Classic Christianity – Christmas P4 (12-26-19)
Are you exhausted because you are trying to get something you either do not have, spiritual life, by means of the flesh, or thinking you do not have what God says you already have? Are you not resting in what Christ did? What did he do? Have you not heard? Or, have you heard, but have you rejected the knowledge of truth?
So if you have not heard, this is the truth. Man was born dead spiritually, without the life of God in him. But, you say, that is no fault of mine. That is what Adam did. Are you so exhausted in trying to perform to be accepted and loved? Do you have an emptiness in your heart? Even with your success in this world, you are now asking what the purpose of life is? Why am I here? Why do I feel so empty inside? Those are indicators you do not have the Spirit of God living in you. Have you sinned? If you just got angry at me even for asking that question, God says anger is the same as murder. If you lusted in your heart for a woman, God says that is adultery. See, the law only kills us, and tells us what is wrong with us. Look at it as a mirror. The mirror is there to show you have dirt on your face but it has no power to remove the dirt. That is the good purpose for the law. Now, we might not like what we see, or even deny that it is there. I hope not, because if you deny the truth, then you will not search for the solution to your problem. So the truth is God already dealt with your sin and mine. He just wants us to realize our condition of spiritual death so we will look for the solution, to receive new life. Not a life of emptiness, hopeless, or bondage in sin and death. That is no life at all.
So now, are you now ready to hear the good news, the good news that God sent Jesus into this world to save sinners. We were all born sinners. Who is Jesus and what did he do? He is God in the flesh. He was the only man with the Spirit of God in him, for he is God. So, he is the only man who could lay down his life for us because he is the only one who had a life to lay down. When we sinned, there was a consequence to that called death. That price for sin, which is death, had to be paid. God being a just God must punish all sin. But he loves us so he came to pay the price of death for us. There is no greater love than this, that one lay down his life for his friend. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Surely for a righteous man someone might dare to die. Well, there is no righteous man. We never had any righteousness of our own. But Jesus died for us.
So if Jesus took away the sins of the world, does that mean I am saved now? No. Why not? Salvation is not getting your sins forgiven. You have to be changed. You have to be given new life. You have to have the Spirit of God put back in you that was lost as the result of Adam’s sin. Death cannot give life. Only a life can give life. The only man who has life in his name is Jesus. Now, the most amazing thing of all is that since Jesus has no sin of his own, death has no hold on him. So when Jesus laid down his life, the Spirit left his body because of sin, not for any sin of his, for he had none of his own, but ours and the sins of the entire world.
So God raised Jesus from the dead. That life that raised Jesus from the dead now offers eternal life to all who will just accept that as a gift. You accept a gift by faith, a simple child like faith that simply says, “Thank you”. Nobody works for a gift. Somebody else did the work. You just receive it and open it and it is yours. This gift of God is eternal because God is an eternal being and he made an eternal sacrifice.
His blood that was shed was all sufficient to pay the price for the sins all the way back to Adam and all the sins of those yet to be born, and forward to all eternity. That is how costly the price Jesus paid for you and me. He did it out of great mercy and love for you and me. He died first to take away the cause of our death in order to be raised to new life so that that life that raised him from the dead can raise you, and me, from your condition of spiritual death. Since Jesus lives forever, you too will live forever in Him. Will you accept this by faith and receive eternal life, a person, the Holy Spirit of God, to live in you and through you, to have a relationship with the living God, who perfectly loves you and accepts you?
Now, if you believe Jesus said he took away all your sins, then is it faith to go to a confessional booth to ask God to forgive you of your sins? Is it faith to keep short accounts with God, asking him to forgive you of your sins committed today? It is not faith to ask for something you already have. When did God take away your sins? When you were a sinner. Are you in Christ? If so, what do you have? Redemption and the forgiveness of sins. In Him is when you have possession. But Jesus already paid the price, because all your sins were in the future when he died. Do you ask God to make you holy? Have you been made perfect in Christ? If you are in Christ, you have been made complete in Christ. You have been made holy. You have everything you need for life and godliness. So, is it faith to ask for something you already have?
So then, are you exhausted because you are trying to get something you either do not have, spiritual life, by means of the flesh, or thinking you do not have what God says you already have? The latter would be like trying to put yourself back under a law of sin and death. That is exhausting. You never know if you have ever done enough to please God. God is not looking at your performance. He is looking at your faith. Your faith is what pleases God and the only thing that counts is faith, faith in Christ, that expresses itself in love. How can you love others, with the love of Christ, if you do not know the love of God in Christ, or you are striving in the energy of the flesh to produce something you could never produce? Love is produced in you and through you, who are in Christ, as you rest in Him. It is fruit of the Spirit, born on the branch, produced by the vine, who is Christ.
Test and see if you are in the faith. That is why Hebrews says, if you have sinned against the knowledge of the truth, and are going back to the day of atonement, going back to the confession booth, going back to confessing 1 John 1:9 to keep short accounts with God, there is only a fearful expectation of raging fire? Why? You are going to hell if you do not put your faith in what Christ alone has done for you? It is not about what sinning you do. Jesus already paid the price for all sins while you were still a sinner. The only sin is the sin of unbelief in what Jesus alone did for you. That is the sin against the knowledge of the truth. The question to ask is this. Is Christ in you?
How can you believe Jesus died for all your sins and then go ask Him to forgive you when He already did everything that is necessary to take your sins away? He will not shed his blood again. It is finished. The price of death for all sins is paid in full. He is risen from the dead. There is life in His name. How can you continue trying to make yourself perfect by obedience to the law, or whatever that drives you to make yourself worthy before God, to have meaning and purpose apart from God, when Christ says he has already given you eternal life, His Spirit living in you. Unless of course, the Spirit of God is not in you. He who has the Son has the life. He who does not have the Son does not have the life. He says He has given you everything you need for life and godliness? Where is your faith placed for eternal life? All of Jesus or Jesus plus some of you? Your faith must be placed in Christ alone. He did it all for you.
Yes, those who are in Christ, are being renewed in our minds. We are constantly bombarded by error and lies of the world. And we will still sin from time to time. Even worry is sin, and who does not worry from time to time. We have a tendency to stop trusting what Christ has done or that Christ is my life. But this testimony is in our heart. Jesus is my Father. I am His child. You know that nothing can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. So we are encouraged to build one another up in faith, to speak truth to one another in love, to be together for that purpose. We are instructed to love one another just as Christ loved you.
The day of atonement, the day that God passed over, and is related to Passover, another celebration of God. That was a foreshadowing of Christ Jesus. No more sacrifice for sins. No more shedding of the blood of bulls and goats because a human sacrifice replaced all animal sacrifices. Animal sacrifice, the blood of an animal, could never take away the sins of the world. But a human sacrifice took away the sins of the world. That is the sacrifice of the life and blood of God, of such value, that it was able to take away the sins of the entire world from the eyes of God throughout eternity! It is the plan, my friends, a plan of God, that after 4000 years of dealing with man to see his failure, ushered in a plan whereby He said, “I will do it for you. I will do for you what you cannot do for yourself. Now that I have made that final sacrifice, put the others aside. Put them aside. They are no longer in effect.”
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
8 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” – though they were offered in accordance with the law. 9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
To the people today, where we have been egotistical enough to go over and say to the Jewish people, you could not obey the laws, but we smart Gentiles will. What have we done? We have made even a worse failure than the Jews did. At least they were sincere in trying to obey the law. We were just talking about it. To the Catholics, God is saying “put down your confession booth. There is no more forgiveness of sins”. To the conservatives, whoever you want to call us, quit 1 John 1:9 yourself to death. Quit asking God to do what he has already done. That is not faith. That is presumption.
“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.”
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
You do not ask God to give you eternal life when you are born again. You already have eternal life. You do not ask God to redeem you every day. You already have redemption. Then why do you ask God to forgive you every day when he says in Him you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. It is not faith.
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.
Until the Christian world learns to go into the Sabbath rest and finally say “it is finished”, you are going to be living in the desert for the rest of your life. I call it the Los Vegas religion. You are building your big building in the desert and saying “Yippee” until you rest in the finality of the cross and say, “It is finished. I am a forgiven person”.
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Do you believe that? Jesus said it. Do you believe it? That is interesting. You say you believe in Jesus but you do not believe in what he said. What did he cry out on the cross? He said “it is finished”. Do you believe him? No, you don’t or you would not be asking Him for what He has already done. You have to put reality to what you say you believe. If Christ Jesus did what he said, which he did, and took away the sins of the entire world from the eyes of God, and cried out from the cross, “it is finished”., then guess what? It is finished.
Are you going to rest in it or are you going to keep asking God to do what in Christ he has already done? That is the question. Are you going to rest or are you going to keep working at it. By that one offering he made forever perfect in the sight of God all of you whom He made holy. How many of you believe that, in the sight of God, you are perfect? I mean complete. Perfect means I am perfect. Complete means I am complete.
Colossians 2:9-10 (NKJV)
9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
It means there is not anything God is going to do for me over and above what He has already accomplished. There is no further salvation to give to me. There is no further righteousness to give to me. I have got all he is going to give me There is no further godliness I am going to get through my own deeds and actions. I am going to rest in the fact that, although I did not deserve it, and I could not earn it, God made me holy in His sight.
10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
I could not earn it. I did not deserve it. Jesus did it for me. Is that not good news? Not what he did for me but what he did for you. That should be the greatest news on the face of the earth. It should make us to want to go out and tell everybody about this marvelous Jesus.
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
When you see a “therefore”, you must ask what is the “therefore” there for?
19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,
In other words, we have the opportunity of walking now, after the curtain has been torn from top to bottom, of entering the holy of holies, into the presence of God, calling him, daddy, Father, because we have a new priesthood.
21 and since we have a great priest [Jesus] over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,
Why should we hold onto this hope we profess?
for he who promised is faithful.
Who is carrying this out, me or Him? He did not say because you who promised or you who is faithful. Now this Promise Keeper movement. There is no promise keeper but Jesus. The rest of this is phony. We just say we keep our promises. Am I right or wrong? Or do we have a promise keeper here? The only promise keeper I know is Jesus. He promised and he is faithful to his promise. What did he promise us? To give you eternal life, that you have an eternal inheritance in Christ Jesus.
15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance – now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
He promised that he took away the sins of the entire world, that means all of yours also. He promised that on the day of Pentecost that he will give the Holy Spirit to you, and you will be born again eternally.
2 Peter 3:9
9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God – 2 the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3 regarding his Son
13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
2 Corinthians 1:20
20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes”in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.
There was no man on the face of the earth prior to the day of Pentecost that was ever born again permanently because sin could have taken away your life. The only people that can say “I have eternal life in Christ Jesus” are the ones on this side of the cross because the reason I have eternal life is because of the eternal consequences of the cross where he took away eternally the cause of death.
What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Are we together? He promised that. That is not my promise. That is His. How do I enter into what he promised me? By faith. By faith.
This whole book of Hebrews is about faith, entering into what God says and saying “Thank You for what You have done. ”
24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
If Jesus did these things for us out of a heart of love, then he said, “Why don’t we do things out of love?” In other words, as I loved you so love one another.
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
That should not be so hard for us to understand, but it is. It is only when we have come to rest in that love, to realize that there is not a thing I could have done that brought about this, but it is all of God. It is all mercy. It is all grace. There is not a morning I do not wake up saying, “Thank You Jesus for Your mercy. Thank you. ” Encourage one another.
25 not giving up meeting together,
That could be meeting together here, but wherever you meet, meet with some like-minded believers. I do not mean to be critical, but I am. I will just admit that to you. Thank God he has forgiven all that. Guys, we have people saying things like this.
“Oh man, we give to the mission field.” “Oh, good. But what are the missionaries teaching?” “Who cares? They are doing.” “I did not say what they are doing. What are they teaching? If you do not know what they are teaching, what are you giving to them for?”
“I go to church.” “Wonderful. What are they teaching? Are they teaching truth? Or are they teaching error?”
“I give to the church.” “Good. What is the church, that you are giving to, teaching? Are they teaching truth? Are they teaching error?
You people would be a bunch of living nit-wits, if you were giving to this church thinking I am teaching error. Don’t you believe what I am teaching because it is me teaching it. You check that out in this book. If this book matches what I am teaching, then support it. If it isn’t forget it? Are we right or wrong guys? We have all this going on and we might as well be called do-do Christians. That is not in scripture. It is not about what you are doing here or there, but according to the scriptures, it should be about what you are believing./p>
as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Encourage one another. You cannot go it alone. Guys, think about it for a moment. I will tell you, some of you who are new here, my messages are not 15 minutes. The issue is that you are going to get a shot here, and maybe your own personal study, but look at how much exposure you have to the world out there. Look at the bombardment you get from the world.
I got some people who say they are going alone. You cannot make it alone. You need the fellowship with one another. It is not the fact you have to go to church. It is the fact that you meet with like-minded people, with people who love one another. What I like about this group, it is not a group coming to try and impress one another. It is a group of people who love the Lord, who understand the finality of the cross, the reality of the resurrection, that it is about none of us, and all of Him, and therefore, we are free to love one another.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
We know that as the day draws near, to the end of the age, Jesus foretold what will happen. Knowing these things, that should compel us to meet with one another, to strengthen one another in faith, hope and love.
9 Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Now, one of the great passages that the legalists have used to try to bury people, and teach you can lose your salvation in order to keep you under guilt. There is only one reason for using guilt, to control you. Guilt is a great control mechanism. People who learn to use it effectively can control people. This passage says this.
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth,
Now, what are we sinning against? The knowledge of truth. What is the knowledge of truth this passage is talking about? The truth he just read.
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”
18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.
That is the knowledge of truth. Now, you keep sinning against that, after receiving the knowledge of truth, here is what he says.
no sacrifice for sins is left,
To the Jewish people, he would say, there is no more sacrifice. I gave you that sacrifice to clear your conscience until the Messiah came. But now he is here. Now he has completed that work. So therefore, put the sacrifice away because the reality has now hit. Jesus has come. No sacrifice for sins are left. If you keep on, and say “Yes, I believe Jesus took away my sins, but I am going back to the day of atonement.” “What for?” “To get my sins forgiven.” That is called a double minded person who is unstable in all ways.
If I say I believe Jesus took away my sins but I keep short accounts with God. “I keep my sins confessed in order to keep them forgiven.” What is that? That is called a double minded person who is unstable in all ways. That is double talk, saying one thing out of one side and another thing out of the other. Do you see the hypocrisy there, guys? Do you see that does not compute? Jesus took away the sins of the world, now you ask, “Lord forgive me?” Does that compute? Think that through, for what he says here is very serious.
27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
That means going to hell. If you are not going to believe that Jesus came, after 4000 years of man’s failure, and he came, as was recorded and given to Joseph, to save man from his sins, and you do not believe that, after you heard the word of truth! You cannot be accountable for what you do not know. But after you heard the knowledge of truth, and you keep going back to the day of atonement, going back to your confession booth, going back to your 1 John 1:9, keeping those short accounts with God, he says there is no sacrifice for sins left. You do not have anything to look forward to except damnation.
That is serious talk guys. But why would he not be serious? If you had sent your son to a cross, so that people could go free, and we treated the son with contempt, and we ignore what the son did, and in many cases, are rebellious against the son, saying “I do not like what he did. I like another prophet.” “Well there aren’t any more prophets.” How happy would you be with someone doing that? This is serious business. If you deliberately keep on sinning against the knowledge of truth, once you received knowledge of truth, then you do not have anything to look forward to except fearful expectation of judgment. Why? Because you will be judged with what you have done with My Son. There is only one sin attributable to man. It is the sin of the rejection of the Son of man.
John 16:9 (TLB)
9 The world’s sin is unbelief in me
The sins of the world, plural, have all been put on the back of God never to be seen again. The only thing God will ever ask you and me is “What did you do with my Son?” What did you do with Him? Did you accept Him? Reject Him? Ignore Him? What did you do with Him? If I came to Christ, then I am going to come to Christ for what he came to do.
19 Then Joseph, her fiance, being a man of stern principle, decided to break the engagement but to do it quietly, as he didn’t want to publicly disgrace her.
20 As he lay awake considering this, he fell into a dream, and saw an angel standing beside him. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “don’t hesitate to take Mary as your wife! For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have a Son, and you shall name him Jesus (meaning ‘Savior’), for he will save his people from their sins.
What Christ came to do is what he communicated to Joseph. He came to take away my sins. So I am not going to say I believe in Jesus, thinking he only came to take away some Â of my sins. When I believe in Jesus, I believe Jesus of the bible, who said he came to take away all of my sins. I came to Jesus, who was born a virgin, born a Jewish boy, who walked on the face of the earth some 33 years among his Jewish people, who lived under the law, saw man’s failure, and was willing to go to a cross, as a Jew, and to die for me, a Gentile and his Jewish brothers, to take away my sins and the sins of the entire world. That my friend, is Jesus.
28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished
He does not say he will, but deserves to be punished. Who has done what?
who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?
Do you know what we do when we insult Jesus, or when we keep asking God to do for what he has already had to die to do? We insult the Spirit of Grace, making a mockery of the cross, treating as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that has set us apart, and trampling the Son of God underfoot.
30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
So we must understand it is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of God. He is not looking for performance. He is looking for faith.
6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
6 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
God is looking for faith expressing itself through love to one another. That is all God is looking for, faith in Jesus, that expresses itself through love. The rest of it is wood, hay and stubble.
1 Corinthians 3:11-13
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person ” s work.
So we say we are going to build our big churches. One of these days, if built in the energy of the flesh, it will be wood, hay and stubble. So one day you look down on it and say, “My ash pile is bigger than your ash pile.” But all we will look at is an ash pile.
What he is looking for is people who are indwelt with the Spirit of God, and who has such contact with the love of God, that that love spills over into the lives of others. That is the only thing God is interested in, love expressing itself through love.
It is not loving to say “Jesus I know that you took away the sins of the world, but ‘Oh, please forgive me’”. That is not loving. That is presumption. What is loving is saying “Thank You for forgiveness. That in the midst of my failures, that You give me mercy. You extended mercy and kindness to me. You forgave me. You are always faithful and you always keep your promises. Thank You for that.” That is what brings love to people; not condemnation, but restoration.
Let us pray together.
Father, we pray, for anyone who hears this. We may have tried to be good people, but we know full well that we are not. We know we have failed and have fallen short of the glory of God. That is why our hearts are empty. That is why we bounce prayers off the ceiling. That is why, regardless of whatever success we obtain down here on earth, it is empty, always something missing in your life. We come to realize that maybe what is missing is my relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ is not real, and all of this is just fairy tales, and He said, according to the scriptures: I stand at the door of your heart, and knock, and if any man hear my voice and open the door, will come into him. If this is not true, then if you pray for Jesus to come into your heart, then you are just praying to air. So it is not much of a gamble there. You would be just praying to air. But if it is true, that Christ Jesus was raised from the dead, and that empty tomb is not for grabs, it is empty, and was raised from the dead, in order to give life to you and me, so that that life that raised him from the dead can raise you and me from our state of spiritual death, then everything in our lives will be changed. We will become complete the first time in our lives. That is the gamble, pray to air or to be able to say.
“Lord Jesus, if this is true, and I am not even sure it is, but if this is true, then I want you to come into my heart, that having taken away my sins, to give me new life in you. I will be praising you for the rest of my life for doing something for me I could never do for myself and that is to save myself. I pray for these things in Jesus name.”
Father, we thank you that to all who have come to him he has given the right to become a child of God. Our identity is no longer in being a Baptist, a Presbyterian, a Jew or a Gentile, slave or free, but it is being a child of God. That is what You named us, children of the living God. We thank you for that. That is an inheritance we cannot lose. It is an inheritance that will never go away. It is our absolute assurance that when we close our eyes for the last time, and breathe our last breathe, that we will be absent from the body and present with the Lord. We thank you for that now, in Jesus name, and for His sake. Amen.