CALL TO WORSHIP (Tune: “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place” – p. 228)
Rejoice, my heart, my sins are gone! Christ took them all away: All of my sins He made His own, and washed them all away! Redeemed by blood and saved by grace, I am no more my own; My love, my life, my all I give, O Lord, to You alone.
Awakened by God’s sovereign pow’r, and raised up from the dead, Christ’s blood was sprinkled on my heart, and condemnation fled! Redeemed by blood and saved by grace, I am no more my own; My love, my life, my all I give, O Lord, to You alone.
Complete in Christ, and sure for life, entitled to all grace; My hope is in His righteousness, God’s glory in His face. Redeemed by blood and saved by grace, I am no more my own; My love, my life, my all I give, O Lord, to You alone.
“I have called upon Thee, for Thou wilt hear me, O God: incline Thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. Shew Thy marvellous lovingkindness, O Thou that savest by Thy right hand them which put their trust in Thee from those that rise up against them.” (Psalm 17:6-7)
THE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST
"By the obedience of One shall many be made righteous" (Romans 5:19). "The obedience of One" has reference to the Savior’s substitutionary, justice-satisfying death, by which the demands of a broken law were satisfied. We know the Lord Jesus lived a life of exact obedience to the law. He always did those things that pleased the Father (John 8:29). But His life of perfect compliance with the demands of God did not put sin away, rather it showed His qualification to put sin away. His sinless life proved He was the suitable Savior and that He met the requirements necessary to carry out the great work of redemption, but His righteous life saved none. The just punishment for sin had been declared, "The soul that sinneth shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4). A perfect Substitute had to be sacrificed in the stead of God’s people, therefore it is written of Christ, "He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8). –Pastor Jim Byrd
Only by omnipotent grace can a once-deceived religious sinner confess as Paul that they were “before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (1Tim. 1:13). Only God the Spirit can bring us to confess our unbelief, renounce our old associations of false religion, repent of what we once thought about God and bring us to truly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ rather than “another jesus.” He alone can save us from depending on all our works to trusting the crucified Christ! When He strips us of all but Christ, Oh, the light liberty in Him and the glorious covering of His righteousness! -- Pastor Gary Shepard
"But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself!" (John 12:32) Whenever and wherever Christ is lifted up, then His power to attract is made plain. The elect of God, drawn by a power they have no ability or will to resist, take their places beneath the cross. The uplifting of Christ crucified, is God's chosen means to draw to Himself His elect, yet hidden people. The cross is the divine magnet that draws with irresistible force, hearts of steel. So mighty is its magnetic power that it attracts those on whom all other means have failed. -- Copied
CURSES IN DISGUISE
We often speak of “blessings in disguise,” but is there any such thing as “curses in disguise”? We as believers cannot number the many times in our earthly pilgrimage that we have gone through times of trial and suffering and find out later it was a true blessing from God. During the trial and suffering we may have sunk into doubt and unbelief, and we may have even gone so far as to feel we were cursed of God. But the truth is that we who are washed in the blood of Jesus Christ and clothed in His righteousness, we who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit and brought to faith in Christ, are NEVER cursed of God. Even though we are sometimes chastised of our heavenly Father, we are always blessed of God, and this is so true that even the times of trial and suffering, ultimately, are for God’s glory and our good (Rom. 8:28). How many of us, for example, would naturally view times of persecution over the Gospel as a time of blessing? Yet, our Lord taught us that even under persecution we who believe in Him are truly blessed (Matt. 5:10-11).
On the other hand, how many times are unbelievers given the good things of this world such as health and wealth, even comfort and peace of mind, when in reality these things, which may be good in and of themselves, will turn out to be a curse to them. Sometimes the prosperity of the wicked perplexes and even causes true believers to envy them – “For I was envious at the foolish [arrogant], when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psa. 73:3). The psalmist also wrote, “I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree” (Psa. 37:35), and “Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches” (Psa. 73:12). He wrote, “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end” (Psa. 73:16-17). The truth is that without the Lord Jesus Christ, without the grace and mercy of God in Him, all persons and all things are cursed of God. Two rich men who had an abundance of worldly goods found this out too late (cf. Luke 12:16-21; 16:19-31). They were under the deception of riches (Matt. 13:22). Others may be under the deception of good health, successful careers, great achievements in religion, education, politics, or even philanthropy. Whatever it is that deceives the ungodly, the reality is this – In the end of all things, it will all be exposed as “curses in disguise.” It will be revealed then that the only thing that matters eternally is a sinner being found in the Lord Jesus Christ, washed in His blood, clothed in His righteousness. In Christ, we have ALL BLESSINGS OF GOD’S GRACE AND MERCY.