Sunday, July 29, 2007

Psalm 103 – A Father’s Compassion

Psalm 103 – A Father’s Compassion
July 29, 2007 AM
By Pastor Lee Hemen

Father figures are important in the life of children. They have proven that the influence of a good father in the life of a child can decide whether they go onto college, pick a good future spouse, hold a good job, or succeed in life in general. A father figure can be a grandfather, uncle, step dad, a good friend of the family, or simply a good father! What is important is that a child feels loved, accepted, and forgiven by a predominate male figure in their life. The same is true spiritually as well. So much so in fact that we find within Scripture God relating to His people His role as our Heavenly Father and the importance of our close relationship to Him. Within the pages of Scripture we discover a Father’s compassion as we look at our relationship to God the Father.

David, within his music (the Psalms) often found solace in the fact that while others sought to kill him or to bring him ruin, there was always someone who loved, accepted and forgave him. He relates for us in very beautiful terms a heavenly Father’s compassion for those He loves. For David there was nothing that could compare with the close personal relationship an individual could enjoy with God. Let’s find out what David discovered for ourselves this morning as we look at a father’s compassion.

READ: Psalm 103

There were many times while I was growing up that I knew my Dad did not necessarily need to do certain things for me, but he did. I remember one time when we could not afford presents for Christmas, my father earned extra money, went out and bought some for all of us. I remember once he stayed up all night setting up a Lionel electric train set, just so that when I got up on Christmas morning I could see it wind its way around the tree. David often shared what God had done for him as well. In fact, David was quick to relate how God watched over his life. Within this Psalm David shows us…

I. The mercies of our Heavenly Father! (vv. 1-5)

1. God deserves our exuberant praise as a compassionate Father!
1) From our “soul” and our “innermost being” we should “praise God’s holy name!” It is our personal vocal praise of who God is! This is more than just feeling good about God. It can only be done by those who intimately know who God truly is and have a personal relationship with Him by faith. You cannot praise someone whom you do not know. In fact, those who say they know God, but do not and then try to praise Him are considered ungodly. God related to Isaiah concerning this kind of false piety, “you have been false to me, and have neither remembered me nor pondered this in your hearts.” (Isaiah 57:11) God knows our insincere faith. Jesus said, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:22-23) Inner praise comes from those who trust the Lord with their lives.
2) When we praise God the Psalmist related that we should “forget not all His benefits” but remember some important facts concerning just what God has done for us: He “forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, [He] redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, [He] satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” This is the mercies of God towards those who trust in Him. He cares! In fact Jeremiah was told by the Lord, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3) Later, Jeremiah would declare, “Because of the LORD’S great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!” (Lamentations 3:22-23) David would say, “I will sing of the mercies of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.” (Psalm 89:1, KJV) Here we discover the mercies of our heavenly Father!

EXAMPLE: Mercy is God’s grace applied. We do not deserve His love and yet He freely gives it to us. It is like when I had disobeyed my mother. Dad came home and I had to go and talk to him about it. Now if you knew my Dad, this could be quite an unpleasant thing because he did not allow us to ever disobey or disrespect our mother. “Real men,” he would relate, “do not treat any women with disrespect.” So, as I drug myself to see him, I feared for the worse. I was completely surprised at what he told me, however: “Lee, since you apologized to your mother and then went and did more than she asked you to do, I will forgive you. Just do not allow it to happen again.” It was like Jesus who told the woman caught in adultery, “I know all about your past sins. I forgive you, now go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11) He displayed for me the mercies of our Heavenly Father.

While my own father could be a disciplinarian, I knew first and foremost he loved me. I knew so because no matter what I had done, he still loved me. He may not have liked me for a moment or two, but I knew he always loved me and forgave me. We find this to be true with our Heavenly Father as well. Within this Psalm David shows us…

II. The compassion of our Heavenly Father! (vv. 6-18)

1. People live for the moment, God lives for eternity and His love reflects it!
1) God’s grace toward His children is “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love.” All loving parents reflect this kind of love toward the children they love and care for. God knows who we are and how we are formed: “He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” God knows He is the Creator and we are but His creation. We are His and He has compassion on us as His children because He loves us. While He is eternal, we are but for a moment in time on this earth. But here is a wonderful beautiful truth, Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24) Do you know the Father’s compassion through faith in Jesus, His Son?
2) God “will not always accuse” us “nor will He harbor His anger forever!” Why? Because “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” In fact, “ For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” In fact, in Jesus we are complete and utterly forgiven: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
3) The reason is obvious: “As a father has compassion on His children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him!’ God loves us as His children when we follow Him by faith: “from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’S love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children -- with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.” Are you His child? John writes that “to all who received Him [Jesus], to those who believed in His name, He [God] gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13)

EXAMPLE: The world displays a false and phony compassion. Many think that if they feel bad enough about something, then that is good enough. Or if they throw money at the problem, then it is no longer their concern and they have at least “shown compassion.” Shallow compassion is like phony faith: little substance and less depth. James would say, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) He would go on to comment that “If one of you says to [someone in need], ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:16-17) The compassion of our heavenly Father was accompanied by His actions of sending Jesus to die on a cross for our sins! Oh how great a grace!

I will never forget my father relating to me that I was never to call him by his first name. My father was never “Lowell” to any of us, even after some of us grew older. There was always a certain amount of respect my father expected out of his children. It taught us to understand just who our father was. He was not our friend, we had plenty of them. He was our father. It is like when we praise God. There is a reason why we should and if you do not understand it, then you may not know who God truly is. David teaches us through this Psalm…

III. The praise our Heavenly Father deserves! (vv. 19-22)

1. God is God, and we are not!
1) We have to remember who God is! David understood that it is God who “has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all,” and whether we want to believe it or not, God is our ruler and King! We find that one day “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’ So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:11-12) In fact, Paul would later write that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)
2) God is not just ruler of us, but of the angels in heaven as well! We discover that they are to “Praise the LORD, you His angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His word. Praise the LORD, all His heavenly hosts, you His servants who do His will.” Again, this is the key to our heartfelt worship of God. It is not found in “doing things.” Mere acts of contrition or trying to appease God will not work. He looks at the human heart and at the real intent of our soul. Jesus would say, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) He went on to say, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (John 14:21) and that you are to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31) If God is our ruler it will be reflected in our obedience and devotion to Him.
3) Even all of creation knows who God is. David cries out, “Praise the LORD, all His works everywhere in His dominion!” The writer of Hebrews would tell us that “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)

EXAMPLE: When I was younger my father showed me something I never forgot. We were in a store that sold all kinds of glassware. My mother like crystal and I had found some glasses that were cheap. My Dad took one, walked me over to where there were others that were similar, took one of them and then proceeded to show me the difference between simple glass and real crystal. All he did was lightly flick the rim of each. Can you guess what happened? The crystal rang with a clear tone, while the simple glass just went “thunk!” In our politically correct world we are quick to hand out praise when it is not deserved, thinking it will illicit better behavior from those who could care less. Praise should only be given to those who deserve it because of who they are and what they have done, not to make someone “feel good about themselves.” Nothing is worse than false praise. It rings hollow and untrue. David teaches us the praise our Heavenly Father deserves.

The mercies of our Heavenly Father! The compassion of our Heavenly Father! The praise our Heavenly Father deserves!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Psalm 8 – How Majestic Is the Lord!

Psalm 8 – How Majestic Is the Lord!
By Pastor Lee Hemen
July 22, 2007 AM

At one point along the Saguenay River in southeastern Canada, the water flows through a chasm between two rugged rock formations. Their pinnacles tower over 1,600 feet into the sky. Early pioneers were so awestruck by these majestic crags that they named them Trinity and Eternity. These two great truths expressed by these words should create a sense of awe in the heart of every Christian. H. W. Robinson writes that “At the heart of the Christian faith is mystery, because at the heart of our faith is the eternal, triune God. We have the Father who loves us, the Savior who died for us, and the Spirit who helps us to be holy. This divine mystery gives us reason to bow down and worship our eternal God.”

The Psalmist would agree with H. W. and expressed his own awe of God. In fact there are some passages of Scripture that are so eloquent that they rival any modern day poet in style or grandeur. We discover that so inspired of God was David that all he could repeat was how majestic is the Lord! As we take a closer look at this wonderful piece of poetry we will also come away with a renewed awe and wonder of just how majestic is the Lord.

READ: Psalm 8

It has always amazed me but every time I have gotten into simple discussion with small children about God, they never question His existence. I have, however, often heard adults who think of themselves as “wise” use some of the most childish excuses why they do not want to follow Jesus Christ. David, a grown man, who later would be king over all of Israel and one of its most famous and successful rulers, would readily tell anyone, from his trusted generals to his most esteemed advisers…

I. How majestic is the Lord when you consider His majesty! (vv. 1-2, 9)

1. God’s children have no problem in believing in God! David was constantly in awe of who God was. So much so that we find him beginning this psalm and ending it with the same declaration, “O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Notice whose “Lord” God was: “Our Lord,” David says. It is a personal declaration of God’s intimate care for him and his people. Addressing God by His personal name Yahweh (“Lord”), David identifies Him as “our Lord” (a?d?o?nay), the Sovereign Master and king even over himself, the King of Israel! David understood that even when he was victorious in battle, who was it that shouted God’s praise in the streets? The children! So with a kind of wonder David relates, “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise!” Children innately know who brings blessing in life. The idea is that the Lord has ordained that the weakest shall confound the strong, even the enemies of God’s people, “to silence the foe and the avenger!” We later find that “when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things [Jesus] did and the children shouting in the temple area, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were indignant. ‘Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked him. ‘Yes,’ replied Jesus, ‘have you never read, “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise”?’” (Matthew 21:15-16) David had no problem in relating just how majestic is the Lord when you consider His majesty!

EXAMPLE: I have seen little children bring their unbelieving parents to childlike faith in Christ simply by their own love and devotion to the Lord. Helen Steiner Rice writes in her poem, “A Child's Faith,” this idea:

A Childlike Faith, by Helen Steiner Rice

“Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible tells me so.”
Little children ask no more,
For love is all they’re looking for,
And in a small child’s shining eyes
The Faith of all the ages lies.

And tiny hands and tousled heads
That kneel in prayer by little beds
Are closer to the dear Lord’s heart
And of His kingdom more a part
Than we who search, and never find
The answer to our questioning mind.

For Faith in things we cannot see
Requires a child’s simplicity
For, lost in life’s complexities,
We drift upon uncharted seas
And slowly Faith disintegrates
While wealth and power accumulate.

And the more man learns, the less he knows,
And the more involved his thinking grows
And, in his arrogance and pride,
No longer is man satisfied
To place his confidence and love
With childlike Faith in God above.

Oh, Father grant once more to men
A simple childlike Faith again.
And, with a small child’s trusting eyes
May all men come to realize
That Faith alone can save man’s soul
And lead him to a Higher Goal.

Like David, we should have no problem in relating just how majestic is the Lord when you consider His majesty! It is a childlike faith of awe. Yet we can also look at the world around us and know just how marvelous God is. It has always made me wonder at just how spiritually blind people can be when they cannot look at creation and see the “handprint of God.” David would declare…

II. How Majestic is the Lord when you consider His creation! (vv. 3-8)

1. When we truly look at God’s handiwork, we stand in awe of Who he is! David could not believe what he saw when he looked up into the desert sky at night. Even with his army about him, David understood that he was simply insignificant compared to what was displayed before his minute being. He would declare, “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that You are mindful of him, the son of man that You care for him?” How could an infinite Creator be concerned for an insignificant man? It was more than David could comprehend. David relates, “You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings,” meaning that human beings were created as God’s own representatives on earth, over His Creation, but lower than God or His angels. In fact, David knows that God “made” mankind “ruler over the works of [God’s] hands!” He goes on to say that, “You put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.” The connotation is that humans are to be God’s good stewards of His creation! When God created humans, He made them to have “dominion” over all of the earth (Genesis 1:26). Dominion was not intended to be domination or exploitation. Jesus took this a step further and rejoiced over a person’s willingness to give their whole selves to Him. Jesus calls all disciples to absolute surrender of ourselves and our substance to Him. Everything belongs to God, and like David you are to declare how majestic is the Lord when you consider His creation!

EXAMPLE: Consider the ad that appeared in the June 1998 issue of Outside magazine. Under the picture of three fishermen is the following text: "The waters are their church. The rocks are their pulpit. And they worship a 20-pound steelhead that moves in mysterious ways." While that expression of pseudo-religion is no doubt exaggerated, it does voice the feelings and values of a sizable segment of our population. For these devotees of the great outdoors, nature takes the place of God. They don't see the need for formal services in buildings dedicated to religious purposes. They claim that they don't need Bibles, hymns, and sermons because reverent thoughts occasionally fill their hearts as they respond to the world's beauty and wonder. It's one thing to acknowledge God's handiwork, as David did in stating just how Majestic is the Lord when you consider His creation. But it's quite another to be so taken up with created things, such as fish, flowers, clouds, and animals, that we aren't open to what God has said in His Word about Jesus, His Son. Nowhere in nature do we learn about the cross and our need of the Savior. Creation does not necessarily lead us to the cross. At some point we must understand like David did and realize everything belongs to God, and declare how majestic is the Lord when we consider His creation!

We have learned from this eloquent poem of David’s two important truths: 1) How majestic is the Lord when you consider His majesty! 2) How Majestic is the Lord when you consider His creation!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Psalm 22 – The Ultimate Sacrifice!

Psalm 22 – The Ultimate Sacrifice!
by Pastor Lee Hemen
July 15, 2007

When bad things have happened to you, have you ever wondered aloud to God, “Why me?” We all have at one time or another.

The writer David apparently felt forsaken by God, as he was surrounded by his enemies’ scornful persecution. He lamented his tremendous suffering and his desperate struggle with death, pleading with God to deliver him from such a horrible end. Apparently his prayer was answered, for he was able to declare that the Lord had indeed answered his prayer. In fact, because of the description used by David and prophetic utterances involved, the church has understood this psalm to be a foretelling of the death of Jesus Christ. We understand that while under the influence of the Holy Spirit, David often used poetic expressions to portray his sufferings or trials, but his poetic words here became literally true of the later suffering of Jesus Christ at His enemies’ hands. Jesus would become the world’s ultimate sacrifice. Let’s discover what this means for our lives today…

READ: Psalm 22

We have to be careful in how much we attribute David’s words here to Jesus simply because some of the description would not fit Jesus at all. Yet within these words of David we discover a startling revelation of the Lord concerning the sacrifice He would ultimately make in order to rescue those caught by the “roaring lions” and the “dogs” of life that surround them. God can and does deliver those who put their trust in His Son Jesus Christ. Let’s discover for ourselves what the Psalmist David writes concerning the ultimate sacrifice.

I. In Jesus’ Ultimate Sacrifice, He was Forsaken for Our Sake! (vv. 1-8)

1. We may feel forsaken in life, but God never leaves us alone! (John 6:37 & 10:28-29) The Psalmist felt that his life was so hard at the moment, that God had abandoned him. He asks, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Yet even in his distress, he realized he could find confidence from the fact that God had answered the prayers of those who had come before him! In God, his “fathers [had] put their trust.” While it seemed God was “far from the words” of his groaning, God was not. God was still “enthroned as the Holy One!” Just as his ancestors had “cried to [God] and were saved,” he knew he could trust and in the Lord and not be “disappointed.” The psalmist, though scorned by men, was convinced that the God of his youth would not abandon him forever. He may feel like a “worm” now, but God would rescue him. In these prophetic words we also discover the same rejection Jesus experienced at the hands of His countrymen and the rejection He went through. The crowds mocked Him and hurled insults at Him as well! The expressions used in Psalm 22:8 were adapted by those who mocked Jesus on the cross (Matthew 27:42-43), not realizing that they were fulfilling this prophecy and that He was the suffering Messiah. In fact, in Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, He was forsaken for our sake!

EXAMPLE: Herbert Vander Lugt writes, “Rejection hurts. When candidate Adlai Stevenson conceded the US presidential election in 1952, he said he felt like a grown man who had just stubbed his toe. He added, ‘It hurts too much to laugh, but I'm too old to cry.’” Little children feel the pain of rejection when they are chosen last. As they grow older, some will not be chosen for the varsity team. Some will be turned down by a girl or boy they want to date. Some may marry and have their spouse leave them for another person. They may wonder why the Lord allows them to be rejected. I have no easy answer. I can only suggest that they look to Jesus, remembering how He experienced the ultimate rejection. He was scorned by His own countrymen and betrayed by a friend. He heard the crowd demand His crucifixion. On the cross, as He bore our sin, He felt such abandonment by His Father that He cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" When you feel the deep hurt of rejection, remember that Jesus lovingly understands how you feel. If you have trusted Him, He has accepted you—and He will never reject those who trust in Him (John 6:37). In Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, He was forsaken for our sake!

While sometimes in life we may feel the sting of rejection, God never rejects those He loves. There is a reason for this. It is called the grace of God. In fact, in reading this Psalm of David we soon discover the very reason for this. We find that…

II. In Jesus’ Ultimate Sacrifice, He took Our Sins On Himself! (vv. 9-18)

1. A child of God knows who they can trust during life’s greatest hardships! David had known God since his birth! David felt secure in the fact that God had complete control of his life, from “the womb” and “from birth, “ David would cry, “You have been my God!” So now David laments, “Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.” David’s enemies were like bulls surrounding him and his sins were like “roaring lions tearing their prey.” In complete anguish he despairs that, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted away within me.” It is the perfect description of someone being crucified. Like Jesus hanging on the cross, David’s “strength is dried up like a potsherd, and [his] tongue sticks to the roof of [his] mouth – he felt as if he were “in the dust of death.” David again described his enemies and his agony. His enemies tortured him and thoughtlessly watched him. He compared them to dogs, who in the ancient world were scavengers. Like dogs, his foes (evil men) surrounded him, waiting till he was dead so they could tear at his limbs and pierce his “hands and feet” with their teeth. While this is the actual meaning of the Hebrew it is startling how it describes Jesus’ death, including that David’s words closely follow Jesus’ crucifixion: “I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” Isaiah would lament, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) Matthew writes, “When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots.” (Matthew 27:35) In Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, He took our sins on Himself!

EXAMPLE: Dave Branon writes that “You can't show a greater love for people than James Harrison demonstrated. And he did it for people he didn't even know. Harrison, a member of the Ouachita Baptist University choir, was returning home from Europe with his fellow singers. As their plane was landing in Little Rock, Arkansas, it was hit by heavy rains and high winds. The jet skidded off the runway and hit a bank of lights, ripping open the fuselage. As chaos reigned and flames broke out in the mangled plane, Harrison began to help others. Over and over, he pulled passengers to safety and ran back to the plane for more. On his last trip into the burning wreckage, he was overcome with smoke. He didn't make it out alive. At his funeral, the choir director quoted John 15:13, ‘Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.’ Jesus was really speaking of His own death on our behalf, and the choir leader pointed out the value of this ultimate sacrifice. We may never be called upon to make the kind of sacrifice James made during that horrible tragedy.” It is therefore good news to know that in Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, He took our sins on Himself!

In our politically correct world, heroism has been dumbed down to include just about any noble ordeal or deed. This is not the true definition of heroism. While it may be noble for someone to resolutely face a life-threatening disease, it does not necessarily automatically make them a “hero.” Heroism is more than just facing life, whatever life brings our way. Heroes are those who in the face of extreme danger to themselves, are willing to sacrifice their lives in order to rescue those caught in harm’s way. In this we discover Jesus was the ultimate hero. In this Psalm of David we are reminded that…

III. In Jesus’ Ultimate Sacrifice, God Provides! (19-31)

1. God’s own can be confident they are heard! David quickly goes to the One who has the power and the answers for his life’s predicament. He prays, “But you, O LORD, be not far off; O my Strength, come quickly to help me!” In fact, he does not mince words, he wants those roaring lions and wild dogs dealt with and readily beseeches: “Deliver my life from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs. Rescue me from the mouth of the lions!” David tells God that if He will rescue him, “I will declare Your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise You. You who fear the LORD, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor Him! Revere Him, all you descendants of Israel!” David knew that God takes care of His own: the “poor [in spirit] will eat and be satisfied!” But in describing perfectly the future events of what Jesus death, burial, and resurrection would bring about, David prays, “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him!” In fact, “They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn—for He has done it!” The famous theologian Helmut Thielicke wrote, “Towering over all, alone on the stage of history will stand One, not just a fine, good man, but the only One who is God incarnate; the exact representation of God in human form, begotten of God. The Deliverer and Savior.” In David’s prophetic Psalm we discover that in Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, God provides!

EXAMPLE: Mart De Haan related the story of William and Mary Tanner who were crossing the railroad tracks when it happened. Mary's foot slipped and wedged itself between the rail and the wooden crosswalk. She tried frantically to pull her foot free as the sound of an approaching train was heard. There were but seconds left as the express came rushing toward her around a curve. Will Tanner pulled on her foot, desperately trying to free her. As the train came closer and its whistle screamed and brakes shrieked, Will held her in his arms. While people shuddered in horror, the train thundered over them. One witness said that just before the engine hit them, he heard the brave man cry, "I'll stay with you, Mary!" That is great love! De Haan states that “This story reminds me of our Savior, who loved us with a love that can save us (John 3:16). Death came hurtling at Him as He hung on a cross and took the full penalty we deserved. He heard people cry out to Him to save Himself and come down from the cross (Matthew 27:40). But to save others He chose not to save Himself (v.42). With divine, sacrificial love, Jesus refused to spare His own life. He died so that He could provide forgiveness of sins for us. Our Savior stayed on the cross—for you and for me!” In Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice, God provides.

In Jesus’ Ultimate Sacrifice, He was Forsaken for Our Sake! In Jesus’ Ultimate Sacrifice, He took Our Sins On Himself! In Jesus’ Ultimate Sacrifice, God Provides!