March 9, 2024

Lent Is A Time to Reconnect with God (Lent 4b)

 John 3.16 summarizes the essence of Christianity. God loves us so much He was willing to give up His only son to be in a relationship of love with us. The problem was God is holy and humans are unholy. The Good News is God loved us so much He created a way for us to be reconnected through faith in the sacrificial death of Jesus.

1.  The Unholy Can Not Be the Presence of the Holy

We cannot be in God’s presence because our unholiness would burn us up in the holy fire of God’s love. We are not trying to scare people. This is just the way spiritual things are. 

·     At. Sanai God warned the Hebrews to not even touch the mountain when God was present, or their animals would burn up

·     Paul describes us as being dead in our lives of sin and separated. 

·     We can not overcome this by being good and doing good works

·     Heresy of Pelagius – English monk convicted of heresy


2.  Hebrews Re-connected with God by gazing at the Snake on the Pole

This is the symbol you see on doctors’ badges or in medical offices. The Hebrews had rebelled against God and Moses.

·     God sent a plague of poisonous snakes to kill them – penalty for rebellion is death

·     Moses doesn’t know what to do – cries out to God

·     God creates a way to test the Hebrews repentance, faith and love

·     Tells Moses to make a snake of bronze and attach it to a pole

·     Hebrews prove their faith and trust in God by gazing at the snake on the pole – God heals them

·     Gives them freedom to make a choice

·     My way or God’s way


3.  Christians Re-connect by focusing on Jesus on a Cross

When we focus on Jesus sacrifice on The Cross we are reminded of how much God loves us and how much our sins cost God. Like the ancient Hebrews we are called to repentance and seeking God’s forgiveness and restoration to right relationship.

·     Repentance is the first step in re-connecting or being reconciled with God

·     Roman Catholic Church calls this process the “Sacrament of Reconciliation”

·     Significant difference is Catholic Churches have a statue of Jesus on the Cross and Protestant Churches have an empty Cross

·     Protestants tend to see this as a Catholic guilt thing and reject it

·     Truth is they are right spiritually – moves people to repent when they remember the cost of forgiveness

·     Catholics are also right spiritually because technically, when we repent, confess our sin and ask Jesus to forgive us He takes our sin back in time to the Cross and dies to pay for it so we can be forgiven

4.  Reconciliation Should Be Job #1 for the Church

Protestant churches have sadly lost the spiritual power of the Sacrament of Reconciliation by substituting a ‘General Confession and Absolution” in worship services.

·     General confession is good in that people are reminded of and given an opportunity to repent and confess.

·     Ineffective as sins must be individually and specifically confessed to the elders or a priest of the Church

·     Confession to a person shows real repentance and breaks thesecrecyof the sin which is what gives it power over the sinner

·     Repentance and Confession is the essence of most healing and deliverance ministry

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