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Grace...Forever Unforgotten

 

 

 

You’ve probably heard many Bible teachers tell you that there will be no more suffering in heaven...that in fact the very memory of suffering on earth will be eclipsed and forgotten because of the joys we will experience in the very presence of God. Well, this is true except for one very important exception: the memory of the sufferings of one Person...Jesus. We will never cease beholding the Lamb as the One slain for our sins, and adoring Him in eternity for what He went through for us. I read John Piper this week on this fact, and he put it beautifully. He begins by quoting Revelation 5:9-12:

“And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” . . . Then I looked, and I heard around the throne . . . myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 

Road Trips and Revival….

“And (John) went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.”  Luke 3:3

I found it interesting in my recent study of this passage to notice that, when God wanted to call His people to a deeper commitment to walk with Him, He led them out into isolation first. That’s right. Instead of leading John the Baptist to preach in downtown Jerusalem to thousands, God called people out to the wilderness of Jordan, miles away. Definitely a road trip involving time off from work and a change of scenery. 

Fiery Language and False Confidence ….

“Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”  Luke 3:9

If you were in our services a few weeks ago, you know how much I winced as I preached this passage. It has some of the toughest language and most frightening implications of any in the Bible. But, as a verse by verse Bible teacher, I am committed t to preach the text as it opens up before me, avoiding nothing. So I preached it, because we all need to hear the “whole counsel of God”, right?

One of the things John was getting at in this warning was that as the perfectly loving but perfectly just moral judge of the universe, God can and will hold people to account for how they have lived. At death, if we haven’t come to Christ as Savior in repentance and faith, we will step into that judgment, eternally. 

The Word of God came to John, the son of Zechariah….

The ministry of John the Baptist was unusual. It lasted only two years, but God spent thirty years preparing him for it. Long years spent, literally, in the wilderness.  Why the severe preparation? Because John faced an intense ministry assignment. To ramp him up for the challenge, God did two things for John in the wilderness years: