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The Good News of Redemption - Life of Christ Part 4

So What? / Lon Solomon
The Truth Network Radio
January 10, 2023 7:00 am

The Good News of Redemption - Life of Christ Part 4

So What? / Lon Solomon

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Have you ever had to wait a long, long, long time for something?

Huh? Last Sunday, I don't know if you were watching, but the Buffalo Bills created NFL history. Early in the third quarter, the Houston Astros were on top by a score of 35 to 3. And by the time the smoke had cleared, Buffalo had won the game 41 to 38. Now I don't care who you were rooting for, it had to be one of the most exciting games I've ever seen.

And I would go in and out of the room, I was doing some other things, and I'd walk in and it was 10 points, I'd walk in and it was 17 points, I'd walk in and it was 21 points. When it got to be like up to about 35-31, I sat down in the fourth quarter and said, I think I should watch the rest of this. And by the time it was over, Buffalo had won, earning them the record for the largest come-from-behind victory in NFL history, not just in a playoff game, ever. Ever.

Mario Cuomo, the governor of New York, issued a proclamation this past week officially bestowing the title of Comeback Kids on the Buffalo Bills. Warren Moon said, and I quote, they scored, then they scored again, then they scored again. It just kept going and going.

We couldn't get it stopped. I've never seen momentum turn like that in all my life. And Houston cornerback Chris Dishman said, and I quote, this is devastating. It's beyond devastating.

In fact, we need a new word in the English language for what this is. Now, this kind of sounds like Joe Montana stuff, doesn't it? Or John Elway vintage stuff, but it wasn't. Actually, the quarterback responsible for this incredible feat was a fellow who had waited a long, long, long time for his chance in the sun. His name is Frank Reich. You say, who?

Exactly. Actually, you know, Frank Reich played at Maryland. Did you know that?

You say, I never knew that. No, of course you wouldn't, because he backed up Boomer Esiason for all the years that Boomer was there, and nobody ever heard of Frank. Frank went on then to back up Jim Kelly of the Buffalo Bills, and thanks to Kelly's injured knee, Reich started only his seventh game in eight years of being in the NFL. He had only thrown one postseason pass in his entire career, if you can imagine that. And it was yet a game that shot him from obscurity into the NFL record book. Incidentally, Reich happens to be a very strong Christian.

I don't know if you knew that. And he began his press interview after the game by reading the words of the song Christ Alone on national television. He said it was a song that had helped him keep perspective all during the week leading up to the game and keep him focused and keep him from becoming too nervous, reminding him that the game wasn't really mattered, but what mattered was his own personal walk with Christ.

And he read the words of the song. That's how he opened his postgame conference. Quote, something unusual for an NFL postgame conference, end of quote.

He said, and I quote, I don't worry about being a big story. I'm not playing the game for the glory of myself or for money. I'm playing because God has given me an opportunity to use football to proclaim his name. And he also admitted that even though it had been a long, long wait, it is worth it to see his dream fulfilled.

He won again yesterday, by the way, leading the Buffalo Bills to beat the Steelers. Now, this morning, as we continue our study in the life of Christ, we're going to meet two other people who waited a long, long time to see their dream fulfilled. And the dream that they wanted to see fulfilled was the dream of living long enough to see the Messiah of Israel be born. And in his mercy, God allowed them to do just that.

Their names were Simeon and Anna. And we're going to read and study about them. And then ask the question that really is the most important question, and that is, so what? Right. All right. Luke chapter two, verse 21.

Follow along with me. When a boy was born in the Jewish culture, there were a couple of ceremonies that were very important. The first one was his circumcision carried out on the eighth day, and that was the day on which he was given his name. And the Bible says that his mother and father named him Jesus just the way Gabriel is. And they took him to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the law of the Lord, a pair of doves or two young pigeons. and the Bible says that his mother and father named him Jesus just the way Gabriel had told him to. Now in the case of a firstborn son there was another ceremony that was very important and that is that that son was taken to the temple in Jerusalem and in a very special way consecrated to God in light of what had happened in the Passover when the Egyptians all lost their firstborn son in the tenth plague but none of the Israelites did and as a result God said the firstborn son therefore always belongs to me you take him and you consecrate him to me at the temple and this is what's going on in obedience to God. Mary and Joseph take Jesus their firstborn son to consecrate him at the temple.

Now what happens when they arrive verse 25? Now there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him and it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ or the Messiah. The word Christ in Greek simply means Messiah. What do we know about this man Simeon?

Well we know virtually nothing. Hebrew tradition says he was 113 years old. I don't know whether that's right or wrong but the tradition is that he was a very old man and the important thing is that God had made him a promise. God had promised him he would not die before he saw the Messiah born. Now how did God make him that promise? Did he have a dream? Did he have a vision? I don't know but God had made him that promise. So here he was he was in Jerusalem and on this fateful day for some reason he felt compelled to go to the temple. Now if you're 113 years old going anywhere is a big deal and so getting up and going to the temple that day was a big deal. Nonetheless he did it because God moved him to.

Look what the Bible says verse 27. Moved by the Spirit he went into the temple courts and when the parents brought the child Jesus to do for him what the law required Simeon took him in his arms and began to praise God. Here was Simeon the old man shuffling into the temple courts. They were crowded. It was noisy. There was all kinds of confusion and here the old man is shuffling through the courts of the temple when suddenly he spotted a very young girl with a little bundle in her arms coming in and something said to him you should go see this girl and so he went on over and as he got close something inside of him began to leap and as he got there his heart began to beat quicker and quicker and he slowly peeled back the little blanket from over this baby's face and the Spirit of God said to him Simeon here's what you've been waiting for here he is this is the one that you've been looking for and Simeon was so moved that he couldn't control himself he actually took her baby from Mary and held the baby in his arms and squeezed the little baby to his breast and possibly even lifted the little baby up and began to praise God at the top of his voice here in the temple courts and look what he said he said sovereign Lord as you have promised you may now dismiss your servant in peace I'm ready to die God you promised me I would make it to the Messiah and here he is you can take my life now I've seen it for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have prepared in the sight of all people a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel now there's one thing about what he said that I want you to pay special attention to would you notice in verse 30 that Simeon said my eyes have seen your salvation now I have a question for you what had his eyes seen had his eyes just seen a church membership certificate no had his eyes just seen a baptismal certificate had his eyes just seen a church attendance record had his eyes just seen the Ten Commandments had his eyes just seen a list of all the good deeds that you and I have done in all of our lives had his eyes just seen a ledger listing all the money in time of service you ever gave to the church you see these are the things that so many people think and then so many people look to as the basis for their salvation is the basis of earning God's favor and getting into heaven but that's not what Simeon saw was it about two weeks ago I had to go see the doctor and had to have a little bit of surgery on my on my thumb I had a wart that got under my fingernail and began growing and growing and growing and began wrecking my fingernail and it just wasn't getting any better they thought it was a yeast infection it wasn't and I went to see another dermatologist he looked at it and said it's a wart we're gonna have to laser surgery it out said okay so I went in for this surgery and he cut a hole in my thumb deep enough for me to drink soup out of that's really no lie I mean I could soup it up and drink it right out of my thumb he cut my thumb all the way to the bone to cut this out and in fact when he was done he kind of had that little giggle you know that the doctors have and go you want to see the hole I went no no I don't I really don't because I didn't look I'm not stupid so in the process of us talking I told him I was Jewish so was he and we got to talking a little bit I also told him I was a pastor and told him that that I believed in Jesus and talked a little bit about my background as I was sitting there in the chair and he was using this laser to cut this part way to China really through my thumb we began talking about eternity maybe because at that moment I looked like I was on the verge of going there I'm not sure but because that's how I felt he kept saying you alright and I kept saying just finish okay just finish and as we got to talking about eternity he said to me well he said you know the way I see it it's all based on the golden rule you know do unto others the way you'd want them to do unto you and he said the way I see it is if we all did that I can't imagine that God wouldn't be happy with us if we all live like that and I think that's what salvation is all about trying to live and keep the golden rule see but that's not what Simeon said and that's not what the rest of the Bible says either Simeon said my eyes have seen your salvation God and what his eyes had seen was the person of Jesus Christ salvation is a person and when you have that person you have salvation and when you don't have that person you don't have God's salvation it's just that simple as a matter of fact there's another verse in the Bible I'd like you to look at it's in the back of the New Testament it's in John's first letter we call it 1st John 1st John chapter 5 I'd like you to look back there for just a moment with me we're coming back to Luke so keep your finger there but in 1st John chapter 5 and if you're using our copy of the Bible it's page 864 1st John chapter 5 I want you to see verse 11 1st John 5 verse 11 it says this and this is the record that God has given us eternal life and this life is in his son now look at verse 12 he who has the Son has eternal life and he who does not have the Son of God does not have eternal life can it be any simpler than that he who has the Son has eternal life and he who does not have the Son does not have eternal life folks salvation is not based on what you do or what you don't do it's not based on your merits your achievements or your religious activity church has nothing to do with it either it doesn't matter whether your grandmother is buried behind the church or even if you were born in the center I'll way doesn't matter none of that makes any difference salvation comes to us through a person when we have a person salvation comes when we do with that person what Simeon did with Jesus Christ he took him in his arms he embraced him he hugged him to his breast and he made Jesus Christ his own personal Lord and Savior and I want to urge you this morning the most important thing you've got to do here this morning is make sure when you leave your Simeon that you've done with Jesus Christ just what Simeon did with him and that is that you've hugged him to your breast and made him your personal Lord and Savior as well because salvation is whether or not you have him as a personal Savior not what you do or what you don't do that's why Simeon said my eyes have seen Jesus Christ my eyes have seen your salvation well let's go on Mary and Joseph kind of were shocked to have this happen they weren't expecting this but before they could recover the same thing happened again verse 36 there was also a prophetess Anna there in the city she was the daughter of fanuel of the tribe of Asher and she was very old and she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage and then she was a widow until she was 84 so this was a lady her Hebrew name actually was Hannah with an H and she too had seen a few sunsets and sunrises she was 84 and when she who never left the temple the Bible says that she look it says she never left the temple but she worshiped night and day fasting and praying and she heard the commotion and so she came over to them at that very moment and she began giving thanks to God the Bible says she was a prophetess and as a result of that God immediately testified to her that this indeed was the Christ the Messiah that Simeon was right and so immediately she began to give thanks to God and to speak about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem and so as Mary and Joseph stood there here they've got Simeon raising this little baby up to heaven and praising God and they've got Anna running around and telling all of our friends the wall all of her friends the one who is bringing redemption to Israel has arrived you know this happened in Mary and Joseph everywhere they went something like this it seemed like and I'm sure they began to wonder inside of themselves what have we gotten ourselves into what in the world is going on here well that's where our passage ends this morning but when we come to asking the question so what it's something that Anna said that the Bible tells us about Anna that I want us to concentrate on rather than something that Simeon said because the Bible says that Anna went around and began speaking about the child look at this verse 38 to everyone who was looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem and in connection with Anna the Bible uses one of the most important words in the Word of God the word redemption and I want to talk to you about that word because I want you to really understand what the Bible means when it talks about Jesus Christ redeeming us have you ever been in a situation where you were completely unable to help yourself I mean totally completely unable to help yourself I was thinking this week now what's the greatest example of that I can think of in my own heart in life and I don't know that this is the greatest example but it's certainly one of them when I was a child maybe six or I was probably about eight at the time maybe nine I went out to go ice skating on one of the ponds near our house I went without my mom's permission I went by myself in defiance of my mother I was good at that in those days but I went to go ice skating I don't know if it's just me but does it seem to you that the winters aren't as cold as they used to be maybe when you're a kid every winter seems cold I don't know but I remember ponds freezing over and lakes freezing over and going ice skating and I live down in Virginia Beach which is not Minnesota you know I mean so I mean it just seems like it's not as cold as it used to be but this pond this little lake was frozen over and I went ice skating well there was one little section of it that was not frozen over although I didn't know it at that point and I went over there I was completely by myself and I fell through the ice but all of me didn't fall through the ice only one leg fell through the ice and so one leg fell completely through and the other leg if you can imagine it was like completely bent up next to my chest in my body and the other leg was completely straight through the ice and there was nothing around for me to grab a hold of and I was completely and totally immobilized I could not move I mean there's nothing to get any leverage on because I'm right there on the very edge of the ice there's no stick or branch or tree to grab on to and pull myself out and I was absolutely stranded I couldn't move I must have been there well over an hour yelling and screaming for help but this pond was way out in the woods that's why my mom said never go by yourself and I'd have been there till spring really there was no way to get out absolutely no way my mom got worried about me after I didn't show up home after a while and called a bunch of my friends and said do you have any idea where he went no we don't would you go out and look for him and about an hour maybe two hours I don't know how long it was but it was long enough that I was freezing to death my friend showed up and found me there one leg still through the hole in the ice one leg still all the way up against my chest the only thing that had changed was I was hoarse now from screaming for an hour hell and they threw me a twig a long stick that I could grab a hold of and they pulled me out I've never been so helpless in my whole life completely and totally unable to pull myself out of that ice and help myself now for those friends who pulled me out of that ice what they did for me is a perfect example of what the word redemption means redemption is actually a word that was a very common word the Greek word Hilla stereo on was a very common word in the Greek marketplace because this was a term that was taken from the world of the Roman slave trade let me explain to you how it worked in the ancient world when a man was in debt and he couldn't pay up they didn't offer him a visa with revolving credit and they didn't offer him a home equity loan to consolidate his debts what they did is they sold him into slavery and they took whatever money they could get from selling him into slavery and they applied that towards his debts but once they sold you into slavery there was no way for you to ever get out of slavery no way there was no way for you to ever earn any money to pay off your debts to buy yourself back out of slavery you became once you were sold into slavery you became like a person with one leg through the ice and the other one completely up against your chest and absolutely unable to help yourself now the only way for a person to get out of slavery that was sold in for this reason was for someone who was free someone who was not a slave to come along and be willing to pay off all of your debts that you owed as a slave and in that sense to buy you back out of the slave market to buy you back into freedom you couldn't do it for yourself somebody else had to do it for you this was known as redeeming a slave and the Greek word that is translated redeem in the New Testament the Greek word translated redemption hilasterion in the New Testament is actually a word that originated in the slave market to refer to that practice of a free man coming along and paying off the debts of a slave who was completely helpless to help himself and buying that person back from the slave market and making them a free man again now in using this word therefore the Bible is giving us a very beautiful picture of how Jesus found us and what he did for us a picture that every person in the day and time the Bible was written would have clearly understood easily understood how did Jesus find us he found us as sinners who owed a debt to God we could never pay and as a result the justice of God left him no choice but to condemn us to the slave market of sin where we were helpless captives of the one who owns the slave market and that's the devil himself we had no hope of ever freeing ourselves in fact the Bible says John chapter 8 verse 44 that we were the property we were children of the devil and the Bible says 2 Timothy chapter 2 that we were caught in the snare of the devil and were held captive by him to do his will we were captives we were slaves in a slave market owned by Satan himself we belong to him and we were captives in his slave market and there wasn't anything you and I could ever do to buy our way out that's how Jesus found us but the story doesn't stop there thank God because the Bible tells us that Jesus did something for us and what he did is he redeemed us meaning that he volunteered to pay off our indebtedness and buy us back off the slave block the price he had to pay to do this was his own blood shed on the cross to pay for our sin in the sight of a holy God but he was willing to do that and by doing that what he did is he bought us back he redeemed us out of the slave market of sin and made us free men and women for the first time in our lives in the book of Revelation I'd like you to turn there chapter 5 and let me show you the Bible saying this Revelation chapter 5 if you're using our Bible it's page 870 870 Revelation chapter 5 look what it says revelation chapter 5 verse 9 it says that this is the song they sang about Jesus Christ in heaven you are worthy to take the scroll and open its seals because you were slain now watch and with your blood you purchased the literal Greek word is you redeemed there's our word men for God from every language and every tribe and every people and every nation with your blood you redeemed men for God the Bible makes it so clear when you understand what we're talking about here that Jesus Christ was a free man he had never sinned the Bible says he was not part of the slave market he was the only truly free man that had ever lived and he was willing to pay the price to buy you and me back off the slave block of the devil and make us free men and women and he did it with his own blood Peter says for you know that you were not redeemed there's our word you were not bought back with perishable things like silver or gold but with the precious blood of Christ that was the price and he paid it to buy you back every time I think about this my mind moves to the the movie Ben Hur I can't help but think of Ben Hur every time I think of this concept any of you remember Ben Hur any anybody seen Ben Hur I know I mean you got to get like six boxes of popcorn to watch this but but it's really a great movie and if you remember the story Ben Hur was a well-dued Jewish aristocrat who was falsely accused by the Romans of a crime he didn't commit nevertheless he was sentenced to slavery for the rest of his life and of course there was no way of ever getting out of it he was condemned to slavery forever he ended up as a galley slave rowing one of the great Roman galleons one of the great men of war that the Roman Navy had and he was condemned to being simply rowing to the cadence for the rest of his life except that there was a very unusual turn of circumstances he was involved in a naval battle where his galleon was rammed and sunk and he happened to be on the flagship where the commanding Admiral was on his galleon while the ship was going down he was able to free himself if you remember from the chains that that he was in and as he ran up and got ready to jump off the boat before it sank he saw wounded and unconscious the commander of the entire fleet and he saved his life he grabbed him he pulled him off the galleon and the two of them floated around in the Mediterranean Sea for several days on some jetsam until finally they were rescued by another Roman ship up to this point the commander had wanted to die he even wanted to jump off and drown the little piece of wood they were floating on because he was convinced that he had lost the battle he was going to be saved to disgrace and so therefore he might as well just go ahead and die and then her wouldn't let him and when the ship finally shows up and rescues them they find out that rather than losing the Roman Navy won and that he was a national hero and the Emperor was waiting to welcome him and they wanted to have a parade for him through Rome and it was only because Ben Hur saved his life that he lived to be able to enjoy that and you remember what he did in response he did what he redeemed Ben Hur right he bought him off the slave market and made Ben Hur his own adopted son now that's exactly what Jesus Christ did for you and me if we're willing to accept it it's exactly what he's offering he's offering to buy his back off the slave block there's only one difference the difference is that Ben Hur did something to deserve the redemption that he got I mean he saved the commander's life the difference is that you and I have not done one thing to deserve the redemption Jesus Christ offers us not one thing you say well then why did he do it why does he offer it to us the only answer is that he loves us that's the only answer there is because he loves you that's why he did it the Bible says Jesus demonstrated just how much he loves us in this way while we were yet sinners before we had ever done anything to deserve it Christ died for us and so in the word redemption God gives us a dramatic picture of what Jesus did for us when he saved us we were hopelessly condemned to the devil's slave market of sin and the Lord Jesus Christ came and died on the cross to pay our debt to buy us back to set us free however and here's the big so what Jesus Christ didn't set us free to go do whatever we felt like he adopted us and there's a way he wants us to live look what he says 1st Corinthians chapter 6 verse 19 do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who's in you whom you've received from God now watch and you are not your own you were bought with a price you understand what the Bible is saying it's talking about redemption and saying Jesus Christ bought and paid for you with a price and you are not your own you don't belong to yourself anymore your body doesn't belong to you anymore it belongs to Jesus Christ he was the one who paid for it he was the one who bought it back it's his property not yours and since your body is now God's property there's a specific way in which God wants it used yes God sets you free but he sets you free to do something very specific with your body and look what he says therefore honor God with your body honor God with your body in the way you talk honor God in the way you eat and exercise honor God in the way you handle sexual matters honor God in the way you treat other people honor God in what you watch on television honor God in what you read and look at in magazines honor God in everything you do with your body in every place you take your body in everything you allow your body to be a part of honor God why because it's not your property it belongs to Jesus Christ he bought it he paid for it with his own blood it's not yours therefore use it the way the owner wants it used you know I hate to borrow other people's cars I've had to do it a few times I hate doing it I hate it I'm so nervous I mean I'm obsessed with taking good care of it and using it only the way I think the other person would want to use it I mean I even come to complete stops at stop signs when I'm driving somebody else's car I don't roll stop signs I'm too afraid I'll get hit I roll them with my car but I don't roll them with anybody else's car and as Christians we need to have that same obsession with how we take care of our body and what we do with them because you see they're really somebody else's property your body is it's God's property and the one of the things the Bible does is the Bible tells us how the owner of your body wants it used dear friend may I challenge you if you're careful with somebody else's car and it's replaceable and it doesn't even belong to God it just belongs to another person then above everything else we need to be careful how we use our body because it belongs to God himself and God's gonna hold us responsible eternally for how we use his property therefore the Bible says you are not your own you've been bought with a price you've been redeemed now honor God in the way you use his property may God help us to do that may God help us to think in those terms God this is your property would you want it going here would you want it watching this would you want it doing this if not then help me not to use it that way may God help you do that let's pray dear Heavenly Father thank you so much for the scripture this morning which teaches us that we have been redeemed for so many of us as Christians that's been such a fuzzy concept redeemed I guess that means I'm going to heaven but help us this morning to get a good grasp on what it means that we were slaves we were slaves to sin slaves to our own passion slaves that belong to the devil in his slave market totally and completely helpless to extricate ourselves and Jesus Christ redeemed us he paid our debt and bought us back and made us free but he made us free not to go do whatever we wanted to with our bodies but to use them to honor him and I pray that as Christians we would indeed do that that people might look at the way we live and understand that we have had an interaction with the living God that has transformed our life forever and they can too thank you Lord Jesus you loved us so much that even though we weren't like Ben Hur we had not done one thing to deserve it you still were willing to come and buy us back we love you for that Lord help us reflect that love in the way we live we pray these things in Jesus name amen you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-10 17:55:43 / 2023-01-10 18:08:54 / 13

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