“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” – Romans 6:23.
Several years ago, the newspapers told the story of an old woman who lived in the south of Florida. Her home was a shack located next to a small lake where she gathered her water every day. In the lake there lived a crocodile. Although it was a dangerous animal, the lady allowed him to live in the lake because it seemed tame. Neither of them hated the other. They lived in perfect peace.
However, one day, while the lady was drawing water from the lake, the crocodile swam submerged and attacked her. He squeezed her hand with his huge, strong jaw. She tried to get rid of the crocodile, but it ripped her hand. Bleeding a lot, the old woman managed to crawl to her house and called for help. Finally, the ambulance arrived and her hand was taken care of.
The next day, the forest guard found the crocodile in the lake and killed him. The forest guard informed the journalists: “Crocodiles are more dangerous when they lose their fear of humans. By allowing it to remain in your lake, even if you do not know it, it gives the crocodile the courage to attack.”
The Bible teaches us that the wages of sin is death. Many times we think that small and innocent sins will not do us much harm, and that we can leave them in our lives, without suffering the consequences. We know that we must expel them. But we end up behaving like the little old lady in the story.
As the crocodile does not bother us, we caress the sin and it goes on staying. In the end, it will be able to bite us and tear off a piece of our being.
The writer of the book of Hebrews advised that we should be free of all that hinders our progress, especially the sin that distracts us. If we do not get rid of it, we are at a disadvantage and that will be detrimental to the cause of God.
Today, think about the crocodiles that live with you and pray for God to help you eliminate them, before it is too late.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us – Hebrews 12:1.
The following article, is the beginning of several, that will be published in our bulletin each Sunday.
When Christ came to earth, he shared the poverty of our world. But, now being on the right hand of God, he shares with us the riches of his world.
We come to his table this morning to recall his death and its glorious purpose and to feast upon the bread of life. Here our souls are fed as we commune with our Savior.
John 6:35 says, "And Jesus said to them, 'I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst."' If you hunger physically, you will not be satisfied at this table. But our spiritual hunger and thirst will be filled here.
Although the Lord's supper was brought about by his death, it is the feast of life for us as Christians.
Crucified With Christ
Inside every Christian a very real war is going on. You and I are engaged in a daily battle to see who is going to dominate: the flesh or the Spirit, Galatians 5.17-18. God will work in us, but we must leet him in to accomplish His purposes. “Do I have a purpose and plan for my life in service to God?” If we want to succeed, we’ll have to ally ourself with the Spirit, not the flesh.
On Sunday, we’ll examine Galatians 2.20. This verse really serves as the summary statement of what it means to be a Christian. We have been risen with Christ. Our old self no longer lives. You have become one with Jesus. As we go through the lesson we will:
- Understand the background and context of Galatians 2.20
- Learn how Paul defended the gospel in verses 15-21.
- Define what it means to be a Christian from verse 20.
- Wrap up the lesson with three brief applications.
As you get ready for worship, be thinking about these things:
- How would you define justification?
- Why do you think Paul emphasizes justification by faith like he does in 2.16?
- If Christians do not define themselves by law, by what do they define themselves?
- When did Paul crucify himself with Christ?
- What should be the basic motive behind everything we do in Christ?
Sunday Scripture Reading: Jim Grushon
Sunday Song Leader: Jason Schofield
TEXT: Galatians 2.11-21
Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being capturedby him to do his will (2 Timothy 2:21-26).
Let It Go
A little boy who played one day with a very valuable vase put his hand inside and could not get it out. His father also tried his best, but in vain.They were already thinking about breaking the vase when the father said:
“Now, my son, let's try one more time. Open your hand and stretch your fingers as you see me, and then take it out.”
To his amazement, the kid replied: "Oh no, Daddy. I could not stretch my fingers like that, because if I did I would drop my penny.”
Smile if you want, but thousands of us are like that little boy, so busy clinging to the useless penny of the world, that we cannot accept the freedom God provides. I beg you to let go of the petty things you hold in your heart. Surrender! Let it go, and let God do His will in your life.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:1-3).
- Jaime Restrepo
Hope in the Lord
Psalm 130 is part of a special collection of Psalms (120-134), where each are known as a Psalm of Ascent. Those who came to Jerusalem for temple festivals would sing these songs as they went up to the city from other parts of Israel. These psalms helped prepare the hearts and minds of the people as they came to corporate worship in the temple. The Psalms of Ascent take us from the depths of guilt and despair to the heights of joyful hope in the Lord.
No matter how deep you are in despair, you can cry out to God for forgiveness - knowing that He abounds in abundant redemption. Think of how the church fits in here. You are part of a family who has and still does cry out to God for forgiveness and lives in trust of His abundant redemption. You’re in this together with other frail and mistake prone humans who need encouragement just like you.
On Sunday, we’ll examine Psalm 130. We will see our need to:
- 130.1-2 - cry out to God for mercy
- 130.3-4 - remember that forgiveness leads to reverence
- 130.5-6 - wait and hope for God
- 130.7-8 - want everyone else to experience God’s forgiveness
As you get ready for worship, be thinking about these things:
- Why is it important to consider the depth of our guilt and sin?
- What are some ways that Americans have become blind to their sin?
- Without forgiveness, where do you stand?
- What is the basis for our hope? (See 130.5b)
- What does plentiful redemption mean to you?
Sunday Scripture Reading: Bob Hoopes | Psalm 130
Sunday Song Leader: Jim Grushon