Bloor Lansdowne Christian Fellowship – BLCF Church Message for Sunday:
‘Jesus Paid It Forward: Surrendering Sin’s Wages for the Gift of Eternal Life’
© May 15, 2016 by Steve Mickelson
Announcements and Call to Worship: Responsive Reading #652: (Divine Judgment– 2 Peter3); Prayer
Opening Hymn #392: Take Time to Be Holy; Choruses
Prayer and Tithing – Hymn #572: Praise God; Prayer Requests
Scripture Verses: Romans 6:20-23; Genesis 1:1-5; Genesis 2:1-17; and Genesis 3:22-24
Let us pray…
Our lesson today at BLCF Church will examine how Jesus “Paid It Forward” to all believers when he surrendered his life upon the cross as payment for God’s judgment for all of humanity’s sins.
If you are unfamiliar with the story of Pay it Forward, let us briefly look at this film, released in 2000:
Pay It Forward (Plot – WIKIPEDIA.COM)
When Trevor McKinney begins seventh grade in Las Vegas, Nevada, his social studies teacher Eugene Simonet gives the class an assignment to devise and put into action a plan that will change the world for the better. Trevor’s plan is a charitable program based on the networking of good deeds. He calls his plan “pay it forward“, which means the recipient of a favor does a favor for three others rather than paying the favor back. However, it needs to be a major favor that the recipient cannot complete themselves.
For those who do not believe or refuse to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, there is a tab, a debt, a deficit that accumulates with sinful behavior. But only a single sin against God will earn the sinner a judgment of death. This debt cannot be removed or cleared by good deeds, as we read in today’s first Scripture Verse:
Romans 6:20-23 (ESV)
20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We see in the above verse, that our faith in Jesus sacrifice for our sins will brings us the free gifts of sanctification for sin’s judgment and an eternal life. This brings us to the next three Scripture passages from the Book of genesis:
Genesis 1:1-5 (ESV) The Creation of the World
1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
In Genesis 1:1-5, we read that God created light upon the earth before He made the sun and moon. So that original light is different from the light we associate as being generated by the sun, and we will come back to this light, later in today’s lesson. But let us see what happens after God created heavens and the earth in Genesis 2:1-17:
Genesis 2:1-17 (ESV) The Seventh Day, God Rests
2 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2 And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.
4 These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
5 When no bush of the field[a] was yet in the land[b] and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, 6 and a mist[c] was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground— 7 then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. 8 And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 And the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon. It is the one that flowed around the whole land of Cush. 14 And the name of the third river is the Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat[d] of it you shall surely die.”
Footnotes: a. Genesis 2:5 Or open country b. Genesis 2:5 Or earth; also verse 6 c. Genesis 2:6 Or spring d. Genesis 2:17 Or when you eat
We see in Genesis 2 Passage that there are two trees mentioned in Genesis 2:9: the “Tree of Life” and the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”. God forbids Adam and Eve from eating only the fruit from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”, which implies that all other fruit may be consumed, including fruit from the “Tree of Life.” This implies that Adam and Eve may enjoy eternal life in the company of their Creator by eating from this “Tree of Life”.
It is only after Adam and Eve disobey God by eating the forbidden fruit of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”, that they are subject to the judgment God warned in Genesis 2:17, which is death. Fearing that the sinners being aware that the “Tree of Life” will commute their death sentence, God expels Adam and eve from this Garden Paradise:
Genesis 3:22-24 (ESV)
22 Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” 23 therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
This death sentence inflicted upon humanity can be removed and access to the “Tree of life: restored, by the grace provided to those who believe that Christ Jesus died for those believers. Those who choose to confess their sin and their faith that Jesus died for the sins’ punishment will be given both salvation and the gift of god’s Holy Spirit. The believers must demonstrate their faith by following Christ’s direction by heeding to the direction of the Spirit:
Revelation 2:7 (ESV)
7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
Not only are believers, who are servants of God, are gifted with salvation from God’s judgment and granted God’s presence in the Holy Spirit, they are promised access to the “Tree of Life”, which gives eternal life.
Revelation 22:1-5 (ESV) The River of Life
22 Then the angel[a] showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life[b] with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants[c] will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
Footnotes: a Revelation 22:1 Greek he b. Revelation 22:2 Or the Lamb. In the midst of the street of the city, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life c. Revelation 22:3 Greek bondservants; also verse 6
The descendants of Adam and Eve, who have faith in Christ will find restoration paid forward to them by their Lord Jesus and they will not only eat from the “Tree of Life”, but will be able to see the face of God illuminated eternally by Him. You may recall earlier in today’s lesson Genesis 1:3, that the illumination from God presence is so great that there no need for either the sunlight or lamplight. Those who are without faith or who refuse salvation are excluded from these free gifts:
Revelation 22:14-17 (ESV)
14 Blessed are those who wash their robes,[a] so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. 15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.
Footnotes: a. Revelation 22:14 Some manuscripts do his commandments
But until the day that the Lord, Christ Jesus returns, believers are not expected to wait idly, but to minister the Gospel of Jesus, to the glory of God:
Ecclesiastes 3:9-15 (ESV) The God-Given Task
9 What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
14 I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. God seeks what has been driven away.[a]
Footnotes: a, Ecclesiastes 3:15 Hebrew what has been pursued
Not only has the Lord provided, through faith in Jesus, a path to salvation, to Paradise and the presence of God, but we will no longer be subject to the confines of time, for with the gift of eternal life, we may share with the Lord what eternity, provided we are patient and faithful to Him:
2 Peter 3:8-10 (ESV)
8 But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you,[a] not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies[b] will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.[c]
Footnotes: a. 2 Peter 3:9 Some manuscripts on your account b. 2 Peter 3:10 Or elements; also verse 12 c. 2 Peter 3:10 Greek found; some manuscripts will be burned up
Let us pray…
Closing Hymn #35: Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise
Benediction – (1 Timothy 1:17): To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.