The Bible spends a great deal of time talking about something we now refer to as the Tabernacle in the Wilderness. It is really one of the most fascinating topics in Scripture. Some of you know that it was designed by God and built by Moses and the Israelites to be a place where God could dwell among His people (Exodus 25:8). Now, this episode does not feature a discussion on the Tabernacle; for that you can check here and here. However, I want to point out, briefly, that according to God’s instructions, just past the entrance to the outer court of the Tabernacle complex, was placed the Brazen Altar. It was at this altar that the various sacrifices of the people were brought. This was where the payment for sin was offered. Now, I bring that up to say that in God’s Plan, forgiveness of sin is only the beginning. ALL of the rest of the Tabernacle, a type and shadow of, among other things, the life of the Christian, lies ahead. When you accept Christ into your life as your sin bearer, as your sin offering, you’ve only really only just started your journey. Jesus characterized it as being “born again”. That’s something you hear a lot in evangelical churches; don’t you? They talk a lot about the “born again experience”. The church world is geared toward bringing the sinner to the altar but fails to take them past it. The saved are left in spiritual infancy…standing around the altar, never venturing out too far. We actively teach and emphasize and focus on, for example, the first 11 chapters of Romans but for some reason we don’t, then, move on to chapter 12. Yes, the glory of Christ’s work on our behalf is in full view for three-quarters of Paul’s Christian manifesto and it’s magnificent, glorious, wonderful…but Paul never intended us to stop there. Through those opening chapters he highlights marvelous things like receiving righteousness of God by Faith (Romans 3:22) and how Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6) and how we now have life in Christ and that we are free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2). On and on it goes regarding our Salvation. Many of you are quite familiar with most of that. Those verses are heard regularly on Sundays and we praise God for them…but there is actually more. Once Paul has those things out of the way…once he feels we get it, he says:
(Romans 12:1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
In this lesson we talk about what comes next. We lay out the “why” of Salvation. You’ve heard plenty about the “how” and “who” but not so much about the “why”. There is more to our lives than waiting around for the Rapture. You were born for a reason and it’s not limited to the pursuit of a ticket to heaven. God wants us to offer ourselves for His purposes and for His pleasure and He makes that clear throughout His Word. So, take a moment to pray for the assistance of God’s Spirit of Truth. Ask God to open up eternal things. Pray that He will guide you to a better understanding of your place in His Kingdom. Once you’ve done so, press the “Play Button” and listen in as we teach on this most important topic out of God’s Word.
There is an old Jewish saying that states, “As the bee brings home honey to its owner, but stings others; so it is with the words of the law”. The critics of the Bible claim it is filled with death and wrath and exclusion and judgment and, you know, that’s one of things the critics, actually, get right. But, unfortunately for the critic, that’s all they see. God is a just God and a just God will exact justice; He must or He can not claim to be just. Justice…even in our own little realm, can be unpleasant. I mean, it’s one of the reasons people want to avoid being on the wrong side of the law. Justice can be harsh because it has to be. So, yes, the Bible, the record of a just God, will have those elements to it. But the Bible is also full of love and tenderness and care and comfort. Not only is God a just God but He’s a loving God. We know that because of Jesus. The Apostle John makes it clear in the 1st Chapter of his Gospel that although no man has seen God, Jesus has “declared” Him. That’s the word we see in the King James. The original Greek word actually means to “lead out”; to “draw out”; to “unfold a teaching”. Part of the wonder of Jesus is that He is a picture of what God is like…partial picture, of course. You and I, in our current state could not…and, actually, maybe never, handle a full view of God. Nonetheless, what we see Jesus do, God would do.
One of the most fascinating stories found in the Bible is the miracle of the coin in the mouth of the fish. It is actually one of the most incredible miracles in all of Scripture. The details are actually astounding. So, astounding, as a matter of fact, that we have largely missed the point of the story. As we read it, we seem only able to marvel at the power Jesus has over nature. Don’t get me wrong. It’s okay to stand in awe of Our Lord but we must ALWAYS look beyond the facts to get the message. That is what we do in today’s lesson. We dig into one of the best known portions of Scripture and really focus on what God wants us to know. In this story we see the side of God that the critics miss. In these passages we see the “other” reason why God is to be worshiped and adored. This story demonstrates God’s love for us as His own. It demonstrates that God is aware of us and our needs as individuals. It is a lovely, comforting reminder for when the world seems so gray and impersonal. We invite you to listen in as we teach from this uplifting, vital story from the life of Our Personal Savior, Jesus. Remember, before you begin, take a moment or two to ask for God’s Spirit to be with and lead you into the Truth of the Gospel.
The story of the Alabaster Box, as found in the Gospels, is a dynamic window into the mind of God. Through it we get to see what He values and expects from us. Here we see the tender heart of Jesus toward the humble and contrite sinner. Simon the Pharisee is presented to us as the contrast to the “sinful woman”. His judgmental self-righteousness receives a dignified yet effective rebuke from Our Lord and, as always, there is a lesson in all of this. We learn that it takes far more than an outward show of church-approved piety to get God’s attention. In this podcast we point out that this beautiful story is given to us to demonstrate how a true child of God expresses nothing less than a deep-felt, sincere love and gratitude for what they have received through Grace. This story is not given to us to command anything. It is given to us to simply lay out what it truly looks like when forgiveness is truly felt by the forgiven. This is Part 1. Part 2 is next week.