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Easter - The Purchase of the Cross

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Awarded by , 04-23-2011 at 11:05 AM (10186 Views)
Yesterday was Good Friday, remembering the day Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world. Tomorrow we celebrate His resurrection from the dead on Easter morning. I wanted to bring to our remembrance those events this weekend by sharing an excerpt from a series of Bible studies by my good friend Dr. J. L. Williams of Burlington, NC. Dr. Williams wrote a series of forty messages for "40 Days of Passion" for the Lenten season leading up to tomorrow. This is the final entry for day 40. If you are interested in reading the entire series you can find them listed here: 40 Days of Passion - by Dr. J. L. Williams

Blessings to you all. He is risen! - Randy (NCangler)

THE PURCHASE OF THE CROSS

Now we come to the final study in this Lenten Series. I trust that these forty days have enriched your spiritual life and drawn you closer to our Lord Jesus Christ. There is so much more that can be said regarding the most important event in human history. These 40 studies have been taken from my book, The Passionate Christ, where there is even more detail on His passion. Please see the information at the end of this study if you would like to order a copy.

Perhaps the greatest and most succinct summary of the Gospel is found in John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” In these beloved words from the lips of the Lord Jesus, the “whoever believes” opens the door of salvation to everyone – regardless of age, race, color, gender or station in life. It matters not whether one is Jew or Gentile…young or old…male or female…rich or poor…educated or uneducated. Salvation is open to anyone and everyone who “believes in Him.”

The moment God’s sovereign love and grace redeems and regenerates a person, they become a member of God’s “forever family.” They are a part of the church…the elect…the ecclesia…the people who have been sovereignly “called out” of the world by God. They are members of the “Fellowship of the Redeemed.”

God’s purpose for the cross was to purchase a people for Himself, “…a people belonging to God.” Peter reminded us of the unbelievable price God paid to purchase us.

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (I Peter 1:18-19)
It is incomprehensible to the human mind that God would pay this kind of purchase price for us! If we have an ounce of honesty in our hearts, we know we are unworthy of that! Because of our sin and rebellion, we are not worthy of the blood of animals – much less the “precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect!”

It is glorious to know that He has called not just us, but people from all over the world. “…with Your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9) I have had the joy of seeing many people become a part of God’s chosen race and royal priesthood – from Africa, India, China, Bhutan, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Haiti, the Bahamas, Burma, America, Europe, Central America. I have seen them delivered from paganism, animism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Islam. I have watched God liberate them from the ideologies of Communism, Marxism, Maoism, scientism, atheism, agnosticism, secularism, materialism and nihilism. As Christ has given them a totally new direction in life, He has brought them out to serve Him as His priests and priestesses.

As we saw in yesterday’s study, the Apostle John told us that Jesus “…loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood.” But He did that for a very specific purpose, so that He could make of us “…a kingdom of priests to serve His God and Father…” (Revelation 1:5-6)

This verse reminds us of an important principle: “Purchase presupposes purpose.” In other words, no one purchases anything – especially something costly and valuable – unless he or she has a purpose in mind for it. The same is true about God. He did not purchase us from a life of sin, selfishness and self-seeking just so we could continue to “do our own thing.” No, He purchased us so that from that moment on we would “do God’s thing,” so that we would leave our petty kingdom behind and enter His glorious eternal kingdom. As members of His kingdom, we are to live as a “…priest to serve His God and Father.” We are “saved to serve.” We no longer “serve ourselves” but rather we serve our God and Father by serving others.

Or, to quote John further:

You have made them to be a kingdom of priests to serve our God, and they will reign on earth.” (Revelation 5:9-10; c.f. 7:9)
Talk about a high calling?! Talk about new self-worth and self-esteem?! This is it! A new vocation worth living for – and dying for! Paul exhorted us that “Whatever we do, we are to do all to the glory of God.” (I Corinthians 10:31) In other words, if you can’t do it for God’s glory, then don’t do it at all! It’s not worth the time, energy and effort if it is not for Christ. It has no eternal value. As the little rhyme reminds us, “Only one life will soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.”

When we do all for “the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:12), our work will have spiritual purpose…a divine edge…an eternal perspective. And only then will it be challenging and fulfilling for us and a blessing to others. Regardless of your vocation or calling in life, Paul gave these words of instruction:

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3:23-24)

When we Christians learn to apply this principle in our work, we will transform the marketplace for God’s glory and honor! Our business will be His business. Our purpose will be to accomplish His will. If you are an entrepreneur, the market place will be your ministry. If you are a nurse, homemaker, architect, electrician, politician, secretary, computer expert, doctor, lawyer – you name it – you will be His messenger of the Gospel, His servant. His purpose will become your purpose. His will will become your will. His kingdom will replace your kingdom. His passion will be your passion.

Can you begin to see yourself as a servant in your work or as a priest in your family? Don’t live any other way. To live other than, “…for the praise of His glory”, is to depreciate the cross and devaluate the blood that Christ shed for you. But, if you will live, love and serve Him for His honor and glory, then one day you will hear Him say,

Well done, good and faithful servant…Come and share your Master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:21)
Throughout this study, it has been my prayer that these thoughts and scriptures will help you have a greater passion for the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, who is revealed in the Inscripturated Word, the Bible. I also pray that you will never be able to see a cross representing the death of Christ in the same way. From this time on, I hope that every silver, gold, brass or wooden cross will be blood stained in your spiritual eyes. May you live your life with a new passion for Christ, because of His great passion for you as demonstrated by the cross!

Because of His passion,


To order a copy of The Passionate Christ, please send a check for $15 made out to JL, Patt & Friends, Inc., and mail it to:

JL, Patt & Friends, inc.
P.O. Box 4066
Glen Raven NC 27215

Comments

  1. ppowell's Avatar
    Amen, thanks for posting.