Saturday, December 22, 2012

Redemption Rocks Even with Coupons

 Redeeming a coupon is an awesome invention. The Store has the product you want held in ransom for a $1.25. You don't want to pay the full amount yourself. So the Manufacturer who created the product for you says “I'll make a coupon and knock off a few cents on the products redeeming value and that way more folks will buy our product. You go into the store and there you ring up your purchase and they demand the ransom. You hand them the coupon and they proceed to knock off the said value and you celebrate. But the store sometimes will double your coupon and you get double discounting. We think wow that is so cool. There are ladies who we have now risen in their art of coupon cutting and are entitled the coupon queens. You can call them up and they know websites where you can get mega coupons. The best ransom price for the coupon queen the greatest joy is when they hit the right day and time and get all coupons redeemed and the product is free. They walk out full of victory and joy as they celebrate the redemption at a free pric

This concept is not a recent invention in our day in time. In fact the Jews had a system of redemption for family that goes back 5000 years now. They had a cultural law that there in Genesis 38 we see in action. The law is this: If a man has three sons say, If one of the sons dies without a successor there was to be a kinsman nearest to him that would in his honor raise us a child that would inhereit the honored Father's property and servants and animals. So usually the oldest brother in the family would have the first right of redemption to take the dead brothers wife marry her and have a son and that son would not be his but would in a sense be raised to be the inheritor of the brother and to live in honor to the brother taking his name and all.

In Genesis 28 such an event happened to Judah one of Jacob's sons. The eldest son married Tamar and died. The next in line was evil and before he could marry the woman Tamar he was killed. So the right of redemption went to the next in line. The Bible says that he didn't like the idea that the son who was raised up wouldn't be his so he married Tamar and performed the consummation of the marriage but instead of impregnating her he enjoyed the sex but didn't not finish the consummation and the Lord was angry and with him for his evil and deception and he too died. So there being no more sons the law defaults to the Father Judah, now having to fulfill the redemption.
We see a similar event in the book of Ruth it is a history of a love story unlike any we have ever heard. 7 to 800 years later we have the time of the Judges in the Bible where there were no kings and the political system was an eldership and anarchy was very prominent. Yet we have a story there in the book of Ruth where in the little town of Bethlehem there was a family that had hard times with a drought and one thing after another. So the dad took off for the suburbs of Moab to try and find better farming conditions. It didn't happen in fact they enjoyed a short success and the two sons were married to moabite women. But before any heirs were born both sons and the dad died. There was no on left to redeem the ladies and inheritance. The Mom sent the wives back to their families but on lady Ruth took her vows to her new husband and she loved her mother in law and stayed with her. She cared for her. Mom was an elderly widow who would not live long in this time and society without someones care. So Ruth did what she could and when they returned to Bethlehem from Moab they Ruth applied for their welfare system and went to work gleaning field scraps or droppings from the harvesters to get food for them to survive. The town was a buzzing with good talk for what this young lady did to help her Mother in Law and to humbly accept the tradition and work very hard. The owner of one of the fields took notice of this ladies work and servitude and it touched his heart. He found out who she was and then went to work to begin the redeeming process. The law not only defaults to the Father after the sons die but then if the Father dies it goes to the nearest of the Uncles. Dad's brothers now had the right to redeem the land and wife. The oldest brother found out that he'd have to marry another woman but he knew his wife would not allow that or stand for it so he passed on the right of redemption to the younger brother Boaz the owner of the field who then redeemed the field but not because he needed another field but because in that field is a beautiful lady who has a sweet heart and he loved her. He wanted to redeem her from the humility of living on welfare and give her an inheritance.

The interesting thing about this story is when the first son was born the town did not celebrate to Ruth and Boaz on their new arrival the town went to Old Naomi san and said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a near kinsman; and may his name be famous in Israel and may be be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter in law, who is better than seven sons has borne him.” And then Ruth did not raise the boy but Naomi the grandmother in law took the son and raised him as her own. The redeemer was not Boaz guys the redeemer was the son born to take the place of the other men. Obed the son was the grandfather to King David and also the great great great umpteen grandfather to Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the one we celebrate at this time of year why? Why don't we celebrate (Obed mas)? You see this Jewish law was given by God. God the manufacturer of all the universe had given the world as an inheritance to Adam his created first born. But Adam made a mistake and did not fulfill his role to raise up and eternal heir to inherit the earth. He seeded the earth and the control there of to Satan. Satan is the owner of this world and all its kingdoms the Bible says. There was no on who on this planet who could redeem all the world for God. The right of redemption defaults to the Father. God the Father had to fulfill the right of redemption and raise up an heir for Adam that would fulfill the control of the land and its people. But God didn't want the land he wants the people inside whom he loves very much like Ruth. He sees us all laboring away and sees our struggles and difficulties and see how the sin of Adam affects us all in every way from family problems to jobs power struggles and even neighbor fallout.

So there in Luke 2 an event has happened unlike any before in the since the beginning of time. It is such a grand event that in the middle of the night the Angels went out into the fields of Bethlehem (same city) and shouted glory to God in the highest. Luke 2:8-14,
“I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people, For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you; you will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.

A son was born. The virgin gave birth to a supernatural being the God/Man Jesus Christ. 100% God in human flesh 100% man in Spirit. He was born with one purpose in mind. Not to be a ruler or lawyer or a teacher, the purpose was to be a redeemer of humanity. Though Jesus is the redeemer he needs to fulfill the act of redemption. You know you hand the clerk your coupon and they give you the product at the redeemed price. In this case Satan the owner of God's creation and the people inside demanded the death of the son as the redemption price. Jesus was born to die to redeem the world from the curse of being under Satan's control and power.

Galatians 3:13 says; Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us.
1 Peter 1:18; “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers. But with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that you faith and hope are in God.

The Redeeming opportunity is complete the manufacturer has created the waribiki coupon of Jesus. Satan who owns the manufacturers product (US) demands full payment no discounts here. So the manufacturer wants the product back for himself. Can't he make more? Well he loves this bunch so much He loves you and me and has given us the opportunity to be redeemed by his son. He comes to us to collect us when we depart this earth. But there is a problem. Though we have been redeemed and the full payment was already given by Jesus there on that cross and he has fulfilled the right to take the land and it's inhabitants. God isn't a mean dictator. He is a loving creator. He asks you and I that if we would like to have our lives redeemed that we accept is Son Jesus into our life. We no longer listen to Satan and his world. The rules of the world tell you to strive for money or power or fame. We can fight all our lives to climb to the tops of these ladders and the view we have is only of the carnage we left behind as we prevailed. It is lonely and depressing to have made it. Most lottery winners are broke and poor and lonely after 5 to 10 years. But God gives you the opportunity to set out of that system. This stepping out of the fight is called repentance. We turn from our ungodly ways of succeeding and we realized this opportunity to be loved by God is worth more value than all the riches in the world. We can now have a relationship with God the Father through is redeeming son Jesus. The price is free. We are all now set free to choose God or Satan. With God the Bible promises eternal life. The power of the Holy Spirit to lead us, the peace in our life through all storms of life. We will still have difficulties and storms and sin around our lives will wash up on our shores. But God's gift of Jesus is not just a one time redemption but it is eternal. Maybe you accepted Jesus at one time and like the typical citizen of earth you go though the Culture shock phases. There is the romance stage where life with God is great new and wow, then there is the realization stage where life is different. God is not like this world, it isn't as easy to acclimate to this new culture of a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. Then we enter the rejection phase. This is where we stop reading our Bibles and praying and stop going to church. We are struggling as we find two diametrically opposing cultures in conflict. God's ways are not our ways says the Bible. It will be hard to change. It is hard to forgive, It is impossible to love others, But he gives us the Holy Spirit and His power to do these things. The final phase is the resolve phase. We resolve in our hearts to tough it out. We don't give up. In revelation, it says blessed is the one who overcomes and world and satan. Maybe you tried God once in you life but never made it past the rejection phase. The culture is too different. I'm not talking American culture. I'm specifically speaking of the Creator Culture. Even those of us shake our heads when we read the Bible and learn God's ways and see that our own church culture had entropy(ed) into a convoluted system of non-biblical culture and tradition that conflicts with God's word. Maybe you realize tonight that you didn't understand God's culture and gave up. I'm in my 4th year in Japan. I confess to you have had a hard time in the rejection phase of the people I love so much. I am not Japanese I rejected the culture, language, food, socialism and group power plays. I wanted to give up. I want to come back to California and not deal with the miserable lives that Japanese people struggle with. They are high tech but so are their problems. The depth of family issues runs deep and there are bonds and ties that the whole nation is pulling each other down and the slippery slope shows that like the USA we are all sinking into a time of evil unlike any other since the history of humanity began. There is no escape but one. Jesus. He will transform our hearts to a heart like his. The strings can be cut and we can rise above all the evil around us. But not in our own strength. We need Jesus.

For you who rejected God's culture there is hope. God is not angry but understands what you are going through. He never says understand me first and then lets have a relationship. No like all our relationships we just start and then later we wonder what did we get into? But Jesus is faithful and if you rejected him he has not rejected you. But he waits like a patient spouse. He gives you space and time to deal with it and process but he longs for you to come back into fellowship there is grace and forgiveness. The Bible says if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

For you who have never known this creator and his son Jesus. He extends to you the same opportunity as to all humanity. You can have your sins forgiven and be cleansed of all evil and be set free to have a relationship with the creator. He just asks that you give up your earthly life. Not quit your job. But the striving to use evil as a tool to get a better position on the board. The gossip to destroy another or tarnish their reputation. The all the ways of sin that we mastered, lying, backstabbing, manipulating all these things are opposite of God's culture. We give that up and we seek to learn through study of the Bible God's culture and ways and we try through the power of the Holy Spirit to do those things that please him. So do we do good works and that pleases God. NO!
The Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God. The government of heaven has an economy unlike our earthly one. They don't have a monetary system of monies. The system of success and wealth comes from FAITH. More faith that God can do great things in me the more amazing things he will do with my life. If I doubt God's work in me he will do little or nothing with me. You must believe in your heart first and foremost that Jesus Christ was born there in bethlehem, died on a cross in Jerusalem and rose again and is in heaven ready to give you an inheritance. If you believe John 1:12 you have the right to become children of God. If you believe you have the right to be forgiven. If you believe you have the right to eternal life, Do you believe? If you do then you begin by praying and talking to him and introducing yourself to him. “God the Father, I am (insert your name here). I am a sinner from earth that wants to come to your kingdom. I understand you sent Jesus to redeem me and forgive my sins. I would like to ask you to forgive me and allow me the opportunity to be redeemed by you. Please forgive my sin, and please come into my life and show me what I must do? I pray this in your Son Jesus Christ's name, Amen!

If your a citizen of heaven then you will naturally tell others. The Bibles says, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (Redeemer) you shall be saved. If you deny Jesus before me the Bibles says Jesus will deny you before God the Father.

The Christmas story is good tidings for all humanity. A historical fact of God's redemptive plan put into action. That is what it's all about that is why we celebrate every year. The birth of a savior. Wow. He is so wonderful. He will guide you and lead you and love you. But not like you think. Your culture is different. His will blow you away. I for one am so thankful for God redeeming my soul. If you'd like to begin a relationship with God let's pray after this I'll help you. If you'd like to repent from rejecting God's culture then let's do that. Let's take this opportunity to once again pick up where we left off and renew our relationship with our Father in Heaven and His redeemer Jesus. Amen.

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