The Encourager

The Encourager

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The Great Reversal - Jeff Curtis

Saturday, February 04, 2023

The Great Reversal

Jeff Curtis

“Regret” is one of the saddest words in the English language. It speaks of something we wish we had done differently, some failure to live up to an ideal or accomplish something we should have. Sometimes we can make amends for failure; but most of the time, we cannot go back and make things the way they were or should have been.

 

Luke’s reference to “Adam, the son of God” in Jesus’ genealogy (3:8) reminds us of Paul’s references to Adam and Christ in Romans 5 and 1Corinthians 15. Adam was blessed to live in the creation that God had said was “very good (Gen. 1:31). But he failed the test brought to him by his wife and the devil; he sinned against God. His failure had consequences that adversely affected his spiritual life and the world in which he lived. The glorious creation, including humanity, was no longer what it once was (Gen. 3:14-19; Romans 8:20-22). Adam’s failure, imitated by every person’s sin, was cause for regret.

 

Like Adam, Jesus had a unique relationship with God. He was also the beginning of a new creation where God would make right the things that had gone wrong (2Corinthians 5:17). Paul declared this great revival in three passages: Romans 5:14-15 – “14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.” 1Corinthians 15:22 – “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” and 1Corinthians 15:45 – “And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.”

 

Romans 5:15 acknowledges the difficulty of reversing the consequences of Adam’s failure. We might even say a reversal was impossible. However, we should notice the words “grace” and “gift.” Where mankind had lost the way forward, God made a way. What seemed impossible, God accomplished through Jesus, the Son of God. The angel said, “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). He overcame temptation, defeated death, and gives the eternal life with God that He always intended us to have.

 

Let us celebrate God’s grace and grow in the new life He provides for us.

Use Your Bible ......

Robert F. Turner

The Plan of Salvation ---

  1. WHY DID JESUS DIE ON THE CROSS? Isa. 53:1-12 Rom. 3:23-26 Heb. 2:14-18
  2. FOR WHOM DID JESUS DIE? Heb. 2:9-10 John 12:32-33
  3. HOW ARE WE DRAWN TO JESUS? Jn. 6:44-45 Acts 2:37-41 2 Thess. 2:14 Acts 26:17-18
  4. WHO WILL JESUS SAVE? Jn. 3:16 Matt. 7:21-29 Heb. 5:9
  5. WHAT DID JESUS COMMAND US TO DO? Jn. 8:23-24 Lu. 13:3 Mat. 10:32 Mk. 16:16
  6. WHEN DOES JESUS FORGIVE OUR SINS? Mk. 16:16 Acts 2:38 Acts 22:16 Rom. 6:4
  7. HOW DOES JESUS REGARD THOSE WHO OBEY HIS CALL? Jn. 15:10 Acts 2:47 1 Pet. 2:9-10 Col. 1:12-13 Gal. 3:26-27 Eph. 1:22-23 Eph. 2:19-22 1 Tim. 3:15
  8. HOW MAY WE BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD AFTER BAPTISM? 2 Pet. 1:5-11 Phil. 4:8-9 Heb. 10:23-27 Jn. 4:24 1 Cor. 11:23-29 1 Cor. 16:2 Rom. 12:1-21 Rev. 2:10
  9. ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY THE COST OF DISCIPLESHIP? Lu. 14:26-33 Mat. 10:34-39
  10. HAVE YOU HONESTLY READ THESE SCRIPTURES? DO YOU SINCERELY BELIEVE THEM? CAN YOU CONSCIENTIOUSLY IGNORE YOUR OBLIGATIONS BEFORE GOD TO OBEY HIS WILL?

Plain Talk; January 1964

When God Came Near - Jeff Curtis

Saturday, January 28, 2023

When God Came Near

Jeff Curtis

 

At the most basic level, the Gospel accounts are written presentations of the good news that God intervened in the world to rescue from sin and its consequences anyone who would accept His offer. He did this through His Son, the Messiah, a descendent of David. The commonly used word for this deliverance is “salvation.” Luke’s account emphasizes this theme from the beginning. We see some of its most important aspects in the account of Mary in chapter one.

 

Salvation: Because God Reigns. Like Matthew and Mark, Luke emphasizes that the events bringing salvation occurred because God was beginning His long-promised reign in the world. Both the verb “reign” and the noun form “kingdom” are used in Luke 1:33; “And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 

 

Luke’s account also expresses the idea in other terms. In 1:28, Gabriel told Mary, “The Lord is with you.” In 1:35, he told her the she would conceive, then explained “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” Mary also learned that the aged Elizabeth had conceived because “nothing will be impossible with God” (1:36,37). In 1:46-56, Mary exalted the Lord in words emphasizing His mercy, mighty deeds, and control over events. These points of emphasis remind us that we shouldn’t minimize God’s reign as we think about and declare the good news of salvation.

 

Salvation: About God’s Glory. Throughout Mary’s hymn of praise, chapter one makes it clear that only God should receive the glory for salvation. Three verses show this. In 1:46, Mary began her praise to God for what He was doing through he by declaring, “My soul magnifies the Lord” (ESV). The word rendered “exalts” in the NASB, refers to greatness. In 1:49, Mary used another form of the word, to reaffirm the “great things” the “Mighty One” was doing for her. She also praised His holiness (Psalm 99:3; 103:1; 111:9; Isaiah 57:15). In 1:50, citing Psalm 103:7, she added praise for God’s “mercy.” Mary’s praise reminds us that we must guard against the tendency to over-emphasize our own ideas and accomplishments. Without God, we are nothing.

 

Salvation: Because God Acts in History. Mary conceived while still a virgin because God took the initiative to enter the world to do what needed to be done for humanity’s salvation (Luke 1:27,34,35,37). He was completing what He had promised and begun in the Old Testament. From conception through death, Jesus experienced the lot of every person (Heb. 2:9-18). In His resurrection, He led the way to what is possible for every person (1Cor. 15:20-23). Paul emphasized that Jesus, God’s Son, was the first of a new creation (Romans 8:16,17; 2Cor. 5:17).

 

God’s power is available to us today (Eph. 1:19-23), both for our sanctification (1Cor. 1:30; 1Thess.4:1-8; Heb. 12:14) and our work of evangelism (Acts 1:8). To benefit fully from His power, we must remember three things: God’s rule, God’s glory, and God’s aim to change the world by getting involved in the lives of mankind.

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