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Showing posts with label Exodus 20:7. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exodus 20:7. Show all posts

Monday, May 3, 2021

Profanity

Exodus 20:7 You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

Introduction

Have you ever looked up at the clouds and saw they were shaped like animals?  One minute, you see what resembles a cow.  But a few moments later, the wind blows, the clouds move, and the cloud changes to something else.  


Our words are like the wind reshaping world around us. We need to be careful how we use words, but that can be tricky.  The meaning of the words we use and how we use them changes from one generation to the next just like the clouds above in the sky.  And words can mean different things in different communities.


A young pastor had an unfortunate experience on his first day pastoring a small church.  He grew up in the city.  So on his first day as the pastor, he was full of wonder driving through the countryside.  Unfortunately, he offended half the congregation in his opening remarks when he talked about all the bulls and cows he saw on the way to church.  Unknown to the young minister, the polite society of this rural community only used the words cow and male cow! “Bull” was a profanity to their sensitive ears.  Can you imagine the horror of finding out half the congregation thought you were cussin’ them in your very first sermon?


Do you consider the word “bull” a profanity?  I guess some communities do.  There may be words you consider profanity that others don’t.  One polite way to refer to a person’s backside is to call it a fanny.  We even have “fanny packs” to hold stuff when you go for a walk.  However, don’t ever call it a fanny pack if you take a walk in Ireland. Fanny is a very vulgar word in Ireland.  (Call it a bum bag.)  Meanwhile, while in Ireland you will find the Irish sprinkling the word “F.E.C.K.” liberally throughout their conversations.  They use this word on TV and radio; even nuns and priests use “F.E.C.K.” in polite company.  For them, it simply means “very” or “extremely”.  So they might say something like "That fecking idiot told the nun he was wearin' a fanny pack! How vuklgar!"


Last Sunday, I shared that words matter.  Today, I want to talk about profanity.  We have a serious problem with profanity in our society.  However, profanity may not mean what you think it means.

Profanity is deeper than just using cuss words.  Profanity is desecrating something that is sacred--whether it is God’s name and reputation or something sacred He has made. Ultimately, profanity is living with the attitude that nothing is sacred.


The Apostle Paul wrote the Church in Corinth about their problem with profanity.  Listen to what he said.


1 Corinthians 11:20-22, 27
20 When you meet together, you are not really interested in the Lord’s Supper. 21 For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go hungry while others get drunk. 22 What? Don’t you have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you really want to disgrace God’s church and shame the poor? What am I supposed to say? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly will not praise you for this!

27 So anyone who eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily is guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.


Desecrating the Holy
In the first century church, what we now call Holy Communion was still full meal.  Just as Jesus originally shared dinner with his Disciples at the Last Supper, New Testament churches would gather for a special dinner to eat and drink and remember their sacred Savior.  As they dined, they would break bread and recount what Jesus said: “This is my body, given for you, and this is my blood shed for you...”  Jesus told his followers to do this often and remember how he died on the cross for their sins.  Though these meals served the common function of nourishing the body, they were also sacred and holy.

What Does It Mean to Take the Lord’s Name in Vain?
Many Christians share how offended they are when people take the Lord’s name in vain--whether it is as extreme as using God’s name to damn something or someone or even something as simply as using God’s name to express ecstatic excitement like--“Oh my god! I love your new car!” Many have shared how hearing God’s sacred name used this way is extremely offensive, and I understand.  You love the Lord and revere Him and you want to honor His name.  That’s noble.

However, I want to make sure you understand the prohibition of using God’s name in vain goes far, far beyond merely the words you say.  When Exodus 20:7 says, “Do not take the Lord’s name in vain...”, the word name means God’s reputation.  You see, the Israelites (to whom the Lord gave these commandments) were supposed to represent God to the world.  God set the Israelites apart as His royal representatives.  Everywhere they went, it was like they were carrying a banner that said, “We are God’s people.  Look at us and you will see what God is like.”  So then, it would desecrate God’s perfect pure reputation if His people were dishonest, disrespectful, vulgar, immoral, bad people.  

In the same way, Christians today are to represent Jesus Christ to the world.  In the New Testament in 1 Peter 2:9, it says, “You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God...”  You can live your whole Christian life without ever saying GD or even OMG, but if your bad behavior misrepresents God’s character, you are just as guilty.  Scripture repeatedly shows that behavior that profanes God's name is far more offensive than mere words.  

Profanity - Definition
Profanity is becoming more commonplace in our world today.  People use profane words and even use the Lord’s name in vain. We hear it in the workplace, at school, and profanity has even become more prevalent on TV shows where the FCC used to censor offensive language.  We also live in a time when our attitudes and actions toward one another are not very gracious.  People are angry, divided, and mean-spirited to one another.  I suspect the two go together.  Our words matter.  They affect our actions.   If we speak profanity, we soon act profanely.  And the more we act profanely, the more profanity comes out our mouths.

Just because something is sacred, doesn’t mean it also must be somber or boring. There are many sacred ceremonies full of joy and celebration. At a wedding, we sing, we dance, we laugh, and we love. It’s a wonderful celebration, but it’s also a sacred time when a man and a woman stand before God and a group of eye-witnesses and promise to love each other for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, for the rest of their lives.

Sacred moments don't necessarily have to be religious ceremonies either. One of my church members just had a baby. This is a time of pain and joy, and it is also something very sacred. So something sacred doesn’t have be a sombre or even "religious".
However, there’s a fine line between sacred joy and profane behavior. Unfortunately, the Corinthian church had completely abandoned the sacred nature of Holy Communion. Some would hoard a bunch of food to themselves while others didn’t get anything to eat at all. Others were drinking so much communion wine they were sloppy drunk and acting very vulgar. The spirit and remembrance of Christ’s love was not their focus. They were desecrating the sacred memory of Jesus and how he died on the cross for our sins. Appalling!

However, I want to make sure you understand the prohibition against using God’s name in vain goes far, far beyond mere the way people use words. When Exodus 20:7 says, “Do not take the Lord’s name in vain...”, the word name means God’s reputation. You see, the Israelites (to whom the Lord gave these commandments) were supposed to represent God to the world. God set the Israelites apart as His royal representatives. Everywhere they went, it was like they were carrying a banner with God's name that said, “We are God’s people. Look at us and you will see what God is like.” So then, it would desecrate God’s perfect, pure reputation if His people were dishonest, disrespectful, vulgar, immoral, bad people. God would not put up with His people sullying His name with their bad behavior. This command was more about behavior than words.

In the same way, Christians today are to represent Jesus Christ to the world. In the New Testament in 1 Peter 2:9, it says, “You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God...” You can live your whole Christian life without ever saying GD or even OMG, but if your bad behavior misrepresents God’s character, you are just as guilty. Scripture repeatedly shows that behavior that profanes God's name is far more offensive than mere bad words.

I don’t want to be na├»ve nor a prude. However, I believe Christians are to be salt and light that makes our world a better place. I believe the words we use matter and affect the world around us. We need to be gracious and loving to one another in both our words and deeds. 

Furthermore, we need to remember that God made the whole world. It is not that the church sanctuary is sacred and the world outside is not. All of life is sacred. We gather around the sacred table in the sanctuary to share Holy Communion. but then we will go out and interact with people all week long. They are sacred too--living beings God created and loves who have a purpose. The environment is sacred and God command us to be good stewards of creation. Our own bodies a called "living stones" in the temple of God. We house the Holy Spirit of God. We are sacred and out to treat our own bodies as sacred spaces. All of life is sacred, but too many people in our times live as though nothing is sacred. This is profanity--in its deepest sense. And Jesus wants us to live a different way, a better way.

How can you do that this week?

Monday, January 13, 2020

Bearing God's Name


It's the second Sunday of the New Year.  Many are still thinking about goals for 2020 so I asked Terry Teasley to put two ideas from the Bible on our church sign that would make great goals for 2020:
DON’T BEAR GOD’S NAME IN VAIN 
(which comes from the Old Testament) 
and 
TAKE UP YOUR CROSS AND FOLLOW ME (which comes from the New Testament).
The two terms are closely related.  The Phrase from the Old Testament comes from Exodus 20:7 and is part of the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:7
You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

The New Living Translation says do not misuse the name of the Lord; the King James Version says do not take.  The old ways of saying this I head as a kid was, “Thou shalt not bear the Lord’s name in vain.” As I was telling Terry what to put on the sign at church, I had to think for a minute on how to spell the word bear.  You can spell it bare, but that means unclothe.  Of course, bear is an animal that could rip you to shreds.  But bear also means to lift or carry.  And that is what the original Hebrew word in the third commandment means: nawsaw - to lift, to carry, to bear.  

As a child, I was taught this commandment means you shouldn’t  use God’s name to cuss (or even to say, "Oh my God!") Although using foul language is not good and using God’s name as part of your cursing is even worse, that is not what the command “Do not take the Lord's name in vain” means.  What it really means is don't misrepresent God.

The Israelites Were God’s People
God chose the Israelites to be His people.  They were His representatives to the whole world.  Everything about them was to be distinctive and different from all the other nations around them.  They were to eat different food.  They were to treat people differently.  It was common in the ancient world to seek violent retribution.  If you attacked my son and poked his eye out, I might get revenge by killing your whole family.  God commanded the Israelites not to be like that, but to offer restraint.  He said, only take and eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth.  The were to live justly, love mercy, walk humbly with their God.

The Israelites worshiped differently than all the other nations around them.. All the other religions had idols to look at when they worshiped.  Or they worshiped things they could see in nature like the sun, the moon, animals, etc.  The Israelite’s God was invisible and they were forbidden to make any image or statue to represent Him. The only authorized image for God is people! Genesis 1:26 says, "God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us." So ironically, we are to be the "idols" who represent God, even though because of sin we fail miserably.  All the Law of the Old Testament was God's instructions on how the ancient Israelites were supposed to take up the name of God and represent Him to the world properly. 

The way the Israelites worshiped was one way they represented the name of God.  Exodus 13:16, “This ceremony will be like a mark branded on your hand or your forehead. It is a reminder that the power of the Lord’s mighty hand brought us out of Egypt.”  That's powerful language; worship is like having God's name branded on your forehead!  If you worship at church on Sunday, it tells people you belong o God.  It's one way we bear His name.  But what about when you are eating lunch at the restaurant after church.  Does how you treat the wait staff bear proper witness to God's name?

The Israelites were to dress differently. They weren't supposed to wear clothing made of two different kinds of fibers, say cotton and wool (see Leviticus 19:19).  So many of the rules in the Old Testament seem unnecessary!  However, God was making a point.  The Israelites were set apart as distinct from all other people.  They were His people.  They were to be His representatives to the world.  They were to Bear His Name.  And for that purpose, God even gave the Israelite specific commands to carry His name on their foreheads.

Israelites were to wear scriptures in a small box on their forehead.   Deuteronomy 6:8 instructs the Israelites to tie Scripture proclaiming their devotion to the One True God to their foreheads.  And according to Exodus 28:36-38, the Israelite high priest was to wear a gold medallion on his forehead on which were inscribed the words HOLY TO THE LORD.  Holy means set apart.  And the word we translate as “The Lord” is actually God’s proper name in Hebrew--Yahweh.  So the priest was literally bearing God’s name on his forehead.

So, when the Third Commandment says, "Do not bear the Lord's name in vain," it literally meant, "Do not put this name on your forehead if you don't really mean it. Otherwise, you will misrepresent me and you will be punished!"

Sports Teams and Misbehavior
I'll never forget something my football coach taught when I was just a kid. We had just gotten our uniforms and I was so excited!  The fresh smell of brand new jerseys filled the air as coach passed them around.  He said, "Remember, whenever you put on this uniform, you represent our whole team. It's not just about how well you play football.  If you misbehave while wearing this uniform, it reflects on the whole team.  You must represent us well.”

The Atlanta Falcons saw firsthand how damaging it can be when one team member misbehaves.  In 2007, Falcons star quarterback, Michael Vick, was accused of involvement with an illegal dog fighting ring.  Vick's bad behavior tarnished the whole team's name.  Nobody wants their brand associated with that kind of cruelty.  The Falcons lost fans and sponsors and their star quarterback.  Vick was suspended from the NFL and the Falcons sued to recover $20 million of Vick’s signing bonus.  It took years for the team to recover.  And to this day, many people still remember this awful shame.

Many people would never in a million years use God's name as a curse word, but the same people might misrepresent God's name by the way they misbehave.  God doesn’t want His Holy Name to be shamed.  So He commanded the Israelites (and us), “Do not bear the Lord's name in vain.”  

Bearing God's Name in the New Testament 
We aren't ancient Israelites. We don't have to tie scripture verses to our foreheads. We don't have priests who wear gold medallions on their foreheads that bear the words Holy to Yahweh.  But Christians are still God's representatives. And we ought to be the most faithful representatives He has because we follow Jesus Jesus Christ.  Jesus showed us how to live as God's redeemed holy people.  And that brings me to Christ's statement in the New Testament. 

Matthew 16:24
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me.

Jesus names the Christian uniform.  It is a cross.  But the cross Jesus identifies is more than a symbol we wear on a necklace.  He identifies it this way:  You must give up your own way.  

In our natural, sinful state, we each have our own selfish way we want to go.  Perhaps we want to indulge our selfish desires for food, sex, or pleasure.  All of these are good things when done the right way, but we want to gorge ourselves beyond God’s natural design.  Maybe we struggle with greed.  We cannot be happy with what God wants to give.  We want more, more, more (and more is never enough). Or maybe we cling to our pride and refuse to be like a humble child.  All of these are our ways of living and Jesus says, “You must give up your own way and take up your cross follow me.”

Jesus has a right to demand we take up our cross because it’s what he did.  The Gospel of John says Jesus is God in the flesh; He created us.  If anyone has a right to demand His own way, it is Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords.  Instead, Jesus humbled himself, “...gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave, and was born as a human being… and died a criminal’s death on a cross.”  (Philippians 2:7-8, adapted)

Christ calls all His followers to do the same.  And though our cross may not mean dying on a literal cross, it always means denying our self as we follow Christ--at least until what we want is perfectly aligned with what God wants.  

What God wants from us is love--love for God and our neighbor.  In fact, Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:55)

A few months ago I was at ACE Hardware and another customer started asking me where she could find a certain product.  I was a little confused as to why she was asking me, but I told her where I thought they might be.  Then, she said, “You don’t work here do you?”  She had thought I was an employee!  I don’t know why she thought that.  Maybe I just had that ACE Hardware kind of style going on that day.  (I do often wear slacks and a golf shirt with my church logo on it.  I like to represent God and  my church whenever I can.)  The lady apologized and I didn’t mind.  I hope she found what she was looking for (or else a real employee who could help her.) Has that ever happened to you?

If you are a Christian, you are to bear the name of God everywhere you go (even if you are not wearing a cross or Christian logo).  You represent Christ.  You bear a figurative cross.  To bear a cross means to forsake your own selfish ambitions. It means to deny yourself (if your own desires are contrary to God's will). Just as Jesus was willing to lay down his life on the cross in order to do God's will and save the world from sin, we are to sacrifice our own plans for the sake of God's. This is how Christians represent God, our Creator.  

Conclusion
So as you live into this new year, this new decade, how will you bear the name of God?  I pray you will not bear the name of God in vain, for we are commanded, “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God.”  Therefore, confess your sins and forgive others that the Lord may forgive you.  Keep your promises.  Love the Lord your God with all you heart, and all your mind, and all your strength.  And love your neighbor as yourself. Take up your cross and follow Jesus.  Seek always, to represent our Lord the way He deserves to be represented.  Amen?  Amen!


Monday, June 22, 2015

The Third Commandment

Copyright June 16, 2015 by Chris Mullis
Exodus 20:7

Introduction
            This summer, I would like to challenge you to memorize the Ten Commandments.  Then, come to Pleasant Grove UMC each Sunday (or read this blog each week) to learn how the commandments apply to your life.  We will study one commandment each week.
            There are 613 laws in the Old Testament of our Bible.  The Ten Commandments are the essence of them all, distilled down to ten easy to remember commandments that cover every area of life.  We know they are very important because they were written by the very finger of God (Exodus 31:18) and Jesus quoted them regularly as he taught.  Unfortunately, most people--even Christians—do not know or understand the Ten commandments.  So…

Let’s recite all Ten Commandments together.  This list is my paraphrase of the Ten Commandments.
  1. Do not worship any God except the Lord.
  2. Do not make idols of any kind.
  3. Do not misuse the name of the Lord.
  4. Remember to observe the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.
  5. Honor your father and mother.
  6. Do not murder..
  7. Do not commit adultery
  8. Do not steal.
  9. Do not testify falsely against your neighbor.
  10. Do not covet.
Today we will look at the Third Commandment.  Exodus 20:7
7 “You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.”

This verse makes two main points.  First is the commandment itself: “You must not misuse the name of the Lord.”  Or as a more traditional version puts it, “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain.”  Or as I put it in my own words, “Do not misuse the name of the Lord.”  The second part of the verse is pretty clear.  The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.  I think we can understand that.  It means we better not break this commandment or you will be punished.  So, I think it is vital that we understand the commandment so we can avoid breaking it, right?  So what does it mean to misuse or take the Lord’s name in vain?

Three Stories
            Here are three stories of misusing the Lord’s name.  First off, I was watching a show on HGTV where they renovated a family’s home and then brought the family in to surprise them with the results.  The remodeled home was beautiful and the family was thrilled with the results.  As they gave the family the tour, each time they entered a new room, the wife exclaimed in delight, “Oh mu God!”  It was as if she could find no other way to express her surprise.  “Oh my God!” poured out of her mouth over nad over again each time she entered a room.  Saying “Oh God!” in such a way would be considered misusing the Lord’s name.
            My second story took place where I practice jiu-jitsu.  My jiu-jitsu class is a mixture of many different kinds of people—some who are Christians, some who are not, some who attend church regularly and some who never attend church.  Well I was rolling one day (that’s what we call it when we are wrestling or practice fighting with an opponent in class) and I defeated my opponent by twisting his arm until he tapped out (or gave up).  (That’s how you win a jiu-jitsu match.)  My opponent was frustrated and expressed his frustration by cursing, “@#$%!”  Remembering that I was a pastor, he quickly apologized and said that’s what he does when he’s frustrated.  Some people consider cussing a form of misusing the Lord’s name.
             My last story came from a Mary Helen Speights.  She once hired a Christian man to remove a rotten tree from her yard.  He removed the whole tree except for the trunk, which was too large for the chainsaw he had with him.  He promised he would return the next day with a larger saw and remove the trunk.  Donna had already paid him for the work, but this “Christian” man (who readily advertised his business as a Christ-centered business) never returned.  It has been years now and this “Christian” has never returned to finish the work as he promised.  This is also considered misusing the Lord’s name.

The Three Most Common Violations
Each of these stories is an example of what many people would call misusing the Lord’s name.  Let’s look at each one.  First, there is using God’s name in a trivial waysuch as saying “Oh God!” or “Oh my God!” or even “Jesus!” to express excitement or exasperation.  This way of using God’s name has become so commonplace that many do not realize it as a problem.  However, in Jesus day, you weren’t even supposed to speak God’s name.  Many people would not even write it—choosing instead to refer to God by the title Lord instead.  The Old Testament Law in Leviticus chapter 24 stipulated that speaking God’s name in the wrong way was punishable by stoning.  In fact, this was the sin for which the religious leaders sentenced Jesus to death on the cross.  If we held to that standard, people in Dalton, GA would be stoned to death every day.  Unfortunately, it is even a bad habit I am guilty of from time to time.  I need to work on this.
Using God’s name in a trivial way is something we should not do.  It is a bad habit that desensitizes us to the Holiness of God.  Instead, we should remember that God is holy and good and we are mere mortals that should hold God in reverence, respecting God and His name.  So if you struggle—as I sometimes do—with this bad habit, I encourage you to do better.  Even so, I don’t think this is the worst way we misuse God’s name.  Let’s look at the second way people are accused of misusing God’s name.
The second way we accuse people of misusing God’s name is when they use profanity (or when they cuss).  Technically, this is not really using God’s name in vain, because you are not usually using God’s name at all (unless you are saying “G-- D---”).  Profanity is really not what the Third Commandment is addressing.  However, there are other places the Bible teaches us not to use profane language.
  • Proverbs 10:32 – The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.
  • Colossians 3:8 – But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
  • Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
            I would add that these verse speak to more than just “curse words.”  God wants us to use wholesome words, and even more important, wholesome ideas that build up and do good.  You might never say an obscene word in your life, but if you express perversion, malice, slander, or words that tear down or lack grace, you are not doing the will of God, regardless of how pretty your words may sound.  An evil tongue sometimes drips with honey, but it is still evil.  So let’s agree not to use profanity or even profane ideas that tear down rather than builld people up in love.  If you struggle with this, ask the Lord to help you break this habit.
            There is a third way we misuse the name of the Lord, and I think it is the worst of all.  It is when we invoke God’s name or reputation for our own selfish purposes.  You see, the term “The Lord’s Name” doesn’t just mean His common name.  The Lord’s name is his reputation.  That’s what we mean when we say the Lord’s prayer.  What do we say, “Our Father, who are in Heaven, hallowed be thy name…  The expression hallowed be thy name means—may your reputation be honored and exalted. 
Quite often in our society, people will affiliate themselves with the Lord’s name (or His reputation.)  For instance, you might see a car mechanic with a fish symbol on the sign of his business.  The implication is, “Look, I’m a Christian mechanic.  You can trust me.  I won’t cheat you.”  And that’s a good thing if you need someone to work on your car, right?  You don’t want to be cheated.  You should be able to trust that guy, because he’s a Christian. 
Now, there’s nothing wrong with that.  But if you are going to use God’s name (or reputation) to bolster your own reputation, you better live up to it.  Right?  For if you are using God’s name to bolster your own reputation without living up to it, you are misusing God’s name. 

This happens quite frequently in our society:
  • When a politicians promotes his or her Christianity as a way to garner more votes without intending to put Christian principles first in their career
  • When a business uses their religious affiliation to attract more business
  • When a person seeks to use their religion garner more influence in the community
  • When a person where a cross, or a Christian t-shirt, or a put a Christian bumper sticker on their car, but doesn’t act as a Christian while displaying the Lord’s name.
  • When a person uses their faith to bolster their reputation without living up to the Lord's name.  Isn’t this what the Pharisees did that bothered Jesus so much?  He said they “…love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them.”  (Matthew 6:5)
Please hear me.  There is nothing wrong with showing your faith in Christ by wearign a cross or a Christian t-shirt, etc.  However when you do, you should be very conscious of how you behave; is your witness matching up to Christian principles?  These are fine lines, but God knows a person’s heart and if you are using God’s name to commend yourself to others without honestly trying to live up to it, then you are misusing God’s name and you are breaking the Third Commandment in the worst kind of way. 
 

Conclusion/Invitation
            The Third Commandment tells us, we will not go unpunished if we’ve misused the name of the Lord.  All of us have done it.  We all deserve to be punished.  Romans 6:23 tells us, “The wages for sin is death…”  And Exodus 20:7 tells us, “You will not go unpunished if you misuse the name of the Lord.”  But there is Good News.
The Good News is Jesus has already taken your punishment on himself.  He allowed himself to be whipped and spat upon for your sake.  He wore a crown of thorns for you.  He carried the cross down the road to cruel Golgotha on your behalf.  He was nailed to that same cross so you didn’t have to be.  He spilled his own precious blood so you can keep yours.  He bore the agony of hell, so you could escape.  He did all this and more to save you.
Won’t you thank him today for this priceless gift?  Won’t you ask forgiveness for the way your sin brought suffering to the Son of God?  Won’t you ask him to be your Lord today?  Won’t you commit to follow Him from now on so you can begin to obey the commandments more faithfully?  Then I offer you this prayer to express your desires to God.

"Jesus, thank you for taking my sins to the cross so I don’t have to.  Forgive me for the way my actions have caused you pain.  Help me to live a better life that is worthy of the sacrifice you made.  Today, I choose to follow you.  Jesus, save me and be my Lord and I will serve you for the rest of my life.  Amen.”

Will you do me a favor?  If you have prayed this prayer and decided to let Jesus be your Lord for the first time, will you let me know?  Email me at ReverendChrisMullis@hotmail.com  I would like to know so I can thank God and keep you in my prayers.