Metaphors of Salvation

Metaphors of Salvation

Scripture: Romans 3:25-26, 2 Corinthians 5:18-21, 1 John 4:7-11
Date: 11/29/2008  Lesson: 9
The Bible describes what Jesus did on the cross in a number of ways to demonstrate the mystery of the atonement.

Caveman Theology: Salvation Made Simple by Doug Batchelor

Caveman Theology: Salvation Made Simple by Doug Batchelor
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome this morning to "Sacramento central study hour." Very special welcome to you that are joining us here in our sanctuary, our visitors and our regular members. And a very special welcome to you that are joining us from across the country and around the world live on the internet this morning, through radio television however you're joining us. Welcome and Happy Sabbath. Our first song that we're gonna sing this morning is hymn number 350, "blessed be the tie that binds.

" This is a request from Elijah in zambia; sojofello and nixaphlely in south africa; and filbert in Canada. Hymn 350, "blessed be the tie that binds," and we're gonna sing all four verses. [Music] If you have a special Christmas hymn that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our web site at www.saccentral.org, and there you can click on the contact link and you can request any of the Christmas hymns that you find in our hymnal, and we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. Our next hymn that we're gonna sing is hymn number 290. It is definitely a favorite from across the world, "turn your eyes upon Jesus.

" And this comes as a request from nanny in Alaska; charity, John, charmane and ella and jessica in australia; edward in belize; Michael in California; John in Georgia; evita in Missouri; doug in Montana; lindsey in new zealand; Daniel in nigeria; joy-anne in New York; justin in Oregon; abel in puerto rico; John in scotland; randolph in south africa; and bob in Washington. "Turn you eyes upon Jesus," and we will sing all three verses. [Music] Our Father in Heaven, we thank you so much for this beautiful Sabbath day. The things of this earth truly do grow dim as we look at your face, as we contemplate your life that you gave for us to save us, to restore us to you. We can't even imagine that love, but we are so grateful this morning, and as we come to study Your Word, Lord, help us to open our eyes to see you clearer, to take the message that we hear, the good news that we have to a dying world so that you can come soon.

I ask you to please bless Pastor Doug this morning as he brings us Your Words. Lord, just make us instruments to shine for you until you come. We pray these things in your precious name, Jesus. Amen. Our study this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug bachelor, senior pastor here at Sacramento central.

Thank you, jolyne and jessica. I want to welcome you again. We're going through our Sabbath school quarterly dealing with the subject of "the atonement and the cross of Christ." And today we're gonna be on lesson number 9. We have a free offer and it's offer number 156. All you gotta do is call the number on your screen, and we'll send this to you.

Just call and ask for "the high cost of the cross," and the number is 866-788-3966. If you like acronyms with your number, that stands for -study more, 866-study more, and that's what we want you to do. And for our friends who may be watching--you know, when I hear these song requests come in all over the world, really, just about every continent. I think one time we had someone e-mail us from antarctica even, who said that they were tuning in. And so we have a lot of people and they say, "we watch this studies, how can I get one of these quarterlies so I can follow along?" These are produced by the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and over a period of 5 years, it goes through all of the main fundamentals of the Bible teachings.

And if you'd like to get one of these, just contact your neighborhood Seventh-day Adventist Church, and I bet they'll give you one for free. Also, we have friends that are watching that say, "you know, I don't really have a church that I'm part of." We'd encourage you if you look in your phone directory, you may find that there is a Seventh-day Adventist Church in your neighborhood. We'd encourage you to visit them. And if you can't do that and there's none locally nearby you can go to, contact us online. We'll adopt you here at Sacramento central.

You just go to saccentral.org. If you'd like to know more about how to become part of the church or part of our family fellowship, saccentral.org and we'll be happy to communicate with you. We've got a lot of friends around the world who have become part of the central family via the internet because they're isolated, and we're glad that we can minister to them. Lesson number 9 talking about the atonement and the cross of Christ is on metaphors of salvation. Metaphors of salvation, and we have a memory verse.

And I'd like to encourage you to go ahead and say this with me. In your lesson here it comes from the book of Romans 3:25 and it's quoted from the n.i.v. Romans 3:25 and will you say that with me? You ready? "God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice because in his forbearance, he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished." Now one of the metaphors we're gonna be considering today is the metaphor of atonement. Now maybe before I go too far with this lesson, it would help to have a little definition.

What's a metaphor? "A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily designates one thing is used to designate another thus making an implicit comparison such as 'all the world is a stage.'" Well, of course the whole world is not a platform or a stage, but that's what shakespeare said sort of as an illustration of a metaphor. One thing, another definition, "one thing conceived as representing another to symbolize something." There's lots and lots of metaphors in the Bible that are used to illustrate salvation. Every parable that Jesus told, in some way, was using symbols and metaphors to teach the Gospel. And we can just take a lot of time and go Marching through all the different symbols that Jesus used. Let's do it.

Take a few of 'em. Matter of fact, I'll start and you raise your hands because you're not gonna get a microphone fast enough with all the furniture here. You say it. I'll hear it. I'll repeat it so our friends at home can hear it.

For example, a metaphor of salvation, farming. Jesus said he's the sower of the seed. He told the parable of the wheat and the tares and the different kinds of soil that the seed fell in. So farming is used as a metaphor to illustrate salvation. What are some others? Raise your hand.

I can keep going, but I wanted to give you a chance. Maybe you weren't ready. In our lesson, for instance, we'll get to it. In our lesson, we talk about redemption, we talk about atonement, we talk about justification, we talk about a ladder. These are some of the metaphors for salvation.

In the parables of Jesus, what are some of the other metaphors that Jesus used? Fishing. There you go. "Come follow me, I'll make you a fisher of men." Fishing, that's a good one. That's a metaphor. Some of the others? A shepherd.

A shepherd. He said, "I'm the shepherd, you're the sheep." And he used the whole herd, shepherd, sheep mentality in that language to be metaphors of salvation. Emily? A potter and the clay. That's a good one. I wouldn't have thought of that, but that's right.

the Lord says, "I'm the potter, you are the clay," teaching salvation. Did I hear another one? I heard several at once. What? Living water, water is used as salvation. He talked to the woman at the well. He talked to the people there during the feast of tabernacles about water as a metaphor.

Yes? He's the vine, that's a great one. Another metaphor. John 15, the vine and the branches. I heard some others over here. The door.

And he used that both with the shepherd door to the flock and he said that he's the only way. I see another hand. He's a home builder. Wait a second. I want to hold on that one for a second.

What verses are you thinking of? Jesus is a carpenter. Oh, okay, yeah. You build your construction, yeah. Do you build your house on the rock or do you build your house on the sand? There was a few, I didn't know which one you were talking about. He also talks about his body is the church.

He said, "destroy this temple, days I'll raise it up." So I wasn't sure which one you were talking about. Others? I heard a couple. Which one? He's the light of the world. Light is used as a metaphor of salvation. I don't want to quit yet.

There's lots and lots of 'em. Rain. As the rain comes down on the earth, he compares that to the Word of God and the showers of blessing. The Holy Spirit is compared to rain. Got a metaphor there.

What was that? Garments, is that what you said? Clothing, we put the robe of The Father on The Son, and we put on salvation, as we put on Christ. There's tons of them. Now, we think in pictures, don't we? I mean how many of you have a little screen in your mind and as somebody's talking, especially if they use lots of adjectives, you start picturing what they're talking about in your mind? So in order for us to grasp the abstract concepts of salvation, one of the things that separates human from animals is we can think in the abstract is these pictures help us to appreciate the principles of truth. There's some very powerful, deep principles of truth, and it's a lot easier for us to understand them with these symbols and these metaphors. They're a great way to teach children.

When children are trying to understand some of the deep, sometimes complex teachings of salvation and theology, the symbols and the stories help to illustrate it in a way that children, and more frequently than not, adults also appreciate those same types. Well, one of the metaphors of salvation that you heard me allude to a minute ago was a ladder. Who will look up for me John 1:51? Did we give that out to somebody? We got a hand right there. "And he said to him, 'most assuredly I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open and the angels of God ascending and descending upon The Son of man." What is Jesus referring to when he says this in the Gospel of John? Angels ascending and descending, where else in the Bible do we see that? Jacob's what? Ladder. So what is Christ using as a metaphor here? We're separated from heaven.

We want to get there. We need a bridge. You know in some of the cities that have the taller skyscrapers when these building catch on fire, there were a couple things you could do. If someone's trapped in a window and there's no way of escape, they can jump and you'd hope the firemen would catch you in their net and you could hit the net and that the net would hold you. Or they'd come by with a fire truck with a ladder.

Wouldn't it be a relief to know that the ladder could reach your window, and the firemen, he could up to you and you could get down? Well heaven is--this world's burning and heaven is sending the ladder the other way. And Jesus is the firemen, he's coming down to get us out, so to speak. And so the cross is like a ladder, and it's even more than that. The cross is like a bridge. There's a chasm.

There's a great gulf fixed between man and God, your sins have separated you. And so the cross of Christ like a piece of redwood, the tree that falls across this abyss, Jesus crosses over and links heaven with earth. By becoming a man, he created a bridge. The cross is that ladder. And so there's another simple example of a metaphor that helps us understand that Jesus wants to link heaven with earth, that he is that connection.

In our lesson, one of the main ones that's used Sunday is the metaphor of redemption or to be redeemed. If you turn in your hymnal, you'll see there are two songs across from each other that have almost identical words, but they use different music and they talk about redeemed. One of them is-- [singing] redeemed how I love to proclaim it. The other one is-- [singing] redeemed how I love to proclaim it, redeemed. It's got a little, kind of a gaelic sound to it.

Number of songs that talk about the theme of redemption. And aren't you glad that I didn't sing all of one verse for you? There's some verses I'd like you to look up. Peter 1:18-19. Okay, let's go ahead. "Knowing that you are not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

" Redemption is a metaphor of salvation. You know when I was down in Mexico a couple of weeks ago, I was watching the news there and they were talking about how kidnapping was really becoming an epidemic. Not so much in the outlying areas but especially around Mexico city, a lot of kidnapping. And more affluent families, they're spending money on bulletproof vests for their guards, bulletproof cars for their children because it's just becoming easy money. And there's a lot of corruption in the police department evidently that are accomplices often of this kidnapping, and they just grab these children or young people.

It might not even be children, sometimes it's just--they'll take a wealthy man and have the company pay to get him back alive. That was, you know, very common in columbia a few years ago with the drug cartels, but it's spreading, other parts of the country. I even read in africa, they'll take just a family where he's got a lot of cattle and rebels go through 'em. They'll take the head of the household. They'll say if you want 'em back alive, you gotta sell all of your cattle.

Sometimes they have to take out loans to get them back alive. Kidnapping, in order to get a ransom paid. I remember years ago, some of you remember the story of when John Paul getty the iii, this is the young man, was kidnapped in italy in 1973. His grandfather at that time was the world's richest man. That's j.

Paul getty. They asked for $17 million. He was kidnapped in rome. And he said, "you know, I'd like to pay it, but on principle I can't pay it. If I pay this, then they're gonna keep kidnapping and everyone's gonna get kidnapped.

" And so out of principle, he felt that he couldn't pay the kidnapping ransom. So what they did is they cut off the ear of his grandson, sent it to a newspaper and then the grandfather was willing to negotiate. They negotiated down for I think somewhere between I think $2 and $3 million and they released him. And he's still out and about and alive today now because a ransom was paid. Now here's the question, was he worth it? Well, he was to the grandfather.

That's what redemption is. To redeem, let me give you a definition, "recovery of something pawned or mortgaged." I tell you right now we got a lot of people in North America that their houses are being foreclosed on and the government is offering to redeem them basically, or some of the banks are being redeemed. I don't know if the people are being redeemed, but the banks are being redeemed. "The payment of an obligation as a government's payment of value of its bond deliverance upon payment of ransom or rescue." So we've been kidnapped. This world's been kidnapped, and the Lord is offering to pay the ransom.

You know there's a beautiful story in the Bible of a ransom that's paid. Matter of fact I'll get the to that in just a second, but I've got another verse I want someone to read. Mark 10:45. "For even The Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life a ransom for many." That's redemption. Jesus came to pay a ransom.

What did he use to pay? What's the collateral? What's the currency? His life. He gave his life as the ransom to redeem us. Now how do you measure the worth of something being redeemed? By what's being paid for it, the price. How would you feel if you were kidnapped and the kidnappers called your parents and said, "I want $19, or I'm not gonna let him go"? And then your family says, "I don't know. How about $5?" How would you feel? You'd say, "come on.

I'm worth more than that, aren't i?" And you remember the story here in California, patty hearst, the daughter of the famed millionaire, billionaire, I don't know, randolph hearst was kidnapped, and he offered to pay the ransom and she decided to stay with her kidnappers. Now that was sort of bizarre. She eventually got off because they pretty much brainwashed her. But here the Lord pays a ransom for us to be released and redeemed. And after he pays it we say, "you know I sort of like my kidnapper.

I think I'm gonna go on a rampage with him." That's what she did and ended up robbing banks and becoming an accomplice with the kidnapper. Well, you know a lot of the world has done the same thing. We've been brainwashed by the one who should be our enemy. Galatians 3:13. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.

" All right so what Jesus did to redeem us, picture for a moment that someone is kidnapped down in south America, maybe columbia. You remember that story? I can't even remember her name anymore. She had run for president in columbia and--was it isabelle? And she and a number of soldiers were rescued by the columbian government. They'd been in the jungles for years in just--in just despicable conditions. What if someone said, "look I'll tell you what, you're gonna be set free but the conditions on you being set free is we're gonna cut your ropes, unlock your handcuffs.

I will put on your handcuffs and I will go into your prison. I will stay in your prison so you can be free." See, what Jesus does to ransom us, he not only pays by suffering, he becomes imprisoned for us. He took the second death when he died on the cross that we all deserve, so the ransom is incredible. What is the most valuable ransom that was ever paid? The most valuable ransom that was ever paid, what is the most valuable thing in the universe? The goose that lays the golden egg is the most valuable. What I mean by that is the creator is more valuable than the creation.

Would you value the golden egg or would you value the goose that can lay the golden egg? the Lord--now I don't mean to compare him to a goose, but it's another metaphor. the Lord is a creator of all the gold. You know, they say there's a planet out there in the solar system that is a collapsed, white-dwarf star that's core is one diamond? One diamond that is worth zillions of dollars, one diamond that, you know, is bigger than the state of Texas. Can you imagine that, one diamond? So what's worth more, that planet or the one who made it? How much is God worth? Think about the most valuable things in the world, the most valuable things in the universe. The one who made all the gold in fort knox gave himself for you.

So how much are you worth? It's priceless. You can put no price on it. That's the ransom that was paid for your redemption. So after God pays all that, he says something about how much you're worth to him. For us to say we'd rather stay with our kidnapper, it just breaks the heart of God.

Can you imagine how randolph hearst was devastated when he said he was willing to pay this fabulous ransom for his daughter and she said, "you know, I think I want to join the rebels"? Can you imagine that? Well, that's what a lot of this world had done. You look in the book of Ruth--we're still talking about the metaphor of redemption. I'm taking a lot of time with this 'cause it's one of the most beautiful. Go to Ruth 4, and I'll read this for you. Ruth 4:2.

Now a quick overview of what's happening in the book of Ruth. Naomi and her husband and her two sons, they go to moab. They basically have to sell their land because there's a famine, and they lived there until the famine's over. But in the interval, her husband dies and her sons die which were the principle means of income. She comes back home, her land has been mortgaged.

She has no land, no home. And because it needs to stay in the family, the only one that really has the right to buy back her land and give it to her, it must be redeemed by a family member. Well, it turns out there's a family member by the name of boaz, but he's not first in line. There's someone else that's closer to elimelech and naomi's family. Doesn't tell what his name is, but they go through this ritual of redemption.

Now you read about it here in Ruth 4:2. So boaz, he wants to have the right to redeem Ruth and to marry her and the family. And so he takes ten men of the elders. They need witnesses of the city, and he says, "sit down here." They were all sittin' in the gate so they sat down. And he said to the close relative, the one who had the first right of redemption, "naomi who has come back from the country of moab sold the piece of land that belonged to our brother elimelech.

" He was evidently a cousin of boaz and this gentleman. "And I thought to inform you saying buy it back in the presence of the inhabitants and the elders of my people. If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if you will not redeem it, then tell me that I might know for there's no one who can redeem it but you and I'm after you." They had a line of succession based on closeness in the family. Now this is based on a law, you find this--don't lose your place in Ruth.

Leviticus 25:25. Leviticus 25:25, "if one of your brethren becomes poor and has sold some of his possession and if his redeeming relative comes to redeem it, then he may redeem what his brother has sold." This was called the law of redemption. Now, we're all being foreclosed on by the devil. We have a debt we can't pay and that foreclosure is called everlasting destruction. And the only one who can redeem us is Jesus.

He is our kinsman redeemer. He is our elder brother, so to speak. So you go back here to Ruth 4 and he says, he says, "there's no one to redeem it but you and me." And so this relative says, "I'll redeem it." Then boaz says, "now on the day you buy the field from the land of naomi, you must also buy it from Ruth. The moabitess is the wife of the dead to perpetuate the name of the dead through his inheritance." In other words you need to take Ruth, his wife, along with the land. He goes, "oh, wait a second, my wife may not appreciate that.

" And so he starts to back out. And boaz who's a bachelor he says, "if you're not gonna redeem it, I will redeem it." And so the whole story of Ruth is the story of a family that comes back. They've lost their inheritance in Bethlehem, of all places. And boaz in Bethlehem all in the context of a harvest, he says, "I will redeem it." That's the story of Jesus, that's what he did for the church, his bride. He bought back the land, this world.

Who is supposed to own this world, the devil? Jesus. "Blessed are the meek, they will inherit the earth." Why? Because Christ our kinsman redeemer, he bought it back for his bride, the church. And so this is the story of redemption. "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Come ye buy without money without price.

" Why? Because it's been redeemed in our behalf by Jesus. So one of the beautiful metaphors of salvation is redemption. I've got another one here. It's adoption. Now you're not gonna find that in your lesson, but I wanted to talk about it.

I hope you don't mind. Another beautiful metaphor of salvation. Someone read for me Ephesians 1:5. "Having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of his will." Is everybody a child of God? Well, you know, God is our creator, and I've heard people say, "you know we're all God's children." And that sounds good but technically, biblically let me tell you what Jesus says. These are the words of Christ, John 8 Jesus said, "you're not the children of Abraham.

You're of your father the devil." He's speaking to his enemies. "And the desires of your father, you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth because there's no truth in him. And when he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources for he's a liar and The Father of it." So those who are murders and liars and are, you know, following the devil, they're the children of destruction, the Bible calls them. In order for us to really be children of God, we must be adopted.

That's why you read in John 1--is it chapter 3? John 3:1, "behold what manner of love The Father has bestowed on us that we should be called The Sons of God." You remember reading there in Genesis where it says, "The Sons of God saw the daughters of men"? Some people think that means aliens or fallen angels had intimate relations with humans. How many of you have heard this before? And they had these giants. No, they're saying the children of cain that had turned their back on God that went out from the presence of the Lord, they saw the daughters of seth, the descendants of seth that were true to go and they began to intermarry. The Sons of God saw the daughters of cain, the daughters of men, and they intermarried and then after that they lost their distinctive identity. Then it says, "the thoughts of men's hearts were only evil continually.

" So not everyone in the Bible is a Son of God. When we accept Christ, we are adopted. Matter of fact at the baptism of Jesus, what did God The Father say from heaven? "This is my beloved son in whom I'm well pleased." So when we're baptized, do we hear that too by faith? Does God say to us, "you are now my beloved daughter, my beloved son"? We're adopted into the family. We're not all naturally adopted. There's a spiritual adoption that takes place when we accept the Lord.

Some other verses on that. Romans 8:15, "for you did not receive the Spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'abba father.'" And that's the most tender word it's like daddy. "the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. And if children, then heirs and then heirs--" now what do we inherit? You know my father had four boys. One died, buried here in Sacramento right up the street in a plane crash when he was an infant.

My brother, falcon, who is his natural son. My stepbrother, John, which was his son by marriage and me. Well, my brother, falcon, passed away, but my father, he treated John exactly as he treated me. There was no distinction. And he said, "look, he's in my house 30 years," even though he divorced John's mother before he died.

But he said, "you know, he called me dad and I called him my son and he gave him the same benefits and recognition as a son." Does the Lord give us 100% of the same recognition as his child? What kind of recognition did he give Jesus? Does he give that to us? I remember two boys--i remember a story about two boys that were at school and the teacher, the day they registered, they were like 11 years old. They were brothers. She said, "now I need your birthdays." And she found out that they were 2 weeks apart. She said, "two weeks apart." She said, "you're not twins. I mean I can understand one being 20 minutes apart, not 2 weeks.

" She said, "how does that work out?" My wife's 10 months apart from her brother, that can happen, but 2 weeks? And the teacher said, "now how does that--" she said, "well, one of us is adopted." She said, "well, which one?" And the brother said, "we don't know. Our parents haven't told us." They treated them--they said, "well, one of you's adopted." "Which one?" "I'm not gonna tell you." So they treated them both exactly the same. They didn't even know which was one was adopted. I suppose they let them know someday. Well, when you're adopted into the family of God, what benefits do you get? All the promises that God gives.

And by the way, I think this is very important for Christians to understand, all Christians are really spiritual jews that are grafted into the stock of Israel. All of the promises that you find in the Bible about salvation are really made to the jews. You will not find anywhere in the Bible a covenant of salvation with gentiles. We become spiritual descendants of Abraham. If you're Christ and you're Abraham's seed.

See, we are adopted into that family. And so that's why the Bible says, "many will come from the east and the west and sit down in the family with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob," while the natural children might be in outer darkness. So the Lord gives us all of those, all of those benefits and privileges of adoption. Galatians 4:4, "but when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his son born of a woman born under this law to redeem those who are under the law." There's the word "redemption" again. "That we might receive adoption of sons.

And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his son into your hearts crying out 'abba father.'" You know, it used to kind of irritate me, my brother, when he went to work for my dad because it was a business environment, my brother thought that it sounded unprofessional for him to call my father, dad. So when my brother went to the office, he called him george. I could never bring myself to do that. I mean you know, you never called your father--have you ever seen this before, kids that call their parents by their first name? "Hey, betty, come here I'm hungry." It just doesn't seem right, you know? It just seems to kind of--it destroys the intimacy of the relationship. You know and so right to his dying day, I always called my dad, dad.

And I'd be in the office and John and falcon were calling him george because they thought it was more professional. I thought he's your father, what are you trying to hide it? They didn't want to get special treatment or anything, you know? And I couldn't do that. I always that strange. I said, "look he's your father, call him dad." Call him daddy, that might sound a little bit strange in the office, but you can call him dad. Call him father, but george? It just didn't seem right.

So here Paul uses that language. He says, "we've got this intimate relationship." And as much as a king might want to be fair with his children-- I mean with his subjects, is a king more fair with his son? How many of you remember king David? You know, David was a loving guy but you rub him the wrong way and he often, he pointed his finger and people were slain on the spot. David could be pretty severe. And if you insulted him, he could be pretty severe. Nabal insulted him one time, and he was sending an army to exterminate him and abigail interceded.

But when his own son rebelled against him and tried to kill him, what did David say? He said, "be gentle with him because he's my son." Right? So the relationship between The Father and The Son, there's a tenderness there. So if human fathers feel that, when you're adopted into the family of God, does God feel more tender towards you? How tender did God feel towards Jesus? He feels that same love for you because he gave his son because he loves you so much. So when God says that we're adopted, I don't think we fully appreciate the picture that metaphor gives us of his love for us. Matter of fact Jesus said, "if you being evil know how to give good gifts to your natural, earthly children. How much more will your Heavenly Father?" How much more is his paternal love for you than an earthly parent? How much more tender is it? How much more dedicated? See.

And so God is a loving father and you're adopted, don't forget that, into the family. Okay, I'm gonna move on to the next metaphor and see how much time we've got here. Reconciliation, reconciliation, now what does that mean? To reconcile, that's right, it says here to reestablish a close relationship between. Did I give somebody the verse Matthew 5:23-24? I see les has that right there, and I'll wait for him to get that microphone to you. While it's coming, let me read Corinthians 5:18.

Corinthians, you got your Bible? :18, Now all things of God-- I'm sorry, "now all things are of God who has reconciled us to himself." Matter of fact, before I read I want you to just notice something. This passage has the word "reconciliation" in it more than any other passage in the Bible, so it's a good one. "Now all things are of God who has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. That is that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ as through God we are pleading.

Through us we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God for he has made him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in him." Wow, that's a verse full of meaning. Matter of fact, I'm gonna go back to that in a second. Do we have--are we ready to read Matthew 5:23-24? I see that we are. Go ahead, les, why don't you read that for us? "Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go away. First be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift.

" The Gospel is all about reconciliation. Any of you do accounting? When you reconcile the Numbers, what does that mean? You're trying to get things to add up, trying to get 'em to match to see where those missing pennies are. You know it's mismatched. You want it to fit, so they're reconciled. Relationships that are broken, they don't work together.

There's separation. There's rough edges that doesn't match anymore. We have been separated from God by our sins. We are separated from each other by our sins. Jesus came to bring reconciliation.

The cross is all about reconciling our relationship with God. This vertical, and it's reconciling our relationship with each other, the horizontal. Now Christ in this passage here in Matthew 5 he says, "if you're bringing a gift to the altar, your sacrifice, to be reconciled with God and you remember that you're not reconciled with your brother, park your gift. Go get reconciled with your brother then come and bring your gift to God." the Lord is saying one of the most important things you can do to demonstrate that you want to be reconciled to him is to be willing to heal and mend and forgive in our relationships with each other. Is that truth taught frequently through the Bible? In Matthew when God gives us the Lord's prayer, chapter 6, "forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

" And then at the end of that, Jesus comments on the Lord's prayer and he says, "for if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive you your trespasses." Then in Matthew 18 in the parable of the unmerciful debtor at the conclusion of that parable the Lord says, "so shall my Heavenly Father do unto each of you if each man from his heart does not forgive his brother their trespasses." So God is not saying he will not allow us to be reconciled to him unless we're first reconciled to each other. What he's saying is because he's willing to be reconciled with us, we should be willing to be reconciled with each other. Reconciliation is about working things out again. You've heard about people that are on the verge of divorce and they've got their own attorneys but then they get reconciled. That's good news.

It means they're workin' it out. They're healing the relationship. I've even heard of cases where couples go through a divorce and not because there's any third parties necessarily involved, just because of irreconcilable differences. Have you heard that before? Irreconcilable differences is one of the things. Now they've got no fault insurance--divorce.

You can get divorced for any old reason. You don't, you know, like the clothes they wear, who knows. I mean they--used to be you had to have some reason and they would cite irreconcilable differences. Because you hope you can reconcile those relationships. Well, we're separated from God and the purpose of the Gospel is that we might be reconciled.

Now I told you I wanted to go back to 2 Corinthians 5 for a second, verse 18. All things of God-- "now all things are of God who has reconciled us to himself through Jesus Christ." Who is it that helps us be reconciled to God? Jesus is that bridge. He's the glue that makes it possible. God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. Jesus said, "if you've seen me, you've seen The Father.

" God was in Jesus, the power was in him reconciling us. And he says he's given us, he's committed to us the word of reconciliation. He gives us a ministry of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ through God. We are pleading through us.

We employ you on Christ's half, be reconciled to God. So not only does he heal our relationship with him, he then says, "now I want you to go and I want you to be a medium of bringing people to reconciliation with God and with each other." I quoted one of the beatitudes a minute ago, "blessed are the poor." There's another beatitude, "blessed are the peacemakers." You know what a peacemaker is? Those people that are negotiating with the palestinians and the Israelites, you know what they're trying to do? Reconcile nations, right? "Blessed are the peacemakers." Does the Lord bless those who have this ministry of reconciliation? He wants us to help people make peace with each other and ultimately the first thing, we help people find peace with God. You know, you often find it's true that those that are bitter, that can't get along with anybody, if they can learn to get along with God, then they can start getting along with others. But if they've got a damaged relationship with God, then it's really hard for them to get along with others. If they can find forgiveness with God, they become a lot more tolerant of everybody else.

Justification. Now there are three main components in the science of salvation. They sound like big theological terms, $2 words with many syllables. Justification, sanctification, glorification, and I first heard those words when I was reading the Bible and I thought, what in the world does that mean? And "ication" means the process of. Justification is a process of being made just.

Sanctification, "santa" means holy, the process of being made holy. Glorification, the process of becoming holy or glorified. So justification is where we're separated from God, the act of justifying. That's the definition. "The condition or fact of being justified.

" This is used by God to be a metaphor of salvation. If you have been accused of a crime and you are exonerated in court, you are justified. Now you would hope that you're justified, not because you've got a lot of money and you were guilty and you just were able to defend our self and, you know, have it thrown out or pay off the jurors. That's not the way you want to be justified, you want to be justified by some valid means. Christ's sacrifice offers a way for us to be found just through his redemption.

Got a few verses here. Acts 13:38-39. Now I don't think I gave that one out, but if you're willing to read it, acts 13:38-39. "Therefore my brothers, I won't you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him, everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses.

" Based on the law, who can be just? Jesus said, "he that is without sin, cast the first stone." Who has a right, a just right to cast that first stone? Nobody is justified by the law. Some people think "well, in the old testament, they were justified by the law but now in the new testament, they we're justified by faith." Wrong. They were justified by faith in the sacrifice of the lamb. The lamb was a type of Jesus who had come. They were saved, justified by faith in the lamb.

Looking forward, we are justified, forgiven by faith in the lamb looking back. Let me illustrate this with a story that I think we all understand and we can relate to. Another metaphor of salvation is the Exodus. It's a great example. By the way, I'm not making this up.

The apostle Paul uses this in Corinthians 10. He tells us the whole Exodus experience is a metaphor, a symbol, an allegory of salvation. There are three places we find the nation of Israel. You find them slaves in Egypt. You find them wondering through the wilderness.

You find them settled in the promised land. Okay, you got those three places. They were justified in Egypt, sanctified in the wilderness, glorified when they get the promise in the promised land. That's like heaven for us. We'll be glorified when we're in heaven.

What did they do to obtain justification in Egypt? What was the catalyst where they began their journey to the promised land? What service, what ceremony? Passover, which resolved around sacrifice of a lamb. So the blood of the lamb gave them justification to begin their journey to the promised land. They were liberated from their slavery. Their status of slavery was left behind because of the lamb. We are justified.

We go from slave to free, from slave to son because of the lamb. When we accept Christ, does God have the right to forgive us? You read that if we confess our sins, 1 John 1:9, "if we confess our sins he is faithful and-- just." That means he's got a just right to justify us. To forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. God becomes our justifier. He has the right to do that.

Why? Because our sin required a debt, the debt, the ransom was paid. We have every right to go free. There was a required punishment and penalty. The punishment based on everyone's sins it varies, penalty, death. Christ took the suffering that we all deserve, whatever that is.

All of you deserve different things. And he took the death which we all deserve, right? So he is just, because it was paid, in letting us go free. If you can't pay your mortgage, this is something relevant for a lot of people today, and all of a sudden a stranger comes over and says, "look, here's that $1,000 you owe the bank," and you bring it to the bank. And the bank says, "look, the check doesn't have your name on it. We can't apply this to your mortgage.

" Do they say that? They could care less who pays it, right? They say, "this is how much is owed." And if they get their thousand dollars in their account credited to your payment, they don't care who pays for it. So there's something that we owe we cannot pay. We are justified because of faith in the sacrifice that Jesus made. How do we receive that justification? I've been saying it, I just want to know if you caught it. By faith.

You ask, you believe, you receive. Let me read another verse here, Romans 3:25, "whom God sent forth as a propitiation by his blood through faith to demonstrate his righteousness because in his forbearance, God has passed over--" there you got the passover. "God has passed over the sins that were previously committed to demonstrate at the present time his righteousness, that he might be just in the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Christ." Isn't that good news? He can justly justify us if we have faith in the sacrifice of Christ, and then he sanctifies us as well. We're out of time, friends. I apologize for just cutting off before I got through the whole lesson.

Again, I want to thank you for studying with us. Don't forget the free offer. It's free. Ask for offer number 156. It's called "the high cost of the cross.

" And we'll send that to you, call the number on the screen. It's 866-788-3966 for those of who are you listening on radio. God bless you until we study again next Sabbath.

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