Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dirty Laundry

 Zechariah 3:1-5 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?”  Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.

This last Sunday, our church’s Youth Pastor Kevin Kress preached his first Sunday Sermon. He explained to us that the Bible is a story about God rescuing us. Rescued from what? Romans 3:23 tells us: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We all have filthy garments and dirty laundry and are sorting through sin together. Sin is a problem we cannot fix because there is no temporary fix for a permanent problem. Why is it that we turn to false gods and idols in search for fulfillment apart from God? Everyone knows that they are not perfect, nobody is perfect. We tend to think that God could never forgive us for all of the sinful things that we’ve done that will keep us from the forgiveness of God, but this is a lie of Satan stating “How could God forgive a sinner like you?”

The name Joshua translates as savior, rescuer or deliverer. Like Joshua, God will make a way for us to return. In the grand scheme of deliverer, rescuer and savior, God does not look at our sin and say: “That is disgusting”, but instead says: “Let me help you with that problem” to change from totally dirty to clean. “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” God takes away the sin and guilt of His people to return from exile and restore us unto Himself. God asks us for obedience.

Zechariah 3:6-9 And the angel of the Lord solemnly assured Joshua, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day.”

Hundreds of years before the coming of God’s Messiah, Zechariah “called the shot” that Jesus Christ, the Branch and single stone would remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. God always calls His shots and puts our filthiness on the Cross. Sending a Savior who is ready and willing to take us back. We do not identify ourselves with our sin. What we do is not who we are. Sin is not us.  All our sins are placed upon Jesus and died with Him. What remains? Forgiveness. Forgiveness means that we change entirely; putting on the new self.

Ephesians 4:22-24  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.”

Where do you stand with the Lord? Are you handing over your dirty laundry daily to the Lord or getting used to them being on, like they are comfortable? Know that your sin puts a block and distance between you and God. Take off your filthy garments called sin and throw them away, not leaving them on the side to go back to. Putting on Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is better than anything that this world can offer. And do what it takes to stay walking in the Spirit (Galatians 5:24-25). Join and build communities of accountability, enter small groups at your church, open your Bible in daily devotion time and prayer. When it comes to our dirty laundry of sin, take them off, let them go, return to God and allow the Lord to take them away.

Colossians 3:9-11  Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”

In Christ, Brian

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