Wonderful message at church tonight... The Good News! Simple as that, yet so totally not simple. Totally life-changing, actually. Just as it was the first time I heard it, and the second and the third and the twentieth. I was born into sin and lived in habitual sin, loneliness, hurt, emptiness, confusion, frustration, and unhappiness. I was separated from my Creator and Father who loved me for no reason at all and so much that he would sacrifice the highest cost for my life to be spared from eternal separation from him. I was living in a spiritual and emotional prison, but the good news is Christ came to set me free! God opened my heart to him to hear, understand, and receive the gospel. Now I know the love and forgiveness of my Creator and Father- love and mercy that no one has ever shown or can show me like He does. Now my sins are forgiven and I can fellowship with God who sees me in the righteousness of Christ. He who was perfect took on all sin- of every person- and paid the penalty for sin, which is death, so anyone who believes in him could be reconciled to God. The payment has already been paid, not because of anything we did or could do, but because he loved us first, and salvation is a gift for all who choose to receive it.
This reminds me of the precious verses of our Christmas carol, O Holy Night, which I like to listen to throughout the year because it's so special beyond just Christmas time- "Long lay the world in sin and error pining until he appeared and the soul felt its worth. A thrill of hope! The weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn. Fall on your knees! Hear the angels voices! Oh night divine, when Christ was born. Truly He taught us to love one another. His law is love and his gospel is peace. Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother. And in his name all oppression shall cease. Sweet hymns of joy, in grateful chorus raise we. Let all within us praise his holy name!"
At church right now, we're studying the book of Acts focusing on the development of the early church and making disciples. Once you're a disciple of Jesus, you're also a discipler. Anyone who has heard the gospel and become a follower of Christ now has the charge to share the gospel with others and further his kingdom. A song we sang tonight put it best:
You set the world in motion- created everything I see.
Yet chose to die for sinners- You gave your life to rescue me.
How could a greater love be true? Be true.
I've found the greatest love is in you. It's in You-
Jesus, Light of the World, you saved us.
Conquered the grave and raised us.
And we will reign with you always.
Now this our purpose- we live to make you famous.
Until every tongue sings praises, declaring you are the Lord always.
Now we remember when we were made alive with Christ our King.
And to the hopeless venture to tell about the hope you bring.
Well how could a greater love be true? Be true?
We'll say the greatest love is in you. It's in You- Jesus
Light of the World, you saved us.
And it's by grace we've been saved. We've been saved.