8-3-13. John 19:30. One Thing I Learned From The UBF Conference. “It Is Finished”

One Thing I Learned From The UBF Conference. “It Is Finished”

John 19:30                                                                                           Kevin E. Jesmer     8-3-13

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” (NIV 2011)

It Is Finished - Cross

     I was particularly moved by the message from the director of Venezuela. He was talking about the death of Jesus on the cross.  We learned that Jesus laid down his life on the cross for our sins. He is the Lamb of God.  His is sinless and his blood is pure, holy blood. Jesus willingly submitted himself to the cross so that we may be forgiven and saved unto eternal life. Now the Holy Spirit of God can dwell in the hearts of forgiven sinners.

People suffer so much because of their sins. In the video section of the CIS mission work, it mentions about communism. At the beginning of the 20th century, the communists thought that they could create a utopian society based on humanism.  They sought to eliminate God from the equation. They toppled churches. They persecuted Christians. But Soviet people ended up with a deep sense of meaninglessness and emptiness. They suffered under communism so much. But in 1986 the Iron Curtain came down. The people were free to worship Jesus and study the Bible. They were free to learn about Jesus, the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world. Since then, the Russian nation has been filled with hope and potential. They have every opportunity to continue to grow as a fruitful and blessed country. It is because Jesus has freed them from the chains of sin through his death on the cross.

On a more personal and individual level, people are bound by the chains of sin. They can not be set free. They are suffering because of their sins. They cannot overcome on their own.  Prior to meeting Jesus I was a slave to my hedonistic sins. Seeking pleasure and fun was the highest purpose of my life.  I was gripped by pleasure seeking desires and also by a deep sense of inferiority.   I didn’t know what to do with my life, except work and seek lots of fun every weekend and wait to die. That is all I knew. But then I met Jesus. He forgave me of all my sins.   He loved me and accepted me unconditionally. I remember studying the passage of the woman caught in the act of adultery.  (John 8) My heart was moved by Jesus words, “…Has no one condemned you?” 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:10b-11)

Just recently I was caught in the chains of sin. Just like the ropes that the demonic spirits in the conference drama, who were slowly twisting and choking the plant as it was trying to bear fruit, the power of sin had slowly crept into my life in the form of criticism and judgment on those close to me.  I let my heart be gripped by despair and depression. I was blaming other people for the dark condition of my soul. I had allowed myself to resist the work of the Holy Spirit in my life and allowed myself to drift into isolation from my own family members as I clung to my legalism and my own ideas on how things must be done. I created an atmosphere of anger, sorrow and depression in my home bringing everyone “down” around me. I created an atmosphere in my home that did not reveal Jesus and the gospel to those who visited our family. In fact, the atmosphere in my home may have been driving people away from Christ. I allowed myself to get into a horrible rut that I could not get out of on my own. But Jesus saw my predicament and sought to save me from my sins.

Jesus came to my rescue to break the chains of sin that had gripped my heart and life. Jesus died on the cross so that these sins of mine could be forgiven. He completely forgave me, 100 %. It was complete forgiveness.  With this forgiveness, my heart could be made clean.  The Holy Spirit of God can dwell in me, a forgiven sinner, to do his life giving work in my heart. 18 months ago at the “Weekend to Remember” conference I accepted newly the complete forgiveness of Jesus on the cross. I realized that Julie accepted the complete work of Jesus on the cross. I was set free from my sin that had gripped my heart for 2 years. I could begin a new love relationship with my wife. I could begin to be a father to my kids, allowing Jesus to work in their lives without me judging and criticizing them. I could accept them and love them as they are. I could be free to find a mission in life that Julie and I could do together. We are now growing in oneness.  All of this happened because Jesus died on the cross for 100 percent of my sins. I could have a new life with a new hope. Praise the Lord!

This Jesus has helped to deepen my love for him. Through his grace he has bestowed upon me everything that I ever wanted or needed. I don’t want or need 10 million dollars. I don’t need a 5,000 square foot home, isolated from my neighbors, hard to clean, repair and keep up with the taxes. I don’t need freedom to romp around city after city, getting tired and needing a vacation from my vacations. I don’t need fame and fortune in the eyes of the world. I don’t need to live in isolation and resentment. What I need is the love of God. I need the peace of God and his mission in life that he has given to me and Julie and my family.  I may have 40 years left of living in this world if everything goes totally well. That is not a long time. It probably will be less.  I want to live those remaining years in peace and contentment, in a love relationship with my Lord and with others around me. I want to let the Lord bear fruit in my life by his Spirit and enjoy the fruit that he brings forth.

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, I can have a new beginning in Jesus every day that I get up.  Even today I can begin to have a new life in Christ.  This all has come about because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross. What a gift from God that keeps on giving.

I am amazed that Jesus accepts me as I am, through his death on the cross. I can’t even accept me as I am. He accepts me and loves me. His dying on the cross proves it.  I need to share this love of God with others. How conditional was my love to others. I loved those that went along with my own program in life and ministry, joyfully and willingly. I loved others who built up my house church ministry in my way. I had a hard time to accept people as they are. But Jesus simply forgave me and gave me clear direction to leave my life of sin. I need to forgive as I have been forgiven. I must accept others and not judge them but reveal to them the love of God. This begins at home with my family. It begins with those whom God has brought into my life to love and serve with the gospel. It involves those whom I spend my day with at work, even if they do not want to accept the Gospel right at this moment.

This love of God is the message that we must preach.  The Gospel message is not a bunch of does and don’ts. The message is not conformity to a religious system. It is all about the gospel and making the love of God known to the world. When the love of God is preached then and people accept it, then the Holy Spirit will take over to heal, strengthen and guide. He will build his church.

Sometimes we think that the finished work of Jesus is not enough to preach. We are tempted to add something.  For example we are tempted to go beyond the fact that Jesus paid the debt in full and because of this we are indebted to Jesus and now we are to spend our days trying to pay off that debt a little bit at a time. But Jesus gave us a free gift.  All we have to do is believe. John  3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish by have eternal., life.“  I was waiting to see if Pastor Gustavo Prato of Venezuela UBF was going to tell us that we are obligated to do something for Jesus now that he died for us. But he did not even go there. And I am glad for that would have been a “message breaker” for me. If we do anything for Jesus it is because of our thanks, gratitude and our love for our neighbor, because we know the Jesus is the one who set us free from sin and granted us eternal life. It is because of Jesus that the comforter, the Holy Spirit can be with us. If we do nothing for Jesus that is ok. God will work in our hearts in his way. The Holy Spirit will move us to mission, not based on a human based sense of obligation, but based on the grace of God.  I need to always hold onto and preach that believing  in Jesus’ perfect sacrifice makes us into children of God and all the works I do is only thanking and loving God back.. If I stopped all the works God does not love me any less for God is love. 1 John 4:15-17 reads, “If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus.” Thank you Lord, for the confidence that Jesus’ finished work on the cross brings. May I preach this fact throughout my life time. May I be satisfied with preaching the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Amen!




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