No Apologies Round Two

"Few if any recent generations could sit with a Bible in one hand and their newspapers in the other and see the fulfillment of prophecy, but for us it’s almost routine." Jack Kelly

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Too Bad to be Saved?

A while back in my life, I used to think I was too unlovable. I thought I'd done too many bad things, that Jesus could never accept me. I have gone through a lot of depression, and self loathing for much of my life- and it always seemed to get worse when I was close to accepting Jesus as my savior. This message is for those who believe as I did, that you are too bad to save.

You may believe that you have done too many bad things in your life- that Jesus could never offer you redemption. Maybe you've been a drug addict. Abused a spouse or child. Maybe you're addicted to pornography, killed someone, robbed someone. Or, maybe like me, you have always had a poor self image, and figured you're just not good enough. Let me start by showing what the Bible- the Word of Jesus tells us.

You'll probably recognise this one, as it's been displayed at more sporting events than any other quote: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3 :16

Do you see, God loved the whole world. That means He loves everyone who has ever existed on this planet from the very beginning. Imagine God Almighty, giving His only son-as a sacrifice, if He didn't care or love us. He wouldn't have, if he didn't.

Has there ever been anyone who is perfect? I used to think so. I remembered stories from when I was little, about people in the Bible. Those heroes whose names everyone knows. Moses and King David come to mind. These two men were known to have known God face to face, in Moses' case, and he also walked with the Lord. He trusted in God when God told him how to free the Israelites from the bondage of Egypt. And when Moses died, it was God, Himself who buried Moses! David was known to be a man after God's own heart. He was chosen by the Lord, when he was still a young shepherd, to be the King of Israel! The Lord made a covenant with David, that his throne would be everlasting, and the Messiah would come from the house of David. David wrote and sang Psalms to the Lord.There was also a woman named Rahab back in the earliest days when the Israeli people were coming to their inheritance of the promised land by God. Rahab, who by saving the lives of two Israeli men, saved her own life and lives of her family. The Lord commanded that Joshua and the Israelites to conquer the city of Jericho in order to enter the land promised through Abraham and Isaac. When it was destroyed, Rahab and her family were spared. Rahab went on to have children, whose direct lineage led to King David, and centuries later, to Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
Two things are common between these three people. Yes, they all trusted in God and were used and blessed by Him. They did, because of His love for them and all mankind, incredible deeds. The other, in which we all have in common, is they and we are sinners. They did bad things. How bad, I mean, they couldn't have done all that much if God used them and loved them so much, right? I'll let you decide.
Moses murdered an Egyptian official. He then ran away to escape punishment. King David had one of his own men in his army killed. On purpose. Premeditated. Why did he do such a thing? David fell in love with the man's wife, Bathsheba and wanted her. He lusted after her until the plan for murder came into his thoughts. He had the man killed in battle, then took Bathsheba as a wife. He committed adultery.What about this woman, Rahab? She must have been a blessed and Godly woman to have saved the lives of two strangers! Nope. She was a prostitute. Imagine that! The Lord Jesus' earthly ancestors consisted of murderers and a prostitute among others.
These three people knew the Lord is God, and God knew them. He knew their deeds, good and bad, and He knew their hearts. He knew them in ways we can never know, how these, others, and you and I can be not only saved, but also be used by the Lord to do great and mighty things.
Just in case you're still not convinced, let's look at two more people. Peter and Paul, two men who were instrumental in spreading the Gospel of Christ throughout the known world. Peter was one of Jesus' first disciples. He was the first to testify Jesus as the Son of the Living God, the Christ. Peter later went on to spread the Gospel message all through the Roman districts of Palestine. He healed the sick and even raised the dead! All of these happened after he denied Jesus. When Jesus was arrested, Peter lied three time about his knowing Jesus, to avoid being arrested as well. So, in essence, Peter was a liar and a coward. Paul who went on to be one of the most influential missionaries of the time, travelled throughout the Roman Empire and the near east to spread the Gospel to all races. Many people in far lands who never would have come to know Salvation through Christ learned the Gospel because of Paul. Did you know however, Paul whose name was originally Saul, had imprisoned and killed early Christian believers? He was legalistic, a hypocrite, murderer and a bully.
Again, the Lord knew these men's hearts and saw their actions. Yet He saw something in them, that they themselves didn't know existed. He had a purpose for these two, and for people of the Old Testament times, just as He has a purpose for you and I.

There's an old hymn which goes, Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me..And that thou bidd'st me come to thee... O Lamb of God, I come. I come.

You see, Jesus knows all of our deeds- those which may be hidden from other people, and those which are seen by many. Just as Moses, Rahab, David and others, Jesus knows our hearts and our sins. But He is bidding us to come! He loves us, is calling to us. He doesn't look at past sins with hatred for us, He looks at us lost sinners and longs to give us refuge and rest, love and comfort- and most of all, freedom from our sins. He created us. He knew us before we were born. He knows our outward and inward thoughts, but remember that scripture verse- For God so loved the World that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life.

Listen. I once had a wonderful woman who helped me through one of the most difficult and painful times in my life. She knew of my thinking that my sins were too bad, that Jesus could never love me. She gently showed me, that me thinking that way was making God too small, and Jesus' suffering on the cross insignificant.Can you understand that? I have to admit, my first reaction was to deny it, but as I thought about it more, it was clear, she was right.
If you, or someone you care about has come to believe that Jesus is the Savior, and that He is real and true, but have the same notions I did, please think about what He sacrificed.

Think about the bad things people have done throughout history. If God can forgive them, can He not forgive you? Yes He can and will!! He is willing to forgive the worst of the worst crimes if the person is willing to ask for forgiveness and put their trust in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
The enemy, the Devil (and Yes, he is very real) knows how simple it is for a sinner to be saved. He is accusing us continuously! He dredges up every last thing we've ever done and tries to convince us we are too bad to be saved. Please don't let that devil keep you from eternity with your Father in heaven who adores you! Come just as you are, and leave the burden of your sins at the foot of the cross. No sin is too big for Jesus, who forgave the very ones who nailed Him to that cross.