“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The world has always been, and now seems, more so a burdensome place to live. I do live forward and do not dwell on the past too much. One value of the past is the mistakes we have made, and the wise will remember them and learn. Humanity seldom does learn from the past, and if it did, then the world would be as it began a paradise. When God first placed humanity in the Garden of Eden, it was a perfect paradise, which humanity has tried to return to ever since. If we had only been obedient to God’s Word, we never would have to repent. If we had not taken that one bite of the forbidden fruit, death would not be a constant companion at the forefront of our minds.

There was in the past and still is today a fallen angel named Lucifer who fell from the grace of God. We call him several names, but I call him Satan. Satan knows the Word of God, and he knows His place now and his destiny soon to come. Satan can be many things to each one, but he is the father of lies and will use his deceit to destroy everything God has created. Particularly humanity, as it is the crown of God’s creation and bears His image. Satan caught Eve’s attention and tempted her to do the one thing God had commanded Adam not to do, eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Satan’s sin against God was he should be equal to the Most High God. Satan was found out, and God had him thrown out of His Heaven to the earth below. God then placed humanity here on earth and told Satan he could not touch them. It drove a selfish Satan to want to corrupt humankind and deny them to a Holy God. Satan, as a serpent, tempted Eve with the same sin he had fallen to that humanity could be as God. “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5). Humanity today is trapped in the sin of selfishness and lust for the pleasures of this fallen world. As Satan, those who have sin in their lives can never walk the streets of God’s Heaven, as only righteous beings can be there.

Humanity can never be righteous, as they are spiritual beings living in a corrupted physical body. Humanity could never pay the wage of their sin, which is death. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) God sent Himself in the likeness of a man named Jesus to sacrifice Himself in place of all humanity that none should perish (John 3:16). The meaning of our text here is that he paid our sin debt and offers His sacrifice in place of our own. There is no wealth in God’s creation to equal the cost. Nothing humanity can earn, work, or buy to gain salvation. By God’s sufficient grace, He offers salvation freely through faith to humanity as a gift.

The good news of God’s Kingdom is simple, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9). Here is when I would hear my Grandma Money Kirk shout, “That is the Gospel!” If humanity had to buy or work for their salvation, none would be in God’s Kingdom except God and His angels. Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross, shedding His blood in place of ours, meeting the demand of the Law that death is the wage of sin. No one can get into Heaven with sin in their baggage. God lives in perfect righteousness, and that is the minimum standard. “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Jesus lived a righteous life. No one in humanity has ever accomplished that, and none can as we are born with a sinful corrupted physical body. The world is burdensome as most refuse to escape the trap because they love their sin and will sell their souls for the short time pleasures of the world. The world continues to be burdensome, as unrighteous hearts cannot make moral choices, and the world spirals further and further from the truth of God’s creation. Without a Heavenly Father in creation, humanity is out of touch and not in harmony with God’s plan. For those who do not know what loss is, that is lost.

All God wants is for a person to place Him on the throne of His heart. People sacrifice every day for the things in this world they need or want. They sacrifice their time, talent, and treasure for something that will be left behind when death overcomes them. When they face that twinkling of death, they face it in horror. Accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior does call for a sacrifice. It is the same as the worldly sacrifice of time, talent, and treasure. The difference is your sacrifices are multiplied and go with you to your eternal home in Heaven. The two sacrifices that get you there cannot be bought but must be given. All the Lord wants from us is a poor spirit and true mourning for the sins we have fallen into. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)

Many in humanity find no purpose in their life. What does it mean, what is it worth, and what is the purpose? The meaning of humanity is they were created to glorify God as their Creator. Humanity is to recognize Him in all they do. (Proverbs 3:5-6) The Lord spoke this to the Prophet. “Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.” (Isaiah 43:7). Life’s worth is found in the price that was paid. Every life, righteous or unrighteous, Jesus paid the sin debt on the cross so that none would need to perish in eternity. Few think of that, as they live their life in fear of death, believing they will not die. The purpose is summed up in the two great commandments given by Jesus quoted from Old Testament Scripture. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

One’s purpose is to do the good works God created for them to accomplish. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) Do not miss the path that has been prepared beforehand. The future is preplanned, and we have no fear walking in God’s will accomplishing the good work He has preplanned for us to do. If our meaning, worth, and purpose have all been pre-arranged before the beginning, then the yoke is easy compared to the worldly way. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-20) His yoke is easy, as all needed is a willing faithful commitment, allowing Him to do the work through us.

Jesus was explaining to the Pharisees His good work was not of His own but that of the Father. The Pharisees would or could not believe that Jesus was the Son of God or a God Himself. A triune God was beyond their comprehension. Jesus answered them with this confession. “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19) The good work that is given to us is not our work alone. It can never be our good work; it can only be the good work the Holy Spirit has led us to do. The work the Spirit has empowered us to do. We can do nothing if we do not abide in Him the vine “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Our free will allows us to choose, and I urge all to choose wisely. The path may be the heavy yoke the world places upon us ending all our efforts where they began; here is the world and lost. The wise choice would be to cheerfully serve the Creator and receive the eternal rewards of the riches of His glory. At least do as the Apostle Phillip said, “Come and see.” The Gospel news of the Kingdom is simple to receive and believe in faith. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick First Baptist Church of Durant, May 31, 2021

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