Friday, March 04, 2005

EASTER - The day to end all days!

BEHOLD, THE LAMB OF GOD! [John 1:29, 36; Other topics - Humility, Jesus, Lamb of God, Salvation]

A few years ago our church decided to change the traditional Easter decorations in the sanctuary.

My wife, Rita, volunteered to find a ceramic lamb for the altar decoration. She searched and searched every craft and church supply store in the area; she spent days looking; she found standing lambs, knelling lambs, and grazing lambs but not one like we wanted. Ours would be a lying down lamb, a cute and “innocent” little, reposing lamb.

Being a Shepherd, I decided I might add just the right spiritual element as she headed to the last store. We examined every self in the place; hoping perhaps one might be hidden behind something. Frustrated, we both headed for the exit, dejected, heads down … then we saw it, on the floor, in a corner, under a shelf, unattended, dirty, ignored, alone. It was perfect! And it was on sale!

The world has also been searching for a lamb to save them from their sins. They’ve been looking for 6,000 years.

They too are looking in all the wrong places, heads up, proud, money no object. They’ve found all kinds of saviors: standing ones, knelling ones, grazing ones and many others as well. But not one turned out to be the “perfect” one!

We have to give them credit, they have looked everywhere imaginable. But, it is only when they seem to have lost all hope, when their heads are down, humbled, and through with doing it themselves that they find Him … Jesus, the Lamb of God!

Jesus was likewise rejected and ignored, the world trying to shove Him out of the way, into a corner or under a shelf.

How much does the Lamb of God cost? The tag says, “Priceless.” He has paid it Himself. This Lamb gave His life for those who rejected Him.

BLESSINGS TOO NUMEROUS! [Psalm 107:31; other topics - Blessings, Conviction, Self-examination]

Pastor Jack Hinton from New Bern, NC was leading worship music at a leper colony in Tobago; time allowed for one more congregational selection. A woman in the congregation, who’d been turned away, turned to face Hinton, revealing a most “hideous” face. The lady’s nose and ears were gone; most of her lips had worn away as well. She lifted a hand, more stub than hand, and asked, “Can we sing ‘Count Your Blessings’”?

Overcome by the situation Hinton fled the room, followed by another team member. The man tried to comfort the distraught song leader, “I guess you’ll never be able to sing that song again”? “Oh, yes I will,” he responded, “but never the same way.”

Warren Wiersbie is credited for saying, “Life is a school in which God trains us for eternity. Trials are ... God’s textbooks in this school of Christian experience.” It often takes the deficiency of another to reveal our own; but in the revelation, we can find fruit for nourishment.

Pastor’s Update; FMB of the Southern Baptist Convention; Richmond, VA, May 1996, p.4; Sermon-Illustrations-Each-Week, 991004-6]

MORE THAN AN IMAGE IS NEEDED! [1 Peter 1:14-19; Atonement, Lamb of God, Blood (the)]

Evidently Peruvian authorities have begun dressing up walls along their nation’s filthiest streets with pictures of Jesus Christ; the purpose seems to be to shame those illegally dumping trash along the streets.

Apparently, just the image of our Lord is believed to have such importance among the general Peruvian population.

Oh that the mere image of the Lord would clean up the streets of our minds and hearts. But it takes the precious blood of the Lamb to cleanse the heart and mind of a sinner.

Oh that it had not been necessary for the Son of God to give His life an atonement for man’s sins … but it was.

The Father tried everything; but we rejected His miracles, rejected His word, killed His prophets, and turned our backs on Him … it was oh so necessary to send His Son.

You see, an image could never pay the ransom … the Jews tried that in the temple for centuries … only the priceless and spotless Lamb of God in person was worthy [Revelation 5:12].

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