The Old Preacher

Viewing the World through God's Word

Month: September 2014

Is “Charismatic” a Bad Word?

One of my daughters and her husband ban “bad” words from their childrenlike “stupid” (whoops!).  Is “charismatic” a “bad” word?

Charismatics are Christians who believe the gifts of the Holy Spirit have been given to the church from apostolic days until Jesus returns.  That includes today. 

What and why are the gifts of the Spirit?  Theologian Wayne Grudem defines a spiritual gift as “any ability that is empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in the ministry of the church” (Systematic Theology, p. 1016).  According to the New Testament, spiritual gifts include prophecy (not foretelling the future but spontaneously forth-telling God’s Word), service, teaching, exhortation, contributing (giving), leading, showing mercy (Romans 12:6-8), a word of wisdom, a word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, ability to distinguish between spirits, various kinds of tongues, the interpretation of tongues, helping and administration (1 Corinthians 12:8-10,28).  God gives these gifts for the good of the church.  “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7).

How are the gifts of the Spirit given?  “Charismatic” comes from the Greek (in which the New Testament was originally written) charisma.  It means “a gift” (freely and graciously bestowed).  It’s used of general blessings from God and of special spiritual gifts bestowed graciously by God on individual Christians, as below.

  • “As each has received a gift (charisma), use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” (1 Peter 4:10).
  • “Having gifts (charismata) that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them . . . ” (Romans 12:6).
  • “Now there are varieties of gifts (charismatone), but the same Spirit . . . ” (1 Corinthians 12:4)
  • ” . . . gifts (charismata) of healing by the one Spirit . . . ” (1 Corinthians 12:9).
  • “And God has appointed in the church . . . gifts (charismata) of healing . . . ” (1 Corinthians 12:28).
  • “Do all possess gifts (charismata) of healing?” (1 Corinthians 12:30).
  • “But earnestly desire the higher gifts (charismata)” (1 Corinthians 12:31).

So spiritual gifts are gifts, given by God on the basis of his grace, not the merit or maturity of the recipient.

Why do some Christians reject the gifts of the Spirit today?  I know of pastors who sound as if they’d like to plywood church windows and tape doorways to keep charismatics from blowing in!

Why?  First, abuses.  Some charismatics have utilized spiritual gifts contrary to biblical order.  Turned them into circus acts with themselves in the center ring.  Minimized the gospel of Jesus Christ to maximize their personal profit by sensationalizing gifts. Claimed healings that couldn’t be documented.  Preached a gospel contrary to that of the apostles, so should be accursed (Galatians 1:8).  But, in my experience, that’s not true of most.

I grew up in a Pentecostal church (an early version of “charismatic”) and can’t recall such abuses.  My first ordination was from a Pentecostal denomination.   And, if pushed to be labeled,  I would call myself a “Reformed Charismatic.”   (Not a charismatic abuser who reformed, a charismatic who essentially stands with the faith of the Reformers.)

Second, (I think this is the main reason for charismatic critics):  they believe spiritual gifts ceased with the death of the apostles (essentially the close of the 1st century).  They speculate that spiritual gifts were necessary to authenticate the apostles’ gospel.  But once the Scriptures were completed, such authentication was no longer needed.  Biblically they base their “cessationist” view primarily on 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 . . .

“Love never ends.  As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

My conclusions. Yes, prophecies will pass away and tongues will cease and knowledge will pass away.  Spiritual gifts will end.  When?  ” . . . when the perfect comes.”  When we see “face to face.”  When we “shall know fully.”   The easiest phrase to interpret here is “face to face.”  The Old Testament uses it of seeing God personally.  “So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, ‘For I have seen God face to face'” (Genesis 32:30).

In the New Testament the apostle John writes of the time when believers will see the Son of God return:  “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).  This refers to Christ’s second coming—when we see him “as he is.”   That’s when we will see “face to face.”  That’s when the “perfect” will come.  That’s when we shall “know fully.”  And that’s when spiritual gifts will end.

Yes, abusers must be condemned.  Yes, extremists must be identified for what they are.  They are people who dishonor the Lord, disobey his Word, deceive the people and sicken me.  But the gifts of the Spirit must not be rejected.  There is no sound biblical warrant for doing so.  They are (still today)  manifestations of God’s grace among us.  They strengthen God’s people for his glory.  They aid the church in functioning as the Body of Christ.  Let’s not say “no” to what the Spirit gives—or, as we used to say, throw out the baby with the bath water.

“Charismatic” is not a bad word!  It’s a good biblical word pointing to the gifts of God’s grace to his people for his glory until he comes.

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lion Kisses

My friend Amy (our church keyboardist) sent me this video.

These days I never know if what I see is reality or virtual.  In any case, it’s worth a look . . .

http://www.vitality101.com/Fun/lion-kisses-rescuer

I had just finished reading The Chronicles of Narnia about the sixth time.  So my first thought was “Aslan!”  What’s an Aslan? If you have to ask, you really should read these books and catch an imaginary, entertaining  look at the kingdom of God through the eyes of a child.  They are C.S. Lewis at his most creative.

Here’s a sample from the first in the series, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chapter 14).  Aslan the lion (the “Jesus figure”) has been executed on the Stone Table by the Witch and a mob of Aslan’s evil enemies.  Susan and Lucy are two girls from England who, along with their brothers Peter and Edmund, have surprisingly entered the land of Narnia through the back of a wardrobe in an old mansion they’re visiting.  In Narnia the girls have witnessed Aslan’s death.  Now, some time later, they walk sorrowfully back  to the Stone Table.  But the Table is empty!  Aslan’s body is gone!  Suddenly, he appears–alive! Lewis describes their joy . . .

Round and round the hilltop he led them, now hopelessly out of their reach, now letting them almost catch his tail, now diving between them, now tossing them in the air with his huge and beautifully velveted paws and catching them again, and now stopping unexpectedly so that all three of them rolled over together in a happy laughing heap of fur and arms and legs.  It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten, Lucy could never make up her mind (Chapter 15).

Now you know why my first thought was “Aslan!”  By the way, to check out the books, click the link below.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_14?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the%20chronicles%20of%20narnia&sprefix=The+Chronicles%2Caps%2C241

My second thought after the video was, “Isaiah!” 

From 9:8-10:34 the prophet warns Israel and Assyria that the LORD will come with a mighty axe and cut down the arrogant nations as a woodsman levels lofty trees.  But then . . .

“There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit” (Isaiah 11:1). Jesse was King David’s father.  From his family, Isaiah declares Messiah will come, like a small branch sprouting from a leftover stump.  Messiah will be empowered by the Spirit of the LORD and reign in righteousness (Isaiah 11:2-5).  Here is how Isaiah paints the peaceful picture of Messiah’s kingdom . . .

“The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.  The cow and the bear shall graze; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox . . . They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6,7,9). 

The apostle Paul tells of the same future when he promises that we are . . .

” . . . heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may be glorified with him.  For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.  For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.  And not only the creation, 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” (Romans 8:17b-23).

Imagine a creation where every child plays safely without a trace of fear . . . where our bodies are glorified like the body of our Lord never to be weak or sick, never to die . . . and where the whole created order is transformed so that lions hug your neck and lick your face!

Here.  Take another look.  And dream, child of God–dream of our future with The Lion . . .

http://www.vitality101.com/Fun/lion-kisses-rescuer

 

 

 

 

 

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How Bad Is Sin?

Last weekend my wife kindly gave me her cold (she still has its remnants).  I was struggling enough with my disability and its related discomforts.  I didn’t need running eyes and nose, sore throat, etc.  Consequently, I wasn’t up to writing a post for the whole week.

It got me thinking again about all the suffering in the world (of which mine is minimal).  Some of it, of course, is just part of what we call the “natural” aging process.  The body wears out.  Parts break down.  What once was young and vibrant becomes old creaky-stiff.  No one is immune–except the ones who suddenly die young.

Other suffering comes from disease or violence or disability or accident that strikes the young.  Organizations that help our “wounded warriors” are on TV every day asking for financial contributions.  Last night I heard of a grandfather who murdered his six grandchildren, then shot himself.  Ebola is killing thousands in Africa and threatens to spread.  The tragic list goes on and on.

Coupled with physical suffering is emotional pain–anxiety, fear, loneliness, hopelessness, sorrow, grief, anger.  And along with much of it comes the financial burden of a mountain of medical bills.

As I was thinking about that this week, the thought hit me:  this is how horrible sin against God is!
Death, and all the suffering that leads to it, is in the world because sin is in the world.

Often, in view of such human suffering, the objection is raised:  “If God is loving and powerful, how can he allow this?  He must not be loving or not be powerful.  Probably he’s not there at all! The objection, while understandable, reveals our ignorance of both the sinfulness of sin and the saving grace of God.

When Adam and Eve sinned, the LORD pronounced this curse on Adam . . .

“By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

The LORD’s holiness demanded judgment against man’s rebellion.  And along with the curse of returning to the dust came the wasting away of old age and all the other physical (and attendant emotional) suffering we endure.  Sin isn’t just a mistake or a boo-boo or even a transgression; it’s a personal affront to the holiness of God that offends and belittles his great name.  Every time we suffer or hear about all the suffering in the world we are witnessing the consequences of sin.

But God, in his merciful love and saving power, has not left us locked up under judgment without hope.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).   Jesus–crucified, raised, ascended and coming again–is God’s merciful love and saving power to rescue us from the guilt and curse of our sin.

And soon the day will come when we will hear a loud voice from the throne saying . . .

“‘Behold the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.’  And he who [is] seated on the throne [will say], ‘Behold, I am making all things new'” (Revelation 21:3-5a).

The God against whom we have all sinned and who justly cursed us in this suffering world has mercifully, powerfully and lovingly provided rescue.  His name is Jesus.  The One we must trust.  The One in whom lies our only hope.  The One who is coming again.  And when we see him on that day–and throughout all eternity that follows–we will witness  the amazing-ness of his grace.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jesus Chicken

S. Truett Cathy died at home Monday surrounded by loved ones.  He was 93.  Many of us have eaten his sandwiches.  Cathy was the founder of the family-run Chick-fil-A restaurants.

I didn’t know much about Cathy, so the following is taken from articles in “The Atlanta Journal-Constitution” newspaper (Leon Stafford) and TheAtlantic.com magazine (Emma Green).

Visit Chick-fil-A’s headquarters on wooded grounds outside Atlanta and the first thing you’ll see is a three to four foot statue of Jesus washing a disciple’s feet–a symbol of servant leadership.  Bible quotes and crosses adorn the atrium-entrance to the building.

They’re consistent with the company’s mission statement–“to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us” and “to have a positive influence on all who come in contact with Chick-fil-A”.  Cathy made his Christianity public, from putting Bible verses on Styrofoam cups to closing the entire chain of restaurants on Sundays.   In its official policy the company states, “Cathy believes that being closed on Sundays says two important things to people:  One, that there must be something special about the way Chick-fil-A people view their spiritual life and, two, that there must be something special about how Chick-fil-A feels about its people.”  Has the closed-Sundays’ policy cost money?  The company claims it “[attracts] individuals who want to be associated with an organization with a values-based vision.”  Hard to argue with the business decision, since Cathy has made billions.

Two years ago the company was caught up in the controversy over its donations to gay-marriage-opposed organizations.  Cathy’s son, Dan, said, “We are very much supportive of the family–the biblical definition of the family unit.”  Widespread protests, boycotts and some vender-contract cancellations led the company to stop donating to groups involved with the issue.  They chose to “leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena.”

Whatever we might think about that “flip-flop”, Cathy has practiced what he believed.  “I see no conflict whatsoever between Christianity and good business practices,” he said.  “People say you can’t mix business with religion.  I say there’s no other way.”  He also claimed, “People appreciate you being consistent with your faith.  It’s a silent witness to the Lord when people go into shopping malls [on Sundays], and everyone is bustling, and you see that Chick-fil-A is closed.”  In the last several years Cathy turned his faith-practice in another direction—supporting foster homes and a home for abused and neglected children and launching the WinShape scholarship program at Berry College.

Is it possible for Christians to run their businesses in openly-Christian ways in an increasingly anti-Christian society?  That, of course, requires practicing your faith, not just printing Bible verses.  It also may open you up to opposition.  But Cathy’s success says yes!  “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

When Jesus told his disciples, ” . . . you will be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8), he had in mind their preaching the gospel to the ends of the earth.

Cathy showed us that being Jesus’ witnesses can extend to how you sell chicken sandwiches.

Truett Cathy

 

 

H

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Not Aware It Will Cost

If anything is sure to turn off readers, it’s these two statements.  One, a key term in Proverbs is “wisdom.”  Two, wisdom refers to “skill in the art of godly living”.

Who wants to hear about wisdom?  (Hey, can I just get an app for my phone, so I don’t have to read the Bible or go through painful discipline?)  And what’s this about “skill in the art of godly living”?  Isn’t godly living all about keeping rules that ruin your freedom?  And since when is godly living an “art” that you have to become skillful at?

Let’s juice this up a bit.  I want to talk about sex.  Now because Proverbs was probably written in the 900’s B.C., it doesn’t refer to all the “advanced” sex-stuff we have today.  No proverb about Internet pornography, for example.  But where Proverbs says “adulterer” or “prostitute”, substitute any God-prohibited sex-thing you’re tempted by.

In the first seven chapters of Proverbs a father is urging his son to be wise.  He wants his son to learn “skill in the art of godly living.”  So these are not God-thundered words from a smoking mountain top to a knees-shaking people below.  These are loving words from a father’s heart–wisdom he may very well have learned from an experience that nearly cost him his life.  Come to think of it, it comes from the Father whose love for us cost his Son his life.  I pray the Spirit of our Father will use his words to make you (and me) wise.  Let’s read thoughtfully . . .

“When from the window of my house, from behind the screen, I gazed down.  I looked among the naive young men and noticed among the youth, one who had no sense.  He was crossing the street at her corner and walked down the path to her house in the early evening, at the onset of night and darkness.

“All of sudden a woman approaches him, dressed like a prostitute and with a cunning mind.  She is noisy and defiant; her feet don’t stay long in her own house.  She has one foot in the streets, one foot in the public square.  She lies in wait at every corner.  She grabs him and kisses him.  Her face is brazen as she speaks to him:  ‘I’ve offered sacrifices; today I’ve fulfilled my solemn promises.  So I’ve come out to meet you, seeking you, and I have found you.  I’ve spread my bed with luxurious covers, with colored linens from Egypt.  I’ve sprinkled my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.  Come, let’s drink deep of love until morning; let’s savor our lovemaking.  For my husband isn’t home; he’s gone far away.  He took a pouch of money with him; he won’t come home till full moon.’

“She seduces him with all her talk.  She entices him with her flattery.  He goes headlong after her, like an ox to the slaughter, like a deer leaping into a trap, until an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird hurrying to the snare, not aware that it will cost him his life” (Proverbs 7:6-23, CEB).

I can hear the uproar from NOW (National Organization for Women) now. “So the woman’s the bad guy, huh?”  No, you’re missing the point.  Make the young man the bad guy.  Let him seduce her.  It doesn’t matter.  The point is in the last paragraph . . .

“He goes headlong after her, like an ox to the slaughter, like a deer leaping into a trap, until an arrow pierces his liver, like a bird hurrying to the snare, NOT AWARE THAT IT WILL COST HIM HIS LIFE.”

. . . not aware that it will cost us our life.

Be warned. young men.  Be wise.  It will cost more than you know.  Far more than it’s worth.

 

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Worship: God’s Glory or Our Joy?

P.AllanFor a minute I thought Joe Biden (our gaffe-famous VP) was impersonating Victoria Osteen (wife of Joel, prosperity gospel-pusher).  But no.   It was indeed Mrs. Osteen.  Take a look . . .
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00-6OyXVA0M&feature=youtu.be.

Truth vs. the Dumbest.  Is that the dumbest thing you ever heard?  Why?  Because Mrs. Osteen creates a false opposition.  One or the other.  Here’s the truth:  when we worship God, we give God glory (first) and we receive joy in the process (second).  That’s what the Westminster Shorter Catechism claims in its first question and answer: “What is the chief end of man?”  “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”  So our highest purpose is to glorify God.  And as we fulfill that purpose, we receive joy.

Getting the Order Right.  The order is important.  If we praise God so that we will be happy, we make God merely the means to our end–namely, our happiness.  That makes happiness our idol and the LORD will not ultimately give his glory to idols (Isaiah 42:8).  But if we praise God because God deserves our praise as God, happiness comes as a necessary by-product.  As Ligon Duncan, Chancellor/CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary and former pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi , wrote:   ” Our highest end cannot be experienced without our highest joy.”

Whole-Soul Worship. I’m not talking about worshiping God as if you were singing from the phone book.  I’m talking about worship informed by who the Scriptures tell us God is and what they tell us he has done and will yet do in Christ Jesus.  I’m talking about worship that is affectionate and emotional (not “emotionalism”).  How can we be truly informed of who God is and what God has done and not have tears fall or hands raise or knees bow or hands clap?  Informed worship in which we are engaged glorifies God first and fills us with joy second.

Contrary Gospel. The Osteens, though, have a bigger problem than Victoria’s “call to worship.”  They preach “a different gospel–not that there is another one” (Galatians 1:6,7).  Therefore, paste Paul’s warning on their foreheads:  ” . . . even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).

Theirs is a “contrary” gospel–a gospel without sin, without repentance, without Christ’s imputed righteousness and wrath-absorbing substitutionary death and death-conquering resurrection.  Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary writes what we’d rather not hear  . . .

“America deserves the Osteens. The consumer culture, the cult of the therapeutic, the marketing impulse, and the sheer superficiality of American cultural Christianity probably made the Osteens inevitable. The Osteens are phenomenally successful because they are the exaggerated fulfillment of the self-help movement and the cult of celebrity rolled into one massive mega-church media empire. And, to cap it all off, they give Americans what Americans crave — reassurance delivered with a smile.”

Prosperity Theology–the promise that God rewards faith with health and wealth–is The American Heresy.  Now it’s spreading around the world, deceiving not only middle-class Americans, but the nations’ poorest, assuring them they can walk out of their cardboard shacks free from disease if they only believe.  It’s a lie from hell presented with a wide smile, gleaming teeth and well-coiffed hair.

And it sneaks in the back door of our brain while our Bible is closed and our body longs for better health and our mind wishes for more money.

Warning.  Cosby is right.  “We worship God for ourselves” is the dumbest thing we’ve ever heard.  I think “He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision” (Psalm 2:4).  But when “dumb” comes slickly to hurting, God-believing people, it can sound reasonable.  Slowly, almost unknowingly, we can start believing the lie–or at least hoping it’s true.  Better to listen to what the LORD says:  “Stand by the roads and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls” (Jeremiahs 6:16).  The historic church–the church from the Reformation on–forged the “ancient paths.”  Best to stick to the Gospel of Jesus and Paul.  Because after the LORD laughs at those who foolishly speak against his Anointed One“Then he will speak to them in his wrath and terrify them in his fury” (Psalm 2:5).

Promise.  “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4).

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Labor Day Rest

O PreacherLabor Day.  Ah, rest!  No school.  No work (just barbecuing or sale-shopping or catching up on long-left-undone household chores).  Thank you, government, for marking the first Monday in September to recognize American workers’ contribution to the country’s prosperity!  We all get a
day off!  But Tuesday will soon dawn and we’ll trek wearily back again to work or school.

This short-lived, superficial holiday rest is one reason why Jesus’ words are so welcoming . . .

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Jesus–Matthew 11:28-30).

Soul-rest reaches far more deeply than body rest on a Beauty Rest.
It’s rest from . . .

  • having to keep religious rules or moral laws to get right with God
  • having to prove to yourself that you have self-worth
  • having to show that you measure up in others’ eyes
  • having to achieve success in life according to society’s scorecard
  • having to discover inner peace by buying some pop guru’s secret method
  • having to escape from stress by falling into potentially self-destructive addictions
  • having to follow a philosophy that you already know can’t deliver what it promises

Only Jesus gives soul-rest.  The invitation is, “Come to me . . . ” 

Weary and weighted down by falling short of getting right with God?  Of never being sure you’re worth so much?  Of always being last-pick to play on the team?  Of always having to congratulate somebody else for winning?  Of getting stressed that the secret method to inner peace doesn’t work for you?  Of eating too much or drinking too much or smoking too much to escape the “too much” of your life?  Of following ideas that you already know won’t give what you want?

I’m tempted to say, “Try Jesus.”  But we don’t try Jesus.  We come to Jesus admitting we’re too weary to try anything else that demands anything more from us.  We come to Jesus so weighted down that, honestly, we come crawling.  We come to Jesus finally being convinced there’s no one else to whom we can come.  We come to Jesus with nothing to offer but our own failures and sins.  We come to Jesus so desperate we’re ready to follow wherever he leads.  We come to Jesus like frightened little children grasping his strong hand.

And, when we come to Jesus like that, we discover five gracious gifts:

  1. He welcomes us with love that says, “I’ve been waiting for you.  In fact, I’ve been chasing you.  I’m so glad you’re here.”
  2. He forgives all our sins and shows us his nail-scarred hands to prove that the Father’s just and holy wrath against us is satisfied and his righteousness is ours.
  3. He puts his yoke of discipleship on our shoulders–then promises to give us the power it takes to walk in his ways.
  4. He guarantees no one can snatch us out of his hand or separate us from his love.
  5. And with a big smile in his eyes he whispers, “This is only the beginning.  You haven’t seen anything yet!”

Come, ye sinners, poor and needy, Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you, Full of pity, love and power.

Come, ye thirsty, come and welcome, God’s free bounty glorify
True belief and true repentance, Every grace that brings you nigh.

Come, ye weary, heavy laden, Lost and ruined by the fall;
If you wait until you’re better, You will never come at all.

I will arise and go to Jesus; He will embrace me in his arms;
In the arms of my dear Savior, O there are ten thousand charms.

(“Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy”–Joseph Hart)

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