Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gift of Life

Chuckle: A preacher related how he asked a group of high school students to write down their favorite hymn. One girl wrote, "Willie Smith."

Good Quote: "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12 NIV).


"For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23 NLT). At Christmas, gifts are on our minds. Let's do a brief word study from this passage which describes the greatest gift of all.

Wages are something a person earns and deserves for what he or she has done. The Greek word for "wages" is a word describing the pay of a soldier in the Roman army.

Sin is rebellion against God -- the condition of rejecting God's authority over your life. It's like a rebellious teenager who turns his back on his loving parents and disobeys them. By rejecting God's authority, we have enlisted in sin's army and we receive wages for our service.

Death is the wages for sin -- eternal separation from God's presence in a place the Bible calls hell. In the same way a bloom dies when cut off from it's source of life, those who reject Jesus Christ have earned being cut off from eternal life in Christ.

But is a word of contrast. It compares what could have been with what can be if the good news of the gospel of Christ is accepted.

Gift, by its very definition, means something totally free for the taking -- the gift of salvation and eternal life in God's presence. This precious gift cannot be earned or deserved by being "good," but can be received only by faith in Jesus Christ through God's amazing grace.

Of God tells us he is holy and cannot accept sin in his presence. Because he loves us, he wants to make us acceptable through the gift of his Son as an atoning blood sacrifice for our sin.

Eternal life is God's gift and is the opposite of eternal death. This eternal life begins not when we get to heaven, but the instant we accept Christ as Savior and Lord.

Through Christ Jesus means that he, and only he, can give us this priceless gift, because he is the one who paid for that gift. He died a cruel and heinous death on Calvary's cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and rose again victorious over sin and death.

The cross is the bridge from death to life. However, we must take certain actions to cross this bridge. Trusting Christ as Savior and Lord is as simple as ABC. I must:

Admit that I'm a hopeless sinner and deserve eternal death. Agree with God that there's nothing I can do to save myself. I must recognize my desperate need for a Savior. I must see myself as spiritually destitute without Christ.

Believe that God's Son died and rose again -- just for me. The word "believe" means more than merely accepting as truth the fact that Jesus died and paid the price for my sins. It means to trust my life completely to him and have faith in him as my Savior.

Commit my life, personally, to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. In repentance, I must trust my life into his hands and allow him to take charge of my life. I must decide to accept God's gift of eternal life and make a commitment to follow him and obey his Word.

Love, Jerry & Dotse

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Temple of the Holy Spirit

Chuckle: "Why are buildings called buildings when they are finished? Shouldn't they be called builts?"

Good Quote: "Prayer doesn't get man's will done in heaven; it gets God's will done on earth." --Ronald Dunn


"Or don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself. For God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body" (I Corinthians 6:19-20 NLT).

When Jesus found the money changers and merchants doing business in the temple, he became angry and forcefully drove them out. Then he said, "The Scriptures declare, 'My Temple (house) will be called a place of prayer,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves" (Matthew 21:13 NLT). God condemns the desecration of his place of worship and prayer. It is to be a sacred and holy place at all times. Here, the commercialism in God's house frustrated people's attempts to worship. It's no surprise that such actions angered Jesus. Any practice that hinders or interferes with genuine worship should be ended quickly if we are to please God.

Now, let's look at our basic text which says our bodies are God's temples of the Holy Spirit. Many think their bodies belong to them and they have the right to do whatever they wish with and to them. But under the guise of freedom, they become slaves to their own desires: sex, drugs, tobacco, gluttony, etc. You see, the Spirit of the Living God does not reside only in buildings, although he is there (omnipresent), but in the hearts of believers. Doesn't it track that our bodies, as temples of God's Spirit, should always be treated as holy, sacred, and instruments of worship and prayer? We should never abuse the temple of the Holy Spirit by mistreating our bodies. It is the Holy Spirit within us that enables and helps us to live and pray in such a way that honors and pleases God.

Now to our bodies as temples of prayer. "And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don't even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will" (Romans 8:26-27 NLT). As a believer, God does not leave you alone to cope with life's problems. Even when you are at a loss for words in expressing the desires of your heart in prayer, the Spirit prays with and for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for you and help you to pray in harmony with God's will. Then, when you pray, trust that he will always do what is best.

So, in summary: Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who resides in you. You are not your own, but were purchased by God with the blood of Jesus. Your body should be treated as holy and sacred and should never be defiled. As a temple of the Holy Spirit, your body should be an instrument of worship. And the Holy Spirit within you intercedes for you before the Father and helps you pray in harmony with his will.

Love, Jerry & Dotse