Jesus, the Gift of God’s Grace (John 1:1-5)

Jesus, the Gift of God’s Grace (John 1:1-5)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, November 28 and Sunday, November 29

Immanuel means: “God with us.”

This is the first Sunday of Advent and so we are looking forward to Jesus’ birth. The word “advent” actually means “coming.” The idea is the coming of the Christ child.

With that in mind, I was recently thinking back to my beliefs about Jesus from when I was a child. As a child, what were your beliefs about Jesus? Think way back, way back to some of your earliest comprehensions about Jesus. When I was a very young child, I thought that Jesus was the first man created. I actually thought that Jesus was before Adam and Eve. I didn’t understand or comprehend that Jesus was coming to earth at Christmas time. But later on, I did begin to understand that the idea of Christmas was Jesus’ birth, but then I thought God just decided to have a son. I even thought that maybe someday God would consider having another son. I wonder if you have had any similar views. At some point I realized, or God taught me, that Jesus did not have His beginning when He came to earth.  This is exactly what I want to talk about today.

This year, over the next several weeks, I wish to talk about Jesus, the indescribable gift.

Today, I wish to talk about Jesus, the gift of God’s grace.

Next week we will talk about Jesus the gift of God’s Truth.

Then, we will talk about Jesus the gift of God’s Love

On Christmas Eve we will talk about: Jesus, the Indescribable Gift, God in the Manger (Luke 2:1-20; 2 Cor. 9:15)

On December 27, we will talk about Jesus, the Gift of God’s Hope

As we look at John 1:1-5 we are going to see that Jesus’ beginning was in eternity past, actually Jesus had no beginning at all. But, Jesus did choose to come to earth to become our sacrifice for our sins. God chose to come to be with us. John 1:1-5 also shows that Jesus is fully God, yet separate. Are you confused? That is okay; let’s get into this passage and clear things up.

Let’s read John 1:1-5:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Humpty Dumpty had an unsolvable problem. We have a problem too, but ours has a solution.

Jesus Christ came to our wall,

Jesus Christ died for our fall;

So that regardless of death and in spite of sin,

Through grace, He might put us together again.[1]

  1. Let me give some context to this passage and in so doing allow me to show you how this passage relates to our Advent season.
    • Matthew’s Gospel begins with Jesus’ birth from Joseph’s perspective.
      1. More specifically, Matthew’s Gospel begins with the lineage of Jesus beginning with Abraham and ending with Joseph.
      1. Then in Matthew chapter 3 he writes about John the Baptizer.
    • Luke’s Gospel begins with John the baptizer preparing the way for Jesus.
    • Later in Luke’s Gospel, Luke gives the lineage of Jesus beginning with Adam (Luke 3:23ff).
    • Mark’s Gospel begins with John the baptizer preparing the way for Jesus.
    • The point is that the other three Gospels focus on John preparing the way for Jesus and the Gospel according to John will do that as well.
    • But two of the other three Gospels focus on Jesus’ physical lineage. They do this for a reason. It was important to establish that Jesus was the rightful King of Israel as He came from the family line of King David. But John’s Gospel is focusing on Jesus’ eternal past. That is what I want to focus on today. In a few weeks we will get to the narrative of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, but first let’s look at Jesus’ eternal past. Long before Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem He already existed, and He was active in creation. This is important as many false religions and many cults have this false doctrine about Jesus which can be cleared up here in John 1:1-5.
    • Notice that as Jesus took on flesh, He became the light of the world. This was all because of God’s grace.
    • Jesus took on flesh in order to save us from our sins.
    • This is God’s grace.
  2. Beginning: Notice the passage says in verse 1: In the beginning… stop right there.
    • Now, let’s think about that. This is stating that what John is about to write about has to do with the beginning.
    • More specifically this has to do with the very beginning of time as we know it. Think about that for just a minute.
    • What is it like to think about a time before time? It is difficult to even state that isn’t it? How do I write “time before time”? I believe as John is here writing this phrase, he is intentionally echoing Genesis 1:1 and Genesis says, “In the beginning God created…”
    • Since Genesis writes, “In the beginning,” and John writes, “In the beginning,” we can conclude that Jesus is beyond our timeline.
  3. The Word: Now, John continues by stating that in the beginning was the Word.
    • John does not say that The Word was created in the beginning.
    • No, John is saying that the Word was already in existence in the beginning.
    • He just was. In Revelation Jesus says, “I am the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end” (Rev 22:13). But what does John mean by saying the Word? Basically, he is writing about Jesus. We know this by context, right?
    • I mean as soon as he completes this first section, he will begin writing about John the baptizer (John 1:6-9), then in the very next verse, he uses the male pronoun translated as “he” to refer to “the Word” (John 1:10). He is writing about Jesus.
    • So, we can gather that he is writing about a man. But in the first century, during this time period, the Jews and the Greeks would know that the Word embodies reason which gives order to the universe. The Jewish people may have had a little more of a concept of the Word as God and as the creator.
    • John’s audience would have known that John is writing about God and context will later show that John is writing about Jesus. Later on, in verse 14 John writes that the Word became flesh. So, it is clear that the Word is Jesus’ eternal past.
    • Jesus’ beginning was not being born of Mary; no Jesus was with God from the beginning.
    • Jesus chose to become a man in order to die for us and save us by His grace. Jesus is the Gift of God’s grace.
  4. with God, was God, He was in the beginning with God: Notice this.
    • The Word, Jesus, was with God. Jesus has always existed with God and now the text also says that Jesus was God.
    • Now, this is not simply an eternity past concept. John is writing about this as an eternity past idea, but Jesus is still with God and Jesus still is God. Notice that Jesus was with God and Jesus was God.
    • Jesus is both the same as God and separate from God at the same time. That is what this passage is saying. Jesus was with God and was God.
    • Don’t try to understand this. If I could understand God, He would not be that great. Yet, God still has revealed certain things about Himself to us and so we should educate ourselves as much as we can.  
    • Immanuel means God with us.
    • It is also critical that we understand that this verse is NOT saying that Jesus was a God or the Word was a God. No, Jesus is God and Jesus is with God. We don’t worship three gods.
  5.  All things came into being…
    • Another critical idea that we must focus on is that all of creation came into being by Him. Look at this in verse 3. Everything you see was created by Him.
    • Jesus created everything that we see in the night sky. Jesus created those stars and those planets. It is mind boggling when we think of how amazingly large outer space is, but Jesus created all that is in existence.
    • Jesus created everything we see on this planet. He created the materials that we are made out of. He created the materials that exist all around us. He created everything (see Colossians 1:16-17 and Psalm 8).
    • According to this passage, things are not only created by Jesus, they are also held together by Jesus. Now, think about that for just a moment, what does that mean for who we put our trust in?
    • Shouldn’t we put our trust in Jesus as the One who holds all things together?
    • Shouldn’t we put our trust in Jesus as the One who owns all things?
    • Doesn’t the One who creates have ownership of all that He created?
      • I think about the things that I fear. I fear snakes, most you know this. Oftentimes, I have been running and saw a garter snake on the trail and jumped 10 feet. I hate snakes!
      • My fears have changed the past 9 years or more.
      • I fear danger happening to my children. When Mercedes was a baby a situation happened that really stressed this in my life. We had a baby monitor that would go off if Mercedes or Abigail quit breathing, but this can also go off if one of them would move to the corner of the crib. In 2012, the monitor went off in the night and as I was still half asleep, I walked into her room. But I was about to wake up really quickly. I started feeling around in the crib to move Mercedes, but I didn’t feel her in the crib. Instantaneously, in a split second, I woke up and had the worst thoughts come into my mind. I thought about whether she crawled out of the crib, or whether someone got into our house. Then, I found her in the corner of the crib, the opposite corner that I was looking for her in. But, I had fear.
      • As a father I hear different sounds in the night and have different concerns as I have children to watch out for. I have different fears.
      • Why fear? God is in control. It is okay and good to have a healthy respect for the dangers of certain snakes, and other more serious dangers in life, but we have no ultimate fear. As this passage goes on to say, we have life in Jesus. 
      • Jesus, the gift of God’s grace.
      • Also, this passage is likely stating that things in Heaven and on earth were created by Him. I believe this is stating that the angels and the demons were created by Jesus. If Jesus loves us, which John 3:16 and many other passages says He does, and Jesus created all things, who do we have to fear? We have nothing to fear because Jesus loves us, and Jesus created all things.
  6. In Him Is life: This is more about God’s grace.
    • Now as we look at verse 4, we must grasp the idea that life is in Jesus. In Him was life.  This is a repeated concept in John’s gospel.
    • We have eternal life in Him.
    • We have true life in Him.
    • John uses the word for “life” more than 36 times in his Gospel. In Him was life. We have life in Him.
    • Do you have life in Him?
    • Have you accepted Him as your Savior?
    • Have you believed in Him? If so, then be encouraged. You do have life in Him.
  7. He Is the Light:
    • the final verse of this section says that He is the light.
    • The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it.
    • Jesus is like a flashlight shining truth into a world of false realities.
    • It is a false reality that money and materialism lead to happiness.
    • It is a false reality that life is meaningless. No, life has meaning, and we can have a fuller life and eternal life in Jesus.  There are many false realities out there, but Jesus sheds light on these.
    • May that be a challenge to us.
  8. Context again:
    • Now, if we continued reading this passage we would see in verse 14 that John begins to write about Jesus becoming a human being.
    • Eugene Peterson writes that “the Word put on flesh and blood and moved into our neighborhood.”
    • As we move towards Christmas and as we look towards Advent we can be encouraged that Jesus is God with Us.
    • Jesus chose, out of His great love for us, to come into our neighborhood. He chose to be born of a virgin.
    • He chose to be reared in poverty and live a fully human life to give us grace.

Praise God that Jesus chose to become one of us. Billy Graham tells a story of walking a beach with his son, trying to save ants, but the ants were scared not knowing they were trying to help them, and his son said, “What if we could become an ant and tell them we want to save them?” That is why Jesus came into our realm of existence. He came to communicate to us and to die for us.

Here are some applications from this message:

Close: applications:

  1. Jesus has always existed this means we can trust Him. If He existed prior to the beginning He must know the future, again, we can trust Him (verse 1).
    • This is especially true corresponding to Gen 1:1 with the idea that Jesus created time.
    • We must trust Jesus. He has the whole world in His hands and past, present and future in His hands.
  2. If all things came into being by Christ we must surrender to Him as the owner of all things (verse 3).
    • Jesus owns our money
      • Jesus owns our house
      • Jesus owns everything we have and treasure.
  3. On the positive side, given that all has come into being by Jesus we can trust Him.
    • He is in control as the Amy Grant song says.
    • We must trust Jesus as He owns everything.
  4. Jesus is the only way to receive and have life, true life and life eternal. We must follow and embrace His life (verse 4).
  5. We must and will comprehend Jesus’ light and allow His light to shine in us and through us (verse 5).

Can you appreciate this cartoon of Dennis the Menace? He rushes into the room, with his mother standing there with her mouth open, and he says, holding a big box in his hand, “We’d better tell Santa Claus to forget about the train set I asked for. I just found one on the top shelf of Dad’s closet.”[2]

Jesus, God’s greatest Christmas present. A present is grace, grace is a gift. Jesus gifts us with His presence.

Do you know Him?


[1] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 251.

[2] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 82.

Rejoice in Your Salvation

Rejoice in Your Salvation (1 Chron 16:23; Psalm 20:5; 2 Cor. 9:15)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church on Saturday, November 21 and Sunday, November 22

How do you respond to the devil’s attacks?

Martin Luther said the devil came to him every night “to dispute with him.” Luther said he learned two things would chase the devil away. One was to say, “Satan, I am baptized. I have left your wilderness. You have no more jurisdiction.”

The other way — and I’m not sure how else to say this — was to pass gas. Luther believed that because the devil was proud and hated mockery, passing gas in his face was a way of mocking him and making Satan flee. I kid you not.[1]

Baptism follows salvation and to Martin Luther he was clinging to his salvation when the devil attacked him. Baptism sealed the deal for Luther. Baptism tangibly represents the intangible.

Where would you be without Jesus? What would your life be like without Jesus?

Does your salvation give you hope for eternity?

What do you think about at funerals? Does your salvation give you hope when you think about death?

Does your salvation give you answers?

I have a thank-you card in my hand, do any of you send thank-you cards? Do any of you receive thank-you cards? Do any of you say thank-you?

Now, what are you thankful for? Food, clothing, shelter, children, family, friends, work, retirement, money, our country, etc.

When you thank God, do you thank Him for your salvation?


Today we will look at Colossians 1:12-14 and talk about thankfulness for salvation.

Let’s read Col. 1:12-14:

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

  1. In Col. 1:12-13 we see God’s great rescue mission.
    • I know verse 12 starts midsentence. Paul is in the middle of one long sentence. Paul was the master of long sentences. This sentence starts in verse 9 and is an extended sentence with 218 words. So, verses 9-20 are one long sentence in the Greek.
    • This is a prayer that Paul is praying.
    • These three verses are about giving thanks to God for our salvation.
    • The 2011 NIV says “Joyful” thanks.
    • God has qualified us, you, to share in the inheritance.
    • Who qualified you? God qualified you. Only Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-10 says that we are saved by grace.
    • We give thanks for gifts and our salvation is a free gift.
    • We don’t have to give thanks for what we earn. We give thanks for gifts.
    • Psalm 51:12 says to restore to me the “joy” of your salvation. Do you ever ask God for that restored joy? I think that joy would cause us to be thankful.
    • We have an inheritance in Christ. We are considered sons and daughters of God. We are family (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:4-5; Ephesians 1:5). We have an inheritance in Heaven.
    • We are part of the Light, as opposed to darkness, which was a common contrast which Paul would use.
    • Our salvation was God’s great rescue mission.
    • Verse 13 says that God rescued us from darkness.
    • Think about a rescue. This makes me think of a good action movie in which a character is going to rescue someone.
    • In “The Patriot” Mel Gibson’s character rescued prisoners by outwitting the British
    • Maybe show clip
    • God outwitted the devil and rescued us.
    • We aren’t simply rescued from darkness and left wondering. No, we are transferred to the Kingdom of Jesus.
    • Verse 14 says that He redeemed us and this means that He bought us, just like you buy a slave.
    • Verse 14 says that we also are forgiven.
    • So, are you thankful for your salvation?
    • John Macarthur shares:
    • First Chronicles 16:23Psalm 96:2 says, “Proclaim the good tidings of His salvation day to day”. Way back in 1 Chronicles, way back in the Psalms, people were proclaiming on a daily basis the good news of the salvation of God. That has always been the greatest preoccupation of the people of God, to praise Him for salvation. Revelation 7, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne and to the Lamb,” that’s heaven. All the beings in heaven are praising God and the Lamb for salvation.
    • So we can say it is the theme of the Holy Spirit’s revelation…the theme of the Holy Spirit’s revelation. I will simplify the Bible for you. The main theme in the Bible is salvation, right? That’s the theme of the Bible. It goes from corruption to salvation, from the Fall to eternal glory. The theme of the Bible is salvation and so it is the theme of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration. Everything that the prophets in the Old Testament knew about salvation was given to them by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was revealing the sufferings of Christ in Psalm 22, Psalm 69, Isaiah 52, Isaiah 53, Daniel 9, Zechariah 12, Zechariah 13. The Holy Spirit was revealing all of this, the sufferings, death, trial, beating, crucifixion and the glories to follow. The Holy Spirit revealed truth about the resurrection, the ascension, the enthronement. The resurrection, obviously, implied everywhere that the Messiah is seen reigning because if He dies, He has to rise to reign. The resurrection in Psalm 16, the resurrection in Psalm 22, the resurrection in Psalm 69, the resurrection, exaltation of Christ, Isaiah 9, Isaiah 53, the end of the chapter, Daniel 2, Daniel 7, Zechariah 2, Zechariah 14. They were prophesying about His suffering and about His glory because that was the message of the Holy Spirit. Those two things were the theme of Old Testament prophecy.[2]
    •  Are we thankful?

Are we thankful?

Swindoll tells of a story from WW II: the Americans had advanced into the German territory, Germans and Americans are shooting at each other, a German family is hiding in a barn. Then a 3 year old girl breaks free from her parents and runs between the allies and the Germans. All firing stops. Then after she is safe they start firing at each other again. You know that in our salvation we have peace with God?

I encourage you to go home and write a thankful prayer to God. Are you thankful for salvation?

Do you know Christ?

Luke 9:23

God created us to be with Him (Genesis 1-2).

Our sin separated us from God (Genesis 3).

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4).

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again (Matthew – Luke).

Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life (John – Jude).

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever (Revelation 22:5).



Worldview Wrap-Up: Learn from Israel and don’t forsake God (2 Kings 17:7-18; 1 Thess 5:17-22)

Worldview Wrap-Up: Learn from Israel and don’t forsake God (2 Kings 17:7-18; 1 Thess 5:17-22)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, November 14 and Sunday, November 15, 2020

Children are dismissed to junior church.

We are going to be going to 2 Kings 17:7-18 in a minute.

Over the last several weeks we have talked about having a Biblical worldview. The Biblical worldview goes like this: creation-fall-redemption-restoration. Everything was created good, as we see in Genesis chapters 1-2. Creation fell in Genesis 3. All of creation is fallen (Romans 8:22-23). Jesus has redeemed us (John 3:16), but the world is still fallen. Someday God will restore all things (Revelation 21-22).

We have talked at great length about each of these parts of a Biblical worldview. Why is there pain and suffering? This is because we live in a fallen world. Is this how things are meant to be? No, absolutely not. We are redeemed by Jesus, but things are not restored yet. We needed Divine intervention. We need police because we live in a fallen world. There is racism and all kinds of bad stuff because we live in a fallen world. Someday, God will make things right.

What does it look like to lose the Biblical worldview?

What does it look like to forget God?

Today, we will look at 2 Kings 17:7-18 and see an example of that.

My theme is:

Learn from Israel and don’t forsake God

Let’s read 2 Kings 17:7-18:

Now this came about because the sons of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and they had feared other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord had driven out before the sons of Israel, and in the customs of the kings of Israel which they had introduced. The sons of Israel did things secretly which were not right against the Lord their God. Moreover, they built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. 10 They set for themselves sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, 11 and there they burned incense on all the high places as the nations did which the Lord had carried away to exile before them; and they did evil things provoking the Lord. 12 They served idols, concerning which the Lord had said to them, “You shall not do this thing.” 13 Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets.” 14 However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the Lord their God. 15 They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the Lord had commanded them not to do like them. 16 They forsook all the commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. 17 Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him. 18 So the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah.

  1. Why Israel fell
    • Years ago John Steinbeck wrote a letter to Adlai Stevenson. In it he said, “There is a creeping all-pervading gas of immorality which starts in the nursery and does not stop until it reaches the highest offices both corporate and governmental.”—Billy Graham, World Aflame[1]
    • We see the immorality reach a climax and then consequences here.
    • Israel has neglected the Biblical Worldview.
    • Likewise, America is also leaving the Biblical worldview. We, as Christians, must test everything and hold true to a Biblical Worldview. We must be different.
    • If we read verse 6, 2 Kings 17:6, we read that the King of Assyria captured Samaria. Now, Samaria was the capitol of the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
    • What we need to know at this point is that Israel and Judah had been separated. They have had a divided kingdom since around 930 BC and it is now around 722 BC.
    • MacArthur shares: The capture of Samaria marked the end of the northern kingdom. According to Assyrian records, the Assyrians deported 27,290 inhabitants of Israel to distant locations. The relocation of populations was characteristic of Assyrian policy during that era. The Israelites were resettled in the upper Tigris-Euphrates Valley and never returned to the Promised Land. “Halah” was a city northeast of Nineveh. The “Habor” River was a northern tributary of the Euphrates. The “cities of the Medes” were northeast of Nineveh. Samaria was resettled with foreigners (v. 24). God did what he said he would do in Deut. 28. The Jews were carried as far east as Susa, where the book of Esther later took place.[2]
    • Israel had lost their Biblical worldview and that is why God rejected them.
    • Starting in verse 7 we see why Israel fell.
    • Verse 7: now, this came about because Israel had sinned against the Lord.
    • The verse continues to share about their history. The Lord brought them up from the land of Egypt. The passage says they feared other gods.  The NET Bible says they worshipped other gods, which is probably more accurate. Judges 6:10 tells them not to fear other gods.
    • Verse 8 continues what is going on.
    • They walked in the customs of the nations. These were the nations that the Lord had driven out before them. But the kings of Israel even introduced these customs.
    • God had told them not to do this. Lev 18:3; Deut 18:9 both talk about not being like the other nations.
    • 2 Kings 16:3 says they even made their sons pass through the fire, which most likely means child sacrifice.
    • Verse 9 shares that they did things secretly which were not right, and these were against the Lord. More likely, this had to do with speaking things against the Lord. They built high places which were places of pagan worship.
    • We must always guard about what we do in secret. They are not in secret to God.
    • MacArthur shares: In direct disobedience to Deut. 12:1–4, the Israelites built new raised altars in the Canaanite pattern after the temple was constructed. These “high places” were in all the habitations of Israel, from small fortified structures to large garrison cities, i.e., from the smallest to largest towns. The altars were on wooded hills with images representing the false gods (2 Kings 17:10; cf. Deut. 16:21–22).[3]
    • Verses 10-11 continue about their pagan worship.
    • They setup sacred pillars and asherim. Asherim would be wooden symbols of a female deity. So, they were worshipping pagan gods and the passage said they did that on every high hill and under every green tree.
    • They did these things which Ex 34:12–14 warns against.
    • Verse 11 says they burned incense, this would be a worship practice but they were doing this to pagan deities. They did this on the high places as the pagans did.
    • They did evil things provoking the Lord to anger.
    • Verse 12 shows that they served idols, even though the Lord said not to do that (see Ex 20:4).
  2. The Lord warned them, but they would not listen (verses 13-17).
    • Verse 13 begins with “yet.” This is a contrast. The Lord warned Israel, and Judah as well.  
    • How did the Lord warn them?
    • The Lord warned them through His prophets and every seer.
    • There is probably a subtle difference between the two. A name sometimes applied to the prophets because of the visions granted to them.[4]
    • The Lord had also warned them by His Word.
    • The prophets and the seers exhorted them to turn back.
    • The Lord exhorted them to turn and also keep His law.
    • Verse 14 shares that they did not listen.
    • They got more stubborn like their fathers, who did not believe in the Lord.
    • Verse 15 picks up on this. They rejected the Lord’s statutes and His covenant which He had made with their ancestors. They followed like the other nations, though the Lord had warned them not to do like them.
    • In verse 16 we see that they disobeyed the Lord’s commandment about idols. They made idols: molten images, two calves, an asherah, which was a wooden symbol of a female deity. They worshipped the stars and served baal.
    • The molten images of calves or bulls were typical cult items in Canaan.[5]
    • Worship of the starry hosts refers worship of the celestial gods (sun god, moon god and Venus particularly; in Babylonia, Shamash, Sin and Ishtar respectively), who were primary in most ancient religions. Controlling the calendar and time, seasons and weather, they were viewed as the most powerful of the gods. They provided signs by which omens were read and they looked down on all. [6]
    • In verse 17 we see how bad they got. They made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, which would be child sacrifice. They practiced divination and enchantments, that would not be of God. Then they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord. They provoked God.
    • Forms of witchcraft, fortune-telling, and black magic were forbidden by God ( Deuteronomy 18:9-14 ). They were wrong because they sought power and guidance totally apart from God, his law, and his Word. Isaiah echoed this law and prophesied of the complete destruction these occult practices would bring to those who participated in them ( Isaiah 8:19-22 ).[7]
    • Divination and enchantments were also well-known in Mesopotamia. Divination assumed that there was knowledge to be gained about the activities and motives of the gods through the use of various indicators (such as entrails of sacrificed animals). Thousands of omens and incantations have been uncovered in the past one hundred and fifty years of archaeological research.[8]
    • In verse 18 we see that God gave them up. God had them conquered. Only Judah was left.
    • Likewise, America is also leaving the Biblical worldview. We, as Christians, must test everything and hold true to a Biblical Worldview. We must be different.
  3. Learn from Israel’s mistakes
    • Swindoll shares: First corinthians 5:6 says, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.” I remember hearing an interesting story one of my Greek professors told on one of his students. He taught a class at eight o’clock in the morning. Now at that hour, some people just don’t function well, especially in Greek. One student was struggling to translate 1 Corinthians 5:6. He knew how the King James Version read, but knew he could not quote that because the professor would know he was not translating the Greek. So he came out with the familiar “a little dab’ll do you.” That was the best he could do.
    • That’s true! A little dab will affect the whole bunch. You put a little, rotten, insignificant apple in a bucket of good apples, and the good apples will never make that rotten apple good. What will happen? Just the opposite. First, those around that rotten apple will begin to become rotten and decayed. And leave them there long enough and you’ve got a bucket of waste, ruined by that little dab of rottenness.[9]
      • This passage is sad, but it is also a reminder. Israel was taken into exile just like the prophets had warned. Whatever God promises will come to pass. We must trust in the Lord today. When the Lord says there is a punishment for sin, we must believe Him.
      • Verse 7 reminds the reader and us that the Lord had brought them out from Egypt. We just never forget how the Lord provides for us. We must take time to give thanks to the Lord. We must take time to reflect on how the Lord provides.
      • Verse 7 says they feared or worshipped other gods. We must make sure that things and people do not become idols.
        1. Television must not be more important than God.
        1. Books and learning must not be more important than God.
        1. Work must not be more important than God.
        1. Video games must not be more important than God.
        1. Money must not be more important than God.
        1. People, even spouses and children must not be more important than God.
        1. Stuff must not be more important than God.
        1. Allegiance to one’s country must not be more important than God.
      • Verse 8 shares that they became like the other nations. We must not be like the world. Friendship with the world makes us enemies of God (James 4:4). We must not be conformed to the world, but we must be transformed (Romans 12:1-2).
      • Verse 9 shares that they did things secretly which were not right. We must guard against secret sins. We must repent. Numbers 32:23 be sure your sin will find you out.
      • Verse 13 shares that the Lord warned them. The Lord warns us too. We must repent when we hear a warning about sins of omission or commission. Sins of omission are things that we do not do that we should do. Sins of commission are sins that we do that we should not do.
      • Praise God that He gives second chances. God gives opportunities to repent.
      • God wants us to repent and follow Him.
      • Verse 15 shows that they rejected God’s statutes, His rules, and expectations. They followed vanity. We must listen to the Lord and not follow vain, worthless things.
      • We must follow the Lord.
      • We must test everything (1 Thess. 5:21).

Israel was stubborn. They rejected God. They rejected His ways. They rejected the Lord’s authority. They needed discipline to make them repent.

Many years ago, James Dobson told a story about a 10‑year‑old boy named Robert. He was a patient of a California pediatrician. When Robert was scheduled for a visit to the doctor’s office, the news would spread like wildfire. To sum up the story, the boy would not obey and if you tried to get him to obey, he would threaten to take off his clothes. Well, one dentist called his bluff. The dentist said, “fine take off your clothes.” The boy takes off all his clothes! The dentist does the work on his teeth, then the boy wants them back. The dentist says that his mother can pick up his clothes tomorrow. The boy walks out totally naked passed everyone up and goes home. Next day the mom comes and thanks the dentist. The next day the mother came for her son’s clothes and asked to speak to the dentist.

When he came out, she said:

“Doctor, I want to thank you for what you did to Robert yesterday. For as long as I can remember, he has threatened us with just about everything.

“But his favorite [threat] has been that he’ll take off his clothes if he doesn’t get his way. You’re the first person that has ever called his bluff, and he’s already become a different child!”

I know, that same story in today’s world would find the dentist in jail. But that’s the problem. We’re asking kids permission to change their diapers and having to sue to get them to leave their bedrooms.[10]

Listen, we are a society that has lost, rule and authority. We have lost discipline. We have lost right and wrong. We must repent. Seek the Lord. Share the Gospel. Test everything and cling to a Biblical worldview (1 Thess 5:17-22).


[1] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 292.

[2] Excerpt From: Crossway. “The MacArthur Study Bible, ESV.” Apple Books.

[3] Excerpt From: Crossway. “The MacArthur Study Bible, ESV.” Apple Books.

[4] M. G. Easton, Easton’s Bible Dictionary (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1893).

[5] Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 2 Ki 17:16–17.

[6] Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 2 Ki 17:16–17.

[7] Tyndale House Publishers. Life Application Study Bible NLT (Kindle Locations 129105-129106). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

[8] Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 2 Ki 17:16–17.

[9] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 293.


Kashmira Gander, “Ask Your Baby’s Permission Before Changing Diaper, Says Sexual Consent Expert,” Newsweek, May 10, 2018, read online.

Michelle Singletary, “Parents Who Went to Court to Evict Their Unemployed 30-Year-Old Son Did the Right Thing,” The Washington Post, May 24, 2018, read online.

Ed Young, From Bad Beginnings to Happy Endings.


Restoration: God will restore all things in the future, long for that day.

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church in Poland, OH on Saturday, November 7, 2020

Over the past 6 weeks we have talked about having a Biblical worldview. This means we must view the world through a Biblical framework.

Chuck Colson shares the following:

The three worldview categories examined in the earlier sections—creation, fall, and redemption—provide a conceptual structure by which we can identify what is wrong with non-Christian ways of thinking and then formulate a Christian perspective on every subject.

The first task, then, is to be discerning, to examine various worldviews by measuring how well they answer the fundamental questions of life: Creation—Where did we come from, and who are we? Fall—What has gone wrong with the world? Redemption—What can we do to fix it? Trace out the way any worldview answers these three questions, and you will be able to see how nonbiblical ideas fail to fit reality. By contrast, the biblical worldview provides answers that are internally consistent and really work.[1]

Following Jesus and sharing the Gospel transforms cultures:

In A.D. 401 a sixteen-year-old British boy named Patricius was seized by a raiding Irish war party, abducted from his Romanized homeland, and sold to a petty Irish chieftain named Miliucc, who sent the boy out to shepherd his flocks. Patricius spent months alone in the hills, hunger gnawing at his innards and the clammy cold biting into his limbs, until finally he sought help from the only source left: He began to pray.

Before this time, Patricius had not really believed in the God his Christian parents had taught him about, and he thought priests were fools. But he found in God a source of strength that helped him endure six long years of bitter isolation and deprivation. “Tending flocks was my daily work, and I would pray constantly during the daylight hours,” he wrote later. “The love of God and the fear of him surrounded me more and more—and faith grew and the Spirit was roused.”[11]

Then one night, Patricius was awakened by a mysterious voice telling him that he was going home. “Look, your ship is ready,” said the voice. Although uncertain of the direction or distance, Patricius set out for the sea. More than two hundred miles later, he found a ship bound for England.

When he reached his homeland, however, Patricius discovered that he no longer fit in with his people. “Hardened physically and psychologically by unsharable experiences, hopelessly behind his peers in education, he cannot settle down,” writes historian Thomas Cahill.[12] Then one night, the former slave boy heard Christ’s voice again, this time telling him to return to Ireland. He entered theological training and eventually returned as Patrick, missionary to the Irish.

This was no romantic return, set to the tune of Irish ballads. When St. Patrick began his mission, he faced pagan Irish priests (druids) who still practiced ritual human sacrifice to their monstrous Celtic gods (often portrayed eating people). The fierce Irish warriors, believing that the human head was the seat of the soul, hung their enemies’ skulls from their belts as trophies.

Into this bloodthirsty culture St. Patrick brought the Christian message of love and forgiveness and established monasteries throughout the land. The monastic movement in Ireland began to revolutionize the world, replacing the old values of a warrior society with the new values of Christianity. Within St. Patrick’s lifetime, warriors cast aside their swords of battle, intertribal warfare decreased markedly, and the slave trade ended. A culture of battle and brute power was transformed by an ethic that sanctified manual labor, poverty, and service. A culture of illiteracy and ignorance became a culture of learning.[2]

Yes, the Gospel transforms cultures; however, that is not the restoration that we long for. Eventually, God will restore all things.

My theme today: God will restore all things in the future, long for that day.

Let’s read from Revelation 21:1-4 (ESV):

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

  1. Let’s talk about restoration
    • We see from the Bible, from the passage I read, that God will restore all things.
    • The Biblical worldview teaches that we are redeemed, but we are still in a fallen world. Therefore, we are waiting on a day when God will restore all things. We need restoration.
    • It seems that there are thoughts that God is restoring creation now through the church and I know that God is transforming society, but we still long for the new creation. I believe the restoration we are awaiting is not going to happen until after the tribulation period and the millennial reign.
    • We see that in the passage I already read.
    • We also see this in Isaiah 65 and a few other places in the Bible.
    • In Isaiah 65 we see the millennial reign as well as the future heaven talked about together. It is as if the prophet Isaiah blurs the two together.  
    • One writes the following: Is the new heaven and earth that John saw the same new heaven and earth that Isaiah predicted (Isa. 65:17; 66:22; cf. Ps. 102:25–26; Isa. 51:6)? We would normally assume that the entities are the same since the terms that describe them are almost identical. However the descriptions of these places vary. Isaiah wrote that people will die in the new earth (Isa. 65:17–20), but John said there will be no more death there (Rev. 21:4). Isaiah predicted that the moon will shine in the new heavens (Isa. 66:22–23), but John implied that there will be no moon there (Rev. 21:23). Apparently Isaiah spoke of both the Millennium and the eternal state generally as new heavens and a new earth (Isa. 65:17–66:24), which is accurate since even in the Millennium the world will experience renovation. John, in the progress of revelation, distinguished these two aspects of the eschaton and applied the name “new heaven and earth” only to the eternal state, which is appropriate since God will eventually destroy the present world and create a new world (cf. 2 Pet. 3:10). Isaiah’s view of the future was more general while John’s was more specific.720[3]
    • It is interesting that Revelation chapters 20-22 are the latter bookend of Genesis 1 and 2. The ESV Study Bible shares the following:
    • The “bookends” concept of biblical theology illustrates that in the third-to-last chapter of the Bible (Revelation 20) God removes his enemies—Satan, death, and evil—that entered the story line in the third chapter of the Bible (Genesis 3), thus completing the story of redemption. The last two chapters (Revelation 21–22) don’t simply restore the first two chapters (Genesis 1–2); they go beyond them to a world that is fully ordered and holy, in which God is fully present with his people, completing the story of creation. (Chapter divisions in the Bible are, of course, human contributions, not divinely inspired.)[4]
    • As we look at the passage from Revelation 21 the Moody Bible Commentary shares: This section provides information not revealed in the other visions of heaven. The eternal state is pictured as a physical place. It includes land, buildings, trees, and water. Believers will interact with one another and engage in meaningful service for God. This corrects some long-held misconceptions. Heaven is not a place of passive rest, or endless, blissful contemplation of God.[5]
    • Let’s talk about these first four verses for a few minutes:
    • John sees that “all things” are to be made new in Rev. 21:5. “All Things New” the destruction of the last enemy, death, and the last judgment will finally lead to the renewal of the entire created order, heaven and earth, to be the perfect home in which the Lamb will live forever with his bride, the people whom he has redeemed out of all the nations through his atoning death.[6] Further: The removal of the first heaven and earth eliminates the fatal infection of evil in the cosmic order and gives way to God’s creation of a new cosmic order where sin and suffering and death are forever banished. The old order was in “bondage to decay” (Rom. 8:21) and “groaning … in pains of childbirth until now” (Rom. 8:22), awaiting the day when “the heavens … will be dissolved” and “new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness will dwell” will be established to forever replace the old (2 Pet. 3:12–13)[7]
    • John sees a holy city descending from heaven (verse 2).
    • the “holy city” is the new Jerusalem.
    • We will hear more about that in the rest of this chapter.
    • It seems clear that these verses are summarizing what the rest of the next two chapter will talk about.
    • Notice the modifiers: the city is described as “holy” and that means “set apart” or “sanctified.” We will see how it is holy later on.
    • This city is coming from God.
    • It is like it is coming from God’s realm. It is coming out of Heaven.
    • This city is made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
    • Later (in verse 9) we will see that she is called the bride.
    • This seems to mean that the city is all beautiful like we would expect a bride on the wedding day.
    • In Isa 52:1 we see Jerusalem called the “holy” city.
    • One writes: “Revelation as a whole may be characterized as A Tale of Two Cities, with the sub-title, The Harlot and the Bride.”724[8]
    • Now, we read what John hears (verses 3-8)
    • He says God himself will mingle among his people (21:3).
      • He will dwell with them. The greatest blessing of heaven will be unhindered fellowship with God himself. The goal of God’s covenant, “God with us” foreshadowed in the OT tabernacle and temple, will be achieved. his people
      • The people are God’s people and God will be with them.
      • These Old Testament passages also say that they will be His people: Lev 26:11f; Ezek 37:27.
      • He says God himself will minister to his people (21:4).
      • God will reverse the curse that entered the world through human sin.
      • No more death.
      • No more mourning.
      • No more crying.
      • No more pain.
  2. The first order is over:
    • No more cancer,
    • No more Multiple sclerosis,
    • No more Alzheimer’s,
    • No more dementia,
    • No more autism,
      1. Let me add:
      1. If you have a special needs child, they will be perfected in the restoration. You will even be able to communicate with them as normal.
    • No more Down’s syndrome,
    • No more ALS,
    • No more viruses,
    • No more infections,
    • No more COVID-19,
    • No more war,
    • No more violence,
    • No more sudden infant death syndrome,
    • No more miscarriages. If you lost a baby in the womb you will be reunited in heaven and they will be restored.
    • If you lost a child to death you will be reunited in Heaven and they will be restored.
    • No more disability,
    • No more paralysis,
    • No more depression,
    • No more mental illness,
    • No more addiction,
    • No more abortion,
    • No more financial stress,
    • No more grief,
    • No more lies,
    • No more unfaithfulness,
    • No more adultery,
    • No more absent parents,
    • No more divorce,
    • No more anger,
    • No more rape,
    • No more hatred,
    • No more jealousy,
    • No more laziness,
    • No more ____________ you fill in the blank.
    • No more pain,
    • No more suffering.
    • This is the ultimate restoration of all things.
    • The earth will be the way it should be. No more disasters that take life.
    • If you read through chapters 21-22 we see great detail about the new heavens and the new earth. God will restore all things.

God wants all to be saved.

How Far Will God Go?

by Joni Eareckson Tada

“He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:26-27

How far will God go to reach those whom he has called? Consider the case of Kumiko, a young Japanese woman. Her husband was transferred to a small Wisconsin town to work in management. Kumiko looked forward to the move to America because she had read once that Christians were not afraid to die. She did not know any Christians but vowed that she would ask why this was so if she ever had the chance. She was terrified of dying and wanted an answer.

Kumiko did not realize how interested God was in answering her question. Shortly after she and her husband settled in, a missionary couple from Japan retired and moved to the same little Wisconsin town. Upon learning that there were six Japanese families living in the area, the missionaries decided to start an outreach ministry at the local church.

On the first Sunday morning of the ministry, the missionary asked the class a question that stunned Kumiko. “Many of us live with fear. Are any of you afraid?” There was a nervous silence. After a moment the missionary turned to Kumiko, unaware of her need. “How about you, Kumiko? What are you afraid of?”

Kumiko gave her life to Jesus two months later. Her husband soon followed. Together they named their new child Grace, after the church where God had gone to such great lengths to answer her questions about fear and death.

How far will God go to accomplish his purpose with you today? He brought a young Japanese wife and a retired missionary more than ten thousand miles so a seeking heart might find him. And he’ll go farther, even to the depths of your discouragement or despair, to find you. He’ll go farther than you can imagine, because he is closer to you than you will ever know.

Taken from More Precious than Silver

By Joni Eareckson Tada

Copyright © 1998

Published in Print by Zondervan, Grand Rapids


[1] Colson, Charles. How Now Shall We Live? (pp. 294-295). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

[2] Colson, Charles. How Now Shall We Live? (pp. 300-301). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

720 720. Similarly the Old Testament prophets spoke of Messiah’s coming but did not distinguish the first coming from the second coming. Later revelation clarified that there would be two comings. This is in harmony with how God has revealed many things in His Word: first generally, then more specifically (e.g., the biblical covenant promises).

[3] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Re 21:1.

[4] ESV Study Bible

[5] The Moody Bible Commentary (Kindle Locations 83407-83409). Moody Publishers. Kindle Edition.


[7] ESV Study Bible

724 724. Beasley-Murray, p. 315.

[8] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Re 21:2.

[9] ESV Study Note:

We are Redeemed (Romans 5:7-8)

We are Redeemed (Romans 5:7-8)

Prepared and preached by Pastor Steve Rhodes for and at Bethel Friends Church on Sunday, Nov 1, 2020

Do we realize that we need rescued?

G. K. Chesterton was once asked about what single book he would most like to have if he were stranded on a desert island. With typical wit, he replied, Thomas’ Guide to Practical Shipbuilding.

—Bruce Larson, Setting Men Free[1]

We need redeemed. Over the last few weeks we have been talking about a Biblical worldview.

A biblical worldview teaches that everything was created good. We saw that in Genesis chapters 1-2. But sin entered the world and we still live in a fallen world. For the last two weeks we talked about how everything in the world is fallen. Everything in the world is depraved. This has affected the media, the schools, the government, and each one of us. We all need salvation.

Some wish to live within the sound

Of church or chapel bell;

I want to run a rescue shop

Within a yard of hell.

—Norman Grubb, C. T. Studd: Cricketeer and Pioneer[2]

Today, my theme is:

Humanity is yearning for salvation and it can only be found in Jesus.

Let’s read Romans 5:8:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

  1. We try redemption through the wrong methods.
    1. We need redemption and I will come back to the verses about that in a bit, first let’s talk about how we are NOT redeemed.
    2. We have tried redemption through the wrong methods. All of humanity has tried redemption through the wrong methods.
    3. Most religions are based on works. Even modern Judaism is based on works. After the Jewish temple was destroyed in AD 70 the Jewish people had to determine how to live as Jewish without a temple. So, one Rabbi led them to works-based righteousness.[3]
    4. The problem with works righteousness is that we can never be good enough. One sin separates us from God. See Romans 3:23; 6:23.
    5. Materialism cannot save.
    6. Chuck Colson writes about this. He writes about all the marketing.
    7. This is no accident. According to sociologist James Twitchell, in his book Ad cult U.S.A., many of America’s early advertisers were Christians, often sons of clergymen. As they developed the art of modern advertising, they simply translated their understanding of spiritual need into the commercial arena. The spiritual sequence of sin-guilt-redemption became the psychological sequence of problem-anxiety-resolution. That’s why the typical television commercial is, in Twitchell’s words, “a morality play for our time.” We see a man or woman in distress. He has a headache; she has a cold. A second figure appears on the screen promising relief, testifying to the power of the product being advertised. The seeker tries the product, and, hallelujah, the problem is solved. Life is blissful. From on high, the disembodied voice of an announcer presses home the advantages of the product.
    8. Material things will not bring salvation.
    9. Humanism cannot save us. Humanism teaches that humanity can make the world a better place because this life is all there is.
    10. But that does not work.
    11. One type of humanism would be Marxism. Marxism teaches that we can develop a utopia through society. In other words, we can achieve salvation through society.
    12. Science is sometimes thought of as salvation. In other words, we will make enough discoveries to bring salvation, or like humanism, make the world a better place.
    13. This is a long excerpt from Chuck Colson’s book, but it is important. This was written in 2000.

In Marxism the universe is a self-originating, self-operating machine, generating its own power and running by its own internal force toward a final goal—the classless, communistic society. Marx’s disciple, Lenin, stated the doctrine in explicitly religious language…

Marxism’s counterpart to the Garden of Eden is the state of primitive communism. And the original sin was the creation of private property and the division of labor, which caused humanity to fall from its early state of innocence into slavery and oppression. From this follow all the subsequent evils of exploitation and class struggle.

In this drama, redemption is wrought by reversing the original sin: destroying the private ownership of the means of production. And the redeemer is the proletariat, who will rise up against the capitalist oppressors… Marx called not for repentance but for revolution. Why? Because, like Rousseau, he regarded humanity as inherently good. He believed that evil and greed arise from the economic structures of society (private property), and therefore they can be eliminated by a social revolution that destroys the old economic system and institutes a new one.

Finally, like all religions, Marxism has an eschatology (a doctrine of the final events of history). In Christianity, the end of time is when the original perfection of God’s creation will be restored, and sin and pain will be no more. In Marxism, the end of history is when the original communism will be restored and class conflict will be no more. Paradise will be ushered in by the efforts of human beings whose consciousness has been raised. Marx looked forward to this inevitable consummation of history as eagerly as any Christian anticipates the Second Coming.[4]

  1. The problem with this ideology is it does not address the sin issue. Humans are fallen. We cannot fix ourselves; we need Divine intervention.
    1. We cannot create a utopia. It is not working, and it has not worked and it still does not deal with life after death.
    2. I am not debating that certain social, government help programs are helpful. I am saying that they do not bring redemption. They do not bring salvation.
    3. From the humanist worldview this is all there is and that is why they focus so much on utopia in this world.
    4. Still, that does not address the sin problem.
    5. We need redeemed.
    6. You may have heard of Larry King who plans to have his body frozen. He said: “I want to be frozen on the hope that they’ll find whatever I died of and bring me back…”[5]
    7. There is no salvation in knowledge. Sometimes we think if we learn enough that will bring us salvation, but it won’t.
    8. There is no salvation in pleasure. Hedonism will not bring salvation.
    9. There is no salvation in nihilism. Nihilism rejects all moral and religious principles and teaches that life is meaningless. In a way, that could be the logical path from naturalism.
    10. We have a sin problem and need Divine intervention.
  2. How are we redeemed?
    • We needed reconciled to God.
    • Simply put to reconcile means to restore friendship or harmony. In Genesis, Adam walked with God in the Garden of Eden as friends. But then sin came, and this separated him from God.
    • Have you ever had a time when you have a dispute with someone? We all have. When we are reconciled with God it makes God have peace with us. The dispute is gone. God has a dispute with us. He has a rightful dispute with us. We have offended Him. In a Biblical sense we have offended God’s holy law.
    • Romans 5:6: For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.[6]
    • We were ungodly when Jesus died for us. Verse 8 says that we were still sinners when Christ died for us. If you read verse 9 it says because of this, we are enemies of God. Ungodly! Sinners! Enemies!
      1. We need reconciliation.
      2. We need to be reconciled to God.
      3. We had offended Him. We still offend him.
      4. We had and still do cross His perfect law.
      5. Review Romans:
      6. In Romans chapter 1 Paul spent most of the chapter writing about our ungodliness. In verse 18: For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness…
      7. You may say that that is not you. But it is. It is all of us.  
      8. Romans 3:23: For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
        • We all sin.
        • It is amazing that for most of history people have tried to reconcile themselves to God, or the gods. It’s true. For most of history there have been pagan religions making sacrifices or doing other religious things to try to appease the gods. We can see this in Native American religions. We can see this in Eastern religions. We can see this in Egyptian religions. We can see this in the Middle Eastern religions. You know that there were Israelite kings in the Old Testament that sacrificed their own children to Baal? They did this because they got into the pagan religions of Palestine.
        • It took blood to cover sin.
        • There is a movie “Kicking and Screaming” which is about a children’s soccer team. The team is trying to win and then they realize these Italians are their secret. So, they use them all the time, but they work for their uncle cutting meat and their uncle says, “Meat comes first.” One day they had too much meat to cut so they would miss the game. So, a part of the team all goes to help cut meat. They show up just in time for the game with blood all over their uniforms. The other team forfeits after seeing all the blood.
        • That is what happened in the Old Testament. They would have been covered in blood because of the sacrificial systems.   
        • But really if you read through the Old Testament, they had several animal sacrifices to make in order to attempt to reconcile the relationship with God. But Hebrews says it doesn’t work. It wasn’t enough.
        • Heb 10:11: Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins
        • In Christianity Jesus came to us. We couldn’t do this on our own.
    • We can be redeemed by Jesus and only by Jesus. While we were sinners, Christ died for us.
  3. Remember the order of cosmic history
    1. Creation,
    2. Fall,
    3. Redemption,
    4. restoration.
    5. We are saved, but we are not restored yet. We still live in a fallen world.

A man was driving an old Ford on a lonely road when it chugged to a stop. He was at a loss about what to do since he didn’t know much about cars. But he got out, put the hood up and began to tap here and there, jiggle this wire and that when he heard the roar of a car coming toward him. As it got closer, he saw it was a brand new Lincoln. And the fellow was nice enough to pull over. He stepped out, walked up and said, “What’s the trouble?” “Oh,” he said, “I can’t get this old Ford to go.” “Well,” replied the Good Samaritan, “let me see.” So he began to tinker inside and asked, “Do you have a screwdriver?” He adjusted something, then got inside, started it right up. “Say, thanks a lot! That’s great. Who are you?” Putting his coat back on, the man said, “Well, I’m Henry Ford. I ought to know a little bit about that car we made.”

—Billy Graham, World Aflame[7]

Our creator has saved us! There is salvation only in Jesus.

Salvation is only in Jesus. Trust in Him.


[1] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 483.

[2] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 483.

[3] Dr. Rydelnic, professor of Jewish Studies at Moody Bible Institute has shared this on Open Line.

[4] Colson, Charles. How Now Shall We Live? (p. 233-234). Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. Kindle Edition


[6] New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), Ro 5:6.

[7] Charles R. Swindoll, The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart and 1501 Other Stories (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2016), 488.