Biblical Messages

The Value of the Law

If you’ve ever tried to solve a problem without first understanding it, you understand the frustration that comes from trying to appease God by doing right things instead of wrong things.  This message, based on Romans 3.9-20, can be viewed as part of the whole service through the first link, or on its own through the second link.

 

Biblical Messages

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In this message from Romans 3.1-8, we see that some of the Jewish Christians in the Roman church had a whopper of an excuse for their sin!  Do you ever make excuses for sin?  Watch this to find out why that’s not such a great idea.

The first video is the entire worship broadcast, and the second is just the message.

 

Biblical Messages

No Excuse!

In this service, we hear a message from Romans 2.1-16 that discusses the fact that followers of Jesus have a responsibility to uphold God’s way, and that sometimes, we’re no better at it than those who do not follow Jesus.  We are called not to judge, but to live in such a way that people will want to follow Jesus.

And if you ever wondered if it’s possible to be saved by being good and doing good, you’ll learn through this message.  You can watch the whole service in the first video, or just the message itself in the second one.

 

Biblical Messages

Digital Easter Celebration 2020

For the first time in history, the church is celebrating the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ in digital only…since Coronavirus keeps us from gathering, this will have to do! In this service, we hear a message based on Romans 6.1-11, which begins at 13:22. We also have a virtual celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and hear a solo.  Watch below!

Encouragement From The Word

You can forgive sins!

Our congregation’s LifeConnect Groups have all stumbled on one verse that’s giving us a challenge this week.  It’s John 20.23, which was part of our Scripture focus last Sunday:  “If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven.  If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven” (NLT).  Jesus said this to the disciples immediately after breathing on them and giving them the Holy Spirit.

It kind of sounds like it could be a power trip, doesn’t it?  If Jesus has given his followers the power to forgive or not forgive anyone’s sins, that suggests that we could decide who’s in and who’s out.  But I don’t think that’s where Jesus was going with it.  There are a couple of levels of understanding this verse that may be encouraging to us.

First, it can be seen as an approach to personal peace.  By that, I mean that when we forgive others for their sins against us, we are set free from bondage to the transgression.  But when we don’t forgive, it’s another story. Somebody once said that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.  Seems silly when it’s put that way, right?  But a lot of people refuse to forgive even when the other party seeks it, and that is the poison.

But did you know you can forgive the other person even when she or he doesn’t ask for it?  I’ve had to do that a few times in my life, where someone has not acknowledged wrongdoing against me, but in order to move on with life, I’ve had to forgive that person in my mind and in my spirit.  Even though there may be a sense of injustice about that, it sets you free, and that’s what matters.

The other approach to John 20.23 is to be reminded that Jesus invites us to be partners in forgiveness as we proclaim the gospel to others.  Jesus offers forgiveness of sin that lasts for eternity, and when we share our relationship with him, that opens a door for those people to receive forgiveness of sin.

Of course, a literal reading of the verse suggests that the disciples – and perhaps through them, we – have the power to forgive others’ sins.  While I believe we are empowered to do that in terms of our sins against each other, I can’t see any biblical evidence that suggests we are empowered to offer eternal forgiveness of sin.  That’s Jesus’ job, since he paid the price for our sin at Calvary.

But it’s still through our faith-sharing efforts that doors open for Jesus’ forgiveness to be received.  And that’s why it’s so important for us to talk about our relationship with the Lord.  As the apostle Paul tells the Corinthian church, “Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others….So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us.  We speak for Christ when we plead, ‘Come back to God!’” (2 Corinthians 5.11, 20, NLT).

Who knows whose life you may affect by your faithfulness in speaking about God’s love?

Encouragement From The Word

Digging

It’s federal election season in Canada, and as has been the custom, there’s all manner of digging going on, trying to find sordid things about candidates’ past. The digging is normally done by people active in one of the other political parties, rather than by the ordinary folks of the electorate.

If you’re anything like me, you’d rather hear what a particular candidate or party stands for, as opposed to what they stand against.  And you want to know what’s going on in their beliefs and platforms now rather than what may have happened in the past.

In one sense, the goal of the diggers is noble:  they want to unearth past truth about a person in order to find out if that happens also to be present truth.  As with so much of life, politics is a complicated beast.

But you know who one of those diggers won’t be?

God.

When we present ourselves to God in faith as we are, now, God is not concerned with the past.  We might lie awake at night, from time to time, thinking about that stupid thing we did 20 years ago, ruminating about how stupid it was, but God never does that.

When we come to God in faith, believing that Jesus died to take away all our sins, and believing that he rose again to bring us eternal life, God receives us as we are.  He doesn’t care about what we did 20 years ago.  Jesus died to forgive that sin, too.

Unfortunately, human beings are not often as gracious as God.  I wonder if we can change that, one human being at a time?

For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
    is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.
  He has removed our sins as far from us
    as the east is from the west” – Psalm 103.12, NLT