Sermons

Summary: OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, MUST BE OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY IN LIFE.

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IN THE BOOK, THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED BY M. SCOTT PECK, THERE IS A WONDERFUL DEFINITION OF LOVE. PECK DEFINED LOVE IN THIS BOOK AS "THE WILL TO EXTEND ONESELF FOR THE PURPOSE OF NURTURING ONE’S OWN AND ANOTHER’S SPIRITUAL GROWTH."

IF THERE HAS BEEN ANYONE IN HUMAN HISTORY WHO HAS DONE JUST THAT, IT WOULD BE JESUS CHRIST. HE EXTENDED HIMSELF OUT AND HUMANITY NAILED HIM TO THE CROSS TO BECOME THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE FOR US ALL.

JESUS BECAME THE SUPREME SACRIFICE THAT DID AWAY WITH THE NEED TO SHED ANY MORE BLOOD FOR SIN. NO MORE RITUALS AND NO MORE ANIMAL SACRIFICES IN THE TEMPLE.

WHAT GOD ACCOMPLISHED THROUGH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST WAS MORE THAN AN ACT OF LOVE. GOD SHOWED US THAT A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM IS NO LONGER AN ANNUAL EVENT OF FORMALITY, BUT IS NOW A DAILY EXPERIENCE OF HIS PRESENCE IN OUR LIVES.

UNLIKE IN THE DAYS OF THE HIGH PRIESTS, RITUALS WILL NO LONGER PLACE US IN A PROPER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD TO CLEANSE US FROM SIN AND GUILT. NEITHER WILL LITURGICAL FORMALITY BRING US ANY CLOSER TO GOD.

WHAT THIS MEANS IS THAT ALL FORMS OF HUMAN EFFORT ARE USELESS UNLESS WE DRAW UNTO GOD IN A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST BY ACCEPTING HIM INTO OUR LIVES AS LORD AND PERSONAL SAVIOR.

WITHOUT THE LIVING CHRIST, RELIGION BECOMES NOTHING MORE THAN A DEAD RITUAL. WITHOUT THE LIVING CHRIST, OUR EFFORTS ARE EMPTY OFFERINGS OF FORMALITY.

IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THE SIMPLEST MATH EQUATION OF HUMANITY: EVERYTHING MINUS JESUS EQUALS NOTHING! WHAT THAT MEANS IS THIS: WE MUST STOP DOING AND START BECOMING.

JESUS CHRIST IS THE NEW AND LIVING WAY OF ENTERING BOLDLY INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD THE FATHER TO EXPERIENCE THE PERSONAL, LOVING, INTIMATE RELATIONSHIP THAT HE DESIRES FOR US. JESUS CHRIST IS THE NEW AND LIVING WAY OF DESTROYING ALL THE OBSTACLES THAT ARE IN OUR WAY THAT HINDER OUR FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD.

JESUS CHRIST IS THE NEW AND LIVING WAY THAT ALLOWS US TO DRAW EVEN CLOSER TO GOD BECAUSE THROUGH CHRIST OUR TRUST IS STRENGTHENED WHICH ENABLES US TO HOLD FAST TO OUR HOPE THROUGH FAITH. JESUS CHRIST IS THE NEW AND LIVING WAY THAT FORGIVES OUR SINS AND RELEASES OUR HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE GUILT THAT COULD SO EASILY DESTROY US.

IN OTHER WORDS, JESUS HAS TAKEN CARE OF EVERYTHING! AS THE GREAT HYMN THAT ECHOED ISAIAH 1:18, SAID, "JESUS PAID IT ALL…SIN HAD LEFT A CRIMSON STAIN, HE WASHED IT WHITE AS SNOW."

THE PRICE HAS BEEN PAID AND ALL THE REQUIREMENTS AND PREREQUISITES HAVE BEEN MET. THERE IS NOTHING LEFT FOR US TO DO BUT STAND IN AWE AND ACCEPT THIS FACT BY FAITH.

EVERYTHING THERE IS ABOUT BEING A CHRISTIAN DEPENDS SOLELY ON ACCEPTING THE FACT THAT GOD CREATED US FOR A LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM.

THIS IS WHY OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, THROUGH JESUS CHRIST, MUST BE OUR HIGHEST PRIORITY IN LIFE. LIVING LIFE ANY OTHER WAY ONLY TURNS THAT RELATIONSHIP BACK INTO A RITUAL. IF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IS NOT RIGHT THEN NOTHING IN OUR LIFE WILL BE RIGHT.

CALLING OURSELVES CHRISTIANS AND BEING A CHRISTIAN ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS. CHRIST DIDN’T CALL US TO DO CHRISTIANITY BUT TO BE CHRIST-LIKE CHRISTIANS.

THE FACT STILL REMAINS: YOU CANNOT BYPASS THE RELATIONAL ASPECT OF GOD.THAT RELATIONAL ASPECT IS THE NEW AND LIVING WAY OF HIS SON JESUS CHRIST. HE IS NEW BECAUSE OF THE NEW COVENANT HE ESTABLISHED BY SHEDDING HIS BLOOD TO BECOME THE FINAL SACRIFICE FOR SINS.

HE IS THE LIVING ONE BECAUSE HE DEFEATED DEATH BY DYING FOR THE WHOLE WORLD AND RISING AGAIN. HE IS THE WAY BECAUSE GOD USED HIS BODY TO PAVE THE ROAD THAT LEADS INTO HIS ETERNAL PRESENCE.

GOD CHOSE TO DO ALL OF THESE THINGS FOR US THROUGH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST. THEY CANNOT BE EARNED AND THEY CANNOT BE ARBITRATED…JUST ACCEPTED. WHY? BECAUSE IT IS NOT BASED ON WHAT WE CAN DO, BUT BECAUSE OF WHAT THE BLOOD DID.

PLEADING FOR SALVATION WHICH DELIBERATELY IGNORES THE BLOOD THAT CAME FROM THE TORN BODY OF CHRIST UPON THE CROSS OF CALVARY IS USELESS.

ACTS 4:12, CLEARLY STATES THAT "THERE IS SALVATION IN NO ONE ELSE! THERE IS NO OTHER NAME IN ALL OF HEAVEN FOR PEOPLE TO CALL ON TO SAVE THEM." HAVE YOU EVER CALLED UPON THE NAME OF JESUS WHO IS THE NEW AND LIVING WAY?

IF YOU IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS A CHRISTIAN, I HOPE YOU REALIZE WHAT YOU ARE SAYING. CALLING YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN MEANS YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO IDENTIFY YOURSELF WITH THE DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST. IT MEANS YOU HAVE CHOOSEN TO DIE TO EVERY SINGLE THING THAT WAS NEVER A PART OF HIM.

SO, IN ORDER TO CLAIM THAT WE ARE A CHRISTIAN IS TO SAY THAT WE KNOW GOD. TO SAY THAT WE KNOW GOD IS TO SAY THAT WE HAVE ACCEPTED JESUS CHRIST AS LORD AND PERSONAL SAVIOR. TO SAY THAT WE HAVE ACCEPTED JESUS CHRIST AS LORD AND PERSONAL SAVIOR IS TO SAY THAT WE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.

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