sexta-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2016
"Has it ever struck you that because you have fallen so many times into the spiritual life, God does not want to know you anymore? Is there anything in the world that will separate God from you? Did you forget it?
"And he came unto his own, and his own received him not: but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: they were not born of blood, Nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. (John 1:11 to 14)
The Word became flesh. The Lord Jesus Christ became flesh and dwelt among us.
Have you ever been mugged? This question may seem like without much sense. But I've been robbed three times.
Assault is an interesting storytelling and dreadful experience. After being mugged, something terrible happens in our mind. We start shaking when we think we might be dead. We begin to believe that there are people who for a little money are able to take the lives of other people. After the first robbery, I experienced difficult days because I had the impression that every unknown person who approached me was going to rob me. I distrusted them all. When someone came down one sidewalk, I would move to the other. At the bus stop, I was a little distant and when someone approached, I looked suspiciously and was ready to flee if that was the case. I was traumatized because I experienced a dramatic moment in my life. They put a knife in my chest and my money and watch were taken. From that moment I began to distrust people.
Friend, this is perhaps the most tragic of sin. Sin creates distrust among human beings; Creates insurmountable barriers; Opens gaps between husband and wife; Creates boundaries between parents and children. Sin opens the distance between the members of the same church; Opens wounds that later do not close; Causes traumas that time is not able to erase. But perhaps the most terrible of sin is even the painful experience of alienating us, separating us, isolating ourselves from the world.
When you were a child and did something wrong, the first thing that came to your mind was to hide, was not it? Yeah. Sin makes us hide, makes us go away. It separates us from God by creating a barrier between the Father and us.
We adults, when we do something wrong against a person, are afraid to meet with them and if we do find them, we are ashamed to look into their eyes.
Sin separates people, families, brothers, friends. Maybe you've already been betrayed by a friend you trusted. You may have been betrayed by your spouse; By the father or the son; Or even by a pastor or elder of your church, and understand perfectly what I say. This is what sin brings us. But worst of all is that sin separates us from God.
My question is: Does sin separate God from us? Look at what the Bible says: "For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things of the present, nor of the future, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature Separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. " (Romans 8:38 and 39)
Friend, I want you to understand this, because when Jesus came to this world, the leaders of His time could not understand. I have the impression that many Christians today do not understand this either.
Sin separates us from God, but does not separate God from us. When Jesus came into this world, people could not understand this, and they confused sin with the sinner. When a man committed a sin, he was rejected and despised. No one else was related to this man.
Jesus came to take this concept out of the human mind. Therefore, when Jesus was on this earth, while the members of the church of that time turned away from sinners, Jesus sought them, joined them, and sat down with them. Does it mean that God approved the lives of sinners? No, however, he knew that in order to save them he had to seek them out and love them. Meanwhile, church leaders formed a small group apart and criticized the Lord Jesus for this attitude.
Here's what the Bible says: "All the tax collectors and sinners came to Jesus to hear him." The Pharisees and the scribes murmured, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." (Luke 15: 1 and 2)
Friend, the church members of God at that time did not accept the idea that sin separates us from God, but does not separate God from us.
When we sin, we choose to forsake God. We set out for our own world; We walk in our ways; We do things that hurt us from the inside and hurt the loved ones around us. But sin does not separate God from us. He goes after us, begs us, waits for us, loves us.
However, the leaders of that time failed to understand this, persecuted the Lord Jesus and finally killed Him.
Jesus walking on this earth sought the miserable sinners, the prostitutes, and surely sought out the homosexuals and all the lost people of that time. People like Mary Magdalene who had promised seven times that she would change her life and did not have the strength to change; Lepers, paralytics, the blind, people who had no hope, who no longer knew where to go. These were those whom Jesus sought. It was with them that Jesus sat, ate, and lived.
At the time of death, Jesus did not choose two men of better conduct to die among them. He was crucified between two thieves. He died the way he lived. He lived among sinners and died among sinners. He had come into this world to give hope to men without hope. They were the motive of His life.
This does not mean that Jesus would consent to the wrongdoings of the prostitute or accept the dishonesty of Zacchaeus. No! This is not to say that Jesus approved of the wrong ways of these men. Jesus does not consent to sin, but loves the sinner.
Here is a great message of hope for you and me: It does not matter who you are, where you walked, when you fell, or how you can be at this moment; No matter how tied you may be to customs, vices, and habits from which you can not free yourself. I want you to know something: Jesus loves you. He never approved of his conduct, but He never stopped loving him. This is the central message of the Bible.
That is why we find this repeated figure in the Holy Scriptures. In Genesis, when Adam and Eve sinned, sin separated them from God. They searched for fig leaves and hid behind a tree. They did not want to know God any more. They wanted to escape. Sin separates man from God, but does not separate God from man. And that is why God, at dusk, descended from His heavenly throne, stepped on the earth and sought the man.
The central message of the Bible is that the human being, because of sin, lives far from God, but God still loves him. As much as man is living in misery, God does not lose hope, he continues to believe, to wait and beg.
When the people of Israel were released from Egypt, God was on the mountain delivering the tablets with the Ten Commandments to Moses. While there was a glorious moment up there, the people gave themselves up to idolatry. He had made a golden calf and was worshiping and dancing around this idol. God said, "They shall make me a sanctuary, and I will dwell among them."
Oh, my friend! These men, because of their sins, were not listening to God. They were not wanting to know God from being so drawn out that they were by idolatry.
Today, we may not be worshiping golden calves, but rather a type of culture, music, literature; A kind of friendship, or a lifestyle, I do not know. Perhaps we are worshiping our own human capacity. But even God wants to dwell in our midst.
How can God want to be in the midst of a people who do not want to know anything about Him? There is the great and wonderful love of God. God goes after the human being, runs, believes, waits, works. The Holy Spirit follows you, pursues you; Speaks to you in one way or another; Sometimes dramatic, others softly; Speaks to you with love, shakes you, speaks to you through an earthquake or a tragedy, but speaks to you. God does not lose hope and believes that one day you will wake up.
In verses 1 and 2 of Luke chapter 15, the Pharisees accuse Jesus, "Why do you associate with sinners? Why do you live and eat with sinners?"
Jesus in this world spoke in parables. And in that same chapter we find three: The parable of the coin, the sheep, and the son. The three lost. This means that Jesus joins sinners in order to seek them out.
The parable of the son is known as the parable of the prodigal son. Why prodigal son? Because he was very prodigal in spending his money, his life, his health and his youth. I think the parable should not be called the parable of the prodigal son, but rather the parable of the prodigal father. Prodigal in loving, in believing. Prodigal in having patience and waiting.
The figure who stands out in Luke 15 is not the son who is lost, but the father who goes after that son. It's the father who waits. It's the father he loves. It is the father who begs. The Spirit of prophecy says that it was the love of the father who finally won in the heart of the son and brought him back. I ask: Did the father love his son when he behaved well when he worked on the farm and performed all his duties? Did he love him more than when he was among the pigs, the prostitutes, spending his life and his money? At what point does God love your child the most? At what point did the father of the parable most love his son?
When the son was home and well behaved, his father loved him very much and was happy. When the son sank into the misery of sin, the father continued to love him very much, but he was sad. That's the difference. When we let His power transform us and His Spirit guide us in His ways, God loves us very much and is happy. But when we fail to pay attention to the Holy Spirit's direction and sink into the misery of life, God continues to love us, only now with tears in his eyes. That's the difference.
Many people are unable to understand this message and think: "Pastor, you are preaching a dangerous message, because if you say that man sins and God continues to love, and that his love has no limit, then you Is encouraging sin, and man can think, "Why should I fail to sin if God loves me even in sin?"
But whoever asks this question is why he never understood what God's love is capable of. He knew perfectly well that if love could not transform a life, it would not be. Jesus knew for example that if His love could not transform Mary Magdalene, nothing else would change her. So he loved her, believed her, and waited. Although Mary fell once, another fell, and no one else believed that one day she would rise, but Jesus continued to believe and His wonderful love was the greatest argument that could make her aware of her sinful state. When she understood this, she clung to a thread of hope and was bathed in Jesus' blood.
Mary learned to distrust her own will power and to depend on Christ kneeling and saying, "Lord Jesus, alone, I am lost.I can promise a million times, but I never will.I need You to work a miracle in my life. I need You to do something that I can not do for myself. " And only then was it transformed.
Oh, dear! My father was a very tough man, a man who did not admit mistakes. He did not know Jesus, but he was a very honest man. He did not accept Jesus, but he was a first-rate moralist. To be a moralist you do not have to be a Christian. Being a Christian is living worried about letting Jesus live in you. To be moralistic is to live concerned only in behaving well. But thank God, at the end of his life, he accepted Jesus and became a Christian. And as I said, he did not admit any mistakes, and I, as a boy, made many mistakes.
One day I did something wrong. My father had already given me a warning, but I continued to err on the same point. One day, which I will not forget, I was caught. I knew that when my father arrived in the afternoon, I would have to hit him. He had promised me that if I made that mistake one more time he would give me twenty lashes. When he arrived, I was ready. Then he said to me: Come into the room. And I went. I should have been nine, maybe ten years. I had put on four pants so as to lessen the pain and my father noticed. I want to imagine at this moment my father watching his son come in, his legs thick because of the four pants. I, at nine, thought that my father would not notice, but it seems he realized. I was a caricature of my father trying to solve my problem by wearing four pants. He could have laughed at me, but he did not. I saw tears in your eyes. The whip was in his hand. I knew I deserved the punishment. He was supposed to give me the twenty lashes he had promised. I had already told myself that I would not cry or complain. I was ready to receive my punishment. My father did not know the word pardon, but that afternoon something strange happened. That hard man was moved and said:
- Come here. Get closer.
I came near him. He had the whip in his hand. I closed my eyes expecting the first lash, but what I felt was a hug. My dad hugged me. There were tears in her eyes and then she said to me:
"Son, I do not want to punish you. Do not think I take pleasure in punishing you. I love you son, but I have to do it for your own good; So that you do not suffer when you grow up. You have to learn to obey now.
But he embraced me and continued:
"Son, this time I'm not going to hit you, you can go.
If my father had given me twenty lashes I would not have shed a tear. But that afternoon, I cried. His embrace hurt more than twenty lashes. His love hurt more than his punishment. If he punished me, I might continue doing what I had always done. But that very day I promised myself that I would never make my father cry again.
Jesus knows well the power that love has, and that's why when we make a mistake He does not say, "Go away, you can not do it." You stepped on My commandments and betrayed My trust. Forget I am. Do not come back to me when I need you. "
Ah, my friend, God does not do this. Sin separates us from God, but he is not able to keep God from us. God seeks us, He goes after us, He waits for us, He believes. He loves us. That is why you have no right to remain sad. You do not have the right to be thinking that there is no way. God loves him and never fails to love him. He died to save him. He gave His Holy Spirit with the fullness of His power to make Him victorious, to take it out of mediocrity, and to give it victory.
Do not you want to accept Jesus? He does not want to open his heart and say, "Thank you, Lord, for you never stopped loving me. Thank you also for the power that comes from the cross to transform my life."
Dear Father, hear the silent cry of the people who need You. Thank you because You believe in the human being. Thank you also because when You forgive, You forget and transform. Place at this moment Your powerful hand on each life. In the name of Jesus. Amen.