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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Forgiven in Christ

8 March 2017

Opening Prayer/Worship

Hymn: Are You Washed in the Blood?

Theme: Walk with God

Topic: Forgiven in Christ

Reading: Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’
3:1-7Now the serpent was more crafty than any other wild animal that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, ‘Did God say, “You shall not eat from any tree in the garden”?’ 2The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; 3but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.”  4But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not die; 5for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’ 6So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 7Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

Although some people may find the concept of forgiveness in Christ- and Christ alone- hard to comprehend, according to Scripture, there is no other name by which we can be saved.  This idea can lead to arguments about what will happen to unbelievers, and a good response is to leave it up to God.  It is the Lord alone that will determine who will spend eternity with Him.  Our major concern as believers should be to live up to our belief, and to preach the gospel especially through emulating Christ in our day to day living- at home, work and leisure.  As Christians, we have accepted and confessed our sinfulness, and have been redeemed by the precious Blood of the Lamb- Jesus Christ.  It is only through active faith in Jesus Christ that we truly become Christians in the sight of God.  According to Scripture, though our sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.

1) What does it mean to be forgiven? 
Psalm 32:1-11
1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
   whose sin is covered.
2 Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity,
   and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 
3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away
   through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
   my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.
5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
   and I did not hide my iniquity;
I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’,
   and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
6 Therefore let all who are faithful
   offer prayer to you;
at a time of distress, the rush of mighty waters
   shall not reach them.
7 You are a hiding-place for me;
   you preserve me from trouble;
   you surround me with glad cries of deliverance.
8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;
   I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
   whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle,
   else it will not stay near you. 

10 Many are the torments of the wicked,
   but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous,
   and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

Romans 5:12-19
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned— 13sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law. 14Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. 16And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgement following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification. 17If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. 19For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

1 John 1:5-10
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 7but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

2) What are the lessons for us in Matthew 4:1-11 regarding forgiveness in Christ?
Matthew 4:1-11
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. 3The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’ 4But he answered, ‘It is written,
“One does not live by bread alone,
   but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” ’
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
“He will command his angels concerning you”,
   and “On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” ’
7Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” ’
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour; 9and he said to him, ‘All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.’ 10Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! for it is written,
“Worship the Lord your God,
   and serve only him.” ’
11Then the devil left him, and suddenly angels came and waited on him. 

3) What are some of the challenges to receiving forgiveness from the Lord? 
How do we overcome them? 
Psalm 103:6-18
6 The Lord works vindication
   and justice for all who are oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
   his acts to the people of Israel.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious,
   slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 He will not always accuse,
   nor will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
   nor repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
   so great is his steadfast love towards those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
   so far he removes our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion for his children,
   so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
14 For he knows how we were made;
   he remembers that we are dust. 
15 As for mortals, their days are like grass;
   they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
   and its place knows it no more.
17 But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting
   on those who fear him,
   and his righteousness to children’s children,
18 to those who keep his covenant
   and remember to do his commandments. 

Isaiah 1:16-20
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
   remove the evil of your doings
   from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
17   learn to do good;
seek justice,
   rescue the oppressed,
defend the orphan,
   plead for the widow. 
18 Come now, let us argue it out,
   says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
   they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson,
   they shall become like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
   you shall eat the good of the land;
20 but if you refuse and rebel,
   you shall be devoured by the sword;
   for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. 

Acts 4:8-12
Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are questioned today because of a good deed done to someone who was sick and are asked how this man has been healed,10let it be known to all of you, and to all the people of Israel, that this man is standing before you in good health by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead. 11This Jesus is
“the stone that was rejected by you, the builders;
   it has become the cornerstone.” 
12There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved.’


According to Scripture, though our sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.

Closing Prayer (Collect for First Sunday in Lent)

Almighty God, whose Son fasted forty days in the wilderness, and was tempted as we are but did not sin, give us grace to discipline ourselves in submission to your Spirit, that as you know our weakness, so we may know your power to save; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

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