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Shepherds Hill Homestead » Messages » Savior

Savior

            Welcome to the message from Shepherd’s Hill. I would like to wish you all a happy Resurrection Sunday. This day is the pinnacle in the year for Christians. Many people go to churches on this day and forget about God the rest of the year. A man once said that he overheard someone leaving church after a Resurrection Sunday service. The man told his wife that he was going to stop coming to church because they always sang the same two songs-“He Arose” and Silent Night”! Truthfully though many people seem to believe that going to church on two days a year make for a good relationship with God. The same logic would suggest that a man would go home to see his wife twice a year; on her birthday and on their anniversary. That would not be a marriage relationship just as going to church for special services doesn’t make you a Christian.

During this special time of the year we do focus on what Jesus did for mankind. Before the foundation of the world God had a plan to redeem fallen man. Can you grasp that? I can’t. How could God even create a world where man would fall into rebellion against his own Creator? The more one ponders it the more difficult it is to understand. No wonder we stop during this special season to remember what Jesus did for us.

I was thinking about the word “Savior” this week. What does that word mean to you? A while back we had a small fire in the office building that I work in. I was in my office when the alarm went off. I got up and went down the stairs to our designated meeting area in the parking lot. About a minute later I was called back in and told that the alarm was in my equipment room. When I arrived the room was so full of smoke I couldn’t see the far wall. The building services manager had turned off the air conditioner as he felt the belt had burned up on the fan. I inspected it and the belts were loose but not burned. I had to leave very quickly as the smoke was choking me. We decided to open doors up and get some fans to get the smoke out.

A couple of minutes later I turned around and firemen were standing all around me. It was quite a site as they had on their full suits, helmets, respirators and axes. As they inspected the room I thought about all they must have been through and all they might go through in the future. I remembered stories of firemen on September eleventh going up the twin towers . They were going straight to their death to try and save any who couldn’t get out. Why do men chose a job that requires them to risk their lives for very little pay? We sometimes refer to the people in these jobs as heroes, but not often enough. People who are in burning buildings know they are in trouble. They see the fire, hear the alarm and smell the smoke. Fear is in them and they know that death is imminent if help doesn’t come. These heroes arrive and deliver people from the fire regardless of who they might be. They are called heroes, but could also be called saviors. The word means “one who saves”.

We refer to Jesus as the Savior (capital S). But exactly what did He do on that cross? There was a world that didn’t know it was even in trouble. Men walked in sin and lead miserable lives, but they knew no better. The Jews were waiting on Messiah but they thought He would come as an Earthly leader and set His kingdom up here. They believed the sacrificial system was sufficient and that the law would redeem them. The Messiah was just needed to deliver them from the oppression of the world. Men did not consider the real need for a Savior. John the Baptist came and preached repentance. He paved the way for this Savior. His job was the same as the fire alarm. It got people to thinking about their lives. His message was clear-you are in trouble and you need delivering.

I must admit that there was something in me that said “false alarm” when the alarm went off. I have been working on a project that has a deadline of next Friday. I felt inconvenienced by this and wanted to hear that they were testing the alarm. The building services manager sits next to me and he assured me that it wasn’t a test. When I got to the parking lot I found that I had brought two envelopes with me to mail in the basement-just in case it was a smoke sensor bad. My mind was on my daily routine and considered this to be an inconvenience.

When Jesus came to Earth He arrived in the form of a baby. His family was poor and insignificant. This was definitely not the picture of the Messiah for the Jews. When He grew up John the Baptist went forth preparing the way for Him. When Jesus ministered, He performed miracles demonstrating the great love God has for man. Some believed but for many people Jesus’ message was just an inconvenience. They wanted their lives to go ahead and wished that this troublemaker would disappear. In spite of fulfilling hundreds of prophecies that proved He was Messiah they chose to ignore the fire alarm. Everything verified that there was a problem but they refused to believe it. In fact, it made them angry at this man for interrupting their life.

Have you ever had an interruption like this? You have your life all planned out and them something happens that causes you to get setback. It was God’s plan to have Jesus go to the cross. He was the only way men might be saved. Without Jesus giving the ultimate sacrifice mankind would be lost. The sacrificial system of lambs only temporarily covered the problem. Sin ultimately has to be dealt with.

What is the significance of Jesus dying on a cross? What does it have to do with you and me? People often don’t listen to warning signs. A cross-arm comes down at a railroad track and motorists drive around it. A person begins to have chest pain that goes down their arm and they believe its indigestion so they ignore it. We really don’t want to admit we’ve got a problem. In our minds, we are good people and God would not send us to an eternal lake of fire, would He? Some people put their faith in their actions. Others do it in religions. We who know Christ have realized the great need we have and have given ourselves completely to Him and God’s will for our lives.

People who are in danger and are rescued need to go back to that moment of salvation and regularly remember. I suppose that is why the victims of Muslim terrorists on September eleventh are seen back at ground-zero. We who are born-again still need to be reminded why Jesus died.  It’s easy to get delivered and then act as if you really could have gotten out of the building on your own. I am quite amazed at those who call themselves Christians and yet walk around acting as if they were Christ Himself. They have forgotten that they are still just sinners saved by grace.

When I was a child I knew nothing. I learned from my parents and those around me and I slowly grew up with knowledge. By the time I turned twenty I thought that I knew more than those who taught me. It seemed that the older I got the smarter I was and I needed no one. Then one day I had a great fall and was brought back to my knees.

I have noticed a trend in Christians to start with repentance and come to God, but then forget that they are sinners. We had a pastor years back that strutted around proclaiming “Don’t say you are a sinner saved by grace. You are a King’s Kid and are now royalty”. Let me show you something in the Gospels that Paul wrote.

Paul was saved on the road to Damascus by a blinding flash of light. His zeal for God in killing Christians was turned around and used for the real purpose of God. He wrote much of the New Testament and was known to be a great Pharisee and learned man of the scripture. The first letter he wrote was Galatians (they’re not in chronological order in our Bibles). Look at how he opens this letter in Galatians 1:1.

Paul refers to himself as an Apostle. I can just imagine that since he hunted down Christians before he was saved he would have had some explaining to do to be accepted by the church. He took authority and told the church at Galatia that he was, indeed an Apostle.

Now look at 1st Corinthians 15:9. Paul here says that he is least of the Apostles and not worthy to be called an apostle because he persecuted the Christians. In Philippians chapter three Paul begins to explain his status in Christ and where he stands. He gives his credentials in verse four. His statement was that if anyone could have made it through works, he could (my paraphrase). He was a Hebrew of Hebrews, zealous for God and blameless in the law. All of those were not enough to bring him to salvation. He needed the knowledge of God and the power over death that only comes through Christ. He needed a Savior. Paul stated his desire in verse ten. He wanted to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection.

Why would the Apostle Paul go back to this if from the moment of his salvation experience on Damascus Road he knew the power of His resurrection? It’s because it wasn’t complete. Salvation is not just an event. It’s a change in us that keeps changing.

Why did Jesus die on a cross?  All mankind needed a Savior. Think on this: See Him brutally beaten and abandoned by His friends. Watch as He is made to carry His own cross up a hill. View that dark hour as the sky grows black when even His Father turns around. When the weight of the sin of mankind was fully His He completed His mission. After acknowledging that it was finished He chose to give up His life. Even death would not take Him until he decided. When He was laid in a tomb His followers thought it was the end of the story. When you ponder on all He has done remember-you and I really are that bad. When the first day of the week came around they discovered that the world was changed. Never again would man have to be separated from God. That day is celebrated by Christians all over the world today. It is acknowledged as the most Holy of Days.

Perhaps you claim Jesus as your Lord. Maybe you do recognize His role as Savior of the world. But have you realized that you still need Him? Jesus doesn’t just help us out of the burning building and then go back to the fire station. He is still carrying us throughout our lives. Until that day when we see Him face to face His Holy Spirit walks with us to get us through this life successfully. Without Him we won’t make it. If you’ve never given your life to Him then today is your day. On April 14th I will celebrate my 41st Born-again day. It was on that day in 1972 that I gave my heart to Jesus. He has never left my side. You can have that today.

Prayer-Father, help us on this Holy Day to remember what Jesus did on the cross. Help us understand our continual need for His changing power. May we walk with Your Holy Spirit every moment of our lives. Thank You for giving Your Son. Thank You Jesus for being my Savior.

In Jesus’ Name-Amen

paul

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Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

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