This month I want us to see how God also speaks to us through His gifts
To many people the idea of God intervening in our lives is a breach of our rights. Fortunately for us, God does ignore our rights at certain critical times, especially when it comes down to the matter of our salvation.
If it weren't for the fact that God does invade our lives, no one would ever get saved, and the Bible makes it clear that our salvation is based on God's predestination for our lives. In other words, without our awareness, God already knew whom He would choose to save. The basis of God's choice of one individual over another rests solely on one thing and one thing alone . . . His own good pleasure
God does not choose any one because of some moral or spiritual superiority. In fact the Bible makes it clear that we are all sinners and have all fallen short of God's righteous standards. We are all just lumps of clay, and God is the potter. As the potter God can choose what to do with each lump. Romans 9:21 makes it clear: Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?
As the children of God each we are challenged to make sure that both our calling and our election to salvation is sure: 1 Peter 1:10: Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble.
God first gift is: The gift of election.
2 Thessalonians 2:13: But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.
It isn't that we chose God, but rather that He chose us. He came knocking on the door of our heart and asks us to invite Him in.
There is a parable about two frogs that were travelling through the woods, when suddenly they both fell into a deep pit. All the other frogs gathered around the pit and when they saw how deep the pit was, they shouted for the two frogs to give up . . . that they were AS GOOD AS DEAD.
The two frogs ignored their comments and kept jumping despite the other frogs telling them that it was no use. Finally, one of the frogs believed what the other frogs were saying and gave up and died. However, the other frog continued jumping as hard as he could jump. Once again the crowd yelled at him to stop and just die. However, the frog jumped even harder and finally with one big jump made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said: "Didn't you hear us?" The frog told them that he was quite deaf and said, "I thought you were encouraging me the entire time!" The moral is that God never gives up on us...even when we are down and out and in the pit.
The second gift that God gives us is: The gift of faith.
Ephesians 2:8: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
Salvation is based upon a faith which originates entirely from God.
The third gift that God gives us is: The gift of repentance.
Isaiah 30:15: This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength."
For most people, repentance has to do with sorrow for sin, but this is not what repentance means. Repentance means only a change of mind…a change of direction. You see when a wicked man changes his ways and becomes a holy man, then God's attitude toward that individual also changes in response.
The fourth gift that God gives is: The gift of forgiveness.
Acts 10:43: All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
The apostle Peter once asked Jesus, "How many times should I forgive someone when they have wronged me - 7 times 7?" Jesus answered, "No….70 times 7." In other words as many times as it takes. Therefore unlike some people who absolutely will never want you to come to them and ask for forgiveness….God actually invites us to do so.
The fifth gift of God is: The gift of salvation.
Romans 10:9: That if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
One doesn't need a lot of persuading to agree that salvation is totally a gift from God. In our fallen nature we are all sinners in desperate need of a saviour. There is no one who can claim to be righteous in God's sight. The work of salvation from start to finish is totally a work of God. He chooses us by divine election. He then gives us a measure of faith to believe in Him. He offers us the gift of repentance to change our ways and the direction of our lives, and as we accept that gift He offers us forgiveness as we place our faith in the saving work of Jesus.
And the final gift that God gives us comes back to the purpose of God's plan of salvation: The gift of eternal life.
For those that have accepted God's gift of salvation, they will enter into His permanent rest where there is peace, joy and righteousness in the Holy Spirit, we will be with the God that created us and saved us. But for those who have rejected His gift, they will spend eternity in a place which the Bible calls "hell" where there is eternal torment and separation from God. Once we pass into eternity there will never be any going back.
There will be no opportunity to repent…there will be no opportunity for forgiveness…there will be no opportunity for salvation. These gifts are only available on this side of life and to people who refuse to accept them now will not be able to change their minds after they have passed over into eternity.
For this reason, we continue to pray for our loved ones and friends, and we know that God is faithful and just to hear our hearts cry.
Thank you for your faithful giving as we reach out to the children of this world to share God's gift to the world . . . Jesus . . . who saved us.
Blessings in Christ: Pastor Roman & Pat Kozak