Sermon Notes for Dr. Atchison
Scores of people push from their lives the very one who can save them from the penalty and the power of their sin. Countless numbers turn away from the One who can save them from their emptiness, confusion, hopelessness, and enslavement to sinful ways. They are to busy for the One who can deliver them from a meaningless life. They can’t seem to find time for the One who can redeem their lives. It is so sad, so tragic because things could be different for so many if they could only find time for the Lord Jesus Christ who came to earth to save us. Christ is the Savior we all desperately need.
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
In announcing His birth, the angel of the Lord declared to Joseph “MARY WILL GIVE BIRTH TO A SON, AND YOU ARE TO GIVE HIM THE NAME JESUS, BECAUSE HE WILL SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.” (Matthew 1:21)
(Luke 19:11) says that Christ came “TO SEEK AND TO SAVE THAT WHICH WAS LOST.”
Paul declares that we have been redeemed through the blood of Christ.
The word redemption is a commercial term borrowed from the marketplace where human beings were offered for sale to the highest bidder. Scripture uses the tragedy of slavery to illustrate our human predicament. Condemned to a miserable existence these slaves were powerless to escape. Their only hope was redemption, an uncommon process whereby they were purchased in order to be set free. Without God’s intervention, we are all hopelessly enslaved to self and sin. We are forced to live in bondage to sin and Satan. Enslaved by sin and guilt, we are unable to liberate ourselves.
Jesus said, …. "EVERYONE WHO SINS IS A SLAVE TO SIN….”
Sin traps us and holds us, rendering us powerless to escape its clutches. Consequently, try as hard as we might, we are unable to overcome our sin. It might be lust, uncontrollable anger, drugs, pornography, envy, covetousness, lying, materialism, destructive behavior, harmful attitudes, or whatever. In our natural, unsaved state we are at the mercy of sin; powerless against it. In spite of the fact that sin ruins relationships, wrecks lives and brings untold pain, misery and regret we can’t seem to overcome it. Our only hope is Christ who can redeem us, setting us free from sin’s penalty and its power in our daily lives.
Describing what God has done for us, Paul says in (Ephesians 1:7) “…IN CHRIST WE HAVE REDEMPTION THROUGH HIS BLOOD.”
The Greek word translated redemption is a commercial term. To redeem something is to deliver it on payment of a ransom. Christ offers to set us free from bondage to sin through the ransom price of his blood.
(Hebrews 9:22) says, “WITHOUT THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD THERE IS NO REMISSION OF SINS.” Through faith in Christ we are delivered from the guilt of our past sin. But that is only part of what it means to be ransomed. Our present and future are affected, as we are no longer held captive by the power of sin. Delivered by Christ we are saved from our old lifestyle and introduced to a new and better way of life.
Jesus said,” IF THE SON SETS YOU FREE YOU SHALL BE FREE, INDEED.” Redeemed by the blood of Christ we are set free from the power of sin. (John 8:36) Sin need no longer have the hold on us that it once did. Through the power of God’s indwelling Holy Spirit we are able to say “no” to sin. We are thus ransomed or delivered to live our lives on a higher plane. You don’t have to live your life held captive by the sins that mess up your life. Jesus Christ came to earth “TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY.” We all need the deliverance He offers simply because we all know the pain and regret that results from our enslavement to sin. What looks attractive, compelling and pleasing turns out to be such a horrible quagmire that it costs the life of Christ to lift us out of bondage.
In our text Paul rejoices in the incredible blessings that come with redemption. He was so grateful that the Lord Jesus had released him from his past life of enslavement to sin, setting him free to live his life on a higher plane. Paul emphasizes three attendant blessings of redemption; Forgiveness, overflowing grace and spiritual discernment.
He rejoices in them and we should do likewise.
I once saw a Christian card that said: “If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator. If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist. If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist. But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior.”
Forgiveness is one of the blessings of redemption. At the Last Supper our Lord said, “THIS IS MY BLOOD…. WHICH WAS SHED FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS…” Forgiveness absolves us from the punishment of sin which we deserve. Every one of our sins can be covered by the death of Christ. In Christ we can be delivered from the guilt of our past.
Our redemption and forgiveness, Paul says, are “IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RICHES OF GOD’S GRACE THAT HE LAVISHED UPON US…” These “riches of His grace” are all the wonderful things that He gives to us and does for us. Things that we, as sinners, don’t deserve. God’s grace is His unmerited favor.
He gives us what we, as sinners, could never earn. The Greek word that Paul uses for grace is a word that was used when someone was ushered into the presence of royalty. Through God’s grace in Christ the door has been opened for us to enter into the presence of God, finding forgiveness and fellowship in spite of our sinful pasts. When that door was opened we found grace, not ridicule or rejection but sheer, unmerited grace. When we come to Christ with a sense of need and a spirit of repentance, God redeems us and pours out His grace upon us. He blesses us in countless life-changing ways.
Grace is the result of redemption and it is demonstrated to sinner through God’s blessings. He blesses us by saving us from the just penalty of our sins. He blesses us by giving us victory over the power of sin in our daily living. He blesses us by providing for us in countless and often miraculous ways.
Paul mentions one other blessing that comes with redemption. The blessing of discernment; it is the key to victorious Christian living. Wisdom and discernment are a consequence of redemption and they enable us to live life properly and victoriously. AS Kent Hughes says, “Wisdom is the knowledge which sees to the heart of things, which knows them as they really are.” Understanding or discernment enables us to make right decisions and choose right paths. Those who posses this God given “wisdom and discernment” can “discern the spirit of the times and stand tall and confident.” Discernment enables us to avoid being duped by the false promises of sin.
Discernment is a tremendous blessing because it enables us to make the right choices. It gives us keen perception or judgment; godly insight into things. Through discernment we are able to avoid error, evil ways and wrong paths. We are not fooled into succumbing to things, which, on the surface appear so right, but which bring only heartache and regret.
Discernment protects us from harmful, ungodly, worldly behavior and pursuits. It keeps us from living for the things that can’t satisfy and that don’t last. Discernment enables us to focus on the things in life that are most important, like our relationship with God, family and friends. Those who lack God’s wisdom and discernment get confused about the relative value of things and they get their priorities all mixed up. God’s wisdom and discernment, which come to us when we are redeemed, enable us to live life as God has designed it to be lived. Discernment enables us to truly experience “Newness of life” in Christ.
In 1927, in West Africa, a blood specimen was taken from a native man named Asibi, who was sick with yellow fever. A vaccine was made from the original strain of virus obtained from this man. In fact, all the vaccine manufactured since 1927 by the Rockefeller Foundation and health agencies, derives from the original strain of virus obtained from this one man. Carried down to the present day from one laboratory to another, through repeated cultures and by enormous multiplication, it has offered immunity to yellow fever to millions of people in many countries. Through the creative imagination of science, the blood of this one man in West Africa has been made available to serve the whole human race. In another, more important way, the blood of another Man has been made to serve the human race. “IN CHRIST WE HAVE REDEMPTION THROUGH HIS BLOOD…” (Ephesians 1:7)
Christ offers to redeem us. We can live differently; we can gain the victory over those sins that so easily beset us. Reach out to Jesus… surrender to his Lordship… allows him to work in your life. Don’t push from your life the only One who can save you…change… and bless you.