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Showing posts with label Grace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grace. Show all posts

Monday, July 8, 2019

The Truth Shall Set You Free

John 8:31-37
31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
33 “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?”
34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. 35 A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.36 So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. 37 Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message.

Are You Really Free?
In this passage, Jesus had a conversation with some Jews living in Judea who were descendants of the Israelites who were led out of slavery in Egypt in Exodus.  The Israelites were proud to be descendants of Abraham and the story of how Moses lead them through the Red Sea and out of slavery in Egypt was an essential part of the nation, ethnic, and religious identity.  They were proud to be a “free” people.  And even though the Roman Empire was the real authority in the Judea, the Romans had allowed the Judea to remain autonomous in deference to their national pride as a free people (so long as the Judeans promised to remain loyal to Rome and not cause trouble).  But Jesus explains that true freedom is more than national or ethnic identity or a political matter.  True freedom is a spiritual matter.

I have always known we are blessed to live in this country—the land of the free and the home of the brave.  I came to appreciate those blessings in a new way the first time I traveled to Guatemala in 2006.  For one thing, the poverty I saw in Guatemala reminded how fortunate we are to enjoy so many comforts in the United States.  Everyone in Guatemala looked up to us—literally… 

I will never forget returning to the United States after a week in Guatemala.  Now, I love Guatemala.  It is a beautiful country filled with amazing people (and we could learn a lot of things from the people there), but I was so glad to come back to my homeland and I was so proud to be an American. 

I will never forget arriving at the airport in Atlanta and going through customs.  There was a line of people a mile long waiting to go through customs and “enter” the United States.  My mission team was tired and homesick and ready to see our families and the thought of waiting in another long line was a bleak prospect.  Just then, a customs agent came walking down the line asking, “Are you a US citizen?  Are you a US Citizen?”  And all who answered yes were ushered to the front of a much shorter line.  I could see the weariness on the faces of all the non-citizens waiting in that long line as we walked passed them and I thought, “I am truly blessed to be a citizen on the United States of America.”  We enjoy so many privileges we take for granted.
Just a few days ago, we celebrated Independence Day on July the Fourth.  Independence Day is a holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence—declaring our independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.  In it, our forefathers proclaimed, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  It was the belief of our nation’s founders that Freedom was a God-given right that should never be violated. 

If ever there was a national ideal that came straight from the pages of the Bible, it is this—humanity was created by God to be free.  “In the beginning,” (Genesis 1), “God created the Heavens and the Earth.”  And God created humanity to be free—free to think, free to make choices, free to love.  God did not create us as animals chained to follow our basic instincts. God created us to be free!

Yet today, the vast majority of humanity is not free.  Even here in this great Nation where freedom is the hallmark of our national identity, the vast majority are not free.  People are enslaved to a cruel master, Sin. 

You might have a hard time thinking of yourself—an American citizen—as a slave.  We live in the land of the free, but that doesn’t automatically make you free, not any more than standing inside a gym automatically makes you fit and muscular.  You are not truly free unless the Son of God sets you free.

Sin keeps us from being free.
Romans 6:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  And Romans 6:23 says, “The wages [or consequences] of sin is death…”  So we all have a big problem.  We are all guilty of sin—which is turning away from God and doing things our own way—and we will all reap the penalty of sin—which is death. 

But the death Romans talks about is far worse than just passing away into oblivion and ceasing to exist.  The death we face because of sin is a spiritual death.  Sin separates us from God.  Our spirits suffocate in the absence of God’s presence.  In Luke 16, Jesus described the eternal destiny of sinners as a place of fiery torment.  The 20th chapter of the book Revelation describes the place as a lake of fire.  I don’t know for sure what that place is like, but I know it is something worse than death.  It is spiritual death.  (If God is like the air we breathe, you could imagine hell like suffocating without air for eternity.)

Jesus came to set us free from the spiritual death that sin brings into our life.  The great Christian evangelist of the first century—St. Paul—epitomizes to me a man who is truly free.  Death held no power over his freedom.  He boldly traveled wherever the Lord led him to spread the Gospel unhindered by persecution, hardship, or even the fear of death.  He was beaten, imprisoned, stoned, shipwrecked, and eventually executed.  Yet he was not afraid.  Paul said in Philippians 1:21, For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.  And he penned those famous words that have comforted so many at funerals, O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?(1 Corinthians 15:55)

When the Son of God sets you free, you no longer have to fear death.  I tell people (and myself), “What is there to be afraid of?  The worst thing that can happen is death.  And to die means to go home to glory—no more suffering or pain or sickness or grief.  It’s like the ultimate retirement!”  And to live with no fear of death out on the edge with God holding your hand—now that’s freedom!

It’s not just a fear of death that enslaves people.  Because of Sin, some people are bound by chains of guilt.  Ironically, the church is often a place where people feel the most guilt. I have known people who avoid church altogether because it makes them feel so guilty.  They walk into a beautiful sanctuary like this and instead of inspiring them it just reminds them how far short they have fallen from God’s glory.  They see everyone dressed up for church and smiling like they don’t have any problems and the preacher is standing up on stage peering down over the pulpit at them.  And all these things remind them of how unworthy they feel.  They don’t like that feeling so they just stay away. 

Ironically, I have found that sometimes the people in church with the biggest smiles are the ones with the most heartache and guilt. 

Jesus Sets Us Free
Maybe you feel that way, but Jesus doesn’t want church to be a place that overwhelms us with guilt.  Jesus came to set us free from sin.  He said, God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” (John 3:17).  And 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”  Because of Jesus Christ, those who confess there sins and believe in Jesus Christ can trust Psalm 103:12 which says, “[God] has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”  When we come to church (or wherever we are), God does not looking down on us as He looks down on us.  He looks at us and smiles the way a loving father smiles at their children.

And so we are free to live!  We are not bound by a guilt that causes us to hide from God in shame or try to impress Him or somehow try to work our way back into His favor.  We don’t have to bow our heads in shame.  We don’t have to carry a load of constant apologies.  As Ephesians 3:12 says, “Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.”  Now that is truly free!

But the freedom we have in Christ goes even further.  We are also free from the power of sin.  This is the glorious Good News of Christ’s message that—frankly—doesn’t get preached enough.  The salvation we have in Christ is not just forgiveness; it is also healing.  We are on the road to recovery.  Gradually, with God’s help, we are getting over this sinful nature that plagues us. So we don’t have to dread a life of constant mistakes and sinful living while we throw our hands up in the air and say, “I can’t help it.  I’m a sinner by nature.”  Romans 6:6 says, “We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.”  And Romans 6:22 says, “Now you are free from the power of sin…  So, we don’t have to go through life thinking we are bound to sin.  If we slip up, we can be forgiven.  But we don’t have to sin.  We are free!   Because God loves us so much, we are now empowered to love others!  We are free to share the love of Christ with everyone!

Jesus said, “The truth shall set your free.” He said that to the Israelites and they had a hard time seeing that they were enslaved.  Can you sense their national pride when they said, “We are descendants of Abraham.  We have never been slaves to anyone.”  I wonder how many of us here today have a similar notion.  We think, “I live in the United States of America.  I am not a slave.  I am free.” 

Jesus would say the same thing to you today that he said 2,000 years ago.  “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin.”  When we humble ourselves and recognize we are enslaved, Jesus is there to set us free.  But if our pride makes us hang on to the false notion that simply being an American makes us free, we will remain enslaved.  Exercising freedom takes wisdom and courage and determination.  It takes the Son to set you free and keep you free.

As we give thanks for the independence of our great nation, what better way to honor freedom than to truly live out our freedom.  I hope today you will humble yourself and ask Jesus to help you.  And then I pray you will go out of this place and live the free life you were created to live!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Grace - The Truth As Far As I Can Tell...

John 1:16 – From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
            I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be labeled as “graceful.”  Clumsy?  Yes.  Forgetful?   Sure!  Graceful?  No.  I’m so awkward I can manage to fall up a flight of steps.
Never-the-less, one of my favorite words in the Christian vocabulary is Grace.  Grace is often used to describe the charming way people carry themselves (or the lack thereof as they trip and stumble through life).  However, grace has a more significant meaning for Christians as we walk with Christ.  Grace is the undeserved aid God lends to help us, save us, renew us, and set us apart as His holy servants.  Regardless of how elegant or clumsy we are, the spiritual virtue of grace within comes from the Holy Spirit.  Just as the Father, through Jesus Christ, forgave our sin and continues to forgive our clumsy blunderings through life, the Spirit enables us to offer the same grace to others.  God’s grace encourages and inspires us to never give up, because we know we are loved and that God is on our side. Grace motivates us to do our very best—not because we fear God’s wrath, but—because we love God and want to serve well to show it.  Even if we fail or fall, we believe God still loves us and appreciates the effort.  We believe in grace with our whole heart and believers offer grace to others because we have been given so much ourselves.  It’s amazing to see how grace motivates and inspires and gives birth to more and more grace—and grace is a beautiful thing.  We could all use a little more grace.  We should all offer a little more to others.  Of course, I’m no expert and I certainly don’t claim to know everything, but that’s the Truth as far as I can tell…

Remember, God loves you and so do I!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sound Different

            I will never forget the first time I said "I love you" to Kelly.  She was only 16 and I was 18.  We'd only been dating for a short time.  I walked her to her door after on of our date and said good night and then it just came out, "I love you."  I said ti as much out of habit as anything (that's the what we said when we told each other good night in my childhood family).  There was an awkward pause... and Kelly did not reciprocate.
            Back in the car on the drive home, I was kicking myself.  Why did I say that?  It wasn't appropriate because we hadn't been dating long enough and I didn't really mean it; it just slipped out.  When I got to my house, the phone rang and it was Kelly.  She said, "I think I should explain why I didn't say I love you back.  Those are very important words to me and I don't use them lightly.  I think you should really know that you love someone before you tell them "I love you.""
            Now that sounded different--so much more mature and honest than most 16-year-old girls I knew at the time.  And it impressed me that Kelly had a deeper understanding of love and was willing to stand up for what she believed in and to call me and explain.
            Well, we are supposed to sound different than the world.  You see, long ago, God chose you to be holy different--to think different, to act different, to look different, and to sound different.  How You Sound--what you say--is serious business.  Proverbs 18:21 says, "The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences."  Proverbs 15:4 says, "Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit."  And Proverbs 12:18 says, "Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing."  And listen to what Jesus said about the power of what holy people say. 

Mark 11:22-25
22 Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. 24 I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. 25 But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”

In the Passage, Jesus Implies 3 Ways Holy People Will Sound Different.
            First, holy people have faith to speak and move mountains. Holy people use their words to change lives and change the world. In the 1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr. looked around and found a world full of racial discrimination and segregation. It seemed like an impossible mountain to move, but King knew it was not right and he was a Christian leader, a holy man. So King began to speak and what he said sounded different from everyone else. He urged non-violent protest. He spoke about how segregation and racial bigotry was hurtful not just black people, but also to white people and oppressors. King preached that we all need healing--even those who are mistreating others.
            Holy people don't just sound different when they speak out on momentous social justice issues.  Mountains are moved in small ways every day.  David Crawford is the music minister of our church.  Not only is he talented, but he also has a Christ-like attitude that blesses so many people in so many ways.  David started attending my church decades ago when Tom Dickson invited him to come.  Tom's invitation was just a small thing, but it has made a world of difference for everyone David blesses at my church is linked to Tom's invitation.
            Holy people pray.  Philippians 4:6 says, "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done."  When others get made, get sad, get worried, get discouraged, holy people pray.  Negative emotions produce more negative emotions.  Worry and stress produce more worry and stress.  Everyone gets to talking and dwelling on their worries and stress and all the negative emotions just get worse and more intense.  But holy people sound different.  Holy people pray and God gives them peace.  And peace gives birth to more peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers…”
            Holy People forgive.  When Jesus was hanging on the cross, he looked down at the soldier gambling for his clothes and said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)  Holy people sound different because they forgive.
            On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof gunned down 9 Christians in a church in Charleston, SC.  The relatives of the slain had a chance to speak directly to the gunman at his first court appearance. One by one, those who chose to speak did not turn to anger. Somehow—by the grace and power of God—they were able to speak life even in the presence of the man who brought death to their loved ones.  [i]Nadine Collier, the daughter of 70-year-old Ethel Lance, said at the hearing, her voice breaking with emotion. “I forgive you,” she told him. “You took something very precious away from me. I will never get to talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again, but I forgive you, and have mercy on your soul. … You hurt me. You hurt a lot of people. If God forgives you, I forgive you.”
            Forgiveness sounds different. It brings healing—first of all to you. Bitterness will poison you from the inside out. Holding a grudge will tear you apart and damage all your other relationships.   Forgiveness helps you heal and move on to the brighter future God want to give you.

Are You Ready to Sound Different?
            Thankfully, most of us will never experience the tragedy of our loved ones being gunned down in a church prayer meeting.  But there are still some practical things that everyone can do to sound different than the world.  First of all, get in the Word f God.  Your conversations are not scripted.  They are spontaneous.  It's not practically to measure every word you're going to say and how you say it.  Most of what you say just comes from your heart.  Jesus said, "What you say flows from what is in your heart." (Luke 6:45).  So fill your heart with God's Word.  Dig into the Bible so that you are more and more like Christ in your heart.  Then everything you say will flow from your Christ-like heart and you will sound different and holy.
            Second, refuse to use abusive or vulgar language.  Don't try to tear people down in order to make yourself feel better or right.  There is already too much of that going on in our world.  Holy people should sound different.  Refrain from cutting remarks or trolling on Facebook.  Refuse to gossip or talk about people behind their backs.  Instead of texting or emailing, call or visit and talk to people directly. 
            Third, encourage people with love and grace.  Be kind.  Be positive.  The world has enough negativity and darkness.  Sound different.  Speak light, not darkness.  Speak life, not death.
            Fourth, use your words to invite people to church.  People need to be in the church.  We need Jesus and we need each other.  The Church is the place Jesus chose for his holy people to gather.  Let us gather as many here as we can. 
            Some will say, "But I've already asked everyone I know."  Jesus told a parable about that--the parable of the great banquet.  A master sent his servants to invite people to a great banquet.  One by one, all the guests made excuses why they couldn't come.  So the master sent his servants out saying, "Go out into the highways and byways and compel everyone you can so that my banquet may be full.”  It may be that the people you are asking just don't feel they need to be in church.  But there are many others out there who realize they're in desperate need.  So go.  Invite them!  They may be different from you, but different is OK.  Jesus loves different.  In fact, God chose us all to be different and holy.  So build some relationships with different people.  Invite them to lunch.  Get to know them.  And invite them to church.
            Are you Ready to Sound Different?  Good!  Because God wants you to be holy different--to think different, to act different, to look different, to sound different, to be different.  You are His holy people, a royal priesthood set apart for His special purposes to go into all the world and make disciples of Jesus Christ to build His Kingdom.  Amen.


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The First Commandment

Copyright June 1, 2015 by Chris Mullis
Exodus 20:1-18

Let's play a game.  Let’s see if you can finish these famous commercial jingles! 

Ok.  Try this one without the music:  “Two All Beef Patties, Special Sauce, Lettuce, Cheese…”
            How'd you do?  I bet you did pretty good.  At least 90% of my church congregation knew them all!  I guess those jingle writers did there job well and made some memorable commercials.  Now, let’s try something a little different.  How many of the Ten Commandments can you name?  Too hard?  How about this then:  What is the first commandment?
I'm guessing you didn't do as well remembering the Ten Commandments.  Perhaps we need to refresh our memories.  My message series this summer will be about the Ten Commandments and how they apply to our lives.  I would like to challenge you to memorize the Ten Commandments this summer and to come hear the message each Sunday.  We will take one commandment each week.  Today, we will look at the first commandment.  But before we do, let’s list all 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 you neighbor.
10.  Do not covet.

Exodus 20:1-18
            This list is my paraphrase of the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20:1-18.  Let me read the full passage.
1Then God gave the people all these instructions:
“I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.
“You must not have any other god but me.
“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.
“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.
“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.
12 “Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You must not murder.
14 “You must not commit adultery.
15 “You must not steal.
16 “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.
17 “You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”
18 When the people heard the thunder and the loud blast of the ram’s horn, and when they saw the flashes of lightning and the smoke billowing from the mountain, they stood at a distance, trembling with fear.
Explain the Passage
These Ten Commandments are listed in two places in the Bible—Exodus 20:1-18 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21.  They were given to the Israelites in the dessert after they were freed from slavery.  After 400 years of slavery, this brand new community was unaccustomed to living on their own.  Gone were the masters who formerly told them what to do every step of the way.  The Israelites needed someone to teach them how to live as a civilized, free people.  And so the Lord gave them His Law—rules for how to live as a community.  And these Ten Commandments were the essence of the law distilled down into 10 easy to remember principles that covered every area of life.  Exodus 31:18 says the Ten Commandments were written “by the finger of God” on stone tablets.  God gave the tablets to Moses and they were placed in the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:21).  The original stone tablets were presumably lost along with the Ark of the Covenant a few hundred years later. 

The Purpose of the Ten Commandments
Obviously as we have stated, the commandments gave instruction to the Israelites fledgling community on how to live a moral life and thus avoid the consequences of sin.  They can serve the same purpose for us today.  However, the Ten Commandments serve another purpose.  They show us how sinful we are (Romans 5:20) and thus our desperate need for grace and deliverance. 
If we are honest, we will each admit that we have broken many (if not all ten) of the commandments at one time or another.  Have you ever stolen something?  Even something small like a pen?  You have broken the 8th commandment.  Have you ever told a lie (even a little, white lie)?  You have broken the 9th commandment.  Have you ever committed murder?  (Jesus said if you even hate someone in your heart, you have committed murder in your heart.)  If so, you have broken the 6th commandment.  Have you ever misused God’s name (have you ever used God’s name in a trivial way)?  OMG!  You have broken the third commandment!
It doesn’t take long to see even the best among us are very sinful when we examine the 10 commandments in this way.  As Romans 3:23 says, “All fall short of God’s glorious standard” and are in desperate need of God’s saving grace.
So, with that being said, let’s examine the first of the Ten Commandments (or rather, let us allow God to examine us with the First Commandment). 

The First Commandment 

            Exodus 20:3 says, “You must not have any other god but me.”  In other words, “Do not worship any god but the Lord.”  It is notable that the command doesn’t speak to the issue of whether or not other gods exist.  It simply states, “You should have no other god but me.”  Whether or not there are other gods is beside the point.  (We will see in a moment that we often turn things into gods.  Whether or not these things are really gods is irrelevant.  They sometimes become real to us.  And the Lord warns us not to have any other gods in our life.)
            The people of the tribes and nations who lived around the Israelites worshipped many different gods.  Undoubtedly, the Israelites had seen this and would be tempted frequently to worship the gods of other nations.  But God says, “I am the one who brought you out of slavery in Egypt.  I am the one you should worship.  You should not worship any other god.  I am your God.”
            In our time, we put other “gods” before the Lord all the time.  Anytime we choose our desires instead of God’s will, anytime we put our hopes in the things of this world, anytime we seek fulfillment from people, places, or things that we can only find in a relationship with God, anytime we give honor and praise that belongs only to God to someone or something else, anytime we place anything before God, we have violated the first commandment.  We may not call these things “gods,” but we make them our gods when we put them before the Lord.  And these little gods will always let us down and leave us empty and broken.  They cannot deliver us the way the Lord has.
            Exodus 20:2 says, “I am the Lord your God, who rescued you out of the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.”  Egypt is a figurative place for us.  We weren’t slaves in Egypt like the Israelites.  Nevertheless, each of us has been enslaved in some way.  Some are enslaved to depression.  Some are enslaved to pornography.  Some are enslaved to the scars of the past.  Some are enslaved to worries about the future.  Some are enslaved to what people will think about them.  Some are enslaved to your money, possessions, power, or influence.  Some are enslaved to their own pride, or guilt, or shame, or greed.  We are all enslaved by sin.
            Enslaved.  It means you have lost the power to choose.  When you are a slave, your master controls your life in every way.  Just as the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, you are or were a slave to whatever controlled you in this life—even if it was your own warped, inflated sense of self (which always falls short of the grander plans of God which are far greater than the individual self).
John 3:16 tells us, “God so loved the world that He gave His one, and only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  Through Jesus Christ, we can be delivered from slavery to whatever little gods control us.  If you trust in Jesus and follow him, you have been set free!  And the words God spoke to the Israelites all those millennia ago when he gave the Ten Commandments, now apply to you.  Exodus 20:2, “”I am the Lord your God, who rescued you out of the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.”  And God gives you His first commandment:  “Do not worship any god but the Lord.” 

            If we are honest, we will certainly see that we are all guilty of putting things before the Lord from time to time.  As Romans 3:23 tells us, “All have sinned and fall short of God’s glorious standard.”  And Romans 6:23 tells us the consequences and also the wonderful Good News.  “The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  So though we have broken the First Commandment many times and deserve only God’s punishment, instead we receive grace because of Christ. 
            Each time I receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, it reminds me how much God loves me and how His grace cleanses my sin.  The bread represents how Jesus gave his own body to be punished for my sin.  The wine represents the blood he shed on the cross that washes away my sin.  He was innocent, yet he willingly gave himself to pay the price for my sins.  Therefore, all my sins are forgiven.  All yours can be too.  Won't you ask Him to forgive you and wash you clean today?
Here's a simple prayer you can use to help you do just that:

            Thank you for loving me enough to die for my sins.  I'm sorry that my sin broke God's heart and cost you so dearly.  Please forgive me.  I don't want to sin anymore.  Come into my life and lead me and I will do my best to follow.  Please save me and be my Lord.  Amen.

If you prayed this and asked Jesus to save you today,
I would like to hear from you. 
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