| Home | Up |
| Historical Background of Christ's time on earth | The Lord's Fellowship with Abraham and Jacob | Jehovah, God of the Single Mother | The Son of God and Mary's Heart | The Power of a Quiet Heart Submitted to the LORD | Our Gracious Lord as a Child | God's calls all Men to Serve Him | The Temptation of Christ | Jesus, our Compassionate High Priest | Jesus, Friend of Sinners | Jesus meets Nicodemus | Jesus Meets a Blind Man | Paul, an Imperfect Man, Used by God | Power of Gospel and Friendships | Jesus Affirms Faith | What to Expect When Jesus Touches a Life |
What to Expect When Jesus Touches a Life.
This has been a remarkable study for me. It has touched my own person in a way that I could have never imagined. A lot has gone through my mind as I sat before the keyboard (That's quite an accomplishment at 4 in the morning on a Sunday morning). Looking back on my own life, I cannot imagine what life would have been without the Lord Jesus Christ. I come from a divorced home - was separated from both of my parents at the age of 5. There was really no reason the Lord's blessing in my present situation except for one important thing. The Lord has had an abiding interest in me as a person from the very beginning.
From the very beginning..... But as we have studied His Word that shouldn't have come as a surprise. When I started this series I used this reference which really has significance in my own life:
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained;  What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? Psalm 8:3-4
Did I expect that the Lord's interest in my own life would have been such a blessing? No. From a 5 year old's point of view there was only confusion - there really wasn't time to "fix the blame." My life was just existing on a daily basis with no hope for the future. But He was there. In eternity past, He was there - planning my life - setting the course of my life - just as a father would for his son. You see God does have an interest in every sinner's life and has, indeed, made plans for everyone.
God's Wonderful Plan for the Sinner.
God has a vital interest in everyone's life. The Psalmist accurately portrayed this interest:
"...O LORD, Thou hast searched me and known me.  Thou dost know when I sit down and when I rise up; Thou dost understand my thought from afar.  Thou dost scrutinize my path and my lying down, And art intimately acquainted with all my ways." Psalm 139:1-3.
This passage is one of a concerned parent. Look at it. The Lord has looked at our lives with intense interest. There is a word-pictured embedded within this passage that I want to point out. Look at the word "scrutinize", (hb = zarah, Piel stem = to separate components by winnowing). Imagine a parent lovingly inspecting the back yard before allowing his child to play in it. Well, this is even more intense than that. This reminds me of another careful exercise that goes on every winter. We have hundreds of miles of trails for snow mobiles. Every winter volunteers spend countless hours preparing these trails so that the "sportsmen" can safely traverse these trails without fear of harm. Hidden logs are removed, snow is packed down. Fences are properly marked - a lot work goes into this preparation so that the snowmobiler can enjoy his pastime safely. Well, the same care went into the preparation of separating the grain from the chaff in biblical times. The picture here is one of casting the grain and chaff into the air and allowing the wind to separate the chaff from the grain so that good flour might be made. Our LORD is like that in the life of every person. He inspects the path of every sinner and sets in motion every circumstance in that life that should point that life towards the LORD and then puts that plan in place so that the sinner would have an opportunity for a personal relationship with Him. Please look at this:
Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence?  If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.  If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,  Even there Thy hand will lead me, And Thy right hand will lay hold of me. Psalm 139:7-10, NAS.
The psalmist continues to paint a picture of a concerned parent. The first thing I would like to point out in this passage is that there is no place the sinner can flee to that will removed his presence from the LORD's. "Where can I flee..." I can remember an incident when my youngest daughter Debbie tried to go her separate way in Kmart from her mother. Well, she never did succeed but at one point Debbie thought she had "lost" her mom. She didn't, of course, but that's the picture of the sinner who, in his wilful way, tries to hide from the LORD but His Spirit is there with the view to evangelize the sinner and to bring him into personal relationship with the LORD. There are several word-pictures in this passage but I wish to point out only one. Look at the phrase "Thy right hand will lay hold of me" (hb - Qal, imperfect of achaz, meaning to continually seize so that there is no release and never let go). I have an interesting picture on the family web where my grandson David, who is somewhat independently minded, has climbed a chain link fence but my son, Alan, has grabbed David by his clothes - why? Because on the other side of the fence is a 200 foot drop! Alan was holding David so that should he decide to jump, he could keep him from doing so. This is the hold that the LORD has on the sinner.
So the LORD has this wonderful plan - He has carefully inspected the path of every sinner so that there is nothing but the sinner's own wilful stubbornness that could detract him from coming into this personal relationship with Him. The LORD has grabbed the sinner in such a way that the sinner will have an opportunity to come into personal relationship with Him.
Is the LORD mindful of every sinner? You bet He is! In eternity past the LORD looked down in time and saw every sinner and loved that sinner in spite of his sin - in spite of the fact that he was totally antagonistic toward the LORD. The very first thing He did for all of us was to provide eternal life for us.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
The world here is every sinner. God is our Heavenly Father - Jesus is His only begotten Son. What God did was to draw up a plan for the sinner that would revolutionize that life. But first was the problem of sin.
The Problem of Sin.
The problem is that sin has separated us from the LORD. Paul expressed it this way:
What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. Romans 3:9-11.
It's not just that we've just lost our way and we need to seek the LORD. No. We, as sinners, are actively trying to hide from Him. On our best day as a sinner we still do not really want to be in His presence - rather, we want to be left alone so that we can live our lives the way we see fit. That's the problem with sin. If God were to just transfer us to heaven, we would be constantly seeking hiding places so that we could avoid the LORD. Sin does many things to us - a major difficulty is that we have no way of relating to Him in a personal way. Jesus said that if we are to come to Him we are to do so in spirit and truth:
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. John 4:23-24.
We are spiritually dead in our sins. Paul explains to the Ephesians that as sinners we just didn't live in the same plane as the Lord. Rather we lived in our disobedience and under the slavery of our sins and under the authority of Satan. There just is no way the sinner can enjoy a relationship with the Lord under these circumstances. That's the problem of sin. The consequences of sin present another problem to the sinner.
The Consequences of Sin.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23.
I'm reminded of the saying "You get what you pay for." It, of course, admonishes the potential buyer to purchase a quality product and to be willing to pay for it's value. The problem is that Adam bought into sin back in the garden of Eden and as a result we all face the consequences of his bad "purchase." Sin brings death. We are born spiritually dead - unable to have a relationship with the Lord. Beyond that sin demands the payment of death. When the LORD cautioned Adam about willfully choosing to rebel against Him the words of caution was this:
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Genesis 2:16-17.
Well, we know the result of Adam's poor judgement - sin has separated man from God but beyond that man now must die in his sins - right along with Adam. I’m excited to point out that Jesus has paid the price for our sins on the cross - He has been raised from the grave and is now looking for us to believe in Him as our personal Savior.
That's our predicament. On one hand the LORD has been thinking of us - beyond that - has been making plans for all of us but the exciting news is that we can meet Him and allow Him to touch our lives and the only place where we can do that is at the cross.
The Cross, The Place Where Jesus Christ Touches the Sinner's Life.
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself." John 12:32, NAS.
Jesus is not here - He is in heaven - He doesn't walk the dusty paths of our lives. He seeks us at the cross. This is the message of evangelism - the Good News. We all must learn that we are sinners, that God has a wonderful plan for our lives and that Jesus Christ has paid the ultimate price for our sins. It's not that God has left us to our own devices to muddle things out and to seek Him in our own way. He has provided the way and that way is the message of the cross. We must believe that we are personally bankrupt as far as anything we can do to merit a personal relationship with the LORD. We all must believe in our hearts that Christ died on the cross for our sins. We all must confess to Him that fact and receive Him as our own Savior.
What to Expect When the Lord Touches Our Lives.
I'm hoping that we have learned something from our series on "Lives touched by Jesus Christ." First, that we can have a new destiny - heaven not hell. Then we should expect a wonderful change of our lives where our interests change from selfish ones to a preoccupation with the Lord and His interests. We should also expect that the Lord will direct our lives - perhaps in subtle ways sometimes but in other cases rather dramatic ways. Abram was changed from a man who was a nameless beduin to the father of nations. Hagar was changed from a desperate single mother to the matriarch of the arab nations. Mary was changed from a simple, humble Jewish girl to the mother of the Lord in His humanity. Zacchaeus, a hated tax collector, gave his money back to those from whom he had extorted it and became a disciple of Christ. Paul, a murderer, became a leader in the very church that he was seeking to exterminate. The list goes on. Is there a set pattern of what changes take place in the lives of sinners as they come in contact with the Lord? No. But one thing is apparent. Once they were just sinners bound for hell - after His touch they were heaven bound and with a new life of relationship with Jesus. Let's just go back to our first passage in Psalm:
your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.  How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! Psalm 139:16-17, NIV.
Well, we've come full circle and are back with David. One of the most thrilling things I learned as a young Christian was that even before I was born, He had a plan - a dossier, if-you-please on my life. It's a wonderful thing to know that my Heavenly Father has plans for me and is interested in me as a person and wants to fellowship with me. Please won't you consider these issues for your own life and if you have not done so respond to His call to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior.
Download this Bible study in a printable format with footnotes.
Free Winzip download for viewing some of my Bible Studies here.