I’ve Been Redeemed

Ruth 4:6
“And the close relative said, ‘I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I ruin my own inheritance. You redeem my right of redemption for yourself, for I cannot redeem it.’”

In addition to being a beautiful and timeless love story, Ruth is also a picture of redemption. Ruth was a descendant of Moab and as such was born under a curse (Deuteronomy 23:3-4). Naomi and her family had left Israel and dwelt among the Moabites and, no doubt, returned to the land with the stigma of being a backslider. Perhaps some thought the loss of her family was the judgment of God for leaving Israel. These two woman are a picture of all of us. We are born in sin, and prove it daily with our actions. Paul declared,

“Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—” Romans 5:12

In this seemingly hopeless state, God raised up a redeemer for Naomi and Ruth. A near kinsman, named Boaz, would marry Ruth and take on the responsibility of her and Naomi. In the same way, in our hopeless state, the Son of God took on the role of redeemer. Jesus told a story that expressed the redemptive nature of God. He spoke of a man who found a treasure in a field. In order to obtain the treasure, he had to purchase the entire field. The meaning is obvious, God sees you as a precious treasure of such value, He would pay the price of His own Son to purchase you. The work of redemption accomplished by Christ, is sufficient to pay for the sins of the world. Those who will respond by faith, will be the recipients of redemption and eternal life.

Will you trust Christ today for salvation? Will you put away a life of self- seeking and begin to seek the One who loves you and died for you? If so pray along with me “Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for me. I invite you to come into my life, wash away my sin and help me live for You. Amen”

If you prayed that prayer and want further help in following Christ, contact us at ccvb.net

In grace,
Pastor Jim

 

Choose Life

Deuteronomy 30:19
“I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live”

As Moses’ final hour quickly approaches, he pleads with the people to turn to the Lord. He has personally experienced the suffering that comes with rebellion against God. Forty years in Horeb, and forty years in the wilderness wanderings, have forever etched in his mind, the importance of trusting in, and following after, the Lord.

The same offer is set before each of us today. We have the choice to receive Christ and follow after Him into life, blessing, and peace. Or, we can choose to reject his offer, and continue to live apart from Him. We are not, however, free to claim the benefits of choosing Christ, then continue to live apart from Him, or after the dictates of our own heart. Earlier Moses declared,

“. . . and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, “I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’—as though the drunkard could be included with the sober.” Deuteronomy 29:19

The decision we make regarding Christ is one that will effect our present circumstances, our eternal state, and those who we love the most. Moses stated that a decision to follow the Lord would mean both they, and their descendants, would live. As you make a stand to live committed to Christ, you will find that others stand with you.

Choose life today!

Pastor Jim

 

The Curse

Deuteronomy 21:23
“…For he who is hanged is accursed of God.”

Galatians 3:13
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’).”

No man can stand under the Law of God. Each of the divine precepts reveals the sinfulness of man, and our sins separate us eternally from God. Paul refers to this separation as the curse. Left to ourselves this condition is hopeless, since no amount of good deeds can deliver us from the curse of the Law. Praise the Lord we have not been left to ourselves. Jesus went to the cross on our behalf, taking the penalty of sin on Himself and becoming accursed of God. Rather than allowing us to remain in a perpetual state of separation from God, Jesus took our sins upon Himself in order to make a way for us to be saved. It is no wonder that Paul wrote,

Galatians 6:14
“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”

The word boast means glory, rejoice, or brag about. Paul is declaring that because of the effects of the cross he brags about it to others. While boasting about ourselves or our accomplishments can be a wearisome exercise, we ought to boast to others of the benefits of Christ. The more we understand about what Jesus has done for us, the more we will find ourselves celebrating it to others.

Let’s tell the world that the curse of sin can be removed through faith in Christ, who loved us, and gave himself for us.

Pastor Jim

 

Look At That

Numbers 21:8
“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.'”

Unknown.jpegThe sins of the people put them under the curse. One by one, they watched as their loved ones fell ill and died. At some point, they realized there is no cure for the plague and they beseech Moses to seek God for the solution. As Moses cries out to the Lord, he is instructed to forge a brass serpent on a pole. Any who look upon the serpent will be healed. One only need use a little imagination to understand the joy which filled the hearts of all who would look upon the pole. Instantly, the effects of the curse were removed and they were safe. At the same time, imagine the folly of one who is plagued and yet refuses to look. Imagine his friends and loved ones, who had been on the verge of death themselves, but they looked upon the pole and were redeemed. They plead with him to simply look. They might declare, “I was once as your are, sickly and dying, but I looked upon the pole and I have been healed and my life restored.” Imagine the heartache of mothers, brothers, sisters, fathers and friends, as some, with obstinate hearts refuse to look, and as a result, suffer death under the curse.

Years later, under the veil of the night sky, Jesus met with a religious leader who was interested in understanding the ways of Christ. During their conversation, Jesus referred to the serpent in the wilderness and compared it to His work on the cross.

John 3:14-15
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

God has made salvation as simple as looking at a serpent on a pole. All we must do is look to the cross, believing we are sinners, and Christ is the Savior. When we do, ALL the effects of the curse are removed. We are no longer under the wrath of God, but are the recipients of His divine favor and blessing. Sin that kept us from God, has been removed, we are forgiven, and given eternal life.

Imagine the folly of those who refuse to believe. Those who continue under the curse, heading toward eternal destruction, all because they refuse to look to the cross. Do not be among those who remain under the curse, to your own destruction, and to the anguish of those who love you. Look to the cross and have your sins forever forgiven.

Sadly, as time moved forward, Israel took the serpent on a pole and made it into a religious relic. People even began to bow down to the pole and worship it. The same thing is true of the cross. Rather than seeing the cross for what it is; the way of salvation for all who believe, many look to the cross as a religious symbol. We see crosses as jewelry, artwork and tattoos. We should see the cross as a reminder of the fact that God alone can save us from the curse.

Pastor Jim

 

Curse Or Choice

Genesis 26:7
“And the men of the place asked about his wife. And he said, ‘She is my sister’; for he was afraid to say, ‘ She is my wife,’ because he thought, ‘lest the men of the place kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to behold.’”

2015/01/img_1326.jpgA few years back, an interesting term began to circulate through the church. The term I am referring to is “generational curse.” It meant families were cursed by the sins committed in generations passed. Once this diagnosis was given, an elaborate system was developed to rid the families of this curse. The basis for the curse was a poor understanding, and improper application of the idea that the sins of the fathers will be upon their children (Exodus 20:5). The encounter between Isaac and Abimelech serves as a much better example of how sins are repeated from generation to generation.

Earlier in Genesis, we read of Abraham and Sarah traveling to Egypt. As they approach the city, Abraham tells his wife of a plan he had developed to keep himself safe. That plan was to lie to the people, and claim Sarah is his sister. Knowing the danger to a foreigner in the land, Abraham saw his scheme as the only way to protect himself and his wife. A few years later, Abraham would repeat this same act. Now his son is grown and facing a similar threat, and he naturally acts as he has been taught by his father. There was no generational curse on Isaac. Instead, we have a young man behaving after the example set by his father.

This is an all too common problem. When a child grows up in an abusive home, he learns by example, that the way to deal with conflict is by force; he often treats his children as he was treated. The same is true with substance use and abuse. When children grow up in a home where alcohol is the solution to problems, they too, learn to escape in a bottle. It is not a curse that is passed on, it is a pattern, and the pattern is broken when an individual decides they will not follow in the sins of the past, but will live a life that is well-pleasing to the Lord.

The example the Christian is to follow, is the example of Christ. Paul said, follow me as I follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1); John wrote, we are to walk as Jesus walked (1John 1:7). It is very easy to slip back into the behaviors we grew up with, rather than looking to the Word of God to determine how God would have us live.

It is time we break the “curse” and start living lives that honor Christ.

Pastor Jim