Text: Ex. 34:1-10; Matt. 1:18-25
The Golden Gate Bridge links the city of San Francisco with Marin County to the north. The suspension bridge was opened in 1937 and since then has been one of the principal landmarks of both San Francisco and California.
I. Man Has a Problem
A. Chronic Sin
- No immune system. Sort of like a spiritual AIDS
- A penalty imposed.
- Already sentenced
* A FARMER placed nets on his newly-sown plowlands and caught a number of crows, which came to pick up his seed. With them he trapped a bluejay that had fractured his leg in the net and was earnestly beseeching the Farmer to spare his life. "Please save me, Master," he said, "and let me go free this once. My broken limb should excite your pity. Besides, I am no crow, I am a bluejay, a bird of excellent character; and see how I love and slave for my father and mother. Look too, at my feathers-- they are not the least like those of a crow." The Farmer laughed aloud and said, "It may be all as you say, I only know this: I have taken you with these robbers, the crows, and you must die in their company."
If Christians continue to give in to peer pressure, the day will come when the Master when cast them together with other sinners into the lake of fire.
- Unless we can separate ourselves from sin, we shall be separate from God.
- Removed from the presence of God
- Prisoners are removed from society. They lose all their personal freedoms and are in effect, treated like non-persons. That is similar to what happens to us as we sin. We are separated from God and we lose our personhood. Without God, we lose the freedom he can give us from sin and degradation, and we become non-persons. When someone is given to their sinful nature and cfommitts atrocious acts, we say they are inhumane. Not human. Non-persons.
II. God Has a Plan
A. That Can't Be Defeated
- All contingencies covered by an all knowing God.
- A truly fool proof plan.
* David Livingstone had spent sixteen years in Africa but had not faced such peril. The white man was surrounded by hostile, angry natives in the heart of Africa. He was in danger of losing his life and contemplated fleeing in the night. But something happened that changed his mind and gave him peace in his perilous situation. He recorded it in his diary that January 14, 1856:
Felt much turmoil of spirit in prospect of having all my plans for the welfare of this great region and this teeming population knocked on the head by savages tomorrow. But I read that Jesus said: “All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” It is the word of a gentleman of the most strict and sacred honor, so there’s an end to it! I will not cross furtively tonight as I intended. Should such a man as I flee? Nay, verily, I shall take observations for latitude and longitude tonight, though they may be the last. I feel quite calm now, thank God!
B. God will perform it
- If any one can, He can. All powerful!
*Question: There are three things God cannot do. What are they?
He can't Lie
He can't hate the sinner
He can't love sin
- BETTY MCKNIGHT
C. It involves us
- We might want to say wait a minute, I don't want to get involved.
- We are already involved.
III. God Is Personally Involved
A. Lending his Character
Compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, loving, truthful, forgiving,
B. Making a covenant
- A covenant is not a contract
C. Lending personal presence
- Hands on administrator. Not afar off and giving orders from a distance.
IV. God Provides restoration
A. Through Forgiveness
* Not far from New York, there is a cemetery where there is a grave which has inscribed upon its headstone just one word: "Forgiven." There is no name, no date of birth or death. The stone is unembellished by the sculptor's art. There is no epitaph, no eulogy, just that one word: "Forgiven." But that is the greatest thing that can be said of any man or written upon his grave, "Forgiven."
B. Through cleansing
* "James," said the American planter, "suppose I take an ink-bottle and cork it tight and put a string around the neck and drag it through the river, how long will it take to clean out the inside?" James' face lighted up in a moment, and he replied "Massa you'll never get it clean that way in the world." The master seized upon this confession and showed James that baptism by water availed nothing apart from the inward cleansing by the Holy Spirit. --Sunday School Chronicle
C. Through relationship
You place yourself in His charge, and follow him. He is your savior, yes, but he is also your master and your Guide. There is a reason why the New Testament refers to Jesus as Lord and Savior. Before he is a savior, He must be your Lord. If he is your Lord, you are no maore cast adrift to your own whim and fancy, but you have the wisest navigator on the sea of life as your personal friend.
Pagans had no such God as this. The idea that a god would become personally involved in helping them was totally radical. For the pagan, God had to be reached through special rites and ceremony, and the gods were not reliable, acting on their own whim or fancy. They had to try to reach up to the gods, and had to try to get them to respond to their appeals. They could not conceive a god that cared for them and was reaching out to them.
God has made a bridge that spans a great distance. It is built on the body and blood of Christ and it reaches from sinful men to a holy God, restoring fellowship that was broken.