Making The Ultimate Sacrifice for Others

Paying The Ultimate sacrifice For Others
John 3
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in
him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the
world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in
him is not condemned,but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because
they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
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 The Ultimate Satisfaction

Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Isaiah 55:1

As we distributed snacks for children at a Bible School program, we noticed a little boy who devoured his snack. Then he also ate the leftovers of the children at his table. Even after I gave him a bag of popcorn, he still wasn’t satisfied. As leaders, we were concerned as to why this little boy was so hungry.

It occurred to me that we can be like that boy when it comes to our emotions. We look for ways to satisfy our deepest longings, but we never find what fully satisfies us.

The prophet Isaiah invites those who are hungry and thirsty to “come, buy and eat” (Isaiah 55:1). But then he asks, “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?” (v. 2). Isaiah is talking about more than just physical hunger here. God can satisfy our spiritual and emotional hunger through the promise of His presence. The “everlasting covenant” in verse 3 is a reminder of a promise God made to David in 2 Samuel 7:8–16. Through David’s family line, a Savior would come to reconnect people to God. Later, in John 6:35 and 7:37, Jesus extended the same invitation Isaiah gave, thus identifying Himself as the Savior foretold by Isaiah and other prophets.

Hungry? God invites you to come and be filled in His presence.

Father, I long to know You more. Only You can satisfy my deepest desires.

Only God will satisfy our spiritual hunger.

 

An appeal to sinners

From: Charles Spurgeon

“This man receiveth sinners.” Luke 15:2

Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 1:3-8

Allow us just to amplify that word: “this man receiveth sinners.” Now, by that we understand that he receives sinners to all the benefits which he has purchased for them. If there be a fountain, he receives sinners to wash them in it; if there be medicine for the soul, he receives sinners to heal their diseases; if there be a house for the sick, an hospital, a home for the dying, he receives such into that retreat of mercy. All that he has of love, all that he has of mercy, all that he has of atonement, all that he has of sanctification, all that he has of righteousness—to all these he receives the sinner. Yea, more; not content with taking him to his house, he receives him to his heart. He takes the black and filthy sinner, and having washed him—“There,” he says, “thou art my beloved; my desire is towards thee.” And to consummate the whole, at last he receives the saints to heaven. Saints, I said, but I meant those who were sinners, for none can be saints truly, but those who once were sinners, and have been washed in the blood of Christ, and made white through the sacrifice of the lamb. Observe it then, beloved, that in receiving sinners we mean the whole of salvation; and this word in my text, “Christ receiveth sinners,” grasps in the whole of the covenant. He receives them to the joys of paradise, to the bliss of the beatified, to the songs of the glorified, to an eternity of happiness for ever. “This man receiveth sinners;” and I dwell with special emphasis on this point,—he receives none else. He will have none else to be saved but those who know themselves to be sinners.

For meditation: Contrast whom Christ receives with all that they receive in him in return (Luke 15:20-24). Are you one of them?

 

Real Treasure

From: Joe Stowell, Author

“Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.” Deuteronomy 8:11

The church in China is a phenomenal example of the gospel’s explosive power in the face of persecution. In the 1940s, the rise of communism led to the dismissal of all missionaries, leaving behind approximately one million Chinese Christians. With no missionaries, very few Bibles, and facing severe persecution, the believers were impoverished with no economic or political leverage. The future of Christianity in China seemed bleak. Which is why it’s shocking to learn that recent reports tell us there are over 100 million Christians in China today.

Rather than suffocating the gospel, the dire circumstances actually had the opposite effect. Why? Because the believers had nothing and no one to depend on except Jesus. They discovered that He was all they needed. Despite being persecuted and marginalized, their lives displayed the joy and satisfaction found in the riches of Christ. And as a result, the life-changing reality of Jesus impacted their society with exponential growth.

Without a doubt it is an exciting outcome to what was a seemingly despairing situation for believers in China. And it’s a reminder to us of how God can use trouble to take the material stuff out so that the real treasure of Jesus can come in.

As you may know, in China’s larger cities the economy is starting to boom. In a recent conversation with a friend who ministers in China, I asked him if the Christians are relieved that affluence is starting to return to their country. I had hoped that after years of living with harsh circumstances they could begin to enjoy some simple pleasures that a more prosperous life might bring to them. My friend’s response was somewhat surprising. He told me that the church leaders actually hope and pray for the opposite. They don’t want the affluence to come. He said, “We have noticed that the Christians who are becoming more affluent now have lost their edge for Jesus Christ and are becoming more taken with earth-side gain than with Jesus. It is sapping the strength out of our church.”

But it’s not just a challenge in China. It’s a challenge for all of us whom God has blessed with a measure of abundance. It’s why Paul wrote: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. . . . Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:9-10).

The very thing that we may think will be the demise of our lives—trouble—can actually serve to strengthen our lives by forcing us to cling to Jesus and Him alone. And the very things that we think will enrich our lives may in fact impoverish us. To the affluent, self-sufficient church in Laodicea that didn’t feel they needed Him, Jesus warned that from His point of view they were “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

When we are consumed by the stacks of stuff in our world, we run the risk of missing the true treasures that are found in Christ alone.

Today is a great time to learn a lesson from the persecuted church—that amidst all the clutter of our material treasures, He is all we really need.

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