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Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Lebanon County, PA farm 3/3/23
For many years we have enjoyed passing this pristine farm setting in Lebanon County. It sits on a noll with stunning views in all directions.
Click on photo to enlarge

"The Redemption Transformation"

Message summary: When one earnestly comes to Christ there is a redemption transformation. "You, however, did not come to know Christ that way" (Ephesians 4:20). Rather than having a continual lust for more wickedness let us become seekers of God's Kingdom and desire a life of purity and righteousness.

Listen to our message on your audio player.

“So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. Surely you heard of Him and were taught in Him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:17-24).

Raymond, friend I met at HMCGoing back to January 1st of this year when I was admitted to the hospital, Ray took me back to the CT scan area. Along the way he boldly expressed his faith in Christ. He told me of his very hard upbringing in NYC. His mother and father both dealt with drug problems. He was going down the wrong path. He had three bullet wounds from being shot and told me this morning he has a photo of himself while in the hospital he still carries on his phone.

But at 19 years of age he walked into the Living Waters church and got saved. He attended the Brooklyn Tabernacle Church for several years serving as an usher. His life was dramatically changed as he experienced a redemption transformation. That was over 30 years ago! He continues to walk with the Lord along with his wife. They have earnestly sought to raise their children for the Lord! He could sing (and probably did) this Brooklyn Tabernacle song:

I've been changed, healed, freed, delivered
I've found joy, peace, grace and favor

Today we consider those in our life and ministry who have experienced redemption transformation. That's all of us who have turned to Christ. We all have some type of before and after although for some far more dramatic. We either experience grace in coming to Christ while young and being prevented from getting into the riffraff of the world or we experience God's marvelous deliverance. We especially consider those who lived deep in sin; drug addictions, immorality, crime and other destructive vices. Watching the movie "Jesus Revolution" and the story of Greg Laurie is an example.

Before redemption transformation: The first part of today's text is a description of the unregenerate. It was surely observable when first written in the first century and it is certainly observable today. Consider the harsh truth, "Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more."

"continual lust for more" began in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. God had provided enough, absolutely all they needed. But in the midst of all the blessings of Eden stood the forbidden tree. The crafty serpent enticed Adam and Eve to turn their back on ALL that God provided in the garden and focus ONLY on the one fruit that was forbidden. Surely it was better, distinct, and more desirable than ALL that God provided for their daily satiation and sustenance. Because they did not resist Satan's temptation, their disobedience resulted in what theologians call "original sin". And ever since that time mankind has had a hard time resisting the forbidden!

Whatever level of wickedness appeases the sinful cravings for a time will eventually be insufficient. The "more" of sin is never enough.

redemption transformation: But our Scripture selection has a marvelous transition phrase, "You, however, did not come to know Christ that way" (Ephesians 4:20). Those who experience the redemption transformation power of Jesus Christ are different. The chains of the past are broken at last!

As a result of genuine conversion we are regenerated and the slide into decadence stops and the renewal begins (Romans 12:1,2). We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). Rather than having a continual lust for more wickedness we become seekers of God's Kingdom and desire more purity and righteousness.

Since then I walk in forgiveness
All of my guilt was erased
The chains of the past
Are broken at last
I got saved
Oh, I got saved

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, shape my thinking into that which will bring about growth and conformity to Your will. Teach me not to go by my own human instincts but by Your truth and guidance as it is revealed in Your Word. It will keep me from lusting after deadly forbidden fruit if I plant myself into that which is holy and righteous. As the world continues to slide into decadence help me to delve deeper into Your Word and faithfully commune with You so that my heart does not grow cold or indifferent. Nor will I be drawn into every kind of impurity with a continual lust for more. I want to stand firm to the end so that I am saved from this world of sin and influence others to live a godly life. Through Christ's strength and my prayerful resolve I will remain faithful and always want more of You. Amen.

Ray called me after I got home from the hospital (I had given him my contact info) and since then we have talked over the phone a couple of times, including this morning. We plan to meet up and may very well have a followup message when we hear his whole testimony.

Brooksyne's note: I just read "Won by Love" and the very dramatic salvation experience of Norma McCorvey, of Roe V. Wade. Norma, also known by the pseudonym "Jane Roe", was the plaintiff in the landmark American legal case Roe v. Wade in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1973 abortion to be legal. It was a seven year old girl who loved Jesus and was a daughter of a pro-life activist that spoke about her love for Jesus often to Norma, that was a major influence in her coming to Christ. She went to be with the Lord in 2017 at 69 years of age.

Additional study note: Today's first portion is a succinct description of fallen humanity. The pronoun, "They", is referring to the human race. It describes all of us apart from the redemptive work of Christ. But today especially consider the phrase "a continual lust for more". It's at the heart of the sin problem. "More" will always be needed. The progression can be seen in so many of Satan's vices such as gambling, alcohol, drugs and pornography.

The ungodly make big business out of every kind of impurity. Pornography, prostitution, vulgar media, and every other kind of impurity make up one of the largest industries in our country. The vast majority of it is open, shameless, legally protected and only a tap away.

A Christian leader observed that many of the books published in the United States today rival the drippings of a broken sewer. This observation preceded the massive availability through the internet and other modern media. Now the drippings have become a surging flood.

With the flood of evil, pornography and perversions sweeping through our land and being introduced to young innocent children those who have partaken will have "a continual lust for more" and it will increase exponentially as it is being "normalized". Deeper and deeper depths of depravity can be expected and the evil acts that accompany it.

Today's study prompted a consideration of where, in addition to today's text, the phrase "You, however" is used in Paul's epistles:

"You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ" (Romans 8:9).

"You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance" (2 Timothy 3:10).

"You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:14-17).

"You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1).

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"I Won’t Go Back"  Click to listen on YouTube   Brooklyn Tabernacle (the song quoted from in the beginning of our message)

"I Got Saved"  Click to listen on YouTube   Selah

"More About Jesus"  Click to listen on YouTube  The Blackwood Brothers

More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love who died for me.

Lebanon County, PA barn interior 3/3/23
When we passed the farm shown in our lead photo one of the barn doors was open.   I like the winding stairway to the left leading up to the barn loft. Scenes like this stir childhood memories of all the fun we had playing in the barn loft on my Uncle's farm near Harwood Missouri.
Click on photo to enlarge

Harwood Missouri 7/17/13
The old Steincross barn near Harwood was sill standing when we drove by ten years ago and the barnyard had livestock. The farm, which was in the family over 100 years, is now owned by plain people (old order Mennonite and Amish refer to themselves as plain). We sure had lots of fun in that barn and those fields as children in the 60's.

JD tractor on dirt pile in Lebanon County, PA 3/7/23
Yesterday morning we passed this farm implement dealer in northeast Lebanon County who used a creative way to display a tractor. I suppose he had a dirt pile and thought that would be a good place to show off the tractor. You sure couldn't miss it as you drove along!

Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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