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May 7, 2018

Sunset, Lancaster County, PA 5/3/18 (Click to enlarge)
Sunset on May 3, 2018
Click on photo to enlarge

"Once For All"

Message summary: "Salvation is achieved by Christ's atonement, not by our attainment."

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"He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but He entered the Most Holy Place once for all by His own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12). "We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:10).

Man of Sorrows! What a name
For the Son of God who came;
Ruined sinners to reclaim,
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Raising hand after donating blood It seems that each time Brooksyne and I donate blood a reflective illustration comes to mind. On Saturday morning we visited the "bloodmobile" and the procedure was routine. When the phlebotomist was finished she placed a gauze pad over the collection site and told me to raise my arm straight up. I've done that many times since I began donating as a teenager almost 50 years ago. But this time I immediately thought of Christ's blood sacrifice on my behalf and, with my upraised hand, I quietly offered thanks to God for His atoning blood sacrifice.

Yesterday in our church service we remembered the final blood sacrifice that Jesus made by sharing in Communion together as He taught us to do. At the time of the first "Lord's Supper" Jesus looked ahead to the sacrifice He would make the next day and spoke of His broken body and shed blood. Since that time His followers look back on that great blood sacrifice each time they read, hear, or repeat Jesus' words, "Do this in remembrance of Me".

Jesus breaking bread During the Communion service, as the elements were being passed out to the congregation, yesterday we sang with the choir, "O The Blood" which has these recurring lines:

O the blood of Jesus washes me
O the blood of Jesus shed for me
What a sacrifice that saved my life
Yes, the blood, it is my victory

"Once for all" Today we focus on a three-word phrase from the daily texts that is very significant. "Once for all" translates the single Greek word ἐφάπαξ "ephapax". The sense in these texts is not "once for all people", although the scope of redemption surely extends to all people, but in these verses it means "once for all time".

Once for all is a powerful contrast to the sacrifice of the high priest, who repeatedly entered the Most Holy Place with blood sacrifices once a year. Jesus' sacrifice was complete and did not need to be repeated. The work of atonement is finished and therefore, praise the Lord, it cannot be unfinished!

The word, "ephapax" points to the single act of Christ's sacrifice that obtained eternal redemption and provided the only means in which sinful humans are made holy in God's sight. Thus the finality of Christ's utterance from the Cross, "It is finished".

Our service ended yesterday with the congregation singing an adaptation of an old Philip P. Bliss number that has been wonderfully rediscovered titled, "Man Of Sorrows". In this hymn each verse progresses from His coming to earth to save sinners, His being mocked, ridiculed and rejected, His death on the cross, His resurrection and ascension, to His second coming.

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! What a Savior! 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, in spite of the many Scriptures assuring believers of salvation through the full atoning work of Christ on the cross, many still fall back on good works to settle their account with You. While good works should follow our salvation experience You settled our account in heaven through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross once for all. "It is finished" Jesus cried assuring us that there is nothing we can add to His blood sacrifice. He gave all that we might have forgiveness and live for all eternity. Full and complete atonement for all who believe is the greatest gift that You offer and it's the greatest gift that we can receive. We respond  by giving ourselves fully to Your kingdom and taking as many as we can with us. Amen.

"Having trusted Christ as our Savior, we should never cease to glory in His sacrifice for us on the cross. The reality of being identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection should fill us with grati­tude in the morning, give us refuge throughout the day, and be a pillow at night upon which to rest. Our enemy not only must respect the blood of Christ shed on Calvary's cross, he also is helpless against it. Christ's blood represents the sacrifice of One whose death removed the guilt and condemnation of our sin and broke its hold over us. It is absolute protection against the accusation of Satan, the defeating remembrances of past sins, and the downpull of our Adamic nature. No wonder we glory in the cross." D. J. De Haan

One of the features of our country location we value is how our front view changes not only through the seasons but due to the planting and harvesting. Our lead photo today shows a sunset view last week.

Rye harvest, Lancaster County, PA 5/5/18
On Saturday morning farmers cut the rye
grass in the field across the street.

Morning view from porch, 5/7/18
The mown field this morning (5/7/18)
The rye will dry and another machine will place it into winrows and then a huge harvester will come along and blow the rye into huge trucks to transport it to storage.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Man Of Sorrows"  Video  Calvary Church Choir and congregation (includes brief pastoral exhortation at Communion service)  Brooksyne's Note: What an honor and joy to sing this great hymn on Sunday. The choir sang it three times (warm up and two services) and every time the third verse especially stood out to me, "Full atonement, can it be". Even as I was singing I was thanking God that my debt was paid in full, nothing more can I add but rather receive! "Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow."  Be sure to listen to the entire song, "Man of Sorrows" as a key change precedes verse 5 and the ending is full of heavenly praise!

Man of Sorrows! What a name
For the Son of God who came;
Ruined sinners to reclaim,
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood,
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile and helpless we,
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full atonement, can it be,
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die,
"It is finished!" was His cry;
Now in heaven, exalted high,
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring;
Then anew this song we'll sing,
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

"Man Of Sorrows"  Video  Big Valley Grace Community Church  This is an updated version of the same song. We like both versions; old and new!

"O The Blood"  Video  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir

"You Are Worthy"  Video  Calvary Church Choir   Brooksyne's note:  This was a difficult song to learn, but so praiseworthy! 24 descriptive characteristics of Christ are included and 162 responses of praise in this 6 minute plus song. I pray that it will bless you as it did our choir!

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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