Jesus came to save sinners — that’s you and me.

“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Tim 1:15)

Jesus did not come as a good example or to blaze a trail to the afterlife that we can now follow. No, Jesus came to save. He came to save because we are sinners who need saving. We don’t need good examples. We don’t need trails to follow. We need to be freed from our rebellion, freed from the grip of sin, freed from the blinding thoughts and desires that cause us to run from God instead of to Him.

It is fruitless for Jesus to blaze a trail to the afterlife because we don’t want to follow the trail. We run from the trail seeking to blaze our own. Sin causes us to believe we are capable of pleasing and reaching God in and of ourselves. We believe we somehow have the inside track and everyone else doesn’t. Sin causes us to think much better of ourselves

Instead of believing we are worth saving, we must see ourselves through God’s eyes — we are wretched sinners who don’t deserve salvation. Notice Paul ends the verse by admitting he is the chief of sinners. We must admit the same as well. When we are willing to admit we are the chief of sinners we can rest knowing Jesus is at work in our lives. We should praise Him for His work in saving us from an eternal life outside of the presence of God. As well as freeing us from the effects of sin on our life now.

Jesus came to save sinners — that’s you and me.

By the Grace of God, you are a gift for Jesus’ glory

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,” (2 Thess 1:11)

We need the prayers of the saints for our growth. As believers, we are to look after and encourage one another. We should desire to see the best for our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. What could be better than their growth in Christlikeness.

Becoming more like Christ means we become more like the people God originally designed us to be. When we live according to God’s designed, life generally goes well for us. Even if we experience difficulties such as persecution or set back, we can have joy. Joy because we have hope. Hope for a future when we will see Jesus in all His glory. Joy because even in the difficulties we are able to accomplish our purpose in life, which is to glorify God. In verse 12, Paul reveals the end to which he prays,

“so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess 1:12)

The end is Jesus glory in us and us in Him. Jesus is ultimately glorified in us, not by our work, but by the grace of God. In this way, we are a gift to Jesus for His glory. What a privilege it is to be used by the Creator of the world, the King over all, the All Sovereign Lord as a gift to His Son for His glory and our own.

We should worship the One who rescues us.

Jonah worships the Lord. In Jonah 2 9, we read:

“But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay.”

(Jon 2:9).

Recognizing God is the One who saves, Jonah worships God. Which is what we should do as well. We should worship the Lord.

The great thing is you don’t have to wait until Sunday to worship God. Worship is more than coming here on Sunday mornings and singing a few songs and hearing a sermon. You can worship God throughout the week.

You can worship God by:

  • Reading His Word
  • Praying
  • Telling others about Him
  • Ministering to those in need
  • Obeying God’s Word

There are other ways we can worship Him as well. But the point is we can worship God every single day.
We should worship God daily.

If we are going to be daily worshippers, we must constantly set our minds on the things above. One thing we should set our mind on is the gospel. We must preach the gospel to ourselves daily, constantly so as to remind ourselves that Jesus died for us. He shed His blood for our sins so that we might have life. That salvation is free and those who desire it need only to repent and turn to Jesus. Those who call Jesus their Lord and Savior experience salvation.

How amazing is that? Jesus died for us. He willingly gave His life to redeem His enemies from sin and the Father’s Wrath. He gave His life for those who want nothing to do with God. How amazing is that?

When we think about what God has done for us, how He has rescued us from our idols and saved us in Jesus, we should be driven to worship, not just on Sunday morning, but every day.

Remember, we are fighting a spiritual war.

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12)

We are living in a time of political upheaval. Tempers are charged on either side of the aisle. Everyone feels they have been wronged. Both sides are fighting back, protecting, vouching for, and propelling their candidate to the front.

Let me encourage you not to put your trust in a candidate, political party, or policy. While politics are important, they are not the end all be all. Paul reminds us that we are not fighting against flesh and blood. Instead the battle we are fighting is a spiritual battle. Therefore, we must prepare ourselves for a spiritual war by taking up spiritual armor.

Spiritual wars are not fought with sticks, clubs, swords, or guns. They are fought by following and adhering to God’s Word. Jesus told His disciples to put their swords away. We should put our swords away as well. Attacks, riots, mob violent will not solve the problems we face in our country. Only the gospel and God’s Word will bring the change for which we desperately hope.

Remember, we aren’t fighting against flesh and blood, instead we are fighting a spiritual war, which requires spiritual armor.

You can’t love Jesus while hating your brother.

“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints,” (Eph 1:15)

You can’t love Jesus while hating your brother. Notice Paul combines these two ideas — your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints. These ideas are not combined by accident. Rather they are combined on purpose.

But why? Why should faith in Jesus produce love towards others?

Our faith in Christ changes our identity.

  • We are now adopted sons and daughters through Christ (Eph 1:5).
  • God’s wisdom and insight are lavished upon us through which He makes known to us the mystery of His will, which is to unite all things (Eph 1:8-10).
  • Furthermore, we have obtained an inheritance, which indicates we are a part of a new family (Eph 1:11-12). Our inheritance is even guaranteed by the third member of the Trinity — the Spirit (Eph 1:13-14).
  • Moreover, we are released from our former manner of life, so that we now live a new life in Christ that is the antithesis of the passions of our flesh (Eph 2:1-3).
  • God has even seated us with Christ in the heavenly places, insinuating that we are not just adopted sons and daughters, who have been changed to follow a new course of life, but we are kings and queens who reign and rule next to the eternal all-powerful King of the universe (Eph 2:4-6).

Our new life in Christ should produce unity. Paul’s argument in this section drives towards that conclusion. Verse 16 of chapter 2 says it explicitly —

“and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility” (Eph 2:16).

The hostility he mentions primarily deals with the divide between Jew and Gentile. Through Christ, we are made one in Christ. We are both — Jew and Gentile — citizens of a new kingdom in which we are united (Eph 2:19).

While Paul’s argument deals firstly with the divide, and subsequent unity in Christ, between Jew and Gentile, the outworking of our unity as citizens of a new kingdom is love for one another. As citizens of a new kingdom we are to have camaraderie with one another. More than camaraderie we are to work together. More than just working together, we are to love one another. We are capable of loving one another because we have been freed from our past life, which was dominated by the prince of the power of the air and our own flesh (Eph 2:1-3).

As citizens of a new kingdom, freed from sin and Satan’s control, having our desires changed, and given a new identity in Christ, we can and we should love one another.

You can’t love Jesus while hating your brother.

Love for neighbor creates unity in the community and we should seek unity.

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Gal 5:13)

In Christ we have been set free from the demands of the law. Not that we set the law aside in that we shouldn’t follow God’s Word. No, we must and we should follow God’s Word. A disciple is someone who follows a master. Jesus is our master. We are His disciples. We should follow Him. But we are free from the law’s bondage over us. It is no longer our tutor, teaching, training, restraining and pointing. It has accomplished it’s goal in that it has pointed us to Christ.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. He embodied it perfectly, never breaking a single command. As a result, He is able to be our perfect sacrifice, fulfilling the law on our behalf so as to make those who believe in Him through faith righteous.

Having experienced the freedom Christ provides, we should not use your freedom to satisfy the desires of our flesh. In fact, the opposite is true. Having been set free from the bondage of sin, we should use our freedom to follow Jesus in living according to God’s Word.

Not that it is a bad idea, but we don’t need to memorize all the commands in God’s Word in order to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. The whole law, as we are told in verse 14, can be summed in their phrases, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal 5:14). Paul is playing off Jesus’ answer in the gospels to a question regarding what is the greatest commandment. Jesus answered it is to love God and the second greatest was to love your neighbor (Matt 22:36-40). I believe both ideas are implied here, but the specific focus of the passage in on community, which is why the second greatest commandment is quoted.

It is wrong to say that you love God, while at the same time hating your brother. If you love God, you will love your brother. You will not use your freedom to bite and devour them. Instead, you will use your freedom to show love and care for them. If we seek to devour another instead of living in unity with them, we will be devoured ourselves. So as others attempt to take a bite out of us, we should press into love.

Love for neighbor creates unity in the community and we should seek unity. It is what the law, although imperfectly, was seeking and what we are capable of now that we are freed from the bondage of sin in Christ. We are capable of loving and living in unity with our fellow brothers and sisters. We must press into unity in our community by loving others as we would love ourselves.