Birthdays: Kathryn Cox – Aug. 19th – Jane Sparks – Aug. 19th - Mariel Moore – Aug. 20th
IN THE STEAD OF
Abraham received a divine command to offer his son as a burnt offering (Genesis 22:2). When all things were ready - the location reached, the altar built, the wood laid in order, Isaac bound and laid on the altar - Abraham raised the sacrificial knife to carry out the command. But the Lord stopped him from killing Isaac, and a ram was offered, “for a burnt offering in the stead of his son” (verse 13). What kind of justice would have required Abraham, after he offered the ram, to also kill Isaac? Of course that would have been no justice at all for the ram died in the stead of Isaac. Christ came into this world to “give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). As the ram died in the stead of Isaac, so the Savior died in the stead of His chosen people. The law of God demanded death for our sins, and a fit and worthy Substitute rendered to justice that which it required. It was the death of the Lord Jesus that enabled God to be “a just God and a Savior” (Isaiah 45:21). If Christ has paid my debt of sin, then no debt of sin remains; if He has put away my guilt, then no guilt lingers; if He brought in everlasting righteousness for me, then divine justice finds me to be perfect in Christ, “THE LORD MY RIGHTEOUSNESS.” Bless His Name, God has given to me “a good hope through grace” (2 Thessalonians 2:16). It is true that I am a sinner, but I am a sinner in whose stead the Son of God has died, and I am assured of this for He has brought me to cast my poor soul and all of its concerns upon the dear Savior. He is all my hope, my salvation, my righteousness and my life. I have no confidence in myself, my feelings, my experience, my knowledge, or my faith. My hope rests in the person, the blood and the righteousness of Jesus Christ my Substitute. I find, therefore, that the justice of God, which once brought fear to my soul, is a very heart-comforting truth for I know there is no possibility that any sinner can perish in whose stead Christ has died. Justice would never allow it.
--- Pastor Jim Byrd
"By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous,
God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh." (Hebrews 11:4)
THE GOSPEL OF NO EFFECT
The Amplified Bible renders I Corinthians 1:17: "For Christ, the Messiah, sent me out not to baptize but (to evangelize by) preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel): and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain -- fruitless, void of value and of no effect." The Apostle Paul is saying that there is a way of preaching the gospel that is not really preaching the gospel at all!
The gospel is often cloaked and concealed from men in the lofty phrases of intellectualism. True things are preached but in a way to impress men rather than to save them. The gospel is made of no effect by detailed word studies that show the preacher's learning or by words that the average hearer has no understanding of. The message of the text is lost in the detail of the elements studied. The sermon is full of historical information, laden with references to the old creeds, confessions and writers and dotted with numerous clever illustrations. It is void of any heart-felt declaration of the Person and work of the Lord Jesus.
Likewise many sermons are simply the platform for the advancement of a social cause or the defense or denial of a social or political issue. Preachers speak much of being "Christ-like." They denounce with great fervor the moral errors of our day. But they don’t preach Christ. They don't preach the gospel which God alone uses to produce all true godliness. Sadly, even many good things become the enemy of the best.
It is also true that many have made the gospel of no effect to their hearers by an emphasis on prophetical subjects. The coming of Christ becomes more important than the Christ who has already come, accomplished salvation for His people and Who will come again. Various prophetic positions are taught in great detail involving much time and the Gospel of Christ goes wanting one to proclaim it.
Then there is the matter of emotionalism. Often, how something is said is more important that what is said. Men look more at how one preaches than what he preaches. Loud and dogmatic is thought to be the Spirit’s empowerment. Any truth that might be preached cannot be heard for the loud displays of fleshly enthusiasm. What men call spiritual has nothing to do with the Spirit of God who testifies of Christ.
Lord help us not to preach a gospel of no effect! Paul said, "I am determined to know nothing among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified." The gospel plainly, repeatedly and without distractions or enhancements alone is used of God to save His people. A gospel that by these things is made of no effect is no gospel at all!