Redeemer Presbyterian Church Sermons
Just as water and fire cannot exist together, neither can God's holiness with man's sinfulness. How can the gap be bridged?
On the night in which he was arrested, Jesus identified himself by saying simply, "I am He." His adversaries were literally knocked to the ground by the astonishing weight of the statement. As fellow Jews, they knew that Jesus was powerfully asserting his divinity.
Modern people are uncomfortable with the existence of evil, let alone the existence of the Devil. Yet, the Bible teaches that we cannot fully understand the world we live in unless we realize that there are supernatural agents of evil. But it is not enough to believe in the Devil; a Christian must study his methods. Satan practices evil subtly. He tempts and accuses people rather than overthrowing their will. Temptation is when the Devil asks us to ignore the holiness of God. Accusation is when he blinds us to the love and grace of God.
Christmas shows why Christianity is unique. In all other religions, a prophet arrives and teaches how we can find eternal life. In Christianity, God comes to us and gives himself as the way to eternal life. Christmas shows that salvation is by grace, that we can have true intimacy with God, that love really matters, and that there exists an unceasing river of joy beneath all the sorrows of this world.
Adam and Eve sinned even before they ate the forbidden fruit. As soon as they asked themselves why they should obey God, they had sinned in their hearts. Sin is when we remove God as the ultimate authority and enthrone ourselves in his place. By elevating mankind above him, God’s good and ordered world lost its integrity and became broken. Yet, the story of Adam and Eve does not end with despair, but with hope. God, in the midst of his judgment, promises that a day will come when one of Eve’s children will utterly annihilate the power of sin.
People are often surprised at how sinful so many Biblical “heroes” are. One of the Bible’s greatest characters, King David, commits one of the vilest sins ever recorded in its pages. We should learn from this that even a converted member of God’s family can commit truly evil deeds. Yet, we also learn that the hope of the Bible is not that we have to become morally superior to the main Biblical characters. The hope of the Bible is that Jesus paid the penalty for David’s sin and for our own.
God’s law is an expression of his character, not an arbitrary set of rules. Since we are made in his image, following his law leads to our flourishing. Yet, none of us can follow the law. We desire idols more than we desire God. This is why we need Jesus. He is the only one who ever kept the law perfectly. When we believe in him we get credit for his perfect obedience. With Jesus, we can obey the law without fear since we rest in his record, not our own.
Many people today believe that Jesus never claimed to be God. They think Jesus was merely a wise teacher whose followers later deified him. Yet, key passages, such as Philippians 2, demonstrate that from the very beginning of Christianity, Jesus was worshiped as God. In our lives, we can only see Jesus’ love for us once we realize that he is God. Jesus left the perfect love of the Trinity in order to serve us. He then sends His disciples out into the world, following in his footsteps, serving and sacrificially loving others.
A great temptation for Christians is relating to God in a mercenary fashion. We desire to use God in order to further our own purposes. Even when we want to serve God, we place limits upon our obedience. Accepting Jesus as Lord combats this tendency. Instead of acting as if God exists to serve us, we live our lives striving to serve him--no matter what the cost.
It is no accident that the Bible often refers to judgment day as ‘the Day of the LORD.’ We live our lives as if we are the lead actors in the drama of this world. Judgment day is the day when God is paramount. On that day, all people will step back and see the world being put right when God is placed at the center of all things.