Monday, May 16, 2011

The "Far Off" - May 16, 2011

Acts 2:36-40 (New International Version)
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

Ephesians 2:13 (New International Reader's Version)
13 At one time you were far away from God. But now you belong to Christ Jesus. He spilled his blood for you. That has brought you near to God.

I remember the time before I really new and accepted God's plan for me how difficult I made reading the Bible. It seemed difficult and the verse I heard had very little meaning to me. For me many of the stories in the Bible were just that, stories. Sure I knew about Adam and Eve, Moses, David and Goliath, and heard the stories about what Jesus did, but they really made very little difference in my life. The only thing I knew for sure was that somehow I would have to please God if I wanted to make it to Heaven when I died.

When I speak of my past, I am sure that I am speaking about many of you. You may have attended a church of all of your life, participated in its activities, maybe raised your whole family in the church, sat in the pew each and every Sunday, yet deep in your heart you are only going through the motions to look good. When someone asks you if you have been "born again", you may think that they are one of those "holy rollers"; a religious zealot. You say to yourself its alright for them, and "no thanks", because you are comfortable with where you are, but do you really don't understand what its all about.

Then one day something special happens in your life. God has been pulling on your heart, and you realize that you need to find out what it all means. Your tired of not knowing, and you start to seek out who this Jesus really is, and what "born again" really means. Then one day you hear a word from the preacher and it cuts through your once hardened heart, and you realize your condition. You finally realize that only what Christ has done can really make you right with God. It's as if the preacher is calling your name, and you find yourself giving it all to Jesus. It is at that moment that it all comes rushing in and it all makes sense to you for the first time.

Little did you know that you were one of those Peter was speaking about in this passage in the Book of Acts. You were one of those "far off", who would hear and receive the promise of God. It would be you that God would call and fill with the Holy Spirit, so that you finally understood that the promise of God was for the salvation of all those who call on the name of Jesus Christ as Savior. Peter through the inspiration of that same Holy Spirit, spoke of what God had set into motion through Jesus Christ the promise that would bridge across all generations.

That same revelation of God that occurred in the hearts of the Jews on that day and the same Holy Spirit that made it real for them is for you, and your children, and for all of those who will come after you. If you have not yet given yourself to Him, He knew that you would be reading this, and He knew that you would be one of the "far off". Are you ready to answer His call for you today? Are you ready for the Holy Spirit to make it all real for you?

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