Seeking Jesus First - Aug. 14, 2023

Seeking Jesus First - Aug. 14, 2023
Photo by Ben White / Unsplash

Salvation Message Two

God is rich in mercy and love towards us.

The definition of love is not found in our love for God but in God’s love for us, because Christ Jesus died as atonement for the sins of all granting mercy to all who believe.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:4–10, NKJV)

Humanity was in a state of being bound to sin, condemnation and death. We had no way of knowing the truth about God and His love for all of us. We could not experience the love, life and light that ever flows from the heart of God. While we were still in that state of “death”, God accepted the death of Christ Jesus on the cross as the atonement or propitiation for the sin of all. Because of this acceptance, when God raised up Jesus from the dead, He raised up all of us from that state of death in which we were held captive.

God gave us His grace through Jesus Christ and He gave us faith through the body of His loving words and deeds to us and for us. Because God accepted Jesus’ sacrifice, we are all accepted in the beloved family of God through Him. So we are raised up together with Christ and seated in the heavenly places in Him.

The love of God is also the love of Jesus. Jesus was a willing sacrifice because He loves us as much as The Father loves us. We get a picture of the love of God and Jesus for us in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus felt the pain and anguish of what He was about to face on the cross and in the grave. He cried out to God with flowing tears and sweating drops of blood. The words He prayed to The Father showed us that He was actually human and not an angel or a spirit. He knew that His physical body would be tortured and killed. He knew that His body would be placed in a tomb. He knew that He would face the real enemy of humanity.

As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:15–18, NKJV)

Jesus trusted The Father. It was by faith in a promise from the Father that Jesus was able to go through such pain and death.  It was by faith in the promise from The Father that Jesus submitted to the death on the cross. It was by faith in the promise from The Father that Jesus went face to face with death, hell and the grave and overcame them. It was by faith in a promise from God that Christ Jesus rose triumphantly from the dead with the keys (the authority to rule). God raised Jesus from the dead with a promise. Jesus rose from the dead with His faith and obedience. John 10:17-18 says that Jesus had the authority through a command from The Father to take His life back after freely giving it up.

Those who hear His voice will receive faith to believe and confess that “Jesus is LORD.” And all who believe and confess Jesus will be one flock - one family - with Him as The Head and The Good Shepherd.

Jesus made us to understand that we are not righteous through our own works and strength; but salvation comes as a gift through grace and faith. He imparts His righteousness through His own good works that show up as grace in our lives. We receive His righteousness by faith which produces in us a knew way of thinking and acting. Because righteousness is a gift from God, we begin to love others and that love produces acts of loving service (good works) toward them in the same way as Christ’s love produced His good works on our behalf.

Ephesians 2:10 actually states that we become God’s good works through Christ Jesus in the earth. We are His workmanship, or work of art, in Christ Jesus, and as such, we produce His good works in the earth. We are God’s good work who do God’s good works, but those good works are the result of God’s good work.

We could do the same good works without faith in Christ Jesus and without love and they are just noisy clamorous sounds that mean nothing in eternity. But when they are the result of faith, hope and love working in us, they glorify God.

If you hear His voice, say “Yes” to Jesus today.  If your heart believes that God loves you this much, say, “Jesus is LORD!” Put your faith in Jesus Christ. Receive His love and His righteousness. Let Him make you a beloved work of art. Let God make you a good work who does good works in the earth. Say “Yes” to faith, hope and love.