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Sermons on Fundamentals of the Faith

TRUTH IS MORE THAN PROPER DOCTRINE

We all know that JESUS IS THE TRUTH and the Way and the life that we need. This is no mere metaphor, it is the very meaning of truth. The truth is alive and incarnational. TRUTH IS PERSONAL, RELATIONAL, AND COMMUNAL.
Parker “To know as we are known”

Knowing truth demands ACTION ON OUR PART.
Encountering truth involves our surrendering to honest self-examination, rooting out the old beliefs, receiving light to see things the way God sees them, and doing the work of engaging with the Holy Spirit so that He can anchor truth in our soul. That is the meaning of truth in the way that Jesus uses the term.

ATONEMENT
1 John 1:5-2:2
1:7 “the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin”
1:9 “he will forgive us and cleanse us from all sin”
2:2 “Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins”
• The blood is a metaphor of Jesus death on the cross. The death of Jesus cleanses us from sin
• The death of Jesus provides the means of forgiveness
• The death of Jesus by which we are forgiven is the atonic sacrifice for our sins.
“Atonement” = At-one-ment, to make right to reconcile Oxford English Dictionary

John wrote his sermon in Greek.
Greek: Hilasmos
Hebrew: kipper
Meaning: to “cover” someone’s failure; to erase the debt; to purify the relationship

This truth is more than doctrine, this truth is personal, relational and communal. It affects every aspect of our life.
Colossians 1:9-10
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking
• That you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
• So as to walk in the manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing him,
• Bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

GOD Never Fails

Since God is love and God never fails, LOVE cannot fail. God and Love are everlasting. It is interesting to know that God’s love in the Greek language is called AGAPE. This is a GREEK word that can only be found in the Bible. This word was specifically coined to describe a supernatural love, because it describes a supernatural Being, God Himself. The other Greek words that are translated into the English word Love are EROS AND PHILEO. Both of these love actions are temporary, originate with human beings and will be done away with one day. In other words, Eros and Phileo are not everlasting, therefore they will fail. Listen, God cannot fail, Agape love cannot fail, because God and His love is everlasting. All the other responses to people’s actions are temporary. They have no eternal value.
When we are troubled on every side, when things go wrong and people do us wrong, when we are hurting and frustrated, it is very difficult to see the eternal value of Agape Love. But that’s just us. Our eyes are fixed on the wrong thing. On people and on emotional and conditional love and acceptance.
When we are involved in the spiritual battle and it seems that our relationships with brothers and sisters in the Lord are going up in flames, we immediately go into the defensive mode. We will become REACTIONARIES.
And all our reactions are based upon EROS OR PHILEO LOVE. Remember, they are temporary, they don’t solve any problems. They simply ask for a truce. For the moment we have decided, even if it kills me, not to go on the attack. UNTIL NEXT TIME.
Not so with AGAPA LOVE. God is love and he is eternal. HIS LOVE IS ETERNAL. It never reacts to any circumstances. It is eternal, always there always available, never failing.
When we are willing to endure all things through the LOVE OF GOD, we then can be the LIGHTS THAT SHINE IN THE DARK WORLD.
Yes, God’s love ENDURES ALL THINGS FOR THE SAKE OF ETERNITY.
God created all of us. We are His creation and He has a specific purpose for all of us. However, it is not our job to find our purpose in life. Because finding our purpose and our place in this life IS NOT OUR GREATEST NEED.
Our Greatest Need is TO BE UNCONDITIONALLY LOVED.
This need can only be met by Our Creator Himself. It is God’s love, His AGAPE love that loves us unconditionally. He loved us while we were yet sinners, the Bible declares. In other words, God loved us just the way we are.
We are loved regardless of our mistakes and failures.

The Battle of All Battles

Jerusalem was filled with people that came from all over the world to celebrate the Passover, the feast God commanded the Hebrews to keep every year as a reminder that it was He alone who brought them out of slavery, out of the Egyptian bondage.
They did not deserve to be delivered, and they certainly did not pay a ransom to the Egyptians to be delivered.
It was a picture of what God is doing for His people, because HE PROMISED LONG AGO, that the spiritual battle of the ages, a battle which started in heaven itself and eventually was introduced to God’s creation in this world, will be won by God Himself, Victory will be declared by God Himself, and the battle of all battles will be settled ones and for all.
That was Satan’s goal all along. TO BE LIKE GOD. That’s the goal of all those who run around the churches claiming to have the same power God has to command Satan and his fallen angels to do their bidding and to command God what to do. Well, all in THE NAME OF JESUS. It’s the battle of all battles.
God uses truth to conquer lies, Satan, the father of lies, uses deception to conceal the lies. Deception is the most powerful weapon Satan has in his arsenal.
When Jesus, willingly, went to the cross, to be crucified for our sins, He did what the Father long ago promised would happen:
The seed, which is Christ Jesus, will win the battle of all battles, not by conquering Satan, but by submitting to the Father’s will.

He Died In Faith

For Abraham to loose his wife was a very painful experience. Abraham was a man of faith and certainly his tears did not indicate any unbelief.
Abraham knew that Sarah was now in the Lord’s care. He had to say goodbye, but he did not loose Sarah.
“When you know where something is, you haven’t lost it.”
Too many people when they reach old age cannot experience what Abraham did. They live without faith and eventually cannot die IN FAITH.
“When they look back, it is with regret; When they look ahead, it is with fear; When they look around, it is with complaint!”
For us who trusted Christ, old age should be a time of rich experience in the Lord and a wonderful opportunity to share Jesus with the next generation.

The Lord Will Provide

Faith provided by God does not demand explanations; instead, faith provided by God rests on God’s promises. When we do ask God for explanations, we reveal that we really don’t know ourselves as good as we should, and we certainly do not know God as well as we should. Like Abraham, we have to learn to live by promises, not by explanations. Abraham did not know HOW God would do it, or WHY God would do what He did, or WHEN God would do it, BUT HE BELIEVED GOD that whatever needed to be done, GOD WOULD PROVIDE. There are lessons to be learned, and one of them is that WHEN GOD WANTS TO PROVIDE OUR NEEDS, many times we must face the test alone. IT IS ONLY THEN THAT WE CAN SEE WHAT OUR HEAVENLY FATHER REALLY CAN DO FOR US.

God Keeps His Promises

Sarah’s faith was not placed in the promise, but in THE ONE WHO IS FAITHFUL; GOD HIMSELF. Abraham and Sarah made some mistakes, they had some occasional failures in trusting God all the way. However, both of them endured to the end BECAUSE THE BELIEVED GOD. When Isaac finally arrived as promised, ABRAHAM AND SARAH SAW GOD’S POWER AT WORK. Ishmael was an obedient son, UNTIL ISAAC entered the family. It was then when the “flesh” began to oppose “the Spirit”. God gave them the fleshly blessings, the black oil which lubricates the world’s economy.
Isaac, however, received the spiritual blessing, the Holy Spirit, which is symbolized in the Bible with OIL. According to Galatians 4:21-31 Sarah represents grace, (the heavenly Jerusalem) and Hagar represents Law (the earthly Jerusalem under bondage). In other words, law and grace cannot live peacefully together. God’s children, born of the Spirit are to live under the blessings of grace and not the bondage of the law. Hagar gave birth to a slave. Ishmael was a slave. If you decide to live under the law, then you become a child of Hagar, a slave; for the law produces bondage and not freedom.