THE GOOD WORDS OF GOD

LESSONS FROM ZACCHAEUS
November 7, 2021
LOVE, MADE VISIBLE
November 17, 2021

SCRIPTURE 1 John:1
In times of strife and hardship, one needs good words. I want to focus on three of them. They are pardon, hope, and faith! Pardon, hope, and faith are three parts of God’s good news that will give you the “peace that passeth all understanding.”

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” The Christian news is that we have forgiveness. Pardon also applies. Dietrich Bonhoffer, an early 20th century philosopher put it this way regarding the pardoning of our sins. “He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. Few backs are strong enough to bear the weight of unforgiven sin.” Martin Luther sent on to speak of the “freedom” of the Christian person. “The promise of God indicates that one does not have to bear his sin. Jesus pardons us to relieve our load.”

Luke 23:35-43 “The people stood watching and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’ The soldiers also came up and mocked him. The offered him wine vinegar and said ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’ There was a written notice above him which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him saying ‘Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God’, he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom. ‘Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.'” Many people have asked about the name of the thief on the cross. Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t give his name. It really doesn’t matter.  The story of this thief gives us a beautiful picture of God’s love and forgiveness as shown through Jesus.  It shows us the mercy freely given to all mankind. This shows us that someone can be pardoned even in their last hours.

Hope is important to us all. Because Jesus allows us the ability to be pardoned, we always have hope. Hope is God’s good news. Faith in action equals hope! Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Christian hope clings to the promise that God has something better in store for us. Hope is why the resurrection means so much to Christians. It symbolizes the promise that God has something better yet  for us. We need to learn to wait and be patient to find out what it is. Our time is not God’s time.

Faith is God’s good news. We can thank God for the ability to be pardoned. We can hope for a better day. Faith is the headline of the Good News. God gives us both a reason and the courage to have the gift of faith. Make no apology for a life of faith!

Mark 11:2Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”