DashHouse.com

The Blog of Darryl Dash

This blog is about how Jesus changes everything. He changes:

Our relationship with God

Our relationship with others

Our vocations - how we live and work in this world

Our ministries

This blog exists to explore some of the ways that Jesus changes everything. It provides resources and articles that will help you think about the ways that Jesus can change every part of your life.

The Lord himself invites you to a conference concerning your immediate and endless happiness, and He would not have done this if He did not mean well toward you. Do not refuse the Lord Jesus who knocks at your door; for He knocks with a hand which was nailed to the tree for such as you are. Since His only and sole object is your good, incline your ear and come to Him. Hearken diligently, and let the good word sink into your soul. (C.H. Spurgeon, All of Grace)

Great Gettin'-Up Mornin'

  • in my life, I've been to all sorts of funerals
  • I've been to funerals where everyone is crying
  • a middle-age mother and wife was taken by cancer
  • the entire church was filled with mourner after mourner
  • speaker after speaker took the platform and recounted stories
  • tears flowed
  • to top it off, they played one of her favorite opera pieces, and as the sound of operatic voices filled the church, not one eye remained dry
  • I've been to happy funerals
  • did you know there was such a thing?
  • my grandfather died three years ago at age 87
  • before he died, he had time to say goodbye and complete his life well
  • at the funeral, my uncle recounted the time as a young man in church
  • the pastor got up and asked if anyone had anything to share with the congregation
  • in front of my grandfather was a normally shy man
  • my grandfather had brought a sharp pin to church and carefully placed it to stick up from the front of his shoe
  • and when the pastor asked if anyone had something to say, boom! he kicked the man in front of him, who jumped up and had to testify
  • that was a happy funeral
  • one of the saddest deaths ever to take place was the death of Jesus
  • we who read the Gospels from the other side of Easter know how things ended, and we don't really grip the tragedy of his death
  • imagine Mary, the mother of Jesus
  • angels and wise men attended his birth
  • her firstborn son had as a baby suckled at her breast
  • as he had grown, I have no doubt that Mary's love for her son Jesus grew, and she believed that he was the promised Messiah
  • imagine Mary standing at the foot of the cross, looking at her son as he is brutally tortured and killed
  • imagine being a disciple of Jesus for three years
  • you give up family and career and everything, and stake your entire lives on him
  • imagine believing that he would bring deliverance to Israel, and as you look up at Jesus dying the most ignominious death possible, you begin to think that you were wrong, that you've just been following a dead man
  • imagine being Satan
  • it's been almost too easy
  • in the ancient war of Satan against God, it finally appeared that God had made a fatal mistake
  • and Satan said, "Checkmate - Jesus is dead"
  • imagine Satan's glee
  • he had finally defeated God
  • it was his finest hour
  • we forget the seeming finality of Jesus' death
  • he died before his time
  • his mission was not accomplished
  • like many so-called messiahs who proceeded him, he too had been killed for taking a stand
  • and there was nothing left behind but a dead body and a scattered and discouraged group of followers and a grieving mother
  • a man was once challenged by the question: what would it mean for our world if Christ had truly risen?
  • this man had three close friends who died that year
  • one, a retired man in excellent health, fell over dead in a parking lot after dining out with his wife
  • another, a young woman of forty, died in flames on the way to a church missions conference when a tanker truck rear-ended her car in the fog
  • a third friend, a man named Bob, died scuba diving at the bottom of Lake Michigan
  • nothing could ever bring back his friends
  • when he spoke at Bob's funeral, he asked this question:
  • what would it mean for us if Bob rose again?
  • they were sitting in a chapel, numbed by three days of sorrow, death bearing down on them like a crushing weight
  • how would it be to walk outside to the parking lot and there, to their utter astonishment, find Bob
  • Bob, with his bounding walk, his crooked grin, his clear gray eyes
  • it could be no one else but Bob, alive again!
  • you see, that's what Jesus' disciples felt on the first Easter
  • they had grieved for three days
  • on Sunday everything changed
  • there was Jesus!
  • Jesus!
  • he's alive again!
  • he's risen!
  • there was a new note of hope and faith
  • Satan had not won after all!
  • Mary did not have to grieve over her lost son
  • the disciples did not have to mourn
  • Jesus was and Jesus is alive!
  • you see, the cross was not the end of the story
  • for it is followed by a resurrection that signifies a new beginning
  • the passage that we read earlier this morning, Luke 24, underlines the discovery, surprise, and wonder of the resurrection
  • listen to what the women did when they arrived at the tomb:
  • (Luke 24:2) They found the stone rolled away from the tomb,
  • (Luke 24:3) but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.
  • (Luke 24:4) While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.
  • listen to what happened to Peter when he ran to the tomb
  • (Luke 24:12) Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
  • look what happened later in Luke 24 as he appeared to the disciples
  • (Luke 24:36) While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you."
  • (Luke 24:37) They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.
  • (Luke 24:38) He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?
  • (Luke 24:39) Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have."
  • (Luke 24:40) When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.
  • (Luke 24:41) And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, "Do you have anything here to eat?"
  • it was a time of wonder, of marveling
  • the words indicate being perplexed and somewhat in disbelief
  • what had happened to the body?
  • after repeated appearances, the disciples became convinced that Jesus was raised
  • this Easter, we come to the cross with wonder
  • I repeat my earlier question: what does it mean for our world that Christ has risen?
  • it means a number of things
  • FIRST, WE SHOULD NEVER LOSE THE WONDERMENT OF THE RESURRECTION
  • we should never take it for granted, or become so accustomed to the Easter story that it loses its wonder
  • every year when Easter rolls around, we should be so startled by the reality that Jesus Christ conquered death, that it should literally transform our lives
  • Jesus has risen!
  • Canadian author John Irving wrote a renowned novel a few years back, called A Prayer for Owen Meany
  • in it a character says:

I find that Holy Week is draining; no matter how many times I have lived through his crucifixion, my anxiety about his resurrection is undiminished. I am terrified that, this year, it won't happen; that, that year it didn't. Anyone can be sentimental about the Nativity; any fool can feel like a Christian at Christmas. But Easter is the main event; if you don't believe in the resurrection, you're not a believer.

  • I remember one Easter at this church
  • I don't know what happened, but this one Easter it was rainy out
  • everyone looked tired
  • I've been to more exciting funerals than this particular Easter
  • but you know, there's no place for that
  • Easter should be the happiest morning of the year
  • Christ has risen!
  • He's alive!
  • it's like the hymn that I hope you'll sing with me: I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Je sus the Nazarene
And wonder how he could love me
A sinner condemned, unclean

How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be;
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Savior's love for me!

  • Amen? how marvelous! how wonderful!
  • how can we get so excited when the Blue Jays win the World Series, or when we get a new promotion or a raise, or something goes right, and not be moved by the fact that Jesus rose again?
  • how can we not be moved?
  • how can we not leap out of bed on Easter morning and cry, "Hallelujah! Christ has risen!"
  • so listen: point number one is that we should never lose our sense of wonder over the resurrection
  • POINT NUMBER TWO: MAKE IT YOUR CENTRAL DOCTRINE
  • the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the central doctrine of the church
  • if you don't believe in the resurrection, you're not a believer
  • when the early disciples preached in the book of Acts, they majored on the resurrection
  • (Acts 2:32) God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.
  • (Acts 4:10) then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.
  • (Acts 10:39) "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree,
  • (Acts 10:40) but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen.
  • (Acts 10:41) He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen--by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
  • and on and on
  • in fact, Paul goes so far as to say:
  • (1 Corinthians 15:14) And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.
  • (1 Corinthians 15:17) And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
  • (1 Corinthians 15:18) Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
  • (1 Corinthians 15:19) If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
  • the cornerstone of the faith is the literal, bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, and it makes all the difference in the world
  • because he rose again, we have salvation
  • because he rose again, we know his word is true
  • because he rose again, we know that we too will be raised on that great getting up morning
  • do you believe it?

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary; Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead, and buried; He descended into hell; The third day he arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; The Holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints; The forgiveness of sins; The resurrection of the body; And the life everlasting. Amen.

  • Amen! do you believe it?
  • we won't talk about the evidence for the resurrection this morning, of which there is plenty
  • John Singleton Copley, one of the great legal minds in British history and three times High Chancellor of England, wrote, "I know pretty well what evidence is, and I tell you, such evidence as that for the resurrection has never broken down yet"
  • friends, we need to major on the resurrection
  • it's the central doctrine
  • it's one of a short list of doctrines that are absolutes in the faith
  • make it your central doctrine
  • POINT NUMBER THREE THIS MORNING: WE SHOULD LOOK FORWARD TO OUR OWN GREAT GETTING UP MORNING
  • the Bible connects Jesus' resurrection with our final bodily resurrection
  • (1 Corinthians 6:14) By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.
  • (2 Corinthians 4:14) because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence.
  • (1 Corinthians 15:20) But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
  • because Christ has been raised, we too will be given resurrection bodies on that great getting up morning
  • all those who believe in Christ will be raised
  • I talked earlier about happy funerals and sad funerals
  • for the Christian, there's really no such thing as a sad funeral
  • yes, there are tragic deaths and grieving families and friends, but at that time we can also echo the words of the apostle Paul:
  • (1 Corinthians 15:55) "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
  • (1 Corinthians 15:56) The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
  • (1 Corinthians 15:57) But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • death has lost its victory and its sting
  • we don't have to fear death one day
  • if you really mean it, sing it with me:

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
"Even so," it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul.

  • Lord, help us never to lose the wonder and amazement of what happened that first Easter morning
  • Jesus is alive! He is risen!
  • we should be filled with amazement and wonder and joy over this incredible fact
  • we ought to major in this doctrine, make it the cornerstone of our faith
  • we ought to look forward to that great getting up morning, knowing that because he rose from the dead, we too will be raised from the dead
  • give us this confidence, give us this joy
  • and Lord, if there is anyone here who has not made this the cornerstone of their faith; if they have not yet believed, could this be the day?
  • would they walk out of this building with a new sense of joy and wonderment?
  • would they receive confidence that they too will be resurrected on that great getting up morning?
  • if anyone here has not repented and trusted in you, what better time than Easter morning, the morning that made all the difference
  • make today the day
  • Amen

Worship the Right Jesus

  • six days before Passover, the narrow streets of Jerusalem were jammed with people
  • from every village and town, Jews were coming fill the city beyond capacity
  • streets overflowed to outside the city, and in the surrounding towns and villages, pilgrims found lodging

  • this was the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a time when Jews celebrated their deliverance from bondage in Egypt
  • it was a bittersweet time
  • even though God delivered the Jews from Egypt many years before, what about the Romans who ruled over them now?
  • tensions ran high
  • extra troops had been ordered from the Roman garrison at Caesarea, 45 miles west

  • trouble was expected
  • a Jewish group called the Zealots opposed Roman rule, and remained fiercely loyal to Jewish traditions
  • they looked forward to the coming of the time of salvation, in which God would deliver Israel from Rome, just as he did with Egypt
  • could this be far away?
  • could the Messiah, the one who would deliver them, be far from coming?
  • Romans had recently arrested a number of the Zealot rebels, including a vicious and notorious killer named Barrabas

  • to make it worse, rumors circulated about a man named Jesus
  • it seemed ridiculous, but some were claiming that he raised a dead man by the name of Lazarus in Bethany
  • one of this man's followers, named Simon, was a Zealot himself
  • some called Jesus the Messiah, and he too would be traveling to Jerusalem for the Feast of Unleavened Bread
  • could he be the Messiah?
  • would this be the time of their deliverance?

  • the streets leading to Jerusalem were crowded with pilgrims
  • donkeys and adults and children clogged the roads
  • word came that Jesus was on the other side of the Mount of Olives
  • the Mount of Olives was on the road leading to Jerusalem from the east
  • it rose to a height of 2,700 feet, some two hundred feet higher than Mount Zion
  • from the Mount of Olives you would have a tremendous view of the city of Jerusalem, and especially the temple area
  • and now Jesus was coming
  • Zechariah 14:4 predicted that the Messiah would come from the east, from the Mount of Olives
  • could he be the Messiah?

  • it's hard to recreate the excitement that took place
  • Matthew 21:20 tells us that that when Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred
  • as the crowd heard that Jesus was approaching Jerusalem, they ran out to meet Jesus as he approached

  • years earlier, when Maccabee had driven out the hated Greeks, the palm became a symbol of Jewish freedom
  • it was a symbol of rebellion
  • Jews prayed a prayer from the psalms named the Hosanna, that came from Psalm 118:25-27
  • (Psalms 118:25) O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.
  • (Psalms 118:26) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.
  • (Psalms 118:27) The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us. With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.
  • their rallying cry was "Hosanna!" which came from Psalm 118:25, "O LORD, save us!"
  • when they cried "Hosanna!" they were crying out "O LORD, save your people!"
  • could Jesus, who had calmed a storm, and fed a large crowd with just a few loaves of bread and a few fish, be the answer to this prayer?
  • "O LORD, save us!" - and here was Jesus, perhaps the answer to the prayers of Israel?

  • back in Jerusalem, soldiers lined the ramparts of the four towers of the Antonia
  • this was the busiest day of the whole week of preparation, the day in which lambs were chosen for sacrifice
  • as the soldiers looked out to the Mount of Olives, the crowds could be heard shouting the great Hosanna
  • (Psalms 118:25) O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.
  • (Psalms 118:26) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD. From the house of the LORD we bless you.
  • the people were pleading for God's deliverance

  • and here came Jesus - the one they had all heard of
  • a procession surrounded him as he came down the Mount of Olives
  • the travelers halted as they surrounded the man, and the crowd continued to chant, "Hosanna! Lord, save us!"
  • in Jesus' procession there was a donkey and its colt
  • they donkey was a symbol of humility, peace, and the Davidic royalty
  • cloaks were spread on the colt, and as Jesus rode through the crowd, they threw their cloaks down on the road
  • others ran and cut branches from the fields and waved them in excitement
  • some even procured palm leaves, symbols of Jewish freedom, from Jericho far away and waved them as they cried, "Hosanna! Lord, save us!"
  • "Help, please, O Son of David!" Save us, please, O Son of David!"
  • all eyes were on Jesus, but his eyes were focused on Jerusalem
  • Pharisees in the crowd yelled out to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!"
  • (Luke 19:40) "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

  • as he approached Jerusalem, tears welled up in his eyes
  • and he cried out:
  • (Luke 19:42) and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes.
  • (Luke 19:43) The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.
  • (Luke 19:44) They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."
  • despite the fanfare, Jesus' entry into Jerusalem is not a pleasant one for him
  • Jesus knew that the people have missed the day of messianic visitation, and knew that his death lay ahead
  • he predicted that their rejection of God as he came riding on a donkey would lead to punishment by other nations
  • just forty years later, this prophesy was fulfilled as Titus of Rome destroyed the city and its inhabitants, killing children and leaving not one stone unturned
  • and Jesus wept because they had missed their one last chance to welcome him as God

  • this is the story of Palm Sunday
  • a city filled with tension, filled with Jews who were looking for someone to overthrow the Romans
  • a city in which the Messiah they desired would lead them to military victory
  • a city in which Romans were ready to crush any sign of rebellion
  • a city in which, ultimately, the very people of Israel would reject Jesus as the Messiah

  • the story of Palm Sunday is a good one, in some ways
  • I've always admired the way in which Jesus was welcomed to Jerusalem
  • for the first time, he was getting the respect he deserved
  • he was being welcomed as the Messiah, and they were crying out, "Lord, save us! Lord, save us!"
  • Jesus, who usually recoiled from this sort of attention, pointed out the fitting nature of this tribute by remarking:
  • (Luke 19:40) "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

  • but this story is also a sad one
  • as Jesus entered the city, it was the day when the Jews selected their sacrificial lambs
  • he rode down the Mount of Olives from the east, the place from which the Jews knew the Messiah would come
  • he came, in effect, saying "Here I am, the Lamb of God, ready to be sacrificed for you. Will you choose me as your Lamb and your King?"

  • but many that day missed his point
  • they looked for a political leader - someone to overthrow Roman rule
  • they waved a nationalistic symbol and chanted political songs
  • they were willing to make Jesus their Messiah, but only if he used military power
  • in essence, they were trying to make Jesus into something he was not

  • if we're going to worship Jesus, we have to worship Jesus as he is
  • worship is fine and fitting, but John 4:24 tells us that God desires worshipers who worship in both spirit and in truth
  • those waving palm leaves were worshiping in spirit - they were zealous and passionate and put their entire spirits behind their praise
  • but they weren't worshiping in truth
  • they didn't worship according to who Jesus really is, they were worshiping according to their own preconceived ideas
  • who is the Jesus you worship?
  • the real Jesus, or the Jesus of your preconceived ideas?

  • in church as a child, I attended Sunday school
  • we sang songs like "Jesus Loves Me" and learned using cutout figures mounted on flannel graph boards
  • over the table in my Sunday school room, there was an oil painting of Jesus, surrounded by sheep, with a child on his lap
  • this was the Jesus of my childhood
  • gentle Jesus, meek and mild - someone kind and reassuring, with no sharp edges
  • but is this the Jesus of the Bible?
  • well, the Jesus of the Bible was gentle to children and compassionate to sinners
  • but the Jesus of the Bible overturned tables in the temple and called Pharisees hypocrites, whitewashed tombs, snakes, and vipers

  • many picture Jesus as going around telling people to be nice to each other
  • but how would telling people to be nice get a man crucified?
  • what government would execute a man who's message is to be nice?

  • many people picture Jesus as almost an ancient Mr. Rogers
  • an all-round nice guy
  • but contemporaries of Christ viewed him as a wine-bibber and a glutton, a friend of sinners
  • those in authority, both religious and political, saw Jesus as a troublemaker, disturbing the peace
  • he scorned fame, family, property, and acted like a revolutionary
  • Jesus was no gentle and tranquil soul, making everyone feel better about themselves
  • he was no Mr. Nice Guy

  • Philip Yancey writes:

"What would it have been like to hang on the edges of the crowd? How would I have responded to this man? Would I have invited him over for dinner, like Zacchaeus? Turned away in sadness, like the rich young ruler? Betrayed him, like Judas and Peter?"

  • he continues to write:

"The more I studied Jesus, the more difficult it became to pigeon-hole him. He said little about the Roman occupation, the main topic of conversation among his countrymen, and yet he took up a whip to drive petty profiteers from the Jewish temple. He urged obedience to the Mosaic law while acquiring the reputation as a lawbreaker. He could be stabbed by sympathy for a stranger, yet turn on his best friend with the flinty rebuke, 'Get behind me, Satan!' He had uncompromising views on rich men and loose women, yet both types enjoyed his company"

"Two words one could never think of applying to the Jesus of the Gospels: boring and predictable. How is it, then, that the church has tamed such a character—has, in Dorothy Sayer's words, "very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies?"

  • are you sure you know Jesus?
  • Jesus warned that many people who think they know Jesus really don't
  • (Matthew 7:22) Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
  • (Matthew 7:23) Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'

  • accepting and worshiping Jesus means accepting him for who he claimed to be
  • as Ray Vander Laan says, we can't remake him into what we want him to be

"We can't keep the things we like and throw away the things we don't. If we want Jesus as the one who forgives our sins, we must also accept him as the one who says, ‘Love your enemies. Turn the other cheek. Pray for those who persecute you.'

"If we want the Jesus who promises to relieve the burdens of life, we must also accept the Jesus who demands that we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the poor and lonely, and visit the prisoner

"If we want the Jesus who, with power and conviction, confronts the evil of the demoniac and the hypocrisy of the religious leader, we must also accept the Jesus who touched the unclean and wept with the brokenhearted

"It's far too easy, however, even in our Christian community, to reshape Jesus into someone with whom we're comfortable.

"The kingdom of Jesus comes through forgiveness, love, and witness, not through power and politics or any other wordly strategies. The kingdom of God comes as people accept, in their hearts, the Messiah for who he claimed to be"

  • it is a good thing to sing praise unto the Lord
  • Jesus said if we don't do this, the very stones would cry out
  • you and I and indeed everything was created to praise God

  • yet there was a tragedy when people cried "Hosanna!" as Jesus entered Jerusalem
  • although they were worshiping Jesus in spirit, they weren't worshiping him in truth

  • it was a good thing to sing praises to God this morning
  • in a few minutes, we're going to do so again by singing "Hosanna!"
  • but there's a tragedy that just might happen
  • we might get all excited and worship in spirit, but not in truth
  • who is the Jesus you worship?
  • is he Jesus on your own terms?
  • or are you going to let Jesus be Jesus, and accept the hard sayings of Jesus as well as the easy ones
  • (Luke 14:26) "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters--yes, even his own life--he cannot be my disciple.
  • (Luke 14:27) And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
  • is this the Jesus you worship?

The Gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4-31)

  • please open your Bibles this morning to 1 Corinthians 12:12

  • one rainy morning years ago, I walked to school
  • as a primary school youngster, I, like many others, was fascinated by all things to do with rain: worms, puddles, and the like
  • like other kids, I would not walk around puddles, but most of the time directly through them
  • I remember reading that the act of jumping over a puddle is quite a feat
  • and so, I remember this seemingly uneventful moment as if it happened yesterday, even though I was probably only 8 years old
  • I approached a puddle approximately one foot in diameter
  • and as I approached it, my legs sprung and propelled me not just up, but over that puddle
  • and I landed exactly where I wanted to on the other side
  • and I did it all without really having to think about it
  • it involved the coordination of the muscular system in both my legs, as well as my abilities of perception and balance
  • and I walked on

  • now this sounds silly
  • but it just goes to show how dependent each member of the physical body is on the other members
  • my eyes located a place to land
  • my legs sprung me into the air
  • the fluid in my ears kept my sense of balance
  • my arms helped me keep balance
  • and my feet landed and kept me walking

  • now, imagine for a moment that my eyes, legs, ears, arms, and feet all had personalities of their own
  • as I started to jump, my eyes said, "Land over there!"
  • and my legs responded, "Mind your own business, I'll land wherever I want"
  • then my feet jump in, and say, "Watch out! I'm about to get wet!"
  • and then my ears respond: "Stop all the yelling! I won't get wet up here"
  • I would get all wet, lose my balance, possibly hurt myself, and especially hurt my ego
  • I probably couldn't walk or do practically anything without falling and being clumsy
  • if the members of my physical body acted independently, I would be in a terrible mess

  • interestingly, the Bible says that the church is one body
  • the Spirit-filled life, according to the Scriptures, is one if interdependency
  • just as the members of a physical body work together interdependently, so you and I as individual members of the body of Christ are to work together to accomplish God's will

  • let's read the passage in 1 Corinthians 12
  • (1 Corinthians 12:11) All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
  • (1 Corinthians 12:12) The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
  • (1 Corinthians 12:13) For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free--and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

  • you'll notice from this passage that EVERYBODY IS NEEDED IN THE BODY
  • as Charles Stanley says, "Everybody is somebody in the body"
  • you are part of a living organism called the body of Christ
  • you are not the entire organism; you are merely one part of that organism
  • and so am I
  • just as in our bodies, each member is related and dependent on the other parts of the body, so it is in the church
  • you are not independent; you are part of the body of Christ

  • many people feel that they are insignificant members of the body of Christ
  • they may feel that their gifts are inferior and unimportant
  • in some churches, some gifts are elevated above others
  • preachers are given many strokes; in some churches, those who speak in tongues are put on a pedestal
  • Paul addresses this in the next few verses:
  • (1 Corinthians 12:14) Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.
  • (1 Corinthians 12:15) If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
  • (1 Corinthians 12:16) And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body.
  • (1 Corinthians 12:17) If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?
  • (1 Corinthians 12:18) But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
  • (1 Corinthians 12:19) If they were all one part, where would the body be?
  • (1 Corinthians 12:20) As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

  • there is absolutely no need for you to feel inferior in the body of Christ
  • you are an absolutely essential part, and without you the body of Christ would be missing something
  • if something ever stops functioning or encounters problems in your body, you don't wait very long before taking corrective action
  • let's take something small like a tooth
  • I can guarantee that you don't take long before fixing an abscessed tooth
  • if one lung collapses, you don't say, "Oh, well, I have another lung, everything will be okay"
  • if your finger breaks, you don't just ignore it and get along with the other good fingers
  • and so it is in the body of Christ
  • (1 Corinthians 12:21) The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!"
  • let's be honest: you are needed in the body of Christ
  • none of us could ever say, "I don't need you. I'll get along fine without you"
  • the Spirit has given you an absolutely vital role in this church

  • can I tell you what this means?
  • you are a somebody in the body
  • you bring a unique contribution to the body of Christ that no one else could bring
  • Bill says something I like
  • he says, "I'm not the chairman of the board - everyone is the chairman of the board"
  • he's right
  • Bill is important in this church, and brings a valuable contribution to the church
  • but let's get this straight - you are an equally important person in the church, and you bring an equally valuable contribution to the body of Christ
  • (1 Corinthians 12:18) But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
  • another thing this means is that we need to make sure there is no division in the body
  • (1 Corinthians 12:25) so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
  • (1 Corinthians 12:26) If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
  • (1 Corinthians 12:27) Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
  • instead of being divided, we need to show concern for one another
  • if one Christian suffers, all the Christians in the body of Christ are affected
  • if you've ever had a toothache, that one little tooth screams for attention in your entire body
  • it doesn't matter that the tooth is small, and that all the other parts of your body are functioning fine
  • all you can think about is that aching tooth
  • when one member of the church suffers, we all suffer

  • we need to care for each other and make sure there is no division in the body, because if one member of the body stops functioning, it means that we all suffer

  • YOU'LL ALSO NOTICE FROM THIS PASSAGE THAT ALL OF US HAVE BEEN GIVEN A SPIRITUAL GIFT FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE BODY
  • (1 Corinthians 12:7) Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.
  • (1 Corinthians 12:8) To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,
  • (1 Corinthians 12:9) to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing b y that one Spirit,
  • (1 Corinthians 12:10) to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.
  • (1 Corinthians 12:11) All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

  • you have been given a spiritual gift
  • God has put us together and has ensured that all each believer has a significant role in the body of Christ, and that when we work together, we accomplish his purposes

  • you know, our spiritual gifts are simply the manifestation of the Spirit
  • we can't take credit for it
  • it's not simply a matter of possessing natural abilities or skills
  • the Spirit enables us to do things far beyond our natural abilities
  • whatever gift you have, don't take credit for it! it's the Spirit
  • the flip side of that is this: don't every complain about your gifts
  • your gift is significant, because it's the manifestation of the Spirit
  • whatever your spiritual gift, it is valuable and no less important than any other spiritual gift

  • according to verse 7, your spiritual gifts are for the benefit of the body
  • they're not for your own good
  • the primary purpose of your gift is to build up the body of Christ
  • your eyes are completely useless apart from their service to the body
  • your ears can listen all they want, but they're of no use if they don't communicate that information to the body
  • and so it is with you: your spiritual gift is only of value as you use it for the benefit of the body of Christ
  • your gifts are God's way of administering his grace to others
  • we become channels through which Christ's ministry flows
  • in Mother Theresa's book A Gift from God, she wrote, "We all long for heaven where God is, but we have it in our power to be in heaven with him right now. To be happy with him at this very moment. But being happy in his presence means loving as he loves, helping as he helps, giving as he gives, serving as he serves, rescuing as he rescues, and being with him for all the 24 hours. Because we touch him when we touch others."
  • when a pastor uses his gifts to exhort believers, he is showing God's grace to the people
  • when a nursery worker enters the infantry, I mean nursery, he or she is showing God's grace to those little children and the parents
  • when a member cleans the church and uses their spiritual gift of service, they are showing God's grace to the entire body
  • when a believer visits somebody who is sick, they are exercising their gift of mercy and showing God's grace to that person
  • they way God works is through you and me

  • Charles Stanley tells the story of a painter who fell of the roof
  • as he fell, he cried out, "God, help me!"
  • just as he prayed this, is overalls caught on a nail, and he found himself hanging just below the gutter
  • he reached up and pulled himself on to the roof, and said, "Never mind, God, this nail caught me"

  • like the painter, we're in danger of missing what God is doing
  • we see things as purely human, when in fact they are divine acts
  • when somebody ministers to you with their spiritual gifts, it's not really them - it's the Spirit

  • don't ever make the mistake of thinking it's all the pastor's job
  • if you look at Ephesians 4:11-12, the pastor's job is not to do the work but to get the people to do the work - to equip you to use your spiritual gifts
  • some churches hire one or more pastors and expect them to do all the work
  • when they aren't proficient in all the spiritual gifts, the church trades the pastor in for a new model
  • and a few years later finds out that he lacks some gifts, and trades him in, and so on
  • but God didn't give pastors to do all the work in the church
  • because the pastor doesn't have all the spiritual gifts
  • Paul teaches very clearly that pastors are to equip you to do the work of the ministry
  • one of the greatest joys in a pastor's life is when he realizes that you pay me to get you to work
  • now that's a great job

  • another thing we notice is that spiritual gifts are distributed as the Holy Spirit wills
  • (1 Corinthians 12:11) All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.
  • (1 Corinthians 12:18) But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.
  • you know, you don't get to choose your spiritual gifts
  • the Holy Spirit gives them to you as he wills

  • let's wrap up by looking at one more passage
  • (1 Peter 4:10) Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.
  • (1 Peter 4:11) If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
  • it's absolutely essential that you begin using whatever spiritual gift you have been given to serve others
  • I don't know what your spiritual gift is
  • maybe you don't know
  • but you can find out
  • how? I'll give you a simple answer: just get out there and get busy
  • start working on something that captures your interest, that you feel passionate about
  • it might take a while, but usually we only discover our gifts as we get busy
  • it might take a while of trying one thing and another, but what you're doing is looking for something in which you have been gifted, and to which you can commit for the long haul

  • I know you're busy
  • in fact, if anyone ever came up to me and told me they weren't busy, I think I would die of a heart attack
  • Charles Stanley points out that if you're not using your spiritual gifts, you're robbing the body of Christ, you're forcing other members to carry your load, you're a dead weight on the body, and you're out of touch with the Spirit of God
  • but if you make using your spiritual gift a priority, you'll stop cheating the rest of us
  • you'll bring your unique talents, skills and gifts to the body of Christ and show God's grace to us

  • let me ask you a concluding question: what are you doing with the gift or the gifts that the Holy Spirit has given you?
  • are you using them for the benefit of the body, or are you neglecting them?
  • are you taking them for granted? what will you say when the Master returns and asks how you have used this gift?
  • I want to share with you an amazing thought
  • do you realize that God has limited himself?
  • God limits himself through people
  • if we do ministry, he is able to minister through us
  • but if we don't do ministry, God limits his ministry
  • he waits on us
  • in Word War II, a little French town had a statue of Christ in their town square
  • and when the bombing came, the bomb got the statue and pieces were broken off
  • they stored the pieces, and after the war began to rebuild the statue of Jesus
  • it had cracks now, but they appreciated it even more
  • to their dismay, the only pieces they couldn't find were the hands of Jesus
  • and that was tough on them, because the hands had the nail prints and that was significant to them
  • they thought they would have to take the statue down, until one person slipped a gold plaque at the bottom of the statue that said, "He has no hand but ours."
  • all of a sudden the community began to understand something
  • we are his hands and the extensions of his ministry
  • Father, we thank you for this day, and we thank you for giving us all spiritual gifts
  • each of our gifts are valuable, and every member is important in this church
  • and they need to use their spiritual gifts to minister to the body
  • and now, Lord, we come and submit ourselves to you
  • every man and every woman
  • we consecrate our gifts to you
  • we ask your blessings upon those gifts
  • we ask your Spirit would take and use them for your glory
  • they may seem insignificant
  • there may be some who tried and have failed
  • encourage them, Lord
  • there may be some with great gifts who have had to learn to submit those gifts to the body so that the body could prosper
  • encourage them, Lord
  • we surrender and give you and consecrate this day and every gift we have
  • and as the church body leaves, may there be a sense within us that we're part of the team
  • help us to learn that we become greater by becoming a servant of others
  • [commitment]
  • is there anyone here who hasn't been using their spiritual gifts and is going to commit to embarking on a journey of discovery this morning?

  • take our gifts, mesh them together as a team at Park Lawn, for your glory, Amen.

The Spirit Preserves

  • a Peanuts cartoon featured Lucy and Linus looking out a window at a steady downpour of rain
  • "Boy," said Lucy, "look at it rain. What if it floods the whole world?"
  • "It will never do that," Linus replied confidently. "In the ninth chapter of Genesis, God promised Noah that would never happen again, and the sign of the promise is the rainbow"
  • "You've taken a great load off my mind," said Lucy with a relieved smile
  • "Sound theology," pontificated Linus, "has a way of doing that"

  • sound theology has a way of taking a load off our minds
  • many Christians are insecure about their salvation
  • they are insecure either because they are not sure they are saved, or because they fear doing something that will cause them to lose their salvation
  • this morning, we are going to talk about one of the most important aspects of the Christian faith
  • and it's this: do you have to worry about losing your salvation?
  • is it possible, once you've become a Christian, to become an unbeliever again?
  • or can we have confidence that if we're truly Christians, the Spirit will preserve us and keep us eternally secure?

  • there are two schools of thought on this matter, and I want to see which one you belong to
  • [THEORY ONE]
  • the first school of thought is called Arminianism
  • Arminians believe that even a true child of God can in fact lose his or her salvation at any time due to sin or a departure from the faith
  • they find the idea of eternal security troublesome, because they think it lures believers into complacency
  • they think, "If I'm a Christian no matter what, then I can live as I wish"
  • the downside is this: you always have to worry about wandering away from the faith
  • when someone asks you if you know you're going to heaven, you can only say, "I hope so, but it depends on my future behavior. There's always a chance that I could stray from the faith"
  • many Christians live with the fear that although they may be Christians now, there's no telling what might happen in the future

  • [THEORY TWO]
  • the second school of thought is called Calvinism
  • these Calvinists believe in something called "eternal security"
  • they believe that once a person is truly saved, he or she can never be lost
  • a true Christian is forever saved and is never in jeopardy of eternal condemnation

  • now, I'm interested
  • who believes it's possible to lose their salvation?
  • who believes that once you're truly saved, you can never be lost?

  • I'll tell you my thesis
  • and then I'll tell you the Holy Spirit's role in all of this
  • my thesis is this: a true Christian can never lose his or her salvation
  • as one man said, a true Christian can never become like Seven-Up™, an "uncola"
  • a true believer is eternally saved and never again in jeopardy of condemnation

  • now, we could write a book about this
  • we can't get into all the arguments for and against
  • but let me tell you why I believe this

  • we're saved not because of what we do, but because of what Christ has done
  • and Christ has promised:
  • (John 10:27) My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
  • (John 10:28) I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.
  • (John 10:29) My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all ; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.

  • the Bible says in Romans 8:35-39 that nothing can separate the believer from the love of Christ or God
  • (Romans 8:38) For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
  • (Romans 8:39) neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  • Paul also writes:
  • (Philippians 1:6) being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
  • Peter writes in 1 Peter 1:5 that we are "shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time"
  • as Spurgeon said over a hundred years ago, "Until God can be unjust, and demand two payments for one debt, he cannot destroy the soul for whom Jesus died"

  • you will notice in the Scriptures that exhortations to godliness are generally based on such things as what God has done for believers and Christ's promised return, not on the threat that believers will lose their salvation

  • let me be clear:
  • God has promised that if you are a true believer, nothing can separate you from his love
  • no one will snatch you out of God's hand
  • he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus

  • many believers make a mistake
  • they think they remain saved because they're holding on to God
  • but the Bible is clear that you are secure because God holds on to you
  • a grandfather went out for a walk with his little granddaughter
  • the grandfather said to the little girl, "Hold on to my hand"
  • the grandfather was taken back and said, "Why not?"
  • and the little girl replied, "You hold on to my hand!"
  • she understood that the key to her security wasn't her ability to hold on to grandpa's hand, it was grandpa's ability to hold on to her hand
  • our security doesn't come from our ability to hold on to God, but in God's ability to hold on to us
  • Hebrews 13:5 reminds us:
  • (Hebrews 13:5) God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."
  • the reason I'm focusing on this doctrine this morning is because of the Holy Spirit
  • a careful study of the Biblical data shows that the Spirit has a crucial role in preserving us
  • I want to look at two passages, and then speak about what the Holy Spirit means to our eternal security
  • please open your Bibles to Ephesians 1:13
  • (Ephesians 1:13) And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
  • (Ephesians 1:14) who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

  • and then I'll read a verse from Romans 8
  • (Romans 8:23) Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
  • according to these two passages, the Spirit has three roles in giving us eternal security

  • FIRST, THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OUR SEAL
  • one ministry of the Holy Spirit is that he is our seal
  • when we receive Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us and we automatically become sealed with the Spirit
  • seals were used back then much as they are today
  • the seal conveyed authenticity and ownership
  • the Spirit seals us and verifies that we belong to God
  • the moment of our salvation, we become sealed with the Spirit
  • God saved us and gave us this eternal seal

  • ACCORDING TO VERSE 14, THE HOLY SPIRIT IS ALSO OUR DEPOSIT
  • in other words, the Spirit is our pledge or down payment, the first installment
  • the word means that an initial payment has been made, guaranteeing complete payment in the future
  • it's as if we've been put on a layaway plan: the Spirit is God's first installment on our salvation and the guarantee that the full inheritance will be delivered
  • God possesses us and has given his Spirit as a down payment, and we can be sure that the transaction begun

  • AND THEN IN ROMANS 8:23, THE PASSAGE SAYS THAT WE HAVE RECEIVED THE FIRSTFRUITS OF THE SPIRIT
  • the fact that we possess the Holy Spirit today is not only evidence of our present salvation, but it is also the pledge of our future inheritance
  • the Holy Spirit has been given as a firstfruit of the harvest God has in store for us

  • there are two implications we need to face this morning
  • IMPLICATION NUMBER ONE: NOT EVERYONE WHO THINKS THEY ARE BELIEVERS REALLY ARE BELIEVERS
  • some of the most zealous believers I've known no longer serve God
  • they appeared to come to Christ, and they blazed brightly at the beginning, but they then fizzled out
  • Charles Templeton was an evangelist with Billy Graham, but now is an agnostic

  • Jesus said:
  • (Matthew 7:22) Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'
  • (Matthew 7:23) Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
  • it's like the parable of the sower and the seed:
  • (Mark 4:16) Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy.
  • (Mark 4:17) But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.

  • this morning, we need to make sure that we are true believers in Christ
  • we need to make sure that we're born again
  • not everyone who thinks they are a believer are believers
  • (1 John 5:13) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
  • how can we know that we have eternal life?

  • do you have a present trust in Christ for salvation?
  • some people give "testimonies" of a conversion that might have happened 20 or 30 years ago
  • my question is, if that testimony of faith is genuine, what is happening in your life spiritually today?
  • do you have a present trust in Christ for salvation?

  • is there evidence of a regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in your heart?
  • the Holy Spirit will be producing the kind of character traits that Paul calls the "fruit of the Spirit" in Galatians 5:22-23: "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control"
  • the question is not, "Have I perfectly attained all these attributes"
  • rather, the question is, "Are these things general characteristics of my life? Do I sense these attitudes in my heart? Have I been growing in them over a period of years?"

  • what is your influence on other people?
  • some people profess to be Christians, but their influence on others is to discourage them, drag them down, injure their faith, and to provoke controversy and divisiveness
  • they do not build up others and build up the church, but they tear it down
  • some others can't help but bless you whenever they open their mouths
  • they seem to edify others in every conversation, in every prayer, and in every work of ministry
  • (Matthew 7:16) By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?
  • (Matthew 7:17) Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

  • are you keeping God's commandments?
  • (1 John 2:4) The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
  • (1 John 2:5) But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:
  • (1 John 2:6) Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

  • some people argue that Christians will be lulled into a sense of complacency
  • they will think, "Once saved, always saved, so I may as well do as I wish"
  • it's doubtful that the person who thinks this way is even a believer in the first place
  • it's as absurd as saying that because we have health insurance, we're going to chew on razor blades or guzzle hydrochloric acid
  • only a fool would do this
  • yes, God has secured us with an eternal insurance policy, the Holy Spirit
  • but God does not cover us eternally so we can go out and abuse his grace
  • if we really know Christ, we will be trying to please and obey him

  • a preacher once was walking down a street
  • a drunk recognized him and exclaimed, "Aren't you so-and-so? Why, I'm one of your converts!"
  • the preacher replied, "That must be true, because you certainly aren't one of the Lord's converts"

  • do you know that you are a true believer in Christ? that you have been born again?
  • if not, you can know for certain
  • if you're not sure, please talk to me or someone else about how you can know for sure whether you're a believer or not
  • we need to make sure we're one of the Lord's converts

  • IMPLICATION NUMBER TWO: THIS IS A TREMENDOUSLY COMFORTING DOCTRINE
  • if we ask ourselves these questions, and we can see the Spirit's work in our lives, then this is a tremendously comforting doctrine
  • no one who has such assurance needs to ask themselves, "Will I be able to persevere to the end?"

  • you can rest secure in the assurance that nothing can separate you from the love of God
  • there is no need for anxiety that something or someone will keep you from attaining the final blessedness which you have been promised
  • as someone has said, our feelings are not our Savior
  • we don't put our focus on ourselves and how we feel, we depend on Christ

  • wherever the Spirit's work results in the conviction that your commitment to Christ is genuine, you can have certainty that God will enable you to persist in that relationship, and that nothing can separate you from God's love
  • (Philippians 1:6) being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

  • have any of you been dumped in a relationship?
  • I think everyone's been dumped at one time or another
  • I'm here to tell you this morning that God will never dump us
  • he has saved you and sealed you with the Holy Spirit, and he's not going to dump you
  • that will never happen
  • no one can ever snatch you out of his hand

  • why does God want us to know that we are secure in him?
  • imagine how you would feel if you weren't sure that your spouse loved you
  • this apprehension would keep you constantly off balance and insecure in your marriage
  • you would be wondering if some little thing would trigger your mate, and they would disappear
  • and that your attempts at love would be spurned or ignored
  • well, God doesn't want us to feel insecure
  • he loves us unconditionally
  • which is another way of saying that he couldn't possibly love us any more or any less
  • God loves you and nothing will ever separate you from that love
  • Amen?

  • you know, I love my daughter unconditionally
  • when she was born, in my mind I knew that I would feed her and clothe her no matter what the cost
  • her eating and being clothed was unrelated to her behavior
  • she might need some discipline at times, she may be rebellious at times, but as much as is in my power, she is going to be guaranteed all she needs to grow into an adult
  • we are God's by birth, and nothing can change that
  • we may need discipline at times, but God says, "You're mine, and nothing will ever change that"

  • in the Peanuts cartoon Lucy said, "You've taken a great load off my mind"
  • "Sound theology," pontificated Linus, "has a way of doing that"