A&D Biker Ministries "Growing the Kingdom of God . . . one Biker at a time"

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April 10, 2021

 

EFCA Statement of FAITH 

(Part 6 of 10)

 

The EFCA, Evangelical Free Church of America,  is an association of autonomous churches united around these theological convictions:

 

The Holy Spirit - We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.  He convicts the world of its guilt.  He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God.  He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

 

The Holy Spirit is probably the least known and understood person of the Trinity.  We know that God the Father created all things.  In our creeds we say that God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and is present everywhere. 

 

We also know about God the Son, Jesus the Christ.  We know that Jesus took on human form and became one of us.  We believe that he suffered, died, and rose again for our sins and for our eternal life.

 

We are a little fuzzy, though, on the Holy Spirit and the role that he has in our lives.  The Holy Spirit is one of the core beliefs of the Christian faith.  Just as it is important to understand the activity of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son, it is also important to understand what the Holy Spirit does and how the Holy Spirit moves in our lives.  So . . .

 

Who Is The Holy Spirit And What Does He Do?

 

To answer that question, let’s look at this Statement of Faith, line-by-line, and see what the Bible has to say about each point.

 

The Holy Spirit - We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.  He convicts the world of its guilt.  He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God.  He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

 

John 16:12-14 (NLT)

12 “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now.  13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard.  He will tell you about the future.  14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.”

 

The Holy Spirit guides us and glorifies Jesus.

 

John 14:15-17 (NIV)

15 “If you love me, keep my commands.  16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever - 17 the Spirit of truth.  The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

 

It’s not easy being the Holy Spirit.  Look at verse 17.

 

. . . The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him.”   Those who are not saved (referred to as the world ) resist, ridicule and misunderstand the Holy Spirit.

 

 

The Holy Spirit - We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.  He convicts the world of its guilt.  He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God.  He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

 

John 16:7-11 (NASB)

7 But I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I am leaving; for if I do not leave, the Holy Spirit will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.  8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world regarding sin, and righteousness, and judgment:  9 regarding sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and regarding righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you no longer are going to see Me; 11 and regarding judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.

 

 

God, the Holy Spirit, works to convict our conscience of the sins we are guilty of, and he leads us to believe in and accept salvation in Jesus Christ.  Also, the Holy Spirit will be Witness, Counselor & Advocate for ALL Christians at the last judgement!

 

Romans 8:14-16 (NLT)

14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.  15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves.  Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children.  Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”  16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.

 

The Holy Spirit is God.  And, the Holy Spirit convicts, convinces, and leads us to salvation in Jesus Christ.  God the Father then adopts us as his very own!

 

 

The Holy Spirit - We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.  He convicts the world of its guilt.  He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God.  He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

 

The Holy Spirit indwells us:

 

1 Corinthians 3:16 (NKJV)

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

 

The Holy Spirit illuminates us:

 

John 14:26 (NLT)

But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative - that is, the Holy Spirit - he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.

 

 

The Holy Spirit guides us:

 

John 16:13 (NLT)

When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard.  He will tell you about the future.

 

 

The Holy Spirit equips us:

 

Ephesians 4:11-13a (NLT)

11 And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God . . . 

 

Acts 1:8 (NLV)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes into your life.  You will tell about Me in the city of Jerusalem and over all the countries of Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”

 

In scripture, God’s power is also called the Spirit’s power, and, the very thoughts of God are the very thoughts of the Holy Spirit.

 

The Holy Spirit is not some impersonal force.  He speaks to us.  He searches all things in us.  He knows our thoughts and the thoughts of God the Father.  He teaches us all about what God has freely given us.

 

The Holy Spirit helps us to share our Christian testimony, when . . .

 

  • we don’t feel qualified

 

  • we don’t know what to say

 

WHO should be the central figure in any testimony we share?  GOD!  We have to be careful that we don’t make the mistake of putting something else at the center of our testimony. 

 

The most important thing to share with someone is what God has done for you!

 

The Holy Spirit helps to spiritually mature / grow up in Jesus / have the mind of Christ. 

Do you know why some people aren’t excited about growth / maturity in the Lord?  It’s because the more we are living like Jesus the less the world will like us!

 

Maturing spiritually does not automatically happen when we place our faith in Christ.  We have to cooperate with the Holy Spirit within us!

 

Now, while it’s true that the Holy Spirit does all of these things, the most important is that he brings us the opportunity to receive salvation!

 

Perhaps you have never placed your faith in what Christ did, when he died on the cross to pay for your sins.  Is the Holy Spirit pointing you toward the love of God, through Jesus, today? 

 

The Holy Spirit does not force himself upon us.  He moves in our lives, inviting us to give ourselves to his presence and power.  The Holy Spirit waits for us to desire to do God’s will and to serve God alone.

 

You can know that you are free from the penalty of sin and today you can receive the Holy Spirit into your life.

 

Evangelical Free Church of America

Statement of Faith

 

The Holy Spirit - We believe that the Holy Spirit, in all that He does, glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ.  He convicts the world of its guilt.  He regenerates sinners, and in Him they are baptized into union with Christ and adopted as heirs in the family of God.  He also indwells, illuminates, guides, equips and empowers believers for Christ-like living and service.

 

 

 

April 3, 2021

 

EASTER Sunday Weekend

 

“EASTER”

 

Luke 24:1-8 (CEV)

1 Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb, carrying the spices that they had prepared.  2 When they found the stone rolled away from the entrance, 3 they went in.  But they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus, 4 and they did not know what to think.  Suddenly two men in shining white clothes stood beside them.  5 The women were afraid and bowed to the ground.  But the men said, “Why are you looking in the place of the dead for someone who is alive?  6 Jesus isn’t here!  He has been raised from death.  Remember that while he was still in Galilee, he told you, 7 ‘The Son of Man will be handed over to sinners who will nail him to a cross.  But three days later he will rise to life.’”  8 Then they remembered what Jesus had said.

 

Tomorrow, EASTER SUNDAY, 2021, is the celebration of the single most important event in all of human history!Top

 

The resurrection of Jesus has done more to change the world than any other event, invention, election, discovery, or person in the history of the world.  

 

The miracle of THE RESURECTION OF Jesus has INDEED changed the world . . . all because of one single event that happened inside of a borrowed tomb.  Jesus was dead, but God raised him to life!

 

On the day that Jesus died, it hardly seemed like a revolution was happening.  The world was dark and stormy . . . and the hundreds of people who had followed Jesus into Jerusalem had scattered - just as Jesus had predicted.

 

John 16:32-33 (NIV)

32 “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home.  You will leave me all alone.  Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.  33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

 

The world scatters us

 

For the last several years, people have started to become anchored to their homes.  (The pandemic of COVID-19 has helped to magnify this reality.)  In large part, this anchoring in our homes is because you can get EVERYTHING done using technology!

 

Adults can work from home - online. 

 

Kids can go to school - online. 

You can have your paychecks directly / electronically deposited into your bank account by your employer.  And, if Grandma doesn’t Venmo you your birthday gift, you can deposit the check from her with a snap of a picture on your smartphone. 

 

You can order anything you need online . . . and even have your meals and groceries delivered directly to your doorstep.

 

Plus, you can even “watch worship” online, at home, without the hassle of having to be around all those Christians.  (Don’t get me started on this one!

 

Comfort and convenience are replacing quality time devoted to building relationships.  TODAY, OUR WORLD TRULY IS SCATTERING US!

 

 

CHRIST DIED FOR ALL OF us

 

Easter - Jesus being killed on a cross and then resurrected three days later - means that ALL of the sins of every person are paid for by Jesus! 

 

Now, all of us have one easy way to God . . .

 

Romans 5:6-11 (NLT)

6 When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.  7 Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good.  8 But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.  9 And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.  10 For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.  11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.

 

 

CHRIST SENT HIS HOLY SPIRiT TO ALL OF us

 

John 16:12-15 (NLT)

12 “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now.  13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.  He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard.  He will tell you about the future.  14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.  15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’”

 

Jesus promised that we would not be left alone - after he was resurrected from the dead and returned to heaven.  He sent us the Holy Spirit, to be our Teacher / Comforter / Counselor / Spiritual Guide.

 

Receive him, and the Holy Spirit WILL live within you!

Romans 8:11 (NIV)

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

 

To give life to our mortal bodies means to revitalize, to cause something to come spiritually alive!

 

 

CHRIST GAVE us HIS CHURCH, SO THAT WE CAN ALL BELONG

 

Psalm 68:5-6 (NLV)

5 God in his holy house is a father to those who have no father.  And he keeps the women safe whose husbands have died.  6 God makes a home for those who are alone.  He leads men out of prison into happiness and well-being.  But those who fight against him live in an empty desert.

 

Jesus has gone to the most extravagant lengths to find us, to pursue us and to make us spiritually new in him. 

 

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

 

Easter is NOT about what we can do, but what God has already done - through Jesus!

 

Ephesians 1:19-21 (NLV)

19 I pray that you will know how great his power is for those who have put their trust in him.  20 It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead.  This same power put Christ at God’s right side in heaven.  21 This place was given to Christ.  It is much greater than any king or leader can have.  No one else can have this place of honor and power.  No one in this world or in the world to come can have such honor and power.

 

The world scatters us, but Jesus gathers us!

 

Does your life feel scattered today?  Do you feel close to or far away from God?

 

The tomb of Jesus is empty . . . so that your life can be full.  He’s just a prayer away!

 

Have a blessed easter!

 

 

March 27, 2021

 

Palm Sunday Weekend

“M.I.C.”

(Most Important Character)

 

Matthew 21:1-11 (NIV)

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her.  Untie them and bring them to me.  3 If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”  4 This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet (Zechariah):  5 “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”  6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.  7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on.  8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”  “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”  “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”  10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”  11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

 

If Jesus rode into our capital city, Madison, WI, today, he’d be arrested immediately!  After all, he’d be a wanted man.  The FDA would want him for turning water into wine without a license; the EPA for killing fig trees; the AMA for practicing medicine without a license; the Department of Health for feeding 5000 people without a food permit, AND for asking opening graves and raising the dead; the NEA for teaching without a certificate; OSHA for walking on water without a lifejacket; the SPCA & PETA for driving a herd of hogs into the sea; the NATIONAL BOARD OF PSYCHIATRISTS for giving advice on how to live guilt free without a degree in counseling; the N.O.W. for not choosing a disciple assigned female at birth; the ABORTION RIGHTS LEAGUE for saying that whoever harms children, it is better that they had never been born; the INTERFAITH MOVEMENT for condemning all other religions, and the ZONING DEPARTMENT for building all Christians an eternal mansion without a permit! 

 

Guess what?  Jesus was a wanted man 2,021 years ago on Palm Sunday!  While the crowd shouted praises at him, the religious leaders were plotting to kill him.  It was Passover, and over 2 million people were in and around Jerusalem.  Until now, Jesus had avoided any public demonstration.  So, why today?  First, he is fulfilling prophecy - Zechariah 9:9. Second, it forced the Jewish leaders to act.  When they saw the demonstration of the people they knew that Jesus had to be destroyed.

 

Now, what were the Romans thinking as they watched this wonderful demonstration?  After all, the Romans were experts at parades and official public events.  No Roman would have called this a triumphal event.  When a Roman general came back to Rome after a conquest of an enemy, he was welcomed with an elaborate parade.  War prisoners would be bound behind him while he rode a white horse or chariot.  He would have had to have killed 5,000 enemy soldiers.  But here’s Jesus . . . on a peaceful mission.  When a king rode a donkey into a town it symbolized that he was on a peace mission.  Jesus is on a peace mission to reconcile man to God.  (By the time we get to Acts 4:4, 5,000 lives are recorded as having been claimed for the Gospel!  This was a victory of another kind - love over hatred, truth over error, life over death.)

 

OK.  So, who is the most important character in this story?  The chanting crowd?  No - they cry “crucify him” in just a few days.  The two disciples who fetched the donkey?  No - they ran away and denied Jesus, just like all the others.  The most important character is the young colt the donkey!  See, the donkey was a beast of burden.  And she represents the Jewish people who had long born the yoke of the Law.  Now, the donkey represents the time of the Gentiles - the Church . . . the one’s who will bear the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and sin-filled world.  The donkey represents the Old Covenant (the Law) and the colt the New Covenant (Gospel).

 

This new colt had never been ridden.  That’s important because donkeys that had never been ridden were regarded as especially suitable for religious purposes (see Deuteronomy 21:3).  So, it was most fitting that Jesus sent for the colt to perform the royal task of carrying him right into Jerusalem.  The colt, the young donkey, is the most important character in the Palm Sunday story, because of his mission.  His mission was to carry Jesus!  Did you know that OUR mission is to carry Jesus?  As a child of God, as a Christian, that is your mission! 

 

How are we to do this?

 

We need to be like the colt . . .

 

1. WE’RE TO BE UNTIED

 

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her.  Untie them and bring them to me.  

 

What’s tying you down?  What’s tying our church down?  What binds us?  Sin binds us!  You cannot be an effective witness for Jesus when you are bound by sin.

 

It’s first sin of omission.  That is, omitting the things we’re supposed to do.  Sins of omission then lead to sins of commission.

 

When we stop doing the things we know we’re to do, like pray, read God’s Word, be in worship, love and serve Jesus with our whole heart.  When we stop doing these things, it then leads to sins of commission.  We then begin committing sin.  And the end result is “no mission.” 

 

We live in a post-Christian society. That means people are apathetic about Church because Christians are apathetic in Church.  They are tied by sins of omission and commission.  It’s sIn, with a big “I” right in the middle!  The solution is confession / repentance.  Repent of those sins today.  Be loosed (untied) and be on mission for Jesus!

 

 

2. WE’RE TO BE OBEDIENT

 

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.  7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. 

 

The disciples were obedient to Jesus, and the donkey and her colt obediently followed the two disciples.

 

I did some research on donkeys . . .

 

When we think of donkeys we usually think of them as being obstinate, and stubborn.  But on the other hand they are strong, obedient, patient & forgiving.  In fact, our next few points will come from these characteristics.

 

You see, this particular species or sub-species of donkeys in the Palestine, Mediterranean region were very obedient, forgiving animals.  I read that when these specific donkeys exhibited the negative traits such as stubbornness or unwillingness, it was mainly produced by a cruel bondage imposed upon by a human task master.  Hmmm.  We too are disobedient when we are tied / bound to an evil task master called sin.  But, Jesus came to untie us and set us free.  And we’re to be obedient to him.  We’re to obey his Word.  Some people say, “Well, I read the Bible but I can’t understand it.”  I say, how about obeying what you do understand!  Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.  Take up your cross and follow Jesus.  Forgive one another, be kind to one another, watch your tongue. 

 

Be obedient to all you do understand of God’s Word!

 

 

3. WE’RE TO BE HUMBLE

 

5 “Say to Daughter Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’” 

 

The donkey is a lowly / humble animal.  Do you know when we stop being humble?  It’s when we forget where we are and how we got there.  We’re here by the grace of God . . . your salvation is by his grace!  And when we forget that, we become proud and arrogant. 

 

Pride can be a good thing or a bad thing.  God hates pride that tries to elevates ourself.  Satan became proud, in the negative way, in heaven (Isaiah 14).  Do you know what that tells me?  Pride existed in heaven even before sin happened on earth!  Pride is the root of all sin.  Pride is what holds back revival.  Pride is what keeps families from reconciling.  Pride is what keeps friends from reuniting.  Pride never for one moment thinks, “Well you know, I could have been wrong.”  Pride says, “I know I’m right!” 

 

The Bible says that God hates 6 or 7 things . . . and pride is number one on his hit list.  That means you and I are number one on God’s hit list, when we are arrogant and proud.  We are destined for a fall!

 

Friends, if we’re going to carry Jesus to a lost world we must remain humble.

 

 

4. WE’RE TO BE FORGIVING AND PATIENT

 

Do you remember the Bible story of old Balaam and his donkey?  (Read Numbers chapter 22).

 

He beat her . . . and yet she was so humble and forgiving.  But, when we get crossed one time we fly off the handle . . . and we go out in the back yard and start digging holes to hide the bodies in!  We forget the tremendous mercy that we’ve received. 

 

Who is it you need to forgive?  Who is it you refuse to forgive?  Is there someone whom you’ve fallen out with.  Hear me . . . YOU GO FIRST!  Do what?  You heard me right; you go first. But DOC, it’s not my fault, it’s their fault!  It may not be your fault, but it’s your responsibility.  Don’t you understand the Gospel?  In our relationship to God, guess who’s at fault?  WE ARE!  Guess who made the first move?  Jesus did!  He even said, from the cross, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

 

In our high tech, 30 second soundbite, fast food drive in world - we’ve forgotten how to be patient.  We have no patience with others or with ourselves.  We go to warm some food up in a microwave, and set it on 2 minutes and in 30 seconds, then we stand there and scream, “HURRY UP!”

 

Let’s be like this young donkey, on this Psalm Sunday weekend.  Welcome Jesus as the true Messiah and Lord of your life, and lay all that you have before him.  If you are not saved today, cry out “Hosanna” and  “Save me, Lord Jesus” - right now.

 

 

 

March 20, 2021

 

EFCA Statement of FAITH 

(Part 5 of 10)

 

The EFCA, Evangelical Free Church of America,  is an association of autonomous churches united around these theological convictions:

 
The Work of Christ - We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins.  His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.

 

It’s normally at Christmas time that we focus on the birth of Jesus / the gift of God to the world.  And of course, the Christmas season is intended to bring joy and renew the hope of humanity.  But, this is NOT just a seasonal truth or a seasonal message.  Jesus Christ was born in human flesh, for the express purpose of dying . . . in an act of redemption for the sins of you, and me, and everyone who will believe and receive him!

 

The promise and the purpose of the work of Christ is found in the familiar story of the birth of Jesus.   

 

Matthew 1:18-25 (NLT)

18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born.  His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph.  But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit.  19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.  20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.  “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.  For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.  21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:  23 Look!  The virgin will conceive a child!  She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”  24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.  25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born.  And Joseph named him Jesus.

 

The spiritual redemption and restoration the world needs does not come from the news media, or Hollywood, or professional athletes, or the limitless “influencers” of our time.  Spiritual redemption and restoration comes from Jesus Christ - alone! 

 

This is the work of Christ . . .

 

1. He will save his people

 

21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 

 

Jesus claimed us!

This is the dream scenario in the birth narrative of Jesus.  The gospel of Luke gives us a view of this from Mary’s perspective, and the gospel of Matthew gives us insight through Joseph’s perspective. 

 

According to our scripture text today, Joseph had determined which actions he was going to take after learning that his ‘wife to be’ was pregnant.  Matthew doesn’t tell us how this information is given to Joseph, but no doubt came to him as a shock!  Mary, most likely, tried to explain her pregnancy.  Can you imagine how that conversation went?  Your fiancé trying to convince you that they were pregnant . . . but that they had not been involved with you OR ANYONE in an intimate way!  And, also claiming to be impregnated by a super natural act of God!! 

 

No doubt, after much contemplation Joseph decided on a course of action - he would simply break off the engagement.  (Let me pause here to say that you have to be careful when you make life changing choices without the aid of prayer and fasting. Everything ought to be done with prayer and fasting.)

 

Joseph was a good, moral, righteous man (meaning he was a man of faith).  But, his decision was made based on logic during a highly emotional time.  Joe’s common sense said to him what Mary told him was impossible.  His common sense probably thought, “If she was going to make up a story, she could have done better than that!”  His common sense told him that there was someone else to whom she gave herself . . . and that was more than he could handle.

 

Sometimes, our common sense is what stops us from walking into the realm of blessings that GOD has ordained for our life.  Sometimes logic leads us away from the blessings that have been appointed and set aside for our life.  I’ll say it again:  every life changing choice that you make ought to be done with much prayer and fasting.

 

With his mind made up, and him being at peace with his choice, Joe falls asleep - and the Lord shows up.  God showed up after Joseph’s mind was made up!  God showed up after Joe had already settled it - and God’s plan was different than Joseph’s decision.  In a word, God told him Joseph, “Keep Mary, because this whole deal is bigger than you, and the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit - and he will save his people!” 

 

This is at the heart of the Gospel - that people need to be saved.  The condition of ALL humanity is that we need to be redeemed / we need to be saved.

 

Also, the issue at hand is who will be saved by Jesus.

 

21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 

 

“His people.”  The term his people carries at least two possible meanings.  One, his people means those of a like birth heritage - the Jews.  However, that meaning would be too restrictive because his heritage is both human (of the earth) and divine (of heaven).  His earthly heritage was Jewish, but his heavenly heritage is universal.  So “his people” takes on a larger meaning to declare that his salvific power is universal - available to ALL who will believe. 

 

Luke 9:23 (NLT)

Then Jesus said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”

 

John 3:16 (NLT)

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

That is good news for all of us that stand in need of salvation.  It doesn’t matter where we came from, it doesn’t matter what we have done, Jesus came to save us.  From the best of us, to the worst of us, he came to save us!  From the richest of us to the poorest of us, he came to save us!

 

You and I are citizens of a world that Jesus came to redeem.

 

This is the work of Christ . . .

 

1. He will save his people

 

2. From their sins

 

21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 

 

JESUS SAVED US!

 

This verse carries even greater connotations when we see that he will save his people from their sins.  The prophecy could have read he will save them from sin . . . but here the issue is made personal.  He will save his people from their sins.”  The term their sins is personal and implies that the sins from which we are being saved from are of a personal nature.  It is not that we are being saved from a sinful world, or that the world itself is sinful, but the work of Jesus (his purpose) is to save us from our own sins!

 

The fact that Jesus’ purpose for coming is to save us from our own sins is stunning!  We are all filthy stinkin’ sinners - and our souls are doomed to eternal damnation . . . except for the saving power of Jesus Christ!

 

When I acknowledge that I am a sinner in need of salvation, my excuses become useless.  My sins are a part of me, and no matter what I tell myself or what others may tell me, I am a sinner needing salvation!  My struggle is without end, trying to make myself spiritually right before God. 

 

Paul describes the complexity of our sin problem really well in Romans chapter 7 . . .

 

 

 

Romans 7:15-20 (NLV)

15 I do not understand myself.  I want to do what is right but I do not do it.  Instead, I do the very thing I hate.  16 When I do the thing I do not want to do, it shows me that the Law is right and good.  17 So I am not doing it.  Sin living in me is doing it.  18 I know there is nothing good in me, that is, in my flesh.  For I want to do good but I do not.  19 I do not do the good I want to do.  Instead, I am always doing the sinful things I do not want to do.  20 If I am always doing the very thing I do not want to do, it means I am no longer the one who does it.  It is sin that lives in me.

 

Paul’s conclusion is that sin dwells in him.  It is always there, always raging, always trying to surface, always trying to manifest itself in a way that separates us from the will of God for our lives.  None of us are above the temptations that are common to everyone.  No matter how holy we may think we are, we are not beyond the far reaching hand of sin!

 

Paul says that what I want to do, I don’t do.  What I don’t want to do, I do.  I can want what is right, but I cannot do it.  I do not do the good I want, but the sin I do not want is what I do. 

 

It is personal - the stuff that messes with us, that draws us to our knees, that keeps us praying, that makes us repent - it is personal. 

 

I may live in a context that is filled with temptations, but ultimately, it is not a context problem.  I am the sinner in need of salvation.  I am messed up - and not only me but all of us!  How are we to get out of this mess, except by the blood of Jesus?  Paul says it this way . . .

 

Romans 7:24-25 (NLV)

24 There is no happiness in me!  Who can set me free from my sinful old self?  25 God’s Law has power over my mind, but sin still has power over my sinful old self.  I thank God I can be free through Jesus Christ our Lord!

 

This is the work of Christ . . .

 

1. He will save his people

 

2. From their sins

 

3. His name is Jesus

 

JESUS EMPOWERS US!

 

In his dream, Joseph is given only one directive.  He is counseled on Mary’s impending child birth, which gives clarity to her condition.  He is told of Jesus’ purpose for coming - to save his people from their sins.  Yet the theophany (the heavenly visit / the dream) gives only one directive.  Joseph is told to name him Jesus.

 

21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 

 

The name “Jesus” means “God helps, or “God Saves” and it’s the Greek form of the Hebrew name, Yeshua (which in English is Joshua).  The name appears almost 600 times in the 4 New Testament Gospels.  It was, back then, a common name, an ordinary name, a familiar name. 

There were, we know, at least 5 high priests known as Jesus.  The first century historian, Josephus, personally knew of 20 different people named Jesus.  Paul had a friend named Jesus Justus.  Someone else in the New Testament he is called BarJesus.  It was, therefore, a name others used, a name other parents gave their children. 

 

But, Joseph is told to name him Jesus because of what he would do.

 

The one named “Yahweh helps” or “Yahweh saves” was indeed sent by Yahweh (God) to save people from their sins.

 

Jesus is our Savior.  Jesus is the One who helps.  And this saving stuff is a 24/7, year round reality!  Jesus is Savior every day, all year long! 

 

The birth of Jesus, the naming of Jesus, has significance year round, as well as year in and year out.  Who Jesus is and what Jesus does makes a difference every day that we live and breathe.  Jesus is our Savior, and Jesus brings God’s salvation to all the people of all the world.


Evangelical Free Church of America

Statement of Faith

 

The Work of Christ - We believe that Jesus Christ, as our representative and substitute, shed His blood on the cross as the perfect, all-sufficient sacrifice for our sins.  His atoning death and victorious resurrection constitute the only ground for salvation.

 

 

 

March 13, 2021

 

EFCA Statement of FAITH 

(Part 4 of 10)

 
Jesus Christ - We believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate, fully God and fully man, one Person in two natures.  Jesus - Israel’s promised Messiah - was conceived through the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.  He lived a sinless life, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, arose bodily from the dead, ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father as our High Priest and Advocate.

 

Most of us hearing this sermon have probably already accepted who Jesus is (God’s Son, the Savior of this world).  Many scriptures prove the statement of faith that we just read about Jesus Christ.  But, we’re not just called to believe in Jesus, we’re called to follow him!  WE’VE GOT TO DIG INTO THE SCRIPTURES TO FIND OUT WHO JESUS REALLY IS. 

 

Why is the Bible so necessary to do this?  Because, Jesus isn’t who you think he is!

 

Here are two examples from the Bible:

 

Matthew 11:2-3 (NIV)

2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

 

Here is John the Baptist, cousin of the Savior and forerunner of the Messiah, sending his disciples to ask Jesus: “Are you the Messiah or not?”  It’s a stunning moment.  It speaks to how different Jesus was from what people expected the Messiah to be.

 

Why did John doubt like that?  Probably because he was sitting in prison when he expected Jesus to usher in a political kingdom that destroyed the Romans.  Maybe when he was first arrested he thought, “Ok, now everything is coming to  a head.  We’re going to see everything break loose now!”

 

Then, he sat and sat and sat.  And nothing happened.  Finally, old John reached a point of doubting whether Jesus was the promised Messiah or not.

 

Of course, WE know that Jesus had a much larger plan and vision in mind.  But for John, Jesus wasn’t who he thought he was.

 

John 6:66-68 (NIV)

66 From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.  67 You do not want to leave too, do you?”  Jesus asked the Twelve.  68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.”

Jesus shares some hard teaching, and we see the crowd wandering away . . . shaking their heads. They’re walking away from Jesus! They were intrigued, for a while, by his miracles - but then they didn’t like what they heard.

 

In what is not exactly a ringing endorsement, Jesus asks Peter if he’s going to leave also, and he replies, “Who else has the words of eternal life?”  Pete does NOT say, “Of course not!” or “I don’t want to leave You!”  He basically said, “What choice to we have - you have the words we need.”

 

Not all of the disciples walked away, but there’s no doubt that Jesus wasn’t who they thought he was.

 

If YOU base your understanding of Jesus on what you know from movies or from cultural statements about him, you really don’t understand him very well.

 

Now, learning what Jesus is really like isn’t always an easy thing.  He will challenge you.  He will step on your toes.  He will alter your worldview.  And, he will bring your faults and failings into the light!

 

It’s not an easy thing to get to know the real Jesus, but it is completely worth it!  Knowing the real Jesus is to know the real truth.  Knowing the real Jesus is to have insight into the true path to God.  Knowing the real Jesus is the path to transform our souls into something beautiful and honorable.

 

But, to get to know Jesus you have to dig into God’s Word.  You have to want to understand what Jesus taught, both in his speech and by his actions.  You have to want to know Jesus . . . and that’s not going to happen by accident.

 

When you listen to people talk about Jesus, even Christian people, many try to find a way to make Jesus fit into the category that they are already in!

 

Amazingly, Jesus is readily claimed by Republicans, Democrats & Independents; Anarchists, Supremist, Libertarians, Environmentalist . . . basically every flavor of the political spectrum.

 

How does that happen?  Like I said, we tend to look for ways that Jesus endorses what we’ve already decided that we believe.  The parts where Jesus says things that don’t fit with our pre-existing beliefs - we deliberately ignore. 

 

And what do we get?  Liberals who quote “Judge not” but ignore what the Bible says about sexual morality. 

 


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