Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sunday Sermonette-Seperation from God

October 25, 2009

"And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden." (Genesis 4:16)

This is a very sad and ominous verse, foreshadowing the tragic fate of all those who "have gone in the way of Cain" (Jude 11). "A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth," God had said (Genesis 4:12), destined to a restless life of moving to and fro in "the land of Nod" (literally, "the land of wandering") all the rest of his days.

Cain's basic sin was not just the murder of Abel. "And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous" (1 John 3:12). "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts" (Hebrews 11:4). Abel's work of sacrifice was judged righteous by God, and Cain's was not, because Cain "was of that wicked one" (1 John 3:12). He had refused to offer the blood of an acceptable sacrifice for his sins (and thus forfeited God's witness that he was righteous), instead offering the fruits of the cursed ground, produced by his own efforts. But then Abel's shed blood entered that ground, so even it could " ;not henceforth yield unto thee her strength" (Genesis 4:12), and Cain became a wanderer.

Thus it will be in eternity for all those who refuse to come to God through the blood of the one acceptable Sacrifice, His own righteous Son. They shall "have no rest day nor night" (Revelation 14:11), like "wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever" (Jude 13), "who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord" (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

Such eternal separation from God is the very essence of hell. In glorious contrast to such a prospect, all who come to God through Christ will "ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Sermonette-Now is the Time

"For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2 Corinthians 6:2)

There are many wonderful things that we as Christians are looking forward to in the ages to come, when the earth and our bodies are made new and the entire beautiful creation of God is open to us for all eternity. But there are also many wonderful privileges that belong to us right now as well.

First of all, our eternal salvation is here and now, for this is the time acceptable to God in which to receive His great salvation through faith in Christ. No one will ever be saved in the ages of eternity, for all who enjoy His salvation then will have received it now.

Those who have salvation now also have been set free from condemnation (or "judgment") now. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Romans 5:9). "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight" (Colossians 1:21-22).

Not only do we now have the assurance of eternal salvation, but we also have all necessary provisions for a happy, fruitful, victorious life in this present age. "The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20).

Now, because all these doctrines are present realities, we have full confidence that all God’s yet-to-be-realized promises are also true. "Beloved, now are we the sons of God . . . but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). HMM

h/t: Henry M Morris, Institute for Creation Research

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sunday Sermonette-The Wages or a Gift?

"The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

This wonderful verse has been used by the Holy Spirit countless times to bring a person to the point of salvation, and rightly so. Seldom did the author of Scripture pack so much into so few words, and seldom is the gospel of salvation more clearly and succinctly presented.

Perhaps the key to this verse and its teaching is the little word but, for marvelous contrasts hinge on it. In fact, pointing out the parallel but contrasting statements has proven to be an effective witnessing tool. Let us consider these individual contrasts.

First, wages versus gift: Wages are something that must be earned, while a gift cannot be earned; it is free. The wages of employment follow directly from having done the work, just as the wages of sin follow directly from having done the sin. Similarly, the gift of God follows directly from God’s own character. He is a loving, gracious God, who freely showers His gifts on those who will accept them.

Second, sin versus God, or sin versus the sinless one: We might even define sin as the opposite of godliness. Sin is the deed which merits the wages, while God is the being who gives the gift. Sin is a wrong action, attitude, or thought, while God is a person, active and loving. Sin takes; God gives.

Third, death eternal versus life eternal: Conscious existence in separation from God versus conscious existence in communion with God. Sin brings death, surely and permanently; God gives eternal life.

This gift of eternal life is not given capriciously, however; it is based on the work of Jesus Christ, the one who Himself collected the wages of our sin. The sinner who accepts God’s gift, through Jesus Christ, can hardly fail to recognize Him as Lord. JDM

h/t: J D Morris, Institute for Creation Research

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Sunday Sermonette II

Behold, He Cometh
October 4, 2009

"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him." (Revelation 1:7)

This striking verse, which deals with the return of Christ, contains several aspects well worth our study.

First: "Behold, he cometh." This event is still future, but it is as sure as if it had already taken place. Christ will return.

Second: "They shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:30). His coming "with clouds" was also prophesied in Daniel 7:13, Matthew 26:64, Acts 1:11, and elsewhere.

Third: "Every eye shall see him." Who is included here? Certainly everyone living at the time, both Christian and non-Christian. But also the saved dead and raptured saints will be present (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Can it be that the unsaved dead will likewise "see" Him come? Those who died without Christ should be vitally interested. Either the coming rebellion will defeat Christ and free their spirits from Hades, or they will soon face certain, final judgment.

Fourth, notice the different reactions. His tormentors will be in horrible distress; those who "pierced him" will be in inexpressible anguish as they realize the awful consequences of their actions. Who pierced Him? Certainly Israel, but the collective sins of all men of all ages pierced Him. Some have gained forgiveness and will gladly see Him come; others have refused and will "wail" at His return.

Saints in heaven and on earth will delight in His coming. To them, it means release from persecution, justice on their persecutors, and a righteous kingdom established. It will mean questions answered, imperfections removed, the curse repealed. Any distress felt for friends and loved ones still living in rejection will be swallowed up in the rightness of the action. JDM

h/t: J D Morris, Institute For Creation Research

Sunday Sermonette