Calcutta and saw the dying and the sick and chose a vow of chastity and a vow poverty to serve the need in front of here.

·         Consider Martin Luther King who during of time of great racial tension stood up and organized drives for black voter registration, desegregation, and better education despite resistance from both sides he remained non-violent. 

There have been great athletes:

·         Consider Michael Jordan who won six championships with the bulls who along with Bo Jackson revolutionized the advertising industry for athletes.  Who transformed what it means to be a complete basketball player and was known for pushing himself and teammates toward greatness.

·         Consider Tiger Woods who has dedicated his life to winning.  He changed the game of golf by actually causing golf courses to rebuild. He actually hit the ball so far the game was getting  to easy for him.  He has transformed how golf clubs are made in order to level out the playing field.

There have been many great Thinkers

·         Consider Buddha who realized that wealth doesn’t equal happiness, whose search for middle ground led him to understand the importance of leading a moral life, to be mindful of your thought life, and to develop wisdom.  His unhappiness led him to create a philosophy which leads to happiness away from cravings of this world through discipline.

·         Consider the Muslims and their articles of faith, faith in the unity of God, faith in angels, faith in the prophets, faith in the books of revelation, faith in an afterlife, and faith in the divine decree.  Their faith is backed by good works.  Their faith is justified by actions and the prophet Muhammad shows you the way to God.

While men, through their works, have filled the history of the world with their legacies all will be remembered for what they did while they lived.  Some had many cheering them on in great sports arenas, some dedicated their lives to a pursuit, and some through discipline discovered the laws of morality found in each man and built a philosophy, and still others create ways to think because they themselves are found empty in the human condition. 

Every man and women who lived had only their works to leave behind but all of them had one thing in common whether Sport hero, humanitarian, philosophical thinker or religious leader.  All of them died and none of them were remembered for their death but rather what they did when they lived.

Now I could brag about how Jesus lived and tell you of the multitudes he feed, making water into wine, walking on water, calming the seas, making the lame to walk, the dumb to speak, the blind to sea, and the dead to rise up.

 I could tell you how he actually touched the leper and made him whole and how he spoke with Moses and Elijah on that great Mountain.  I could brag about how God spoke three times from heaven concerning his pleasure for this Him.  But if I boast about this and told you everything he had ever done, like the apostle John claimed, all the books of the world could not contain it.  More importantly if I boast about all the works of Jesus it becomes nothing more than locker room talk. 

It’s locker room talk because it places us, like those who saw Michael Jordan hit a last second shot against Utah, at the edge of our seats.  It gave us something to remember the moment by so we can tell others and point to specific time and say, “Hey that guy was awesome at what he did.”  However, the legacy in and of itself means nothing , the deeds for everyone to see means nothing because in all of their splendor it only draws attention to the man and we are still left in our human condition.

You see many have done great things in their lives, conquered kingdoms, worlds, hearts and even minds.  However, today for those who can accept it.  It was not what Jesus did with his life that made him great.  It is what he did in his death that separates him from being categorized with the rest of mankind and their deeds.   

Mankind with all its great achievements and wisdom has always looked for God from our point of view,  from  where they are to where God is.  We look at God from the bottom up.  In our depravity we have made war heroes into God, sports figures into Gods, pieces of wood, Gold and silver into Gods,  we have lifted rock stars up to be rock gods, idolized rappers and movie stars, and even lifted up supermodels like  Gods . 

Mankind has a growing need for God but because of our condition we can never seem to get it right.  We don’t know if it’s Allah, if it’s Buddha, if the Jehovah witness’s are right, it its scientology, if it is Mormons or if it is a crystal skull in the woods of Africa.   No one from our point of view seems to be able to figure this out.

The only way to come to a knowledge of God is for us to elevate our thinking.  Understand that mans condition is one of sin.  We are sinners separate from God.  That thinking left to itself causes man to create Gods wherever he goes.  It causes him to look at a life and be in awe.  But no man, no tradition, no philosophy of thought has dealt with the condition of man except that of Jesus Christ who came into this world to take up the sins of the world upon his body, nail them to cross, and  shed his blood as substitutionary sacrifice for you and me. 

Ladies and gentlemen choose your God wisely.  Understand that sin created a Gap between the infinite Holiness of God and the sinfulness of man.   This gap is the void of creation that has left us to our deprived thinking.  Man cannot elevate his thinking on his own.  There is no deed that man can do to justify his  faith, there is no philosophy he can live by that can allow him reach some higher plane, the issue isn’t one of someone reaching higher or doing something more.  These are things man does from his depraved point of view, from a sinful mind to a holy God.

The issue is who can take away the sinful condition of your heart and fill the gap between man and God.   Job understood that man in his condition could not arbitrate for himself because Holiness and sinfulness cannot exist together.  He states:

Job 9:32,33

32     “He (God) is not a man like me that I might answer him,

that we might confront each other in court.

33     If only there were someone to arbitrate between us,

to lay his hand upon us both,

34     someone to remove God’s rod from me,

so that his terror would frighten me no more.

35     Then I would speak up without fear of him,

but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

The heart of God’s Plan of salvation centers on this need for a mediator, someone who could go between an offended God and a helpless sinful creation.  In all the lives lived in this planet, all the legacies that remain, all so called men of faith, the so called prophets, the legends of valor and the many heroic stories we have.  None come close to what Jesus Christ did in love for his creation.

Hebrews 2:14-17

14 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death. 15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.

16 We also know that the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.

While man wants to leave behind a legacy so others will talk about his glory, Jesus did what no man or human could do.  Jesus took the penalty , he took the burden and condition of mankind upon himself and found Glory in making an atonement for mankind’s sin.  He paid the price willingly, laid down his life willingly so that mankind would not be separate from him.

I don’t think from mans point of view we understand this sacrifice.  You see God is Holy in him life and when he creates he creates in life.  Death is foreign to God, it is something outside of who he is.  Remember that God created life, that he breathed into man life, that Jesus was the resurrection and the life, that he only knows life.  God knows nothing of death, of shadow, of darkness.  All that which is outside of himself is death and God is life. 

Man talks of fear of the unknown how we are scared of what is foreign to us, However God, who wants to give life, steps into the unknown, into the shadows, into the darkness, all that which is the opposite of who he is to fulfill the requirement of the law of sin, which is death, and makes atonement for all man according to this law and bridges the gap. 

He fulfills Gods requirement because he was blameless and without sin and mans requirement because he took the sins upon himself on the cross.  He became the curse, he became death in order the righteousness might be restored and justice be served. 

Gal. 3:11-13

11 Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, “The man who does these things will live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.

The provision that has been made by the death of Jesus Christ is the love of God we celebrate today.  Because from our sinfulness we were not able to rise up and see God from his point of view.  We are not able to elevate our sinful minds to understand his holiness.  We were left apart from God with a death sentence over our heads.  The penalty required a price that no man could pay, that no legacy could atone for, and that no philosophy could comprehend.

 The accomplishments of men only glorified man but never healed mankind of its sinful condition.  Yes men in this world have done great things,  but all of it is meaningless compared to what Jesus Christ did on the cross of Calvary.

Men may have legends and tales of greatness, but the provision of Jesus Christ made possible repentance, faith, justification, regeneration, adoption, sanctification, assurance, and security.  That which no man could do God took upon himself in Jesus and Jesus did it not to create a new philosophy, not to create a new legend for man to talk about, but to create in you something new that can only be found in faith in him.  He created a new man.

Myer Pearlman says: Christianity is unlike all other religions in the place it assigns to the death of its Founder. All other religions base their claim to greatness on the life and teaching of those who founded them, while the Gospel of Jesus Christ centers around the Person of Jesus Christ, including especially His Death at Calvary. It has often been said that there is good in every religion.  It may be true that there is some ethical value in many other teachings, but only in Christianity do we have redemption from sin, and this accomplished through the substitutionary Death of the Son of God Himself.

It is by Jesus Christ that we can be made into a new man with a new point of view.  One doesn’t look from our need up toward God, but through the cross we can see from God’s provision down to where we are at.  Through Jesus Christ we can understand God’s love, his reign, his willingness to give life and find our place in him.  I wonder do you carry this Gospel with you.

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