Baptism at Singles Retreat - 147 Baptized!!!

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

CHRISTMAS: The Cost: The Father – A judgmental and cruel God?

Quiet your mind and imagine with me - God is approached by Gabriel: "What is it Gabriel?”… “Yes, I know they have eaten from it”… “I knew they would.”...”No they cannot stay in the garden, it would be deadly for them.”…”Yes they will die…Don't cry, I have a plan…You must wait"

Centuries later – “Today is the day Gabriel!”…Go…Go to Mary in Nazareth and tell her."

Luke 1:26–35 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee,  to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.  Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”  Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.  “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.  And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”  Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”  The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.

John 3:16–17 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Sadly, much of the world has tried and convicted God…ignoring all the facts. They make Him appear to be like the gods of the Greeks or Romans. Selfish, moody and playing games with humans. The record from scripture testifies to the very opposite! Even when it came to the garden, God’s concern was for us!

Genesis 3:22–24 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

Some important issues here, Man would have known good and evil either way. If he had resisted the temptation to eat, he would know good and evil by exoeriencing good, and would have confirmed holy. However, he went the other way, and when he did that he was separated from God spiritually. If he were to eat of the tree of life he would live forever separated, so God in His mercy drove man from the garden and protected the tree, so man would die physically…but God would be able to offer redemption.

Not exactly cruel or selfish…is it?

That first Christmas was the ultimate statement of the Creator God’s heart for His creation!

Scripture makes it clear that the cost of our redemption would be God Himself! God the Father will not wink at sin, it must be paid in full…but only One could make that payment…God!

Hebrews 10:5–7 That is why, when Christ came into the world, he said to God, “You did not want animal sacrifices or sin offerings. But you have given me a body to offer. You were not pleased with burnt offerings or other offerings for sin. Then I said, ‘Look, I have come to do your will, O God— as is written about me in the Scriptures.’ ”

This was an act of total self denial and unconditional love.

On Dec 6 1988, my youngest son, Zach…only 1½ years old brought this Truth to a reality in a way I have never forgotten. Dee and I were carrying into the house the freshly cut family Christmas tree we had just as a family gone and cut down. Christ and Cilla were playing with friend right across the street. As we went into the door, Zach crawled under the tree out to the front yard. He saw his brother and sister, and began walking to them. Dee and I heard the screeching of car tires…we looked and there in the middle of the street was a car and it’s front bumper was about 6 inches from Zach’s head. Dee and I both screamed and ran out into the road. Dee grabbed Zach, who had no idea of how close he had come to dying, I went to the driver, which I could see almost had a heart attack. She was so shaken because she realized how close she came to hitting and most likely killing Zach. I asked for her forgiveness and explained we thought he was in the house, because that’s where he was when we opened the front door. That night I lay in bed unable to sleep, the thought of losing my son was overwhelming. I would have lost him due to an accident, would I be willing to lose him deliberately to save a person…maybe even a person that does not care about me? What our Father did is beyond my comprehension!

Let’s just consider some of the great cost God paid:

·      (1) Paid it for His enemies

Romans 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.

We are not talking only about people that made a mistake and said I'm sorry. These are people that hate God and want nothing to do with Him.

·      (2) Paid it with no help from us

Romans 8:3 The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

Realize God did this with no strings attached! He still leaves the choice to you and I if we want a relationship with Him. The price has been paid in full whether you accept it or not. However, He leaves up to you if you want to apply the payment and be redeemed.

·      (3) Paid it Himself

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

The Father allowed humans to murder His Son, but the Father poured His wrath and judgment on His own Son to fulfill the payment due sin. That is not the work of a “cruel” God, but a sacrificial and loving God.

God held nothing back on that first Christmas. Perhaps it would be beneficial if we meditate today and ask ourselves…have we held back anything from Him?