We had a great week during our VBS at Salem Baptist Church. Each night we averaged over 100 students with nearly 70 of those being young people. It was encouraging to see many parents and grandparents in the community bring their children to learn more about the God of the Bible! The theme of our curriculum this year was "Searching the visible, discovering the invisible."
There were 11 students that learned the theme verses this year, Colossians 1:15-16 15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
As a church the participation was outstanding! Those that prepared and served food, set up tables and chairs, registration, recreation, teachers, art and crafts, music/songs, and photography all were faithful to be there each night and I know received a blessing from being around the kids all week. We are looking forward to following up with the contacts that were made and praying for God to give the increase from the seeds sown throughout the week.
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
The fifty-third chapter in the Book of Isaiah is referred to as the Gospel according to Isaiah. Seven hundred years before Christ would come and fulfill the things concerning Himself in this wonderful chapter Isaiah penned down so vividly the suffering of the blessed Lamb of God. There is a word in verse 6 that is of great important concerning God's plan of salvation. The first word and last word of Isaiah 53:6 is "all". Here we see the simplicity, scope, and satisfaction of God's redemption.
All of humanity can identify themselves with the word "all" in verse 6. Truly "All we like sheep have gone astray". The Bible declares in Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Additionally, the word "we" is given in relation to going our own way. Thankfully, the verse does not end there. The good news is that "the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Jesus Christ bore our sins in his own body on the tree. He became a curse for us, the just for the unjust. So, just as sure as all humanity can identify with the first "All" of verse 6, by faith in what Christ "hath" done for us we can identify with the last "all" of verse 6. We go in the first "All" as SINNERS, we come out at the last "all" as SAINTS!
Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
Our Lord Jesus Christ spoke seven times while hanging on the Cross of Calvary. We find the first saying in Luke 23:34. Jesus Christ spoke to the Father in prayer and asked "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
Reading through the gospel accounts we never find Christ asking the Father to forgive anyone. Consider the following verses as the explanation why: Luke 5:21-24 "21 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? 22 But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? 23 Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? 24 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house."
The scribes and Pharisees were accusing Jesus of blasphemy because they knew that only God could forgive sins. Jesus acknowledged and confirmed that He was God in the flesh because He did have the power to forgive sins. He was their long awaited Messiah but they rejected Him (John 1:10-11).
Now when we come to the Cross Jesus cries "Father, forgive them." Though Christ never ceased to be fully God He became fully man. As God, Jesus Christ had the power to forgive sins because God has no sin, can not sin, and will not sin. However, the scriptures teach us in I Peter 2:24 "Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." That is, Christ who was the sin forgiver before the Cross is now is sin bearer on the Cross.
Romans 8:3 "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:"
II Corinthians 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
This is why Jesus Christ cried out continuously from the Cross "Father, forgive them". Jesus Christ took the awfulness of our sins upon Himself and became sin for us. He was dying as the last Adam to redeem the lost sons and daughters of Adam back to their Creator. This prayer by our Lord Jesus Christ is still being answered today because of what He did over 2,000 years ago. God does not forgive us for our sake, He forgives us for Christ' sake. Forgiveness has been provided by the Lamb of God!
Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God forChrist's sake hath forgiven you."
Romans 8:32 "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
As I begin this blog I do so with the purpose and passion to faithfully communicate the truths of God's Word. I do not profess to be an expert in any realm of Bible doctrine or interpretation. I do believe and have total confidence in the Word of God. It is my prayer that comments made in this blog will be a source of encouragement. In a day in which the apostates and scoffers are flooding our government, schools, communities, and churches it is vital that we adhere to the admonition given by Jude and "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."
The Bible states in Romans 4:3 "For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness." This verse will serve not only as the heading of this blog but I trust it will be the very heart of it as well. In this world of confusion, chaos, and conflict we must judge and compare all things according to "For what saith the scripture?"
Here are a few reasons why we must rely on "For what saith the scripture?"
1. The Scriptures are Truth
Ephesians 1:13 "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,"
John 17:17 "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
The Word of God is the only source of truth we have. We are saved by hearing and believing the Word of God. In expounding on I John 5:9-10 the late Dr. M.R. DeHaan states "the truth here is as clear as it can be stated: salvation is believing what God says about His Son Jesus Christ. God knows of no other way of redemption for lost humanity." The Lord Jesus Christ in His high priestly prayer in John 17 prays for us to be sanctified by the Word of God. We are always on solid ground when we believe the eternal truths of God's Word.
2. The Scriptures are Timeless
Psalm 119:89 "For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven."
Matthew 24:35 "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
Psalm 119:89 tells us that there has not be a time in which the Word of God has not been. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Word, informs us that there will never be a time in which the Word of God will not be.
3. The Scriptures are Tried
Psalm 18:30 "As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him."
I Corinthians 15:3-4 "3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"
There isn't enough time and space in this post to list the innumerable verses that we could reference about how God has said something and brought it to pass. If you want to study history, study the Bible. If you want to study current events/issues, study the Bible. If you want to study the future, study the Bible. The greatest message the world has ever known is given in I Corinthians 15 concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was born according to the scriptures, He died for our sins according to the scriptures, He was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures. The Word of God is tried and approved! Just as sure as we believe the gospel according to the scriptures we can look forward to our gathering according to the scriptures (I Thess.4:13-18).