Being Salt and Light in Ocean View, HI

Benefits of Trusting in Jesus

For the last couple of weeks we’ve been looking at the reality that the Christian life comes with hardship and while we willingly and unapologetically acknowledge that reality is not the whole story of our walk with Christ by any means nor is it a place we want to end our reflections so for the next couple of weeks we want to look at the benefits of belief the benefits of surrendering our lives to the love and the lordship of Christ again this is not going to be a comprehensive study of the benefits of belief that would take a lifetime but we can take time we have together to reflect upon the goodness of God and the benefits he bestows upon those who love him now first we should acknowledge that it is certainly not only Christians that experience hardship in life because we live in a fallen and unjust world tragedy in an equity strike at every person we don’t have to look any farther than our own lives before God drew it to himself to recognize that fact we can also look to the lives of our unsaved friends and family to see lives affected by loss and by pain by injustice and sorrow by difficulty and trial indeed we can open any newspaper or tune in to any news broadcast and see that misery and injustice about Joe says it well in John 5:7 he says man is born for trouble as the sparks fly upward now anyone who is sat in front of a wood fire understands asymmetry as rising sparks are the inevitable result of a burning fire trouble is the inevitable result of nearly being alive so this leads us to the first benefit you will look at this evening the believer can find comfort and be very real sense of peace in the midst of trouble now we’ve already mentioned this in studies of the last couple of weeks believers can find refuge in the arms of the father who loves them and can find assurance as they rest in his sovereignty Romans 8:28 reminds us we know who that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called according to his purpose now this is not a truth to be held or considered lightly be as believers in Jesus can find rest in the reality that we are not dependent only upon our own understanding and resources but can rather rely on God’s higher understanding proverbs 3:5 through 8 says this trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight have you ever been in the place where you are so troubled it seems difficult or impossible to be there the way forward is so uncertain that you don’t know weird turn or what to do you see God promises to provide direction and certainty to those who trust in the Lord he promises to make their paths straight and discernible this is a tremendous blessing in an uncertain world another great benefit of trusting in Jesus of belief in his word and lordship is freedom from the enslavement and penalty of sin when mankind fell through Adam it created a fundamental shift in the very heart and soul of man in that act mankind changed from being those who longed for the presence of God to those who fled from him sin entered into the heart of man to take up residence there we became in that instant enslaved to the power of sin in our lives Paul in Romans 3 quotes psalm 14 when he writes there is none righteous not even one there is none who understands there is none who seeks for God all have turned aside together they have become useless there is none who does good there is not even one and later in Romans 5 Paul says this for as through the one man’s disobedience speaking bad the many were made sinners even stowe through the obedience of the one Jesus the many will be made righteous victory over stin cannot happen apart from the redemptive work of Christ and the sanctifying work of his holy spirit let me if I may give you an example when I first started attending church when I was about 16 I was touched by the truth that I heard and by the lives of the Christians around me they had what I lacked after several months of God in His grace drawing me to him I came into a place where I said god I want this thing they have this Christianity see I become aware of my sinfulness and a blackness in my heart I struggled with anger with less with selfishness with failure just to name a few so I asked God to help me control those things and I tried but I still had no real success in practicing Christian virtues and putting away sin you see I still struggle with all the things I struggled with before but no my prayer was for God to help me control my behavior now it was a sincere prayer it just wasn’t a right one so after about six months of trying to be righteous on my own with God’s health of course I came to a place of surrender a place where I was forced to acknowledge my inability to be good to be righteous so my prayer changed now my prayer was simply lord I give up I can’t do what you tell me you require I surrender my will to yours please make me who you want me to be and that was the moment that God had been drawing me to that moment of surrendering my will to his you see in that moment his surrender to God he created me a new heart a new spirit a new nature and he freed me from slavery to my own sinful nature now it was his spirit working in my redeemed heart to transform me into being like Jesus you see this is the great benefit of faith the ability to be truly virtuous to be truly in God’s favor closely tied to the freedom from the bondage of sin is that as believers in Christ we also have the benefit of being forgiven Colossians 1:13 says this or he rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved son in whom we have Redemption the forgiveness of sins you see in coming to him he looks into our parts and T’s every failing every selfish thought and act every petty act of endian vengeance and he forgives them completely and finally so you see not only are we as believers free from the bondage of sin going forward we are also freed from the penalty and guilt of sins of the past listen to David in Psalm 103 10 through 14 he is not dealt with us according to our sins nor rewarded US according to our iniquities for as high as the heavens are above the earth so great is his loving-kindness for those who fear him as far as the East is from the west so far has he removed our transgressions from us just as a father has compassion on his children so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him for he himself knows our frame he is mindful that we are but dust he knows our weakness our inabilities we are but dust but in his great love he gives us the benefit of history his compassion his forgiveness now our world has much to say about dealing with guilt and shame one solution is to say there is no right or wrong guilt and shame are just the leftovers of an overly moralistic society so if it feels good do it or I’m okay you’re okay best look out for number one you know you’re entitled to whatever you want this is the message and the lifestyle of those Paul speaks up in Philemon 3:18 where he says for many walk of whom I often told you and now tell you even weeping that they are enemies of the cross of Christ whose end is destruction whose God is their appetite and whose glory is in their shame who set their minds on earthly things not the best people who listened to another solution the world puts forth is this just ignore shame just ignore it lay it aside don’t let it control you sure you screwed up look you really didn’t mean to you had no choice it’s not your fault if they hadn’t Hey it’s not just you everybody does it the problem of course is that neither of these solutions work see we know there is a difference between right and wrong between justice and injustice between loving and hating and we know that we are guilty of choosing the wrong over the right the unjust over the just and the hateful over the love our shame and guilt is the real it cannot be denied or ignored but followers of Christ have been forgiven of these things by the ultimate judge over these things do you remember our public debt of a couple weeks ago who any shame and guilt would not even lift his eyes to heaven who beat his breast and said be merciful to me a sinner do you remember jesus said about him he went away justified a new man that is why Paul says to the Corinthians therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature the old things have passed away behold all things have become new when we come to Christ we exchange an old nature for a new nature a heart and a mind that flee from God for a heart and a mind that desire his presence and companionship and we find forgiveness of our sins and cleansing of our iniquities I figure it’s coming time to close this week study and we barely scratch the surface of the benefits of belief nor have we plumbed the depths f the benefits we have talked about I can identify with following these days who is adequate for these things we could still talk of the hope that is found in Christ a meaning that is found in him the knowledge and wisdom that is found through his word and his spirit the fellowship of like-minded believers in community and the restoration of fellowship and intimacy with  God himself but these will have to wait for future weeks suffice to say there is great benefit in surrendering to the love of lordship of Jesus Christ for those that already know him let this be a reminder of his great love for us and the riches that are ours in Christ and for those that are still missing Christ’s call laboring under the burdens of unconfessed sin of unrelieved guilt and shame unrealized hope and of meaninglessness let this be a time of considering Christ Jesus the Son of God who came to take away the sins of the world he was so loved to take away your burdens as you entrust and commit your life to him and we would so love for you to experience the peace father we do thank you the tremendous promises of the word the tremendous benefits of being in your kingdom yours father I would pray that as we have looked at your word and your person this evening as father you would just make yourself known to us the father for those of us that have walked with you and are in the kingdom that father you would just bring us to a great remembrance of all the benefits you bestow and then create enough father thankful hearts for that thankful hearts the resulting obedience but just long through the presence and the father I would pray for those that have not listened to your call father you would not have Bandhan them to their own sense but you would continue calling them to me that you would bring grace into their lives so that they can see more clearly so father they can see themselves really in D despairing place that they and the father you would draw them to you to redeem them to bring them to find a place in your family in your kingdom we thank you Father for your son and His redemptive work that makes it all possible and it is in his name we pray

 

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