So proud of our Impact! Youth Group students who picked up trash around Cedar Springs in honor of Earth Day.
When God was about to deliver the Israelites out of Egypt, the last event that displayed His power is now remembered as the Passover. It was the night that anyone who followed God’s command to sacrifice a perfect lamb and apply the lamb’s blood to the doorposts of their house was spared His judgment. In other words, His judgment passed over that house.
How did an Israelite family know that God’s judgment had passed over them? Quite simply, their firstborn child was still alive the next morning.
Jesus described Himself as not only the sacrificial Lamb and the saving Blood, but He also said, “I am the Door.” When we place our faith in what Jesus did for us on the Cross, His blood is applied to our heart, we enter in His door and we are safe from God’s judgment.
But how do we know that God’s judgment has passed over us? Are there any visible signs?
Actually, God gives us two assurances that we have been saved from His judgment:
- The inner witness of the Holy Spirit
- The outward evidence of our new life in Jesus
The Apostle Paul talked about his inner turmoil when he tried to live a life he could control (note the prevalence of me, I, and my, and the absence of any mention of Jesus in Romans 7:14-24). His bottom line conclusion—O what a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
But then he discovers the power of Christ: Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord, and as a result of this he discovers…
- there is no more condemnation
- there is no more death
- there is no more hostility
- there is no more fear
- there is now life
- there is now freedom
- there is now assurance of God’s love
How? By the Holy Spirit’s inner witness in his heart (see Romans 8).
With this inner witness, a new lifestyle (the outward evidence) begins to show, as Paul begins to live a brand new life. This brand new life on the inside shows on the outside. Paul says it’s a life full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
So here’s the new cycle for a Christian that an assurance of salvation from God’s judgment, and gives an encouragement to live a life that glorifies Jesus our Savior:
The inner witness of the Holy Spirit assures me of God’s love ➞ I want to live a life that pleases Him ➞ the Holy Spirit internally approves or corrects my outward lifestyle ➞ I continue to live outwardly in a way that is showing more fruitfulness …. and on and on and on it goes.
All for the glory of God!
If you are a Christian, do you have that inner assurance? If you do, are you acting on it outwardly so that people can see the difference Jesus has made in your life?
Check out this recap of Sunday’s message, which Pastor Craig posted on his blog.
Mankind was created good and upright in God’s image and given dominion over everything God had created (see Genesis 1:26-28 and Psalm 8:3-8). But man was not given dominion over himself (Genesis 2:15-17).
As Oswald Chambers said, “The temptation came to him on this line—‘Disobey, and you will become as God.’ Man took dominion over himself and thereby lost his lordship over everything else. According to the Bible, the disposition of sin is my claim to my right to myself” (see Genesis 3:1-7).
“And sure enough, they then had knowledge of good and evil, but it was from the standpoint of becoming evil and remembering how good they once were” (Nancy Guthrie). Their disobedience created an unbridgeable gulf between God and man.
- Consequence #1—They realized they were naked, making them ashamed of themselves and ashamed to be in God’s presence.
- Consequence #2—They feared God and tried to hide from Him.
- Consequence #3—They couldn’t accept responsibility for what they did because that acceptance would mean they would also be responsible for bridging the gulf, something they were utterly unable to do.
- Consequence #4—They were completely separated from God. Now there was nothing that they could do except work, have children, raise a family, and try to make the best of things.
Even in the midst of this despair, God foreshadowed the hope that would be their salvation. First, God promised that their offspring would one day crush satan’s head. Then God sacrificed an innocent animal and used those skins to make more permanent clothes for Adam and Eve, foreshadowing what Jesus would do.
Adam must have glimpsed this ray of hope because he then named his wife Eve, which means life!
But who could bridge this chasm? Who could be a mediator between God and man? The only possible candidate would have to be Someone who was both fully God and fully Man—that is Jesus Christ!
If, as Oswald Chambers says, sin is my claim to my right to myself, then salvation is God’s right to myself because I have surrendered to the reconciling work of Jesus.
“Believers in Christ are seen by God exactly as Christ is seen by God,” wrote Ann Voskamp, because those who believe in Jesus are clothed in His righteousness!
If you haven’t surrendered yourself to God’s right to you, what’s holding you back from doing that today? If you have surrendered yourself to God, don’t ever let satan lie to you about your nakedness, shame, or unworthiness—you are “Christ’s friend, God’s child, Spirit’s home!” (Voskamp).
Pastor Craig wrote:
“I am so proud of my Calvary Assembly of God family! Everyone pitched in to donate supplies, pack everything up, and then take these vital supplies to the needy in the inner city of Grand Rapids. One of the best compliments I heard was from a gentleman who stopped by for some items, when he said, ‘Thank you for treating us like human beings!’”
Our team was there to show the love of Jesus in the most tangible way they could.
Do you shop on Amazon.com? Here’s a great way to shop and support the ministries of Calvary Assembly of God at the same time: Shop with a “smile.”
Amazon.com has launched a program that gives 0.5% of your purchase to the charity you choose to support. Simply go to smile.amazon.com, add your purchases to your chart, and check-out. That’s it! Then Amazon will send a donation to the church each quarter.
Thanks for helping support the ministries of our church!