Monthly Archives: August 2015

Gospel Power

1 Corinthian 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power.

Where does the power to change a heart of stone to flesh come from? From our words and witness or the Holy Spirit? Many fail to share the truth of God’s word fearing they will drive people away instead of drawing them to God. While it is true we can at time run people out of the congregation, we should never be foolish enough to believe we can run them from the church. This would be like saying we have more push than God has pull, for one cannot come to God unless the spirit draws them.

Here we have Paul speaking of his preaching or speaking, Paul spoke solely of Christ and him crucified, and trusted the holy spirit to do what Jesus said it would do. As he determined, so he acted. The subject matter of his ministry was not any of the liberal arts and sciences, or the philosophy and dry morality of the Gentiles, but salvation by a crucified Christ. His style, his diction, his language followed this in his preaching, He didn’t try to entice man or impress man of his knowledge or how smart he was with technical words, words of art, contrived by human wisdom to captivate the affections. Nor did Paul come with bare probable arguments, but he spoke in the power of the spirit partly by making use of solid proofs out of the writings of the Old Testament, indicted by the Spirit of God, and which amounted to a demonstration of the truths he delivered. Besides all these, the Spirit of God wonderfully assisted him in his work, both as to words and matter; directing him, what to say, and in what form, in words, not which human wisdom taught, but which the Holy Ghost taught. The Holy Spirit accompanied his ministry with his power, to the conversion, comfort, edification, and salvation of many.

The Spirit of God directed Paul, and he under the Spirit’s influence chose, and by his assistance pursued this way of preaching. He pursued it with this view, and for this reason, that faith in Christ and in the doctrines of his Gospel, which comes by hearing, might not be attributed to the force of human effort but solely on the power of God.

Return To A Just God

 Sunday School Lesson                                            

Lesson: Malachi 3:1-10

                                                                                                 

Golden Text: For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed (Malachi 3:6).

  1. INTRODUCTION.  After the Babylonian Captivity ended, a remnant of Jews returned to the Holy Land (see Ezra 1:1-5; 2:1) to rebuild the temple and the city of Jerusalem.  At the time Malachi ministered, some one hundred years after the first exiles returned to Judah, the temple had been rebuilt and the city was restored, but the people’s hearts were not right with God.  They had not been living up to the covenant they had with the Lord and they were losing enthusiasm for worship.  Many were skeptical of God’s promises.  Malachi called God’s drifting people to repentance, reminding them of God’s reward for faithfulness.
  2. BACKGROUND FOR THE LESSON. Nehemiah led a third major return of exiles back to Jerusalem in 445 B.C. with the goal of rebuilding the walls around the city. He led the completion of this task and remained in Jerusalem as governor for 12 years (see Nehemiah 5:14) before returning to Persia.  He and Ezra also led the nation of Judah in spiritual revival (see Nehemiah chapters 7, 8).  However, after he returned to Persia, the people went back to their old wicked ways.  Nehemiah then returned some years later around 430 B.C. and found that the tithes were not given, the Sabbath Day was disregarded, intermarriage with foreigners was widespread and the priest became corrupt (see Nehemiah 13:10-31).   At this time, Malachi had begun his ministry in Jerusalem.  Unfortunately, most of Malachi’s prophecy consisted of rebuke for sin.  The priesthood was being defiled (see Malachi 1:6-14; 2:1-9), marriage was being taken lightly (see Malachi 2:16) and temple worship was lacking financial support (see Nehemiah 13:10-11).  It was in this context of moral corruption that Malachi ministered.

III. THE JUST GOD COMES (Malachi 3:1-5)

  1. The messenger preparing the way is coming (Malachi 3:1).
  2. (vs 1). Our first verse says Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.” This announcement that the Lord would send His messenger is His response to the questions the prophet said the people asked in Malachi 2:17.  The two basic questions asked in Malachi 2:17 were “Wherein have we wearied him (God)?” and “Where is the God of judgment?”  Even though the people were back in the land and their temple was rebuilt, they were out of fellowship with their God.  The fact is, they were wearying or tiring God.  They believed that all of God’s threats of judgment were just empty words.  By asking those two questions, the people were accusing God of favoring those who were doing evil, even calling upon Him to show His judgment or justice as if He couldn’t.  In reality, Malachi 2:17 which is the last verse in chapter 2, belongs with chapter 3.  We must remember that the chapter divisions in our English Bibles were placed there by man and are not inspired.  The answer to those two questions is introduced with the word Behold” which is used twice in this verse in order to get the people’s full attention.  The Lord went on to say “I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me.”  God’s answer through Malachi pointed toward the future.  The “messenger” here refers to the forerunner of the Messiah, John the Baptist.  We know this to be true because Jesus quoted Malachi 3:1when describing John the Baptist (see Matthew 11:10-11; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27).  John the Baptist would be the “messenger” who God said would “prepare the way before me.”  In other words, God would send someone to prepare the way for Him to reveal Himself to mankind.  This prediction is also made in Isaiah 40:3, and both of them were based on the practice of kings sending men ahead of them to remove all obstacles in their paths.  The first part of this verse Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me” refers to Jesus’ first advent or coming.  Malachi, like other Old Testament prophets saw both comings of Christ as one event, but they didn’t see the church age which separates the two advents (see Ephesians 3:3-6; Colossians 1:25-27).  also said that “the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple.”  This phrase refers to Christ’s Second Advent or coming.  The word “suddenly” implies that His coming will be unexpected, especially to those who allow themselves to be put to sleep by the long wait, or other concerns (see I Thessalonians 5:1-4; I Peter 3:10).  It’s possible that the phrase “shall suddenly come to his temple” refers to Jesus’ appearance in the temple at His first coming when He ran the buyers and sellers out of the temple courtyard.  However, in the context of the remaining verses, it’s more likely that it refers to the Messiah’s second coming as Judge to cleanse His people the Jews, which will result in many repenting.  It’s true that Jesus, Israel’s true Messiah did cleanse the temple at His first advent, but Israel didn’t repent at that time.  When the Lord returns, the temple will have been rebuilt.  Malachi also described the Messiah as “the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in.”  The word “messenger” can be translated “angel” and here it’s most likely a reference to the Angel of the Lord, who accompanied the covenant people during their journeys (see Exodus 23:20; 32:34).  As the Angel of the Lord, He is also “the messenger of the covenant” that God made with His people (see Judges 2:1).  Malachi also described the coming Messiah as “whom ye delight in” which was a reference to all those in Israel who sincerely longed for His coming (see Luke 2:25) and would rejoice at seeing Him.  However, in light of the people’s questions in Malachi 2:17, it maybe that the phrase “whom ye delight in” might have been spoken in irony, reminding the people of how little they really did delight in their God.  Finally in this verse, Malachi once again said “behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.”  The prophet made it clear that the Messiah was certainly going to appear, because God had placed His words behind it: “the Lord of hosts” said it.  If Israel wanted justice as they asked in Malachi 2:17, the Lord would give it to them, but His appearance and justice would not be as pleasant as they hoped it would be.
  3. The Messenger will judge (Malachi 3:2-3).
  4. (vs. 2). Malachi goes on to say in this verse “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.” The second coming of Christ is primarily in view here.  The word “But” indicates that the Messiah’s coming to judge might be more than Malachi’s listeners had bargained for.  God through Malachi asked the questions “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth?”  To ask the questions was to answer them, for the answers to both questions is no one.  God’s judgment, judgment that the people thought would never come, will come in severity.  No one will be able to escape it or withstand it.  Malachi uses two analogies to explain why no one will be able to “abide” the day of Christ’s coming, or “stand when he appeareth.”   It’s because “he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap.”  First, like a refiner who burns the dross off of metals to reveal the pure metal, Christ will purge the dross or sin from Israel and make His people pure.  A “fuller” is a launderer or one who cleans clothes.  Like a launderer, Jesus would apply the strongest cleaning agent to remove the dirt from the fabric, or heart of the nation.  Both the “refiner’s fire, and fullers’ soap” are used as symbols of God’s purifying or cleansing process.  Those who contaminate the spiritual life of Israel will not be spared from judgment.  What soap and fire does in separating dirt from clothes and dross from metal, the cleansing word of God will do the same for His people (see John 15:3;17:17).
  5. (vs. 3). This verse says “And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.” Continuing his analogy from the previous verse, Malachi said that the Messiah “shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.”  Like the refiner who purifies silver by fire to remove the dross, Christ will “purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver.”  Christ will start His judgment with “the sons of Levi” or the priests, the religious leaders who were the foremost offenders of God’s law.  In fact, God addressed them in Malachi 1:6 as, “O priests that despise my name.”  They were treating God’s name with contempt, and they led the people astray (Malachi 1:6-11).  The corrupt priests carried on their work as mere professionals, not like ministers of God.  They even offered blemished animals as sacrifices (see Malachi 1:6-2:9).  But the bad example set by the priests didn’t excuse the people of their sins.  They, too, were sinning grievously (see Malachi 2:10-17).  Messiah will “purge them (the priests) as gold and silver” purifying them of all corruption.  Christ’s cleansing and purifying of the priests is required so that “they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”  When the religious leaders have been judged and purified or cleansed, they will offer sacrifices of “righteousness” meaning acceptable sacrifices.  When the lives of the Levites are set in proper order, they will make sure that the lives of the congregation are in order.  Christ’s appearance, then, will purify all the people, from the top of the leadership to the common working person.  Through this cleansing and refining process there will emerge a group of people who will sincerely serve the Lord.
  6. The Messenger will protect (Malachi 3:4-5).
  7. (vs. 4). Malachi continues to say in this verse “Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.” The word “Then” refers to what will happen after the divine judgment when Messiah cleanses His people and they offer righteous offerings.  At that time “Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord.”  Israel’s sacrifices were intended to be “a sweet savour (smell) unto the Lord” (see Leviticus 1:17), pleasing Him because they expressed the genuine devotion of the worshippers.  This future genuine worship that will please God will be done by Israel just like it had been “in the days of old, and as in former years.”  This phrase probably refers to the first years that Israel wandered in the wilderness under Moses before the priesthood became corrupt.  Note:  This passage teaches us the practical lesson that God desires worthy gifts from righteous people (see Psalms 4:5).  Believers today don’t need a special priesthood because we come to God through one High Priest, Jesus Christ (see Hebrews 3:1-2; 4:14-15; 5:5, 10; 6:20).  But we need to look closely at ourselves to determine whether our prayers, service, and offerings come from clean hearts and worthy motives (see Psalms 24:4-5; 51:10; 73:1).  Even the most valuable gift is worthless when it comes from an unclean giver.  We cannot offer unto the Lord any right performances in religion, i.e., attending church, giving financially, praise and worship unless we have been justified and sanctified.  Until we ourselves are refined and purified by the grace of God, we cannot do anything that will result in the glory of God.  Remember, God had respect to Abel first, and then to his offering.  Therefore, God purges his people, that we may offer our offerings to him in righteousness, as we worship Him in spirit and truth (see John 4:23-24).
  8. (vs. 5). In this verse, God goes on to say through the prophet “And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.” Suddenly the judgment of God will come upon the transgressors.  The Lord said “And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness.”  This would be God’s answer to the people’s question in Malachi regarding God’s “judgment” or justice.  They asked “Where is the God of judgment (justice)?” (see Malachi 2:17).  As a swift witness” God Himself will bring His unbelieving people to justice, and He will be an expert witness and testify about the evil things they have done.  Then the Lord listed some of the sins and the sinners against whom His judgment will fall.
  9. “Sorcerers:” The sin of sorcery involves divination, using the aid of evil spirits through such things as witchcraft, magic, and enchantments. Contrary to God’s instructions in the Law, some Jews had married Gentile or foreign wives. Through this sin Jews fell into the sin of sorcery (see Deuteronomy 7:1-6; 18: 9-14).  Note:  Not only did Jews sin by intermarrying with Gentiles, but they also violated God’s law regarding marriage by putting away their wives by divorce (see Malachi 2:15-16; Matthew 19:9).
  10. “Adulterers:” The sin of adultery was intercourse between two married people who were not married to each other. This was a violation of the sixth commandment (see Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18; Proverbs 6:32). The Law instructed Israel to put adulterers and adulteresses to death (see Leviticus 20:10).   Many Jews were guilty of both physical and spiritual adultery (see Matthew 5:28, 32; James 4:4) as are many people today.
  11. “False swearers:” These were people who lie yet swear that something is true. In particular, it referred to those who lied, then swore in God’s name so that the lie would be accepted (see Leviticus 19:12; James 5:12).
  12. Those “that oppress the hireling in his wages” were guilty of the sin of cheating hired workers out of their full wages (see Leviticus 19:13; James 5:1-4).
  13. Those “that oppress the widow, and the fatherless” were guilty of the sin of taking advantage of the disadvantaged: the widows and orphans. This also violated God’s law (see Exodus 22:22-24). Human nature is the same in every age for we see this type of attitude today.
  14. Those “that turn aside the stranger from his right.” This sin involved depriving strangers of justice. There were those who defrauded, or took advantage of strangers that lived among God’s people.  The Law of Moses was very plain concerning the treatment of strangers.  They were to be accepted in love as one would accept another Israelite (see Leviticus 19:33-35).
  15. The last group mentioned God described as those that “fear not me.” This sin is simply failing to fear or reverence God. This does not mean being afraid of God, but failing to reverence or respect Him.  Therefore, this sin provides the basis for all sin.  Sin originates from a disregard for God and His commandments (see I John 2:3-5).
  16. THE JUST GOD RESPONDS (Malachi 3:6-10)
  17. The God who is unchanging (Malachi 3:6-7).
  18. (vs. 6). After all God had endured with this rebellious people, He surely had good reason to destroy them. But He didn’t.  In this verse, the Lord declared “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”  The first phrase literally reads “For I, Yahweh, do not change.”  God used His name “Yahweh” or “Lord” to stress His unchangeableness.  It was also God’s covenant name that He used to emphasize His covenant relationship with Israel.  This name means the “One who exists eternally.”  Even though God is gracious and compassionate, He cannot change His moral standards to accommodate sinners.  That would violate His essential nature.  Because God does not change, He said “therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”  The Lord had made an unconditional covenant with Abraham and his descendents (see Genesis chapter 15) and confirmed it with Isaac (see Genesis 26:3-4, 24) and Jacob (see Genesis 28:13-14).  The Jews, as the “sons” or descendents of “Jacob,” God had not destroyed them, because by His very nature He does not change.  He does not go back on His promises (see Psalms 119:89; James 1:17).  After God established a covenant relationship with Israel He promised that He would not destroy them (see Deuteronomy 4:30-31).  The fact that there were still Jews in Malachi’s time was due totally to God’s faithfulness.  Israel had deserved destruction, but God was absolutely faithful and changeless.  He will never break His word.  Note:  The unchangeableness of God does not mean that He has not changed His way of dealing with man.  His standard remains perfect, but the demonstration of faith in order to be reconciled to God has changed.  Believers in Israel offered sacrifices and kept the Mosaic Law by faith.  Believers today accept Christ for forgiveness and then show faith through godly actions and godly speech.  God’s dealing with man may change, but neither He nor His standards never change.
  19. (vs. 7). God continued to say in this verse “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them. Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye said, Wherein shall we return?” While God was faithful, Israel had been wayward.  He indicted them saying “Even from the days of your fathers ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them.”  The rebelliousness of previous generations had resulted in exile from their land.  Now their spiritually rebellious descendents were reverting to the same old ways, not keeping His “ordinances” or commandments.  Violating God’s ordinances had become the norm for Israel, and obedience was the exception.  Unfaithfulness characterized the people of Israel all through their history and God reminded them of that.  Both they and their ancestors had rebelled against God and repeatedly disobeyed His commands.  But in spite of their stubbornness and persistence in sin, God extended the opportunity for them to restore fellowship with Him.  Therefore He said “Return unto me, and I will return unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.”  Their repeated unfaithfulness had not changed His love for them.  He would forgive them yet again, but they had to take the first step.  Repentance or a change in behavior was the response God required.  The word “Return” implies a genuine conversion in which they both confessed their sins and changed their ways.  If they returned to Him in repentance and obedience, He would return to them in blessing.  Instead of responding to their gracious God in repentance, the people asked “Wherein shall we return?”  In other words they were asking “How do we return?”  This question implies that this complacent generation had not only wandered from God, they had also lost all sense of guilt over what they had done.  They were so satisfied with themselves that they were not even aware that they had gone astray.  Note:  We don’t have to wonder why many sinners today are not bothered when they are faced with their blatant violations of God’s standards.  They have simply set aside the Bible, considering it to be irrelevant, and they have formed their own standards.  Trust me; this is a dangerous attitude to have!
  20. The God who is robbed (Malachi 3:8-9).
  21. (vs. 8). In response to the people’s question regarding how can they return to Him, God asked “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.” The word “rob” means “to defraud” or “cheat” (see Proverbs 22:22).  The question “Will a man rob God?” implies how unthinkable it is for a mere human to try to defraud God.  Yet that’s exactly what they were doing, for the Lord went on to answer His own question saying “Yet ye have robbed me.”  This Jewish remnant that had returned to Jerusalem was stealing from the Lord.  Instead of agreeing with God, they seemed not to believe or understand the charge, so they challenged God’s statement by asking “Wherein have we robbed thee?”  They wanted to know how they had robbed Him.  God was quick to reply saying “In tithes and offerings.”  The people had not obeyed the laws regarding tithes and offerings.  The “tithes” of the Israelites consisted of several things.  First, they were to give a tenth of all their produce and livestock for the support of the Levites (see Leviticus 27:30-33; Numbers 18:24).  Another tithe was to be given every third year for Levites and the destitute people of the land (see Deuteronomy 14:28-29).  In addition there were various “offerings” that were set aside for the support of the priests (see Numbers 5:9-10; Deuteronomy 18:1-5).
  22. (vs. 9). In this verse God said “Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” In robbing God, the Jews were really robbing themselves of God’s blessings.  If the people had “robbed” God in order to increase their own possessions, they had not succeeded.  He declared “Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me.”  God had earlier stated that He would send a “curse” upon their blessings if they would not obey (see Malachi 2:2).  They had not obeyed so the “curse” had fallen upon them.  God said that it was because “ye have robbed me.”  Malachi 3:11 tells us what this “curse” included.  The crops were attacked by insects, and the grapes fell from the vines prematurely.  The people had decided not to give the firstfruits or the tithes in order to have more for themselves, but in the end they had nothing at all (see Haggai 1:4-6, 9-11).  The Lord also said “even this whole nation” was guilty of robbing Him.  Therefore, the “curse” had fallen upon the entire land.  Surely this does not mean that every single individual in the nation was at odds with God.  There must have been some who remained faithful, because God always has a remnant who will honor Him (see Ezra 3:8; Isaiah 1:9; 10:22; 46:3-4; Jeremiah 31:7; 42:2-4; Joel 2:32; Micah 7:18-19; Zephaniah 3:13; Haggai 1:12; Romans 9:27; 11:5).  However, the sin was so widespread, especially among the leaders, that the “whole nation” was implicated.
  23. The God who blesses (Malachi 3:10). In our final verse, God told the people to “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” The cursed situation that the Jews found themselves in didn’t have to continue.  God indicated that circumstances could change if the people would “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house.”   The words “all the tithes” implies that some had stopped tithing and they needed to resume giving the tithe.  It can also imply that many people had been giving but were holding back a part of what the law required.  We all know what happened to Ananias and Sapphira who kept back part of what belonged to God (see Acts 5:1-5).  The “storehouse” refers to chambers in the temple set aside for the people’s gifts (see II Chronicles 31:11-12; Nehemiah 10:34-39).  Things had gotten so bad that Nehemiah found that some of the temple storage rooms had been converted into a private apartment for Tobiah, the Ammonite (see Nehemiah 13:7) who led the opposition against the rebuilding of Jerusalem (see Nehemiah 2:10, 19; 4:3, 7-8).  The word “meat” means food and here it refers to meeting the needs of the Levites and priests according to the Mosaic Law.  The food was necessary to sustain the priests and Levites so that they could spend all their time serving God, which was also serving His people.  The Lord then challenged His people by saying “and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing.”  The words “prove me” means to “put someone to the test.”  God invited His people to test Him by bringing all their tithes and He would respond by giving to them.  He likened His giving to them to opening windows of heaven and pouring out upon them much blessing.  In that dry land, abundant rain was a great blessing.  Here it symbolizes God’s favor and blessing in all areas of life.  If the people gave as God had directed, His blessing would be so great that He said “that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” 

            

  1. Conclusion. Our passage this week discusses the results of serving a God who demands that His people demonstrate justice to everyone. First, we can rest assured that one day God will come to judge all the injustice in the world.  Second, God’s justice will show up in our present world in the form of an unchangeable God who rewards those who don’t neglect bringing their resources to Him.

 

 

Dying to Live

Col. 3:3-“For ye are dead , and your life is hid with Christ in God”.

 

We as believers have been called to be the beloved of God. By His we have been given new life. When we surrender our life to Christ, our sins have been forgiven, and we are now accepted in Christ death and resurrection. Through our faith in the resurrection of Christ, we have been blessed with heavenly blessings which should occupy our every praise and thanksgiving. Christ resurrection shows us that Jesus is in fact the son of the living God. We know by faith that we have been raised to a new life, that we are saved and justified, given power to live victoriously over sin and the trials of this world.

We are given hope, even the hope of glory. We are guaranteed our own resurrection. God takes our faith in Jesus, and counts it as righteousness, our faith in Jesus makes us one with Christ giving us union with him. When Jesus died and rose again, we to by faith, died and rose a new creature in Christ. Having a new life with a new heart, a new character, walk toward new aims from a new direction, and walking after new leaders. A heart ruled by the peace of Jesus Christ, a peace that passes all understanding. A peace which binds us ,joins us, and weaves us together, that we are assured , confident, and secured in the love and care of God. This peace strengthens, encourages, guides, sustains ,delivers, saves, provides, and gives us real life, a new life in Christ. This peace makes us one with Christ and his word. This new heart is rich with the word of Christ.
His Gospel takes root in the heart and fills us with all the wealth of His commandments, promises, instructions and warnings that we might have real love one to another, as we do everything in the name of Jesus.

A Loving Father

Luke 15:20 ” But when he was yet a great way off, His Father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him. ”

Luke shows the great pleasure God has when one sinner repents and returns to him. Through a series of parables, Jesus shows us the Joy that takes place when the lost are found. When the backslider returns, one who was in the fold and wondered away. The lost coin, those lost inside the church, And then the most famous of all the stories the prodigal son.

While in darkness, a servant to sin and the various lust it powers, my Father saw me. While a great way off, while still in my degraded needful condition, while I was yet a sinner, my Father saw me and He loved me. Before the foundation of the world he called me from darkness into his marvelous light. While I was still waddling in the pig pen of life, he looked beyond my faults and saw my needs. When everyone else could only see the worst in me, He saw the best in me . While I was yet a great way off, my Father saw me, the eyes of mercy looking on his lost son, while I was yet a sinner. When he saw me, my Father had compassion on me, had pity on my fallen condition. My Father ran to me. I was burden down with guilt, sin, shame and fear, I came slowly, but he ran to me with the urgency of salvation. He met me with encouragement, he gave me hope, comfort and peace as he accepted me into his rest. The arms of mercy stretched out to embrace me. He fell on my neck, even though I had just gotten out of the pig pen of life, covered with the stanch of sin and filth, the Father takes me in his arms and falls on my neck.

He lays me in his bosom, The bosom a place of honor, like Lazarus in the bosom of Abraham, The bosom a place of the beloved, As John the beloved, the disciple Jesus loved, laying in Jesus bosom at the last supper. The bosom the place of the blessedness, as Jesus the only begotten of God, rest in the bosom of his Father.Then He kissed me, my sins forgiven, never to be mentioned again. He I am a new creature in Christ. Because he saw me,God gave his only begotten son to die for my sins, because He is a loving Father. Thank God for Jesus