Have you written someone off because that person has a different personality than you, or does things that bother you? Maybe someone truly does things that are threatening, and you need to set boundaries to protect you and your loved ones from them. That's understandable, but what about less threatening instances? Consider Jesus' love for you, and how He shows kindness to the "write-offs" of this world. When people complained that Jesus was friends with sinners, He told them a story about a shepherd who left his ninety-nine sheep to find one that was lost. Finding his sheep, he took it up on his shoulders, and gathered his neighbors and friends around to rejoice! Jesus taught that this is how God, the angels, and the saints in heaven rejoice over sinners who come to believe in Him (Luke 15:1-7). This story teaches something absolutely amazing about Jesus' love: Jesus, the Great Shepherd, comes after sinners, or those straying from Him! The Bible teaches that we've strayed from God, and turn from Him by nature (Isa. 53:6; Rom. 3:9-12; 1 Peter 2:25). But, God seeks us like the lost sheep, and when He finds us, raises us atop His shoulders and ushers us into heaven, where He and the angels rejoice over us. Isn't it amazing that He deals so kindly with us? He sent Jesus to die for our sins, and then comes to us, washes us of our sins, and rejoices in us. He took everything evil about us and was punished for it, and then gives us His own riches! Do you see Jesus coming after you in this way, and giving you these gifts? And what about the people in your life you're tempted to think of as "write-offs"? Well, if we're all straying sheep, it turns out that you and I are "write-offs" too. But, because we've received this great love and compassion from Jesus, our Savior, we should view our fellow sinners with compassion and grace, and point them to our Persistent Shepherd. Irresistible grace, isn't it? --John A. Peters, Devotional Writer Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(C) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
I. The one true God exists in three distinct, eternal persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. II. We're morally flawed and don't desire God by nature, but the Lord's shown us as believers immeasurable mercy in three astounding ways: 1.) He mercifully sent Jesus to live a perfect life in our place, die to pay the penalty for our sins, and rise again from the dead. 2.) He mercifully seeks after sinners--He shows irresistible grace to people who stray from Him, which changes their hearts so that they trust in Jesus for forgiveness and know His comfort and acceptance in their lives. 3.) He's mercifully appointed Jesus to comes before Him for us so that we receive sympathy and help by the power of His Spirit. III. We are, as believers in Jesus, embraced, accepted, forgiven, and declared righteous by God despite our shortcomings by faith alone in Jesus Christ. IV. The sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper aren't good works that we perform to earn favor with God, but point our hearts toward God's kindness and grace through Jesus. V. The Bible is trustworthy in everything that it teaches, and testifies to the kindness of Jesus Christ and reveals what's best for our lives.
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