The Father’s Love for Us

Romans 8:35, 37-39 NLT

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

These things – trouble, danger, hunger, fear, worry, etc – are all things the enemy would use to make us feel separated from the Lord, if we allow it.

It’s interesting that the scripture says “death or life.” We don’t think of life as separating us from the Lord, but it certainly can feel that way, if we let all the distractions of life crowd Him out of our thoughts and focus.

Baptism

Jesus was baptised because He was obedient, and He asked us to do the same:

Matthew 28:19 NLT

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is meaningless if you don’t believe in salvation through Jesus, the Son of God. Baptism itself does not save anyone. It’s the confession of sins, the condition of your heart, and your relationship with Him that matters.

Baptism is an outward sign of obedience. Salvation is a gift, not a reward for things you do.

Jesus began ministering after His baptism. The power from heaven that came to Him at His baptism was a result of His obedience.

Matthew 3:16-17 NLT

After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

Three things happened here: 1) The heavens were opened, 2) the Spirit came, and 3) God declared His love.

Acts of the Apostles 2:38-39 NLT

Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away —all who have been called by the Lord our God.”

Acts of the Apostles 9:18 NLT

Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized.

Repentence – the decision to turn away from sin toward God – comes first, then baptism.

Jesus had nothing to repent of. He was baptised as an act of obedience. He was the first person to be both born of the Spirit, and baptised by the Holy Spirit. He is called the “second Adam.” Like the first Adam, He came directly from God. Yet unlike the first Adam, He did not fall to temptation. Instead of bringing death to his descendants, He brought life.

There’s always exceptions to the rule, like the thief on the cross, but if you are able to be baptised, do it as the next step in your relationship with the Lord.

Luke 3:21-22 NLT

One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.

God spoke approval over Jesus at His baptism, and He wants to do the same for you as well.

Waiting

Luke 4:18-19 NLT

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord ’s favor has come. ”

This prophecy is from Isaiah, and Jesus was saycing that finally, after all the centuries of waiting for the Messiah, He had arrived.

You can’t kill God. He chose to lay down His life. When He died on the cross, He said “It is finished.” That is significant because until that moment, the work of the priests atoning for sins was never finished.

There’s always something we’re waiting for. Graduation… Marriage… Births… Jobs… What is it you are waiting for? Is Jesus with you as you wait?

7 is a number of completion in the Bible. 8 tends to represent a new beginning. 2 Peter 2:5… 1 Peter 3:20… Genesis 17:12… Colossians 2:11… Leviticus 9:1… Exodus 22:29-30… 1 Samuel 17:12… John 20:26…

Ephesians 4:22-24 NLT

throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NLT

So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!