Monthly Archives: October, 2018

1 Peter 2:22

Jesus was Sinless and the Virgin Birth | Devotion #3: 1 Peter 2:22
Caleb Combs | Gathering Pastor

Jesus was a lamb without spot, a perfect sacrifice. In the book of Exodus, you find the children of Israel enslaved by the Egyptians. They were in a place and an experience that God had never designed for His people. Ultimately, God planned to get His people to turn back to Him, trust Him, and He would lead them to the Promised Land. The Bible tells us in Exodus 1 that He heard the cries of His people.

God used a man named Moses to lead His people back to Him. Now it would not be an easy or uneventful Exodus because the Egyptians needed the Israelites. God told Moses to go in front of Pharaoh and tell him he would inflict ten plagues on the land. It included removing their water source, bugs, and boils, to fiery hail and darkness. God was trying to get their attention. However, it was not until the tenth and final plague that Pharaoh released the Israelites. The tenth plague was called the Passover. God instructed Moses in Exodus chapter 12, that an angel would come over the land and kill the firstborn of every family. The only way the angel would pass over a home is if the blood of a lamb or goat was spread across the doorway of the home. The Bible describes the lamb needed in Exodus 12:5, “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats.” 

Why would the lamb need to be without blemish? One opinion is that God deserves and requires our best and if we decide we do not want to give Him our best, we are relying on our self. Another concept is summarized in a quote by Gerald Bray, “If the lamb were less than perfect, someone might say it was being sacrificed because of its defects, but that is not true. It was not the lamb that was the problem but for those whom the lamb was dying.”  

We see the need for a lamb’s blood for protection for the Israelites during the Passover and is a perfect picture for our lives. The Perfect Lamb (Jesus) was slain, and His blood was the covering of our sin. It is not on our merit or status that we are saved, but by the blood of the Perfect Lamb. The lamb was not the problem and would not be needed except for what is said in Hebrews 9:22, “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” Jesus was the perfect sacrifice needed to cover our faults and failures, and He willingly stepped in on our behalf. 1 Peter 2:22 says, “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.” 

1 Peter 1:18-19

Jesus was Sinless and the Virgin Birth | Devotion #2: 1 Peter 1:18-19
James Clouse | Student Pastor

Have you ever given your children a spit shine? If you do not know what this is, a spit shine is when you have a child with a spot of dirt or food on them, and you lick a rag or your finger to rub the spot off your child. Lorelai, my daughter, hates spit shines. Every time I go to do it now, she complains and says for me just to leave it, but I have to make sure she is clean and presentable before others. 

Jesus, has in a sense, given us a spit shine. Christ has taken every blemish and spot of sin and cleaned it off of us to make us clean and presentable before His Father. 

1 Peter 1:18-19 says, “Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

Christ has taken our futile sins and every blemish and cleaned them with His blood. As human beings, we were born into a world of sin, into a world where it is impossible to remain perfect and without blemish. These sins were inherited, which means that this is our nature. We were born into it and given it by our fathers and their fathers before them. 

There is only one way that we can be cleansed of these blemishes, and that is through Jesus Christ. First Peter points out that we cannot be saved by perishable things such as silver or gold. We cannot buy or earn our way into Heaven. Things of this Earth are not good enough to redeem us before our Father. 

When I die, the Father will not see me but the precious blood of His Son who died for us. This is what redeems us. All of the sins of my past and in my life are placed at the cross. We have been sanctified through Christ and what He did for us. We are made perfect, clean, and presentable before our Father.

John 19:4

Jesus was Sinless and the Virgin Birth | Devotion #1: John 19:4
Ryan Story | Student Pastor

We all know that critical person who can find something wrong in every situation. We all know the person who will say it is too hot or too cold outside. You know that person who is unhappy if their food takes too long to get to their table. They are the person who can spot cobwebs from fifty feet away and say that an entire room is filthy. We all know that person who is more focused on their preference than principles. Sadly, we all have moments of being critical, we all have the pet-peeves that drive us crazy. Think of the way we start to treat people when they do not live up to our expectations.  If a waiter takes too long to deliver food, we instantly jump to the conclusion that they are out to get us. We are so quick to find fault with people. Even worse, we are quick to finding fault with God as well.

In John chapter 19, Jesus is in the middle of a very bad night. The Pharisee leaders arrested Jesus. Now they want to put Jesus to death, but they cannot because they lack any true governing power. To execute Jesus, the Pharisees just need to get the Roman prefect to say this execution was just. John 19:4 says, “Pilate went out again and said to them, ‘See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.’” After meeting and questioning Jesus, Pilate was not able to find any fault in Jesus of Nazareth. It amazes me that Pilate was able to look at this Jewish man and see no guilt in Him. Pilate was a Roman leader who was doing his best to keep Jerusalem under control so he would not lose his job and life for failing the Roman Empire. To me, the easiest thing Pilate could have done in this situation would be to do what we all try to do, find a fault when one is not there. Amazingly, Pilate could not find anything to say showing Jesus was guilty.

Any Christ follower will agree with you that Jesus is God. He was sinless, perfect, and without any worldly blemish. Knowing that Jesus is the only person who we can say is perfect is such a peaceful feeling. Knowing that all of God’s ways are perfect, sinless, loving, merciful, and just should be at the central hub of our faith. Then why is it that when our situations in life are not where they should be, one of the first people we want to find fault in is God? Pilate examined Jesus for a substantial amount of time and found no fault in Him, and he was not even aware that Jesus was, in fact, the Christ, the world’s Savior, the King of kings. We are aware of all those things, and yet we still think God is unfair when there is turmoil in our families, a tragedy strikes, or when finances are not as bountiful as we were hoping. If we know that Jesus is, in fact, perfect and sinless, then His plan for our lives must be the same. Too often I hear people who think that difficult situations in life mean that God is not real, perfect, or just. Instead of looking for the problem in the One who is in control, look at how you can change your perspective. God is perfect and sinless. His plan is perfect. Take a page out of a Roman’s life, view God as without guilt, without fault, and perfect in all He does. 

John 20:28

Jesus is God | Devotion #6: John 20:28
Jayson Combs | Family Pastor

Have you ever been mistaken for someone? Has someone ever had a conversation with you and the entire time they thought you were someone else? Sadly, this happens to me all too often in my life. My brother is Pastor Jim, and he is 21 years older than me. This brings great confusion to people when they see me and then, they see him. I cannot tell you how many times people have come to me asking how my father is doing, and then I inform them that I am not who they think I am (I always wonder what people think when they receive my brother’s Christmas card with all his children, but I am not in the picture).

In John chapter 20, Jesus has risen from the grave; He has made appearances to many people including some of the disciples. Thomas is one of the disciples who has great doubt that Jesus has risen from the grave because he has yet to see Him. He tells the other disciples that he will only believe if he can see Jesus and can see the scars from the crucifixion. Well, Jesus shows up and Thomas makes this amazing statement in verse 28, “Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and My God!’”   

Thomas’ statement begs the questions, Is Jesus God or did Thomas mistake him for the wrong person? I believe Jesus’ response confirms clearly that Jesus is God. If Jesus was not God, do you think He would let Thomas mistakenly call Him King of kings and Lord of lords? As we keep reading the passage, Jesus asks Thomas in the next verse, “Have you believed because you have seen me?” If Jesus is not God, I do not believe He would allow Thomas to call Him God. It would be a very blasphemous statement against God.  

Throughout the Bible, there is this beautiful picture of Jesus and God being separate, and being the same. For a fun little study read Daniel 7:9-10 and Revelation 1:12-16.  Daniel is clearly referring to God while Revelation is clearly referring to Jesus. Compare the similarities between the two. You will be amazed at how the same characteristics that are used to describe God are the same characteristics to describe Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 9:6

Jesus is God | Devotion #5: Isaiah 9:6
fTommy Youngquist | Children’s Pastor

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. You have multiplied the nation; you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as they are glad when they divide the spoil. For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.”  Isaiah 9:2-5

Holy Smokes! That is some victories right there! Why are all those victories happening to people that are so oppressed? Why are people who have lived in darkness being shone a great light? Why has the rod of oppression been broken? It helps to look at the next verse for the answer.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Why are all those victories going to happen? The victories will come because Jesus is coming!  God is going to make everything right by sending his Son to earth. The Wonderful Counselor is going to reunite God’s people with Himself. The Mighty God is going to right all of the wrong in the world. The Everlasting Father is going to take His children home forever. The Prince of Peace is going to calm the chaos. We have hope!

When I read these verses, I can relate to the person Isaiah mentions in the first five verses. My life seems so oppressed sometimes. It can be oppressed by finances, culture, social, and economic issues and to be frank, people’s negativity.  I have to remind myself that there is hope. Hope because Jesus is God and Jesus can right the ship. Today, bank on the fact that with Jesus, you get all those victories. Be faithful to Him until you get the win!

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