Wednesday Bible Study and Prayer
Reedy Branch Baptist Church
September 23, 2020
Dear Reedy Branch Family:
Join us for worship this Sunday at 10 AM. Please remember to follow all proper precautions regarding the Coronavirus. Let’s be sure we take care of one another.
If you know of someone who might benefit from receiving this email Bible Study each Wednesday, please send me their email address.
I look forward to seeing each of you this Sunday. The sermon is entitled, "He Is Still There" based on Luke 16:19-31. Please, invite a friend.
There are many powerful mysteries associated with the Gospel. And one of the most amazing is this; long before you and I went looking for God, He came looking for us. What kind of love would lead a wonderfully perfect God to go looking for sin sick sinners like me and you?
In Luke 19:1-10 (NASB95) we read that “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. And there was a man called by the name of Zaccheus; he was a chief tax collector and he was rich. Zaccheus was trying to see who Jesus was, and was unable because of the crowd, for he was small in stature.”
“So he ran on ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree in order to see Him, for He was about to pass through that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, ‘Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.’”
“And he hurried and came down and received Him gladly. When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’”
“Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.’”
“And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.’”
The Bible says that Jesus was on His way to Jerusalem and He was passing through Jericho. Now, Jericho wasn’t His destination, but He did have a mission to accomplish in that town.
As He was passing through, crowds were gathered to catch a glimpse of Him. Suddenly, Jesus stopped and looked up into a sycamore tree and called out to Zaccheus by name.
Zaccheus had been hoping to see Jesus, but he had not expected that Jesus would stop, call him by name, and come to stay at his house. Zaccheus must have thought to himself, “How does He know my name?” The fact is, Jesus knew more than just his name. Jesus had been planning all along to bring the Gospel to Zaccheus personally.
In verse 10 Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Jesus makes it clear here that He seeks out people who need salvation. Jesus comes looking for us long before we go looking for Him.
The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 4:19 (NASB95), “We love, because He first loved us.”
It’s difficult to get our minds around the fact that Jesus loves us even at our worst. We don’t have to straighten up our lives in order to meet with Christ. We don’t even have to make arrangements to come to Him; He comes to us.
Jesus always takes the first step. He is always the first to reach out. It is Jesus who stands at the door of our hearts and knocks.
Consider these words from Ephesians 1:3-6 (NASB95), “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”
Think about that for a moment. Before the foundation of the world, before there was any life on this planet, before this planet even existed, before all of that - God chose you. Like Zaccheus, Jesus knew your name before you were even born. He knew all the mistakes and poor choices you would make and yet He loved you in spite of it all.
In John 15:16 (NASB95) Jesus said, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.”
Jesus not only takes the initiative in our salvation, He already has a plan in mind for the rest of our lives.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NASB95), “We should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon wrote, “I must confess I never would have been saved if I could have helped it. As long as I could, I rebelled and revolted and struggled against God. When He would have me pray, I would not pray. When He would have me listen to the sound of the ministry, I would not. And when I heard, and the tear rolled down my cheek, I wiped it away and defied Him to melt my heart. Then He gave me the effectual blow of grace, and there was no resisting that irresistible effort. It conquered my depraved will and made me bow myself before the sceptre of His grace.”
“And so it is in every case. Man revolts against his Saviour, but where God determines to save, save he will. God never was thwarted yet in any one of His purposes. Man does resist with all His might, but all the might of man, tremendous though it be for sin, is not equal to the majestic might of the Most High.”
Perhaps you are asking, “But Shep, how can this be? How can God know my name before I am even born. How can God come looking for me before I even give Him a thought?”
And my answer is, I don’t know. I’m just a little child saved by the grace of a loving God.
I don’t understand it. But I am so very thankful for it.
Jesus Christ came looking for me long before I knew to go looking for Him. It’s a mystery that I cannot comprehend, but a mystery that I know to be true.
There is a hymn in our Baptist Hymnal that I recently ran across. I don’t believe I have ever been in a worship service where this hymn was sung. It is Hymn # 289 and it is entitled, “My Lord, I Did Not Choose You” by Josiah Condor.
Think about these powerful lyrics.
My Lord, I did not choose You,
For that could never be;
My heart would still refuse You,
Had You not chosen me.
You took the sin that stained me,
You cleansed me, made me new;
Of old You have ordained me,
That I should live in You.
Unless Your grace had called me
And taught my opening mind,
The world would have enthralled me,
To heavenly glories blind.
My heart knows none above You;
For Your rich grace I thirst;
I know that if I love You,
You must have loved me first.
Praise God that in His mercy and grace, He chose to love us first. Look back on your own life. Think about your parents who were God’s instruments to carry you to church before you could even walk or talk. Think about that Sunday School teacher who was God’s instrument to share the Gospel with you when you were just a teenager. Or think about that coworker who was God’s instrument to introduce you to Jesus when Christianity held no fascination to a fun loving young adult such as yourself. At every step along our path, the Lord has moved before us preparing the way that we might know Jesus.
Did not God love you long before you loved Him? Let us give Him thanks and praise that He did.Brother Shep
Weekly Prayer List (September 23, 2020)
The Need for Revival in America
Our Church, Community, Nation, and World as we battle the Coronavirus.
Unity and Love among our fellow Americans
If you know of names that should be added or removed from our prayer list please call me at (912) 381-4896 or email me at email@example.com