Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Sunrise at Rattlesnake Point


Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:1,2

Paul begins to unfold the incredible potential of our faith. We have been given such an amazing
privilege to be in His holy presence and to feel His amazing grace. It is only because of our justification that we can look forward with confidence to what God has in store for us. We are also overwhelmed with the power that comes with faith in.

v3 Resurrection life doesn't come without an incredible price and that was paid by Jesus. It was His suffering on the cross that produced perseverance to the place where He said, 'It is finished'. It was His character to show incredible forgiveness even when we didn't seek or want it because He loved us so much.

v4 It is incredible to think how God willingly has poured his love into us by the Holy Spirit and here is His the first mention of the HS in the book of Romans. Once again we are reminded that we are on a receiving line, not an achieving system. Everything that we have, the justification to stand, the grace to walk in, the love of God through the Holy Spirit all is a gift. We are never disappointed when He fills us up.

I was at Fresh Wind on Friday night watching my niece lead worship and it was so powerful to be in a place with over 1200 passionate youth on fire for God. The song that this passage reminds me of is the song we sang that night, "Amazing love how can it be that you my King would die for me" We truly live and move in such an amazing love!

Everything that Jesus did for you He did out of love. The Bible says that God made you to love you. The only reason you're alive is because you were made to be loved by God.

God didn't just show talk about love, He showed it! The Bible says, "God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners" (Romans 5:8 NLT). It says while we were still sinners. Before we even knew God or knew we needed Him, Jesus died for us.

I love how Rick Warren gets this point across ---

There's a myth that says I've got to clean up my act before I can come to God. "I've got to get it all together. There are a few things I've got to get right in my life first, and then I'll come to God." No! You come to God with your problems—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Why do we do this? It's like when we brush our teeth before we go to the dentist to have a teeth cleaning; or when we wash the dishes before we put them in the dishwasher; or when we pick up the house before the maid gets there! Why do we do this? God says, "No, no! You don't have to clean up your act. Just bring it all to Me. Bring Me all your problems. I have the answer. I have all the answers." You don't wait. Jesus says, "Come as you are."

It was so beautiful to see the reflection of the sun on the worshippers who came with me for the Sunrise service at Rattlesnake. It was a beautiful reminder of how God desires that we continue to reflect His ever increasing glory as 2 Corinthians 3:18. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

That is the beauty of our resurrection life in Christ!

Resurrection Life means Jesus is alive and we are alive in Him!

As we move to Romans 6, it is our identification in the death, burial and our resurrection with Christ. The only way that we can truly be alive in Christ if a death takes place first. It is why I love baptism services so much on Easter Sunday. It is an outward picture of an inward reality. Romans 6:5 states that "If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection!"

However we must realize with Jesus, it is all or nothing when it comes to being His follower. He is not happy with just part of us, He wants all of us! As it has been said, 'too many Christians live between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, believing in the cross, but not the power and glory of the resurrection.' We will focus on our new resurrection life in Christ and the process that takes us there. Living in the reality of His resurrection life means freedom from the slavery of sin, death to self serving sin and offering our life, all of it, to Him. It is the point of no return!

Death to Self v1-4

The word know in v1,6,9 refers to the confidence we have in Christ's substitution and justification on our behalf. It is a legal term and He is our defense!

• He doesn’t remove our desires, He transforms them
• God doesn’t remove the pain, He transforms it
• What is your passion? Is it to be a police officer, an astute businessman or woman... what do you want to be because God is saying that is great, I need someone on that police force, I need someone in that very workplace with the love of Christ. It isn't just pastors and missionaries that God needs. He needs us now more than ever to transform workplaces, the arts, the media, the government, the military!

For me, hockey was my life. Now, He didn't remove the desire, He transformed it because He uses hockey for me to share His life. Playing hockey has led to many great conversations and friendships that often spill over into the spiritual.

Freedom From Slavery v5-11, 17-23

The word count in verse 11 – is to calculate, to estimate, appraise
Luke 14:25-27

Giving Yourself Completely To God v12-16
Offer – yield v13,16, 19 to place at his disposal

Romans 12:1

Going past the point of no return is probably best understood to me as jumping off the Belwood Bridge! It is a 'Ninaber right of passage' of sorts. The point of no return is somewhere just below the railing where you stand on. I have watched many people stand on the edge and just think about it, maybe even lift a foot. They might even say, OK, I'm doing it, but there still standing there... you aren't committed until you actually let go and make the jump!

He wants all of you and just like the story of the five loaves and two fishes, we may not think that we are up to it, but He will do the miraculous with it. That being said, He didn't just ask for 3 loaves and one fish. He wants all of it! If He is going to work and do the amazing, we have to be all in!

So what do we receive when we go all in? We see again in Romans 6 that He grants us favour v14,15, freedom v16-20 and fruit in our lives! v21-23

The Takeaway

The doorway to life transformation is when go past the point of no return and give myself completely to God.

Questions For Discussion
1. Why did Jesus use such drastic measures to get his point across?
2. What is the most significant part of water baptism to you?
3. What testimony really spoke to you today and why?
4. Have you made the jump to full and complete surrender? What keeps you standing on the edge?
5. If you are in the place of full surrender, how is God transforming your desires?

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