Summary: Did you know God’s encouragement works a lot like dominoes?
Encouragement is like dominoes lined up in a track. When the first domino is touched, it hits another--then that one hits another one--then that one hits one--then another, another, and another. Over the course of about 15 seconds, you could knock over about 100 dominoes. Since the beginning of Creation, God has encouraged us with His faithful and unfailing love. Even when we had a choice of whether to choose God or to choose sin, we chose sin. If it had been a temptation-less environment, of course we would’ve chosen God! Who wouldn’t have? But that old serpent was plumb determined to convince us that there was more to do by giving into other things and not take God seriously, so we chose sin. For that, God said we should die; that didn’t mean that He wouldn’t provide a way for us to get back with Him, though. About 4,000 years after the Greatest Bad Choice Made in History, God showed us just how serious He was about letting us get back. Most of the time, we call that "attention-getter", from God, Jesus. The Father, then, had encouraged us to overcome the fruits we produce from our temptations and actually choose Him, over sin. He wasn’t going to let Old Scratch (Satan) get a hold of us and tell us we’re no-good, sinful, useless people. He encouraged us and boosted our self-esteem by sending Himself down in human form to tell us that if we believed in Him, that we’d have the kind of life God always wanted us to have with Him. And while He was in human form, He didn’t show us that we were serving a God who wanted to punish us and condemn us, but a God who came down to love us so much more that He’d sacrifice His own flesh for us. Jesus, the Son of God, came down to serve, and not to be served. The original twelve disciples all thought that Jesus was the second coming of King David or his son, Solomon. That wasn’t it. Jesus was a descendant of David and Solomon, but He didn’t inherit their earthly kingdom, for His inherited kingdom was not of this world, but of the Heaven He, Himself, made. Since His power was established in a place that it needed to be established in, He could serve us and love us, because He can. Heaven doesn’t need to be defended and it doesn’t need Jesus’s supervision for construction, because it’s a perfect place and will be constructed perfectly, if Jesus did or didn’t serve and love us. It’s through that love that God made it so easy for not every human to want to pursue that sin. That love was so determined to win our love, that it sacrificed itself to get our attention to realize that we shouldn’t be afraid of how our bodies will die, but how we should be afraid of how our bodies and our souls could be destroyed in Hell. Jesus’s death wasn’t eternal. He was dead three days and that’s it. After those three days were up, He rose and told us that that’s God’s power. God can give life to the body when we’re born, and can give life to the spirit when we die. Since Jesus didn’t sin at all, and had no reason to die, He let sin kill Jesus, by resting all our sins upon Jesus to die for. But that sin decayed and meant no punishment for sinners who believed that we no longer had a death-debt to pay for sinning. Once that sin wore off, God sent an angel to bust Jesus out of there and Jesus was alive, again! Jesus had paid the price for every kind of sin from beginning to end of the human race, and now was ready to hand it over to us. Jesus showed the disciples that God not only was just fulfilling prophecy, but He was showing that sin could only keep the Son of God down for three days, but that wasn’t enough to keep Him down forever. Just like the song, "Lord I Lift Your Name on High" goes: "He came from Heaven to earth to show the way. From the earth to the cross, my debt to pay. From the cross to the grave, from the grave to the sky." That’s where God says, "You know what, guys? I’ve been saying for years that I’d let you spend eternity with me, ’some glad day when this life is o’er’. I sent my Spirit down into a human body that would tell y’all that you’d be saved because I love ya so much and I want you up here with me, in Heaven. And just to prove that this guy that’s name is Jesus is actually the One I sent, I’ll raise Him from the dead, after three days, since He hasn’t sinned and He’s pure, just like me! Now that He’s been raised, you can encourage the rest of the world, for generations yet to come, of these miracles of Jesus that I did through Him and how put Him through death and rose Him, just to pay for you all messing up all the time and forgetting me. I love you guys so much that I don’t want some weasel like Satan throwing you off from living the kind of good life I meant for you to have, at first. If you just hold to what Jesus told ya when He was living and all the other things I’ve told you all through the years, you’ll be all right. You know why? Because pretty soon, I’m going to just get rid of Satan so you all don’t have to worry about being imperfect and dying for it and making me sad. You guys can be as happy as I am! And boyyy...you guys still have NO CLUE all the good surprises I’ve got waiting for you when you get here! I just can’t wait! I hope you guys will really try your best to make it, because it’ll be worth it! Take my word for it!"