bringing THE HOPE OF JESUS
PRAYER: Lord, thank you for the chance to get to know you personally. I pray our time together will grow me to be more and more like Jesus every day. Amen.
To understand that we were born with a sinful nature and we’ll never be perfect. But God, who is our good Father, forgives all of our sins and will help us to become better persons.
1. Adam’s true sin. Let’s read the story in Genesis 3:1-19. He got scared and hid himself. Fear is the opposite of faith and love. He doubted his Father’s love. Children’s disobedience is not a problem for God. Every father experiences that and is able to deal with it. Adam and Eve should have gone to the Father, confess their disobedience and apologize. What do you think the Father would have done?
2. But no, they tried to justify themselves, blaming each other. “I’m not the guilty one” Adam said, “the woman you gave me is guilty”. She said: I’m not guilty, it’s “the serpent is the one who cheated me”. They did everything but confess. They should have said: “Father, we are guilty because we have disobeyed, but we believe that you are good, that you’ve created us with a purpose, and even though we have failed, you can forgive us, we will try to do better”. What do you think the Father would have done if they would have repented? He would have forgiven them!
3. Let’s confess the truth to God. Honesty is always the shortest way to a solution. He knows everything, there’s nothing we can hide from Him and He reads our hearts and minds. We have inherited from Adam and Eve, the same attitude, to justify our mistakes and hide the truth, trying to escape instead of facing our wrong and confess it. It’s like an inferiority complex that sets in motion a mechanism of defense, putting the guilt of our failures on others, lying to escape the consequences of our behavior and acting as hypocrites hiding our failures.
We don’t have to do that, our Father understands us, loves us, is always waiting for us, to forgive us, redeem us and help us to be better. God doesn’t want to punish us. We know when we are wrong but find it hard to recognize it, so we deny it. When we hide our faults we are declining help from God and from others. We should never be ashamed of confessing our sins.
The Queen of England has problems, the President of the United States has problems, the rich, the wise…we all have problems. Let us come with honesty, let’s face reality with a sincere heart, let’s confess to God with genuineness, let’s ask for forgiveness and start again. God will be very glad if we repent, just as a father when he sees his son recognizing his mistakes.
4. Fear of being honest damages our personality. The mind, the spirit and even our physic is damaged when we are not honest. Many of the emotional diseases, nerves and even some aches in our bodies are caused by internal emotional imbalances such as, jealousy, envy, anxiety, tensions, depression, insecurities, pride, fear, anguish and leading a meaningless life. This happens because we are dishonest and we don’t open entirely our hearts to God and to tell Him everything that we know is damaging our personality. When we repent and confess we’ll be liberated and wholesome!
5. Fear of being honest damages our relationships. The capacity to love becomes damaged and relationships become possessive and deceiving. Family relationships break easily and loneliness, lack of understanding and aggression take place. Honesty brings deliverance! “And the truth shall set you free” John 8:32. We should always recognize our faults and confess them to God and to one another. When we do that, our emotions will be healed, James 5:16.
6. Fear to be honest corrupts society. Selfish individualism appears and socialism that produces oppression from person to person, injustice, wars, slavery, colonialism, imperialism, economic and social inequality, misery, starvation, racial conflicts, segregation, discrimination, manipulation of information and education, power ambitions and dictatorship follow.
7. Adam and Eve’s disobedience involved all of us. We were born in a rebellious race. We are not sinners because we sin; we sin because we are sinners. Sin is a condition. Jesus came to communicate that God is a father who loves and forgives us. Jesus came to neutralize and cancel Adam and Eve’s failure and start a new creation with us, giving us New Life.
1. Jesus is also called the second Adam.
a. Vs 12: Therefore, just as through one man, Adam, sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men. This happened to the human race, we all sinned in Adam. An immense tragedy that involved all of us. We’re born with a sinful nature. That is why children, even though they aren’t taught to disobey, they naturally are born with a tendency to lie and rebel. It comes inside. Nobody sends their children to a School of Disobedience to learn how to rebel, that’s the way they’re born.
b. Vs. 15: God’s grace was greater than Adam’s transgression. Grace is a gift; the word “gift” means a present, donation, something one receives for nothing. “Grace” is undeserved favor, we don’t receive it because we deserve it, we receive it because our Father God loves us. How much we give to our children! The grace that Jesus came to communicate is much bigger than the transgression made by Adam. It covers it, surpasses and neutralizes it.
c. Vs. 16: The punishment that came from Adam’s offense resulted in condemnation; but the free gift, grace, which forgives the rebellion of all generations, came to the world by another: Jesus. The gift that God gives us, “grace”, means that even though we committed many sins, he declares us “Just”.
d. Vs. 17: Through Adam’s transgression came condemnation and death to all the human race; but what Jesus made, his death on the cross, has much more value than Adam’s weakness, “much more”. Those who receive and accept the abundance of the grace and the gift of justice, shall reign in eternal life forever by the grace of Jesus Christ. Salvation is believing Jesus, who said that God loves us and forgives us.
e. Vs. 18: Transgression came through Adam and made us be born and live under condemnation; but Jesus’ death on the cross redeemed us of being from being slaves of Satan, delivered us from his power and justified us before God. Mathew 20:28
f. Vs. 19: Through Adam’s disobedience many were made sinners, but through Jesus obedience, going to the cross for us, rescuing us from being slaves of Satan and communicating us God’s forgiveness, we are justified or made righteous.
Our salvation does not depend on what we do. If it would depend on what we do we’re lost because we tend to do what is wrong. The word Jesus means “One who saves”, or Savior. If we were able to save ourselves through our good works, we wouldn’t need a Savior, we would be our own saviors. But we cannot save ourselves because of our sinful nature that makes us fail all the time. We were needing a Savior and Heaven sent us one.
2. Ephesians 2:8-10
a. “By grace you have been saved”, means: “you are saved not because you deserve it or because you have done anything that could save you; but because God in His love decided to forgive all of your sins and Jesus voluntarily decided to pay with his death, the ransom for all of us, to deliver us from guilt and the feeling of guilt”.
b. “by faith”, Faith is to believe, trust that God’s love is sufficient to save me. That Christ is my Savior, that his death on the cross is sufficient and that what God tells us is true. God is love. We cannot save ourselves, we only have to believe, accept; receive the free gift of God with gratitude. God’s “gift” is his love who forgives. Let us believe! We receive it by faith!
c. “this is not of yours, but a gift from God”, even the faith to believe is a gift from God. You are not here because you wanted to be here or because you had the brilliant idea to come close to God, it is God who brought you here, he gave you the desire to be reading this right now and he prepared your heart so that you could believe in Jesus.
d. “not of works, lest anyone should boast”. St. Paul’s affirmation is categorical: “not by works!” We cannot “buy” our eternal salvation or our ticket to heaven; it’s a gift from God by grace and grace alone. How much would salvation cost if we had to pay for it? If we were to pay for it heaven would be full of bragging people for eternity, saying to everyone: “I paid my way…” No, it’s not by works so that anyone should boast, all the glory will be for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
e. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus”, Jesus is like a second Adam who starts a new race; the race of the Family of God, the race of the saved ones, the church, His people, the children of the Kingdom of God. Through baptism we die to Adam’s race, Romans 6:4, and we begin a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17, that is to say, we’re born again, John 3:3. Created in Jesus Christ, means that when we believe in Him and accept that His life, death, sacrifice and grace is for us, we stop being under the first Adam which took us to failure and we place ourselves under Christ, starting a new race with a New Life!
f. “for good works, which God prepared beforehand”, “for good works” God delights Himself when we do good works, but good works is the result and not the cause of our salvation. These good works are born out of gratefulness and love to God and our neighbors. Our good works are also a gift from God; He helps us to do the good works. We should imitate our Father, and do well to those who don’t deserve it, such as God did for us Matthew 5:44-48. Only God can change our hearts to do this. What God prepared beforehand is revealed to us in His commandments in the Holy Scripture. Those commandments are what God prepared beforehand for us to do.
3. Jesus also came to tell us that the Father has always loved us and has never forgotten us. He came to tell us that we are valuable to Him, that He doesn’t want to condemn us nor punish us that He continues to love us even though we have lost the way. If we can understand that we are important because we are His children, we will start to value ourselves, like God values us. We will recuperate our own respect and self-esteem, we will be able to admit our weaknesses and failures and we will discover that God’s love is an endless love. If we can deliver ourselves of the inferiority complex, we will not be afraid to confess our failures. Once we are saved, let us not be ashamed of apologizing when we sin John 1:8-10.
4. Jesus came to be “the lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world”. He took in Him all of our guilt and shed His blood in the cross with much love, paying with it for our ransom. He is our Savior! He died for us, 2nd. Corinthians 5:21. Our sins were judged and punished in that cross upon Jesus. Those of us who believe in Jesus shall not suffer any punishment or judgment; because he took our punishment. This is why He is called Savior. Let us accept his love. Jesus delivered us from our guilt so now we have to refuse all sense of guilt. We’ve been saved and forgiven for eternity! Nothing can separate us from his love.
5. God has forgiven us! To trust in Jesus means that we trust in God who sent Him, and trust in the love of Jesus who decided to die voluntarily for us. It is to believe in what He has done for us. Let’s read John 3:16 again. Let’s accept Christ’s salvation right now and let’s thank him for having accomplished our pardon.
Let’s do it right now. Wherever you are repeat this prayer: Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to communicate your love to us. Jesus, your son, is our Savior. I believe in you and in Him, and because I believe, I am forgiven and saved for ever. Now that I have eternal life I will enjoy life and will not fear death any longer. Thank you Lord. Amen.
6. Helen of Troy. According to a legend, this queen was kidnapped and mistreated. As a consequence she suffered an amnesia attack and was abandoned in a distant city. There she became a prostitute who was wondering in the streets. She could not remember her name, nor did that royal blood fly through her veins. She was remembered with love by all her friends from her land.
One of her admirers, who always believed that she was alive, somewhere, organized for her search. One day, as he was roaming in the streets of a strange city, he stopped in front of a fountain and saw a women dressed in rags, all dirty with deep wrinkles in her face. Something appeared familiar to him, so he approached her and asked: What is your name? She answered a random name.
As this man knew the lines in her hands, he asked to see her hand and exclaimed: “You are Helen of Troy! Don’t you remember?” The lady looked in awe. “Helen!” the man shouted. The cloud in her mind started to dissipate and a sense of remembrance appeared in her face. Helen realized she had been lost; she stretched her arms around her friend and started crying. She left her dirty clothes and on her return to her city she became again, what she had been born to be, a Queen!
7. We are just as Helen of Troy. God made us to His likeness and image. We are children of God. He placed us in a beautiful garden, He crowned us with glory and honor and gave us authority over all creation, Psalm 8:4-8 But God’s enemy cheated us, he kidnapped us, and led us into the condition we find ourselves as human beings: Lost. Jesus our friend, has never forgotten us and came to look for us. He paid the ransom with His own blood, and now, thanks to this encounter that we now had, the amnesia is going away from us, we remember that we are children of God, and we want to go back to be what we have been created to be: Children and heirs of God! Jesus is our Savior and friend!
Declare this outloud: NOW THAT I’M A CHILD OF GOD, I CANNOT BE SELFISH, I WILL GO AND RESCUE THOSE WHO ARE LOST JUST AS I WAS. I WILL EVEN HAVE COMPASSION FOR MY ENEMIES, BECAUSE IT IS FOR NOT HAVING JESUS THAT WE OFENDED EACH OTHER AND GOT MAD WITH EACH OTHER. I WILL GO AND GET THEM. AMEN.
Let’s pray: Lord, thank you for revealing to me who I am and where I belong. I am very important. I am your child. You are my Father, those around me are my brothers and sisters, and this is my family. I am rich! I’ve started to respect myself, I have recuperated my dignity. I am important and I am worth a lot, because I’m your child. Thank you for coming to find me and get me. Amen.
God didn’t create me to fail, but to succeed and be happy. My life has started to change for the better. All of my failures, mistakes, disillusions, errors and weaknesses from the past, are totally erased when coming close to Jesus. Today I understand that: God has forgiven all of my errors and failures!
I turn my life around to begin a total New Life. I am liberated from all sense of guilt and release all the heavy loads that have been holding me down and burdening me. I understand why I have so many temptations to do the things I should not do but I also understand what Jesus did to help me to overcome temptation. The greatest secret for success is to understand that I’m forgiven and that Jesus saved me forever, I will never fall again.
God made me in my mother’s womb. My body, my mind and personality is a wonderful creation of God. He didn’t make me to condemn me and send me to hell for eternity, He made me for Him! I am His beloved child. I didn’t know about it, but now that I am learning about it, I have reconciled with him and I will never separate from Him. I am sure that life will be very different, living in peace with my Creator and Father.
I believe that my future is smiling at me. God created me with a purpose that I am now discovering so my life will be very different from now on. I will set up goals, I will have God by my side to accomplish them and I will learn to face adversity with an optimistic and creative attitude. I will start replacing my negative habits for positive ones and I will trust more in God and in myself. I will have faith! This will help me to live with enthusiasm and organize my life according to the purposes of my Father God who made me.
I’m determined to be born again and start a new life. That is why I will go to church, where my Father is, my family and brothers and sisters. Jesus Christ and His church will be my refuge for me and my family from all the corruption that surrounds us. Yes I am doing something fantastic for my life.
All of those who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, cigarettes or anything else, or those who give their bodies for unlawful sex, pornography and foul language is because they have lost their self-esteem and personal dignity. They do not respect themselves. One should not be an easy person, giving away your body to anyone or anything. Now that we know that we’re children of God and that we are valuable to God, to ourselves, to our families and to our brothers and sisters, we shall not have sex out of marriage. If you are a young guy or a young woman and you want to have sex before marriage, don’t do it! He or her must first win your heart and wait to have sex until the day you marry, never before! You have great value!
The same goes for any other vice or addiction. Doing anything that ruins the body is not recognizing how valuable our body is. Now that you know, don’t put garbage into your body. Take good care of your body, your mind, your spirit, your hands, and your feet. Don’t go to places you shouldn’t be at, watch your mouth, take care of your physical appearance and don’t over eat. Just as Helen of Troy, take off your rags and dirty clothes and dress yourself again as a Queen or King! Now that you have rescued your dignity and self-love, thanks to Jesus who came down from heaven to lift you up, keep it clean!
Which was the true error of Adam and Eve, and what should Adam and Eve have done after disobeying God?
Who can relate the story of Helen of Troy? In what sense did we experience the same as her? What should we do now that we know that we have been forgiven and saved?
What should we change, regarding vices, bad habits and addictions?