A guest blog by Doug Oines, Director of Ministry – 217church
In the first 17 years Gail and I were married, we lived in 6 homes. My job moved us around the country about once every three years. During those years we received many bills – the best one ever was the one we got on May 2, 2012. It was our mortgage statement. The amount owed was $0.00 and there were three wonderful words: “Paid In Full.” What a day of celebration that was!
However, the biggest debt I ever owed was one I could never pay. I took the life that God gave me to live for Him and lived it for my own purposes. Romans 3:10-12 says it best – “as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
I cannot defend myself before the charge that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It is way beyond my ability to pay, because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), eternal separation from the God who’s the source of all that’s good.
But then came Good Friday. The day that the sinless Jesus “carried our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). There’s a reason Jesus cried out from His cross, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Why would God the Father turn His back on His only Son? So He would never have to turn His back on you on me. Because the payment for my sin is being cut off from God. Jesus took all of that when “He freed us from our sins by His blood” (Revelation 1:5).
When Jesus said from His cross, “It is finished,” He used a word that literally means “paid in full.” The day I finally put all my trust in Jesus as the One who paid for my sin, God did what only He could do – He stamped my bill PAID IN FULL. The bill was paid on Good Friday. God cancels what we owe the day we take for ourselves what His Son died to do.
Too often we take for granted the scope of the full sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross. If we do these 3 things, we’ll gain a better understanding of that awesome sacrifice and develop a closer relationship with Christ:
- Listen – God calls us through his Word, we need to take the time to listen! He wants our whole and undivided attention – the same thing we want when we speak. Develop a daily habit of reading your bible and spending time in prayer with God. It is difficult, but turn off the electronics and really learn to listen. God has some pretty amazing things He wants to share with us!
- Fellowship – We need to spend time with other believers. In Acts 2:42 we read that “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” A great way to do this is to join a small group. In our 217groups we:
- Serve together to show God’s love to our community,
- Learn to apply biblical truths to your life
- Invite others to join you and your group in the journey
- Care and pray for one another
- Eat and fellowship with one another.
What could be more fun than that?
- Disciple – Discipleship is the process where believers help one another become better followers of Christ. We each have two roles in discipleship:
- to be a discipling mentor
- to have a discipling mentor.
If we spend time developing personal, Christ-centered, relationships we will grow in our own understanding. My experience is that when I am mentoring someone, I gain as much personal growth as the person being mentored. Find two people and enter into a discipling relationship with them!
May the Lord bless each of us this year with a better understanding of: PAID IN FULL.
Bring your family and friends and celebrate Easter with us – we start a new series: The Ripple Effect – One Simple Act.
Join us at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ. 217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 10:00am and Sharon Elementary school in Robbinsville, NJ at 11:00. Our new Robbinsville/East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday. If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information.