November 21st AM Service
- All Creatures Of Our God And King
- Count Your Blessings
- Thanks To God For My Redeemer
- Jesus Thank You
- Jesus Thank You
- Enthusiasm is contagious.One enthusiastic employee can transform a workplace atmosphere into a positive, upbeat place to be!That said, one reason why some churches decline is a lack of enthusiasm. Members fall into a dutiful, habitual mindset that goes through the motions of worship and ministry with no enthusiasm. They may claim to be “shy” or “laid back” in their personality, but if you watch that person at a football game, craft show, or concert (or if you just bring up those subjects), their “laid back” personality seems to vanish without a trace, giving way to an obvious enthusiasm that’s hard to miss.The reason we lack enthusiasm for something is that we take that something for granted. When I was a child, I would pray, “Dear Jesus, please bless Deborah in Donesia, and help me not take anything for granted.” Deborah was a young girl our family supported financially who lived in Indonesia not in Donesia. And about “taking anything for granted,” I didn’t know what “for granted was,” but I didn’t want to take it!To “take something for granted” is a phrase which means failing to appreciate the true importance or value of something.You may buy a new pair of shoes, for instance, and it’s no big deal. It’s nice and your kind of happy about having some new shoes, but you’re not overwhelmed by this development.Another person who lives in an impoverished nation, however, may receive a used pair of shoes from a donor in the U.S. and be absolutely ecstatic. You see, to us a new pair of shoes is nice but to another a used pair is amazing.The first takes shoes for granted while the second does not – therefore the second person is far more enthusiastic. His smile will be larger, he will say more positive things, and he will take care of those shoes with greater effort.If you have believed on Christ as your God and Savior, then I have a question for you. Are you enthusiastic for Christ? If not, then you are probably taking God’s grace and salvation for granted. If you are not appreciating the truth value and significance of his sacrifice for you, you are not enthusiastic in being what he has called you to be and doing what he has called you to do.Let’s take a closer look at the significance of Christ’s sacrifice for us and how that should deepen our enthusiasm for him.who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.We are God’s special people.Notice “for himself” and “his own special people.” The KJV uses the word peculiar, which is not as helpful as that word would have been four centuries ago. Today peculiar usually means “strange, odd, or unusual,” but that’s not what Paul has in mind.Paul is not calling us God’s odd or unusual people. He’s not claiming that nonbelievers will think we look odd or unusual. He’s calling us God’s special people because there is a special significance to God’s relationship with us that extends beyond his relationship to other people.For instance, some of us have a car while others of us have “a car.” When I was a teenager, my father bought a car. But this wasn’t just any car, it was a Ford Mustang. And this wasn’t just any Ford Mustang, it was a 1967 Mustang Fastback GT with a 390 big block engine. That’s the difference between a car and “a car.”From God’s perspective, there are people and then there are “people.” We’re not just people in his eyes, we’re his special people. But what makes us so special to God?We don’t deserve to be God’s special people.That God views us as his special people should surprise us. We used to be like everyone else – just regular, ordinary people. Like everyone else, to be regular and ordinary meant to be very bad people because no one is good but God.As Paul reminds us, we were locked into living a lawless lifestyle. We were defiant by nature and disobedient from birth. We were all like that child who reads a sign that says, “Wet paint, don’t touch,” then feels a strong urge to touch the paint, only we don’t feel this way and behave this way with wet paint only.We feel and behave this way in all kinds of ways “every lawless deed.” The law, here, is whatever God calls us to be and do as people created in his image and likeness. To be lawless, then, is to not only want to rebel or trespass against our created purpose but to actually rebel and trespass in all kinds of ways all the time. This law means more than the hundreds of technical laws in the Old Testament, referring also to the law of God present in all of our hearts through our conscience.for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)We are all tremendously guilty before God. We are criminals against our conscience on multiple even countless counts. We have behaved and spoken terribly against God and towards other people. We have not been what we were created to be, nor have we done what we were created to do. In fact, we’ve been and done quite the opposite.When my father purchased that ’67 Mustang, he didn’t buy it from a swanky showroom floor. He purchased from a neighbor in town. The car had been parked in his neighbor’s yard for a very long time, sitting outdoors through the weather in all four seasons. The paint was fading, the wheels were rusting, the interior was dry-rotting, and the chassis had sunk to the ground and was deteriorating away.Like that car, we didn’t deserve to be treated as special. Yet we aren’t God’s special people because of anything we are or have done.We are special because God redeemed us.We’re special to God because he intervened. It’s his intervention that makes us so special to him, like how my father’s ’67 Mustang was special to him because he rescued it from deterioration in our neighbor’s lawn. He purchased it, placed it into his garage, and restored it to mint condition.He lifted and overhauled the engine, including the addition of some Edelbrock parts.My mom hung a new headliner, installed new bucket seats, and detailed the interior.I wire-brushed and recoated the chassis with rust-inhibitor.Then, after many other steps as well, we had the car repainted and restriped before its restoration was complete. It’s because we did all this painstaking work that the car was so special to us.This practice of redemption means to deliver by the payment of a price. This practice has a long history in the Bible, including acts like redeeming a house which had been purchased by a person outside the family, redeeming a person from slavery, or redeeming prisoners of war. A most notable example of redemption occurred when God redeemed the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt.At its heart, this concept of redemption means to deliver someone from a bad situation from which they are powerless to save themselves.Sometimes this “bad situation” was a matter of life and death. If a man owned an ox, for instance, which was known to be dangerous, but he let it escape and it killed someone, both the ox and the man must be put to death (Exo 21:29-30).But if the ox tended to thrust with its horn in times past, and it has been made known to his owner, and he has not kept it confined, so that it has killed a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death. If there is imposed on him a sum of money, then he shall pay to redeem his life, whatever is imposed on him.However, since this case was not an intentional murder, the grieving party could assign a price which, if the owner of the ox could pay, would exempt him from being executed and he would go free.This was our condition before God redeemed us. We were enslaved to a law-breaking lifestyle and unable to break free. We failed miserably to fulfill our God-given purpose and so we deserved eternal separation from God. Yet God redeemed us.He freed us at the cost of his own life.This was the cost which God paid to free us from the power of sin over our lives and the penalty of sin upon our lives. Notice that he didn’t just pull together some massive amounts of resources or wealth. He gave his own life by becoming a human being who endured the actual, real-life difficulties and suffering of being a human and he did this perfectly. Then he gave his own life by suffering the penalty of our sins upon himself, the death of the cross. Truly, he paid the greatest price to redeem us from our sinful lives.For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”Ransom here refers to the payment required for redemption. The word for is also helpful because it helps us understand how the ransom payment works. Allow me to illustrate how this word for (huper) means to do something in the place of someone else because they are unable to do it for themselves.“I have written for (huper) him who alleges not to know letters.” (Oxyrhnchus Papyri 37)“Lusas Didumou wrote for (huper) them because they do not know letters.” (Oxyrhnchus Papyri 380)“Thonis Arpaesios I have written for (huper) him, being desired to because he does not know letters.” (Oxyrhnchus Papyri 1453)Now consider how the NT uses this word to describe how Christ’s death redeemed us.For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,We were enslaved to our sins, our wrong, hurtful desires, habits, behaviors, and words. We couldn’t break free. So, Christ stepped into our place and to be what we could not be and do what we could not do. He lived the right kind of life we could not live and died the awful death that we deserved to die. He gave himself as the payment for our freedom.Do we fully grasp the significance of the price God paid to redeem us? There is no greater price in the universe, even if you package the entire universe together as a payment. He paid the ultimate price to rescue you – the gift of his own self through the life and death of Jesus Christ. So how should we respond to the fact that God gave himself so completely to redeem us?He freed us to do good works with enthusiasm.We should respond to our redemption the way Paul responded when he believed on Christ as his God and Savior. He said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” (Acts 9:6).You see, we are not saved by our good works because we cannot be good or do good apart from the grace of God. But though we are not saved by our good works we are saved to do good works. We are freed by Christ so that we will exhibit good attitudes, speak good words, make good choices, and perform good deeds.All this good that we should be and do we do by the grace of God as the children of God. Now that we’ve been redeemed, we are no longer obligated to sin and live selfishly. We are not free and even obligated to do the right thing and live selflessly, for God and others.Paul has already described the kind of people that God has redeemed us to become in his instructions to older men, older women, younger women, younger men, and employees (Tit 2:1-13). He will go on to describe the kind of people God has redeemed us to be in other ways in the rest of this letter, as well. He’ll address topics like how to behave towards our government leaders, neighbors in our community, and divisive people in the church.How are you behaving today? Are you passionate about doing good works?Are you passionate about being like, speaking like, and behaving like Christ?Are you serious about treating other people as Christ himself would treat them?Are you passionate about the causes and priorities that matter to Christ?I say “passionate” for a reason. I didn’t merely ask, “Are you doing good works?” but asked, “Are you passionate about doing good works?” I’m using passionate for a reason, because Paul didn’t just say, “for good works,” he says, “zealous for good works.”Zealous means to be a “devoted adherent,” a “passionate enthusiast,” an “enthusiastic imitator.” My father exhibited a special joy and enthusiasm for his ’67 Mustang, not only because it was a cool car but because of what it cost – in time, effort, and resources – to restore it to optimal condition.Is there anything about which you are enthusiastic? A cause, hobby, or interest which you give priority in your schedule, spend money to support, and participate in with evident, obvious enthusiasm. You’re eyes light up, you’re thrilled to do it and to talk about it – to do so is not a chore but something you obviously care about.Sadly, we’re often passionate about things which hardly qualify as “good works.” They may not be bad things (though sometimes they are), but they are temporal, low-value things which – though enjoyable and appropriate in their place – do not deserve greater enthusiasm that doing good works deserves.What other priorities are you most passionate about?Do people who know you know that you’re most passionate about being a person who reflects the nature and behavior of God, about becoming the person God has created and saved you to be?Do your attitudes, conversations, and regular choices show that you are most passionate about doing good works?Before this year ends, Brookdale Baptist will put out a 2022 church event calendar. You will notice several gospel outreach events and other ministry opportunities which help us take our next steps in following Christ by doing good works for the good of the gospel.Brookdale will also put out a 2022 ministry budget that reflects a renewed effort to be what God has called us to be and do what he has called us to do. Will you be enthusiastic in your support for this budget and in your participation in the events that are ahead?This will be one special way – though not the only way – that you can take steps forward to make good works an enthusiastic priority in your life.The Old Violin – The Touch of the Master’s HandBy Myra Brooks Welch‘Twas battered and scarred, And the auctioneer thought it hardly worth his while To waste his time on the old violin, but he held it up with a smile. “What am I bid, good people”, he cried, “Who starts the bidding for me?” “One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?” “Two dollars, who makes it three?”“Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,” But, No, From the room far back a gray bearded man Came forward and picked up the bow, Then wiping the dust from the old violin And tightening up the strings, He played a melody, pure and sweet As sweet as the angel sings.The music ceased and the auctioneer With a voice that was quiet and low, Said “What now am I bid for this old violin?” As he held it aloft with its’ bow. “One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?” “Two thousand, Who makes it three?” “Three thousand once, three thousand twice, Going and gone”, said he.The audience cheered, But some of them cried, “We just don’t understand.” “What changed its’ worth?” Swift came the reply. “The Touch of the Masters Hand.” “And many a man with life out of tune All battered and bruised with hardship Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd Much like that old violinA mess of pottage, a glass of wine, A game and he travels on. He is going once, he is going twice, He is going and almost gone. But the Master comes, And the foolish crowd never can quite understand, The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought By the Touch of the Masters’ Hand.
2 Corinthians 5:21ESV
1 Peter 3:18ESV
- Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me
- Ancient Of Days
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