2 Corinthians 5:17 NEW CREATION!
1 John 3:1 CHILD OF GOD!
John 15:3 CLEAN!
John 15:15 FRIEND OF GOD!
2 Corinthians 5:8 HEAVEN BOUND!
Ephesians 2:1 DEAD!
Ephesians 2:2-3 SLAVE!
Luke 19:10 LOST!
John 3:18 CONDEMNED!
2 Corinthians 4:4 BLIND!
Ephesians 2:12 NO HOPE!
We all love to look at pictures.
Let’s take a good look at four key pictures the Bible gives us – meant to have a massive impact on our lives.
Inspirational pictures. Overpowering pictures. Timeless pictures.
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last,
Who are these verses describing ? Jesus. The year is approximately 95 AD.
This is the first description of Jesus since He ascended into heaven approximately 60 years previously.
And how would you describe Jesus in this picture?
He has the amps turned up all the way. He glows.
When he walked around planet earth for 30+ years, no one ever said, “Oh, look at how that guy glows. He must be the Messiah.” That didn’t happen. With the exception of the transfiguration He turned down the amps during His years on planet earth. But with Jesus’ earthly ministry completed, here we see Him here in all His glory.
So what words come to mind when you look at this picture? Maybe powerful, authoritative, intimidating,radiant, mighty, overwhelming, awesome, wondrous,in charge, dominant, masterful, unapproachable, majestic.
Maybe you can think of more.
Is it any wonder John drops to his knees? I would be pretty surprised if we wouldn’t respond exactly the same way. It’s hard not to gasp as you look at that picture. It is a heart stopper.
Let’s move on to picture #2
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
Who are these verses talking about? This is a description of Jesus on the cross.
And how would you describe Jesus in this picture?
In these verses He is hated, powerless, weak, vulnerable, disrespected, depressing, humiliated, and lower than low.
Every once in a while you see a small animal who has been run over by a car on a highway. The city comes along periodically to shovel up such dead animals and throw them in the garbage. No one cares. Just get rid of them. That’s the kind of treatment Jesus gets in this picture. Run over by His society with the expectation He’ll never be seen again. Just get rid of Him.
Picture #2 knocks the wind out of you with the horrendous way Jesus was treated.
Look at pictures 1 and 2.
They are of the same person!
I get emotional whiplash looking up at the glory of picture 1 and down at the degradation of picture 2.
Why would a Jesus as mighty and powerful as picture 1 submit to the humiliation of picture 2?
He did it for me. And for you.
Nothing motivates me to worship more than to look at these two pictures and see what He was willing to do for me.
There have been a few times in my life when I asked God to show me how much He loves me. But upon reflection I realized what a stupid prayer that is He already has. What more could He do to show His love than picture #2?
Thank you, Jesus, for doing this for me. We praise Your name!
Let’s see what we can learn from picture #3
In this picture we see an unsaved person –
a person who has never trusted Jesus as his Savior.
Ephesians 2:1 he is spiritually dead.
After my mother died I bumped the bed in which her body was lying by accident. Without thinking, I said, “Excuse me, mom”. She didn’t respond. She was not capable of responding. She was dead.
Similarly an unsaved person – apart from the working of the Holy Spirit in his life – is not capable of responding to God because he is spiritually dead.
As we keep reading in Ephesians we come to
Ephesians 2:2-3 where we see an unsaved person described as a slave to sin. He is addicted to sin, wallowing in sin, programmed to sin, knows only sin.
Luke 19:10 describes an unsaved person as lost.
Ever been lost? I got off a bus once in an Asian city,
didn’t recognize anything around me, didn’t know the language, and the sun was going down. HELP!
It was terrifying – just like an unsaved person who doesn’t know the way to God, to truth, to the right path, to life.
John 3:18 describes an unsaved person as condemned. People apart from Christ are condemned because that is the logical consequence of being a sinner without a Savior. He stands before God as guilty because he has not trusted in God’s solution for his sin problem.
2 Corinthians 4:4 describes an unsaved person as blind.
He can’t see God, can’t see his own wrong behavior, can’t see his way out of sin.
Once I was running through a basement without turning on the lights. Bam! I ran right into a steel beam that supports the ceiling. Oh, my head! Believe me, I learned my lesson. That never happened again.
But what about a spiritually blind person? How many things does he walk into – with way more damage than what happened to me?
Ephesians 2:12 says an unsaved person has no hope. What is it like to have no hope? He has nothing to live for. In his future is only dismal suffering if he never gets right with God. Everyone needs hope. If an unsaved person really has no hope, do you see why some opt for suicide?
How does that picture #3 look to you?
Color picture #3 dark, discouraging, depressing,
difficult to look at. Picture #3 is you before you came to Christ. It is every person who has not trusted Jesus as his personal Savior – every unsaved person on planet earth today. Whew!
Hopefully picture #4 will be more encouraging!
It is. It is a picture of a Christian.
If you have trusted Christ, how does the Bible describe you?
2 Corinthians 5:17 you are a new creation if you have trusted Jesus as your Savior.
You don’t have to live the rest of your life with the darkness of picture #3.
God gives you a new start, a new beginning in which you can build a life that honors God.
1 John 3:1 describes a Christian as a child of God.
Hey, Christian, who are you?
YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD.
GOD IS YOUR PERFECT FATHER.
HE IS NOW YOUR DADDY –
WHO WILL LOVE YOU, MOLD YOU, GIVE YOU A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE.
EVERY PERSON ON PLANET EARTH NEEDS SECURITY & SIGNIFICANCE.
BEING A CHILD OF GOD GIVES YOU SECURITY THAT CAN NEVER BE TAKEN AWAY FROM YOU &
BEING A CHILD OF GOD GIVES YOU VALUE/SIGNIFICANCE THAT IS ROCK SOLID.
LOOK AROUND YOUR LIFE.
YOUR FAMILY CAN DIE.
YOUR HOUSE CAN BURN DOWN.
YOU CAN LOOSE YOUR HEALTH.
YOU CAN LOOSE YOUR JOB.
BUT YOU CAN NEVER LOOSE YOUR STATUS AS A CHILD OF GOD.
WHO ARE YOU (IF YOU HAVE TRUSTED JESUS AS YOUR SAVIOR)?
A CHILD OF GOD.
THINK ABOUT IT.
TAKE A PIECE OF PAPER,
WRITE “CHILD OF GOD” ON IT
& TAPE IT TO THE BATHROOM MIRROR
SO YOU CAN REMIND YOURSELF OF IT DAILY.
IT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.
WHAT ELECTRIFYING NEWS!
John 15:3 if you have trusted Jesus as your Savior, you are clean.
The dirt and filth of picture #3 is washed away.
It’s like God gives you a spiritual bath when you trust Christ.
John 15:15 You are now a friend of God when you trust Christ, no longer condemned.
Finally, 2 Corinthians 5:8 you are now heaven bound. You will spend eternity in heaven with God and all your Christian brothers and sisters.
NOW THAT’S ENCOURAGING!
Did you notice the huge difference between picture #3 and picture #4?
Instead of being condemned by God, a believer is now a friend of God.
Instead of the hopelessness of life without Christ, a believer has the hope of heaven.
Instead of the darkness of sin there is light.
Instead of ugliness, there is beauty – a genuinely changed life.
So there are four pictures.
Question: what if you are in picture #3, don’t want to be in that picture anymore, but want to get out of that picture on your own? You don’t want Jesus’ help.
Answer: that is impossible. How can a lost, blind, condemned person do anything to help himself? He needs outside help that only the Holy Spirit can provide. Without Jesus’ help, he is stuck in picture 3.
Question: can you get out of picture 3 by good works?
Answer: how can anyone in picture 3 do anything good? How can good works free them from the bondage of sin?
Question: how does a person move from picture 3 to picture 4?
Answer: Only by looking to outside help. Faith alone in Christ alone is the only escape from picture 3. Acts 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Question: what if you are in picture 4 but want to live like picture 3?
Answer: If you want to live in sin, do you need a Savior? Do you understand the price tag that Jesus paid to get you out of sin? Do you understand the awfulness of picture 3?
Question: if you are in picture 4 do you realize what it cost God to get you there?
Answer: Jesus had to go from picture 1 to picture 2 so you could move from picture 3 to picture 4.
Question: if you are in picture 4 what should your focus be?
Answer: Matthew 22:37. Look across to pictures 1 and 2 and love Him with all your heart, soul, mind.
Question: do you see the motivation in these pictures to share your faith?
Answer: Definitely! We don’t want anyone to stay in picture 3.
Question: do you see that evangelism is not a chore but an act of love?
Answer: look at your friends trapped in picture 3. Pray for them. Tell them the Way.
Question: do you see how much you mean to God?
Answer: He was willing to go from picture 1 to picture 2 for YOU.
Look at the great love He has for you!
These four pictures illustrate 2 Corinthians 5:21:
He made Him who knew no sin (picture 1) to be sin (picture 2)
so that we (picture 3) might become the righteousness of God (picture 4)