Jesus Is Our Light

cropped-img_4175.jpg“The light of the righteous rejoices” (Proverbs 13:9). We thank You, Lord, that Jesus is our Light. He’s “the Light of the world” (John 8:12). In Him, we rejoice (Romans 5:11) – “the blood Of Jesus, Your Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). We thank You that, through Jesus, You have “called […]

via Jesus Is Our Light. — Learning From God’s Word

The Brazen Altar, God Receives His People’s Sacrifices

The word atonement carries with it the idea of the just, holy, righteous side of God’s nature being satisfied. God’s law required death as the penalty for sin. When God saw the death of the innocent sacrifice, he was satisfied that the demands of his law had been carried out. Sacrificing an animal on an altar did not take away the sin. Man was still sinful. The sacrifice only pictured what was necessary for sin to be forgiven—death and shedding of blood. The blood provided an atonement or covering for sin.” –The Stranger on the Road to Emmaus by John R. Cross

Out of the tabernacle’s six pieces of furniture, so far we’ve looked at the ark of the covenant, the table of “presence bread”, the golden lampstand, and the incense altar. We now come to the fifth piece of furniture where animal sacrifices were burned: the brazen altar.

(bible-history.com)
When the common Israelite approached the tabernacle with his sacrifice and passed through that entrance gate he found that between him and the tabernacle structure stood an altar with a priest waiting beside it. The altar was square in shape (foursquare). Its length and breadth were exactly the same as the height of the white linen fence around the court 5 cubits (7 1/2 feet). Its height was 3 cubits (4 1/2 feet) and it was made of acacia wood overlaid with bronze with horns at each corner.

(bible-history.com)
The first thing a worshipper met when coming to the tabernacle to offer a sacrifice was a white linen fence that surrounded the tabernacle. This created a courtyard where the priests ministered. At the west end stood the tabernacle proper. The east end held a thirty-foot entrance to the enclosure where the priests met the people coming to offer sacrifices. The priest would inspect every animal carefully to make sure it was acceptable. To identify with the offering, the worshipper would lay his hand on the animal’s head (Lev. 1:1-9). Then the priest would slay the animal and offer it on the brazen altar (Lev. 1-7).

One Way to God

There was only one way to get to the altar of God because there was only one entrance gate to this enclosure. Likewise, there is only one entrance to God. The “gate” is Jesus Christ (John 14:6; 10:9).  Many think that every way is acceptable to God in our pluralistic society, but Scripture teaches otherwise (Prov. 14:12; Matt. 7:13-27). Forgiveness from sin and fellowship with God can only be attained through His Son.

Below is a summary of the significance and symbolism of the brazen altar.

(Source: SlideShare from The presence of_the_lord_v2)

For more on the significance of the tabernacle sacrifices and how they point to Jesus Christ, I found the following post from the Tabernacle Place helpful: The Brazen Altar. Also, The Bronze Altar from Bible History Online offers a more detailed post. Blessings!

Why Celebrate Easter?

For many, Easter stirs memories of family gatherings, chocolate bunnies, egg hunts and the traditional church visit.

"Ready, set, GO!"

“Ready, set, GO!”

But the roots of Easter form the core of Christianity. Easter is a celebration of God’s unconditional love.

God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life:

  • “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” –John 3:16
  • In regards to a full and meaningful life, Jesus said: “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly.” –John 10:10

First the Bad News

Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, we have all inherited the sin nature. Because of our stubborn self-will our fellowship with God has been broken. Our sins—both active rebellion and passive indifference— have separated us from God: his love and plan for our lives.

  • “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” –Romans 3:23
  • Because God is holy and just He will punish sinners: “The wages of sin is death,” [spiritual separation from God]. –Romans 6:23

But God doesn’t want to leave us in our wretched sinful state. From Genesis to Revelation, His sovereign plan enfolds.

God’s Provision

c6448c17cdf8e5f761a08c8e52680aebGod’s provision for our sin is Jesus Christ. We can know and experience God’s love and purpose for our lives through Him.

  • Jesus died in our place: “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” –Romans 5:8
  • Jesus rose from the dead: “Christ died for our sins. . . He was buried. . . He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures . . . He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred.”  -1 Corinthians 15:3-6

Jesus Is the Only Way to God

Jesus bridged the gulf that separates us from Him when He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

  • Jesus said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” -John 14:6

But it’s not enough just to know these truths.

We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Then we can know and experience God’s love and purpose for our lives. “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”  -John 17:3

God’s offer of salvation and fellowship is a free gift that we receive in Christ through faith: “By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works that no one should boast.” –Ephesians 2:8-9

  • “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” -John 1:12
  • We experience a new birth when we receive Christ. (See John 3:1-8.)

Salvation

Salvation is not dependent upon our emotions, nor does it stand alone on intellectual agreement. Receiving Christ is as an act of the will through faith. Repentance involves removing self from the throne to placing God on the throne of one’s life. When we place Christ on the throne of our heart, He offers peace and joy, even when circumstances would dictate otherwise.

My prayer for you—if you have never entered into a relationship with God—is that you would seize this moment. The following is a suggested prayer, (although God isn’t as concerned about your words as He is with your heart’s attitude): “Lord Jesus, thank you for dying on the cross in my place. Please come into my life as my Lord and Savior. Thank you for giving me eternal life and forgiving my sins. Help me to be the person you desire.”

For more questions about life and God please visit: EveryPerson.com. Also, the following sites are helpful resources in getting to know Christ better: Cru.org, StartingWithGod.com.

For those of us who have already placed our trust in Christ, may we continue to grow in Him, be thankful for Christ’s sacrifice, and share the reason for our hope with others.

(Related posts: New Life, Today’s Word, Separation Anxiety or Assurance?)

God Renews His Promise to Abram, Genesis 15:2-7

After God promises Abram that He will be his shield and very great reward (Gen. 15:1), Abram voices his concern:

O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus? . . . .You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir,” (Gen. 15:2-3).

You may read Genesis 15:1-7 here: Bible Gateway.

The custom in that day held that if Abram died without a son, his oldest servant would become his heir. Even though Abram valued Eliezer, his chief administrator (Gen. 24), he yearned for a son to carry on the family line. And his nephew, Lot—with no record of appreciation for Abram saving his life—had returned to Sodom.

God’s promise of many descendants didn’t align with Abram’s present reality.

But our God—being the God of the impossible—reminded Abram that his son would come from his own body.

Once again, God confirms His promise to Abram (12:2; 13:15-16).

“Before, God said Abram’s seed would be as the dust of the earth. Now, He says they will be as the stars of heaven. Not only does this imply a great number, but perhaps also that the sphere of activity of the promised seed in the eternal ages will be both on earth and in heaven.” – Henry Morris

God Credits Abram with Righteousness

Abram’s response in Genesis 15:6 is considered by some to be the most important verse in the Old Testament: “Abram believed the LORD, and He credited [or imputed] it to him as righteousness.”

For the first time, the principle of true salvation is set forth in the Bible. The New Testament not only confirms salvation by faith, but also sets Abraham as a type of all who would be saved (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23).

God declared Abram clean and morally right—righteous—not from his outward actions of obedience and/or works, (although these are by-products of faith), but rather on the basis of his faith.

In Noah’s case, ‘grace’ comes before ‘righteousness’; in Abram’s case, ‘faith’ comes before ‘righteousness.’ The one stresses God’s sovereignty, the other man’s responsibility. Both are true and necessary. ‘By grace are ye saved through faith. . . . For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works” (Eph. 2:8, 10).  – Henry Morris, The Genesis Record

Reflect

  • There are many times when we can’t see God’s big picture for our lives, but He is constantly working to accomplish His purposes. “In all things He works for the good of those who love Him (Rom. 8:28).”
  • God has always yearned for His people to trust Him: to believe He is who He says He is and does what He says He will do.
  • Today, we live under God’s new covenant: God graciously provides forgiveness of our sins and gives salvation (unto righteousness) through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, because of His atoning sacrifice on the cross.
  • Have you taken this step of faith? (For more on salvation and righteousness see: Peace Through Christ.)

Four Factors in Evangelism (Part 1)

Jesus’ final instructions to His disciples after His resurrection, before returning to His Father in heaven, was to go and make more disciples, “teaching them to obey everything I [Jesus] have commanded,” (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18).

With this same authority, Jesus still commands us to tell others the Good News and make disciples for His kingdom. This is His Great Commission.

"For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost."      Luke 19:10

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”                     Luke 19:10

Leslie Flynn, author of 19 Gifts of the Spirit, defines evangelism as the following:

The gift of proclaiming the Good News of salvation effectively so that people respond to the claims of Christ in conversion and in discipleship.”

Four Factors in Evangelism
  1. Proclamation . . . . In addition to Christian witness through works, evangelism requires words: explanation of how a sinner becomes right with God; Christ’s historical, redemptive death and resurrection. The gift communicates the gospel with power so people are brought into the experience of salvation with knowledge of spiritual life and death. Hearers may or may not be emotionally moved, but the intellect must not be bypassed. How we proclaim is extremely important. 1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) says, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”
  2. Good News . . . . The word gospel comes from the Greek words, well and announcement, which means “good announcement” or “Good News”.
  3. Effectively Resulting in Conversion . . . . Campus Crusade for Christ defines witnessing success as: “sharing Christ in the power of the Spirit and leaving the results to Him.” Only God can bring spiritual understanding and conversion. There will not be a response every time we witness, but the hearer should understand that a decision must be made: Accept or reject Christ.
  4. Discipleship . . . . Dedicated evangelists and organizations have systematic follow-up plans to help new converts grow in their faith and connect with the local church.

Evangelism is not reserved just for the pastor or professional. Campus Crusade estimates it takes 1,000 laymen and six pastors one year to win one convert to Christ. Philip, the only person called an evangelist in the Bible, was a deacon. And interestingly, the early church grew in numbers by a lay movement (Acts 8).

Teaching and Evangelism are Closely Related

Evangelism is referred to teaching several places in Acts. Hearers wanted to know much about Jesus before putting their faith in Him, (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Mich.). Church historians observe that evangelistic surges throughout the centuries result from sound theological advances.

Even if we do not possess the gift of evangelism, we are told to do the work of an evangelist (Mark 1:17). Some people are more effective in personal evangelism. Others may be most effective in group evangelism—such as Billy Graham—or cross cultural evangelism.

What is your experience with evangelism? Have you shared the Good News with anyone lately? Who shared the Good News with you? How has that impacted you?

*Next few posts: The message and methods in evangelism . . . . Have a great week!