Matthew begins his gospel by listing the genealogy of Jesus, and he includes people in that list who did some very evil things. Why would Matthew want to highlight the dirt instead of sweeping it under the rug? Because he wanted us to know that the forgiveness Christ came to bring is available to everyone, regardless of their past. Have you ever brought your past to Jesus, or are you still carrying it all by yourself?
It is amazing to see how a skilled artist can take broken pieces of glass and carefully assemble them into a stained glass window to create a beautiful work of art. This reminds us how we were once broken and shattered by sin, but Jesus restored us into something beautiful by His grace, and now our lives can reflect His glory!
When we were little kids, there were certain stories we loved hearing again and again. They never got old, no matter how many times the book was read to us. What about the Gospel story? Have you grown tired of it yet, or does it become more wonderful each time you hear it? Once we come to understand and appreciate exactly what Christ has done for us, this is one story that will become our favorite of them all.
Our salvation is worth far more than silver and gold. In fact, all the riches in the world would never be enough to buy it. So how can we possibly repay the One who came and died in our place to save us? There is one way. We can live for Him. So, are we living our lives in a way that reflects our gratitude to the One who gave His life for us?
Although we may know the truth, suffering and trials can sometimes give us a kind of spiritual amnesia and cause us to turn inward and become self-focused. In those times, we need to be reminded that God has not abandoned us, and that there is still a bigger mission beyond our present circumstances. If you are in a place like that right now, this message will bring clear direction and renewed hope to you!
Jesus told the most religious people in Jerusalem that even though they diligently studied the Scriptures, they still did not have the very life of which the Scriptures spoke. How is that possible? It’s possible because we can read the Bible, go to church and do all kinds of religious things, yet still completely miss Jesus! You may be religious, but have you ever come to Jesus to find the life, forgiveness and hope that only He provides?
Surely no one would ever walk up to a sick person and ask if he really wanted to get well; unless the one asking the question knew that this person had deeper issues that first needed to be dealt with. Even as Christians, we can get stuck in ruts of sin or excuses that keep us immobilized, and sometimes we prefer to just stay there. Are there any ruts in your life that you need to get out of?
Have you ever looked down on someone because of their sinful lifestyle? What that actually reveals is that we do not understand what awful sinners we ourselves are. Today we look at a man who didn’t think he was a sinner, and a woman who knew she was, and how her awareness of her great sin caused her to express extravagant thankfulness to Jesus.
As we face the struggles and uncertainties of life that often come our way, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, alone and afraid. In those times, we can find great encouragement by remembering the things that are already true of us in Christ. If you are facing difficult times, let these truths from God’s Word be the encouragement you need to find renewed hope and strength for the future.
What is the greatest need in the world today? Is it a stronger economy, better government, less war? While those things are important, they pale in comparison to man’s greatest need, and that need was met in the One who came that very first Christmas so long ago. That Baby in the manger was the Savior of the world who came to forgive our sins and restore our broken relationship with God. Have you ever recognized your need for Christmas?
Who would you die for? Most of us would be quick to say that we would die for our children, our spouse, and perhaps even a small select group of others; but that’s the easy answer. Would you die for a murderer? Would you die for a rapist? Would you die for a member of ISIS? The fact is, Jesus did die for those people, and His selfless sacrifice makes it possible for all of us sinners to be made right with God forever!
If a prisoner served his time and was set free, it would be unthinkable for him to go back and live in his prison cell. Yet many Christians who have been set free by Jesus continue to live as prisoners to their past. Jesus said if we know the truth, it would set us free, and we would be truly free. Are you saved, but still living under a cloud of guilt and fear because of your past sin? Jesus invites you to be set free today!