Monday, 21 April 2008

How Marvellous is My Saviour's Love For Me!

Isn't it great that Jesus was more Terminator 2 than Terminator 1? He could have come to Earth and punished us for our failure to live our lives in the way that God has said we should. Instead he came to save us by dieing on the cross, taking that very punishment on himself that he could have dished out.
-- Phil Keymer
At The Plant on Sunday we listened to one of the most challenging talks and encouraging talks I think I have ever heard. Phil Keymer was preaching on Matthew 9:1-17 - explaining the reasons for which Jesus came. Here's a brief summary of what we covered.

Forgiving sin is the reason Jesus came (v1-8)

Sin is putting someone in God's place. It's what we all do, whatever we put in God's place it is a result of putting ourself in God's place first. It's our biggest problem - here Jesus forgives a paralysed man of his sins, as his biggest problem was his sin not his paralysis. It's the same for us: our biggest problem is our sin and we are as helpless before it as the paralysed man was with his paralysis.

Jesus is the solution to this problem. Only God has the authority to forgive sins (v3) - as sin is putting God out of his place, then obviously only he can forgive it. But Jesus has the authority to forgive sin (v4-7, c.f. Matthew 1:21) and on our part only faith is required (v2,8).

Thats why Jesus came for sinners (v9-13)

Jesus came for people who need forgiveness, in other words he came for everyone as we are all sinners. Jesus also came for those who want forgiveness. Surprisingly, not everyone does want forgiveness - the problem with the Pharisees was that they were more concerned with sacrifices than with mercy. God doesn't care for religious stuff at all, he wants people to care for and help sinners, like he does.

Jesus came for sinners like us. Thus we should be profoundly sorry, grateful, humble and hopeful. We can be profoundly sorry as we know we are forgiven. This will manifest in that we repent from our sins. We can be profoundly grateful as Jesus didn't come into the world to punish us, instead he came to save us. We can be profoundly humble before God and each other because as we are all sinners we can only compare ourselves to Jesus, who was sinless. We can be profoundly hopeful as God doesn't just give us a future, he gives us a wonderful sin - with no sin and no consequences of sin.

That's how Jesus revolutionises relating to God (v14-17)

It's right to mourn over our sins and our sinfulness (v14), but not at the expense of rejoicing because Jesus has died and risen so that our sins could be forgiven (v15.) The new way to relate to God is only by faith in Jesus Christ, not by religious observance, not by national identity and not by moral acceptability. By faith, relating to God is unrelated to sin!

But why did Jesus come to Earth to do all this? Because God is love and this is how much He loves us, that he sent his Son to be a propitiation (a sacrifice that makes us right) for our sins! (1 John 4:10)

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