JESUS' LOVE SAVES US
By Lay Pastor Jusuf Wibisono
Lemah Putro, Sunday, 22 September 2019
We deserve to be grateful to God if we are still given mercy and the opportunity to come to worship, praise, and glorify the Name of God especially to accept God's Word because by His love we are saved from the penalty of sin. Without Jesus' love, whatever effort we make is meaningless or zero as confirmed in 1 Corinthians 13: 2, "...and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing."
The love of Jesus becomes an encouragement for us and enables us to listen to God's Word, understand it, keep it in our hearts and do it in our daily lives. The love of Jesus works in our lives continuously through upbringing and forging out as a noble vessel and equipped ready to be displayed. Illustration: AKABRI cadets are educated and trained, after graduation they are equipped with weapons to be able to face all kinds of challenges and win. Likewise by the love of Jesus we are able to overcome every conflict and go through all kinds of problems. Example: On the first day of Sunday, the disciples gathered in a place with locked doors because they were afraid of the Jews (John 20:19). Remember, anyone who is afraid is not perfect in love (1 John 4:18). Jesus came and stood in their midst, saying, "Peace to you!" They rejoiced to see the Lord and then He filled them with the Holy Spirit to be ready to be sent (vv. 20-22).
Be vigilant, the Devil is not picky in seeing anyone – high-ranking or simple, smart-stupid, rich-poor, old-young and so on – if a heart is uninhabited and empty, he invites his friends into and dwells in it (Matthew 12:44). Empty heart of love makes a person restless, stressed, depressed and often makes them despair and then take a suicide shortcut. Indeed, man becomes insignificant if he does not have the love of Jesus like a branch that cannot do anything if it is not attached to the vine (John 15: 5). To be able to produce much joy we must cling to the Person of Jesus Christ, the true vine.
What is the Apostle Paul's advice to the Philippians (also us) through his writing on Philippians 1: 27-30? "Only, let your life be in accordance with the gospel of Christ so that when I come I will see and if I do not come I hear that you stand firm in one spirit and with one soul fighting for the faith that arises from the Gospel News without the slightest fear by your opponents. For all of them it is a sign of destruction but for you it is a sign of salvation and it comes from God. For you are given not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for Him in the same struggle as you saw me and now hear about me. "
Proven by the grace of God we are able to become believers so that we can understand, absorb, accept, store and do God's Word. But it does not stop at believing, we are also gifted to suffer for Him.
In fact, we are already stressed by the difficulties of daily life, are we still willing to suffer for God? There is no choice but through the narrow door (Matthew 7:14) as Jesus asked the rich young man to sell all his possessions if he wanted to gain eternal life and then follow Him but the young man was sad because of his many possessions (Matthew 19: 16,21). In other words, this rich young man did not want to suffer for Jesus. On another occasion Paul and Barnabas went to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch to strengthen the hearts of the disciples and exhort them to persevere in faith because to enter the kingdom of God they had to suffer much suffering (Acts 14:22).
How can we suffer for God? Perceiving the reaction of rich young people who did not want to be separated from his property, Jesus said it was easier for a camel to enter through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:24). Jesus took the example of a camel equipped with a stock of water in his body to avoid the challenge of dehydration in the hot, dry, barren desert. Besides, the camel must bow down to be able to be loaded.
Implication: we must be equipped with humility to be able to stand firm in the face of trials and tests in the wilderness of this world. We can be humble through forging and galvanizing God's words that purify our faith (1 Peter 1: 7).
We are asked to live in harmony (= balanced, comparable) with the gospel of Christ. Jesus has been a perfect example of humility. He is the King of kings but willing to humble Himself down to earth to become a human being even willing to die on the cross to atone for the sins of humans including us. He gives a total forgiveness that we should take as an example when we have to forgive those who hurt us – forgive 70 times 7 times alias aka infinite (Matthew 18:32). Act like Zacchaeus (a tax collector) who is willing to accept Jesus in his house and change from his old way of life – no longer controlled by Mammon (Luke 19: 5-8).
Indeed, God created man (from the dust of the earth) in His image and likeness and was given the power to conquer the earth (Genesis 1:28). In other words, we are empowered by Him to face challenges in the air, sea and land. Isn't the world currently being shaken in all walks of life – political, economic, social etc.?
Application: give our lives to be nurtured, disciplined and shaped by God's Word even though we have to suffer entering the "furnace" so that we can live in harmony like Jesus who suffered for us. This kind of life is blessed by Him to be able to face all kinds of challenges on this earth. For this reason, we must consider the matters above, namely truth, peace, and joy of the Holy Spirit, not busy thinking about matters on earth (Collosians 3: 2).
Notice that sin is a barrier to man’s problem that causes no solution. Instead, Jesus' love helps, forgives and sanctifies us. After being sanctified by Him we cannot remain silent but serve Him.
We should serve God with a purified heart and also become messengers who have courage to face opponents heading for destruction while we, having been saved, remain firm in our struggle. A struggle requires perseverance like Jacob who struggled / fought with a man until dawn, resulting in gaining the blessing of victory (Genesis 32: 24,28).
Do you know that God's love flowing from the highest place refreshes our hearts so that thanksgiving and praise come out to glorify His name as experienced by a Samaritan woman whose life was a blessing to the people in her city after they witnessed the change of her life (John 4 : 15-19, 28-29, 39-42). The Samaritan woman with an unclean life was chosen by God to be a channel of blessing for the people in her city.
Only Jesus with His love can change our wicked and unclean lives. And the change must start from ourselves, don't force other people to change. The life changing experience becomes a witness for those around us to experience the change too. Also by His love, the problems we face will be unravelled.
We, who believe in Jesus Christ, are given the gift to suffer for Him and should remain focused on seeing and worshiping the only One just as the Apostle John worshiped God (Revelation 22: 8-9) who gave His only begotten Son so that those who believe in him do not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Amen.
Video ibadah ini dapat disimak di Ibadah Umum - Kasih Yesus yang Menyelamatkan - Pdm. Yusuf Wibisono.