We’re all caught. We’ve all sinned. And Jesus said, “whoever sins is the slave of sin.” But because of the amazing grace of God, shown through his Son, we can be freed from sin’s penalty, power, and someday, its presence. The Apostle Paul wrote about how to be set free in his letter to the Romans.
We like to sanitize Bible stories, especially when they revolve around people we consider “heroes of the faith.” Like Abraham. This guy said “yes” to God’s calling to leave everything familiar without having a clue where God was taking him. He wound up in Canaan and became the father of all who believe. All the families of the earth were to be blessed through his lineage, particularly through Jesus the Messiah.
You took the high road, made a sacrificial choice, and seemed to lose while the other guy played dirty and made some gains because of it. Sound like your life? Then you might be encouraged by one of history’s greatest sermons, preached by One who knew quite personally what it felt like to make sacrificial choices and seemingly lose in the short run.
We’re caught. We’re guilty of sin. In fact, we’re enslaved by it. That’s the reason Jesus came – to give his life for ours, to set us free forever, and to remove the condemnation we deserve for our rebellion. The very first step to living in spiritual freedom is placing our trust in Jesus alone.
This past Sunday was pretty special for Grace Hills Church. After four years of being a portable church plant meeting in two local movie theaters, we moved into our newly renovated space in Rogers, Arkansas. We called it a “soft launch” and reserved the Grand Opening for this coming Sunday – our fourth anniversary since launching pulicly.
When you read the book of Exodus, you’re reading the story of a God who is determined to free his people from bondage and slavery. No matter how hard the Egyptians fight, no matter how much the Israelites misunderstand God’s motives, and no matter how long the journey ahead might seem, God keeps on working to free his people.
Sometimes, things change, such as the location where we gather for worship. But some things never change, like the mission and message of the church. In this message delivered on our inaugural Sunday in our new space, I’m casting a vision for the future and challenging us to throw a party for sinners like us.
My favorite quote is from Shelton Smith, Editor of The Sword of the Lord, who said,
The difference between mediocrity and excellence is midnight oil, elbow grease, and the power of God.
It’s been an interesting year, to say the least. Our surrounding culture has changed radically, my church has grown, my family has been blessed, and this is all reflected in the ten posts that wound up with the most page views during 2015. Here they are:
God made the world to be paradise, but we’ve all walked away from him. So he came on a mission to save us. That’s the story of Christmas – God, coming here, to save his people!