Monday, July 4, 2011

Alive in Christ - By Paul

Bethany has been sharing quite a lot recently about what we are going through. I have a strong push to share as well.

We are going through this journey together. It is so rich and meaningful. God has become so much bigger to us. He has broken down the walls that we erected up around our hearts and flooded us with His love. He has invaded the dark places of our hearts, the places that we tried to keep Him out of. I am talking about those places that seem in our own understanding too dirty and messy to give Him access to. We have recently discovered that Jesus has already been in those dirty, messy places of our hearts.

Consider these texts:

2 Cor 5:21 (NASB) says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him”.

Isaiah 53:4-5 (NASB) states, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well -being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.”

Isaiah 53:12 (NASB)”Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.”

Yesterday we had communion, and the pastor emphasized the fact that Jesus bore our sorrow, guilt, and shame. He also emphasized that he bore our iniquities. As I contemplated these things and listened as the pastor expounded on the profound significance of these things I was filled with great joy and happiness. As I recognized for the first time that Jesus knows exactly what I feel in my inadequacy and sin. He took these things upon Himself at the cross. Jesus had already broken into the messy places of my heart, but now I recognized that he was not a stranger to what was in there. He took that upon Himself long ago at the cross. This is heavier than words can convey. You know the significance of having a friend or relative come alongside and make provision for your weakness when you are in need. You especially find comfort when they say “I have been in your shoes before and I am no stranger to your pain.” That is precious and sweet. Yet their consolation and help only reaches so far. Then, along comes Jesus, He gently and powerfully speaks to your heart in ways that no one else can. He offers comfort and provision for your need. He reaches down into the depths of your heart and says, “I know exactly what you feel, I bore that sin, guilt and shame upon my cross and all of heaven will remember it no longer.” Then He speaks words like, “I have begun a work in you and I will bring it about to completion, you will prosper in the path I have set your feet upon, I have made provision for you and will continue to do so.” Upon hearing these things, all of a sudden the springs of living water flow from your innermost being and you will never be the same again. Christ is in me and I am in Christ and Christ will prosper. That’s good news.

Consider these texts:
Phil 1:6 (NASB) For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 53:10 (NASB)But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring , He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

John 7:37-39 (NASB)"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.' " 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

As you can see, Beth and I are entering into a renewed freedom. We are learning to walk once more with Jesus from a renewed reference point, the place where we first started. Consider: Rev 2:4-5 (NASB)'But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 'Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first’

It is great to be alive again. More to come . . . .


NYLass said...

This is a beautiful sermon of freedom - I found myself saying "Amen" and "Amen"...
I praise God for all that He is doing for both of you and for your family!

Paul said...

Anne, thanks for the encouragement. It's good to have people rejoice with us.
The best sermon is the one we live.


Paul said...

Anne, Bethany suggested that I update my profile picture.


NYLass said...

You are very welcome - and, yes - the best sermon IS the one we live!!
Like the new picture Beth was right to suggest an update! :O)