Jesus Is Lord: Salvation – God’s Solution for Sin {Week Three}

SALVATIONchrist-king3Welcome to the Jesus Is Lord series! This is the third installment of the Jesus Is Lord course offered for adults at St. William Catholic Church in Round Rock, Texas.

If this is your first time visiting this series, I encourage you to take a few moments and read through the series introduction that will give a clear picture of the purpose and content of the Jesus Is Lord course. The introduction post not only outlines the course, but goes over the motivation to share in this class on the internet. 

Today’s class is about Salvation – God’s Solution for Sin. Last week’s class was about Sin and Its ConsequencesIf you would prefer to watch this class, please scroll to the bottom. Keep in mind the recorded classes are not from our current class and contain testimonies from different people presented in the text below. Check back next week for the fourth installment which will cover Repentance – Recognize & Receive

ITEMS NEEDED: Crucifix, basket, rocks {enough for all participants} – place the basket of rocks in front of the crucifix.

TEACHING

Father Uche Andeh spoke to the group about Salvation – God’s Solution for Sin. The following is a summary of his talk:

Begin with prayer.

We continue to explore the story, but first things first. What did you remember from last week?

::take a few moments to discuss and review last week’s content::

  • Sin is an abuse of freedom,
  • distrust of God.
  • Sin affects all of us.

God & Man

creation-of-adam-michelangelo

Adam and Eve cast out of the garden

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There are things in the world that are so messed up beyond our control; but, there are things we do have control over. In our broken world, it is difficult to depend on anybody else.

What is God’s solution for this situation?

Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death. There was a price that had to be paid.

What did God do to remedy the situation?

What did he do to bring us back into a right relationship with Him?

He didn’t snap his fingers to immediately rectify the situation even though He could have.

The God who created us could have decided to save us in the moment. He didn’t choose the easiest route. Instead, He sent His Son to die on the Cross for us.

The CRUCIFIX – we have had a tendency to make it glamorous. It was actually the height of public disgrace and shame. He was 100% naked and did not have a loin cloth like we see in pictures, statues, etc.

What Jesus did on the Cross – He saved us from the lie, the doubt that was sown into us by the devil. He saved us from the distrust we have in God by becoming one of us. The crucifix shows us the horror of sin, and shows us what our sin does to God, but also it shows us how much God loves us. Because Jesus is God, He could have wished away His pain. He instead chose to feel the pain and agony.

Psalms 22My God, my God, why have You abandoned me?

The Crucifix shows us the depths of God’s love for us – there is always the temptation for us to think that when we look at our lives, our sins, our history – that we can atone for our past sins. {being active in the pro-life movement, we think we can save ourselves}. The truth is that there is nothing we can do in this life to be able to pay back for our sins. That’s why Christ did it for us – we are incapable of doing it ourselveswe were in need of a Savior.

You are required to believe that Jesus Christ who died on the Cross was not a phantom, a ghost. How is it He died on the Cross if He is God? we might think to ourselves. He is 100% God and 100% man. Jesus is not “god-lite” –

…the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God, begotten, not made,
consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.

Father Uche said please do not ask me about the chemistry of the situation – it’s a mystery for a reason!

Catholics profess this about Jesus – it is not optional – that is why He is able to pay the debt of your sin, and every sin from the beginning to the end of time. His life was so incredibly valuable because He is fully God and fully man.

The break between God and man was restored through the work on the Cross.

Hebrews

4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.

Jesus was tempted in every way that we are, but did not sin.

God did not create anything bad – the flesh was always good, but needed redemption. Most would have looked at the brokenness of humanity and thought it was not worth saving, but God always saw the good in us.

God understands our suffering when things happen to our children because He saw what happened to His own Son.

2:10-11 For it was fitting that he, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the leader to their salvation perfect through suffering. He who consecrates and those who are being consecrated all have one origin. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them “brothers,”

He who sanctifies and we who are being sanctified come from the same Father – and that is why He is not ashamed to call us his brothers and sisters. He has come to take that which is fallen and rotten. Jesus is on the right side of the Father, interceding for us always.

2:17-18 therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

He had to become like us in every way so that He could pay that debt. If Jesus was not like us, that means God was “gaming the system – cheating the system.”

The wages of sin was death – and it was not paid by Adam and Eve. He would become like us in order to change everything.

He did not restore us to the time of Adam and Eve, but to something more than paradise. He catapulted us to a level that was way above what Adam and Eve took away from us through their sin.

The Lord’s descent into hell

_thumbRNSJESUSHELL040212a“What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.

Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam’s son.

The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: ‘My Lord be with you all.” And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.

‘I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.

‘I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.

‘For you, I your God became your son; for you, I the Master took on your form; that of slave; for you, I am above the heavens came on earth and under earth; for you, man, I became as a man without help, free among the dead; for you, who left a garden, I was handed over to Jews from a garden and crucified in a garden.

‘Look at the spittle on my face, which I received because of you, in order to restore you to that first divine inbreathing at creation. See the blows on my cheeks, which I accepted in order to refashion your distorted form to my own image.

‘See the scourging of my back, which I accepted in order to disperse the load of your sins which was laid upon your back. See my hands nailed to the tree for a good purpose, for you, who stretched out your hand to the tree for an evil one.

‘I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side healed the pain of your side; my sleep will release you from your sleep in Hades; my sword has checked the sword which was turned against you.

‘But arise, let us go hence. The enemy brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but on the throne of heaven. I denied you the tree of life, which was a figure, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now I make the cherubim worship you as they would God.

‘The cherubim throne has been prepared, the bearers are ready and waiting, the bridal chamber is in order, the food is provided, the everlasting houses and rooms are in readiness; the treasures of good things have been opened; the kingdom of heaven has been prepared before the ages.”

~A reading from an ancient homily for Holy Saturday

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Your history has been deleted if you give your life to Jesus – He paid it for you and there is nothing you can do to earn it.

 

Amen?

SCRIPTURE

Below is a summary of the Scripture that Noe used to break down Father Uche’s talk.

John 

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

verse 14 And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth.

Who is the Word?

Jesus. Fully God. Fully man. He came to pay a debt He didn’t owe because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay. And when He paid it, there were two reactions.

verse 10 He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him.

1) The first reaction was that folks didn’t recognize He was God. Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Doesn’t he live on Maple Street? They couldn’t go beyond His humanity – they couldn’t recognize Him as God. The only proper response is to recognize He is God and to surrender to Him. There is hesitation sometimes because we want to do things our own way.

verse 11 He came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him.

2) The other reaction was folks did not accept Him. I don’t need your forgiveness, I don’t do wrong, I don’t kick the dog, I don’t rob liquor stores, etc. but go a couple of blocks down the road – THEY need your help. My mother-in-law lives there! Some people can’t see the sin in their own lives and can’t repent and therefore can’t receive the good news.

verse 12 But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,

Everyone is a child of God, but not everyone has the power, right, privilege to live as a child of God. If you have not received God’s forgiveness through repentance, you aren’t able to love as God loves you.

TESTIMONY

Hi, my name is Cindi . I’m married to my husband Ross, and we have two grown sons. I’m a cradle Catholic. My Father was Catholic and Mom converted when they were married.  I went to Catholic schools all my life, not because my family was religious but because I have bad hearing and the classes at the Catholic school were much smaller than the public school. My parents thought I would do better in the smaller classes. We always started our day with Mass before classes. We wore plaid skirts and white blouses and it was a very traditional Catholic school taught by mostly nuns.  I really loved it and my teachers. I also went to a Catholic high school after that.  By then it was late 60’s – early 70’s and the Vietnam war was going on. At the time, it seemed like the world was changing (Im not sure if it was my age or the world) and when I’d get home from school, my parents would be watching the news. I would see lots of college kids at universities who were protesting the war (the draft was going on then). There were hippies and flower children, and it seemed like lots of them were experimenting with drugs and free love. I never did that stuff, but I still thought the Church was old fashioned and just behind the times and everything was changing.  At home, my parents didn’t really talk about God. We went to Mass on Christmas and Easter, sometimes, and my Mom would take me and my brother and sister to Mass on Sundays sometimes, very sporadically. It never bothered me if we didn’t go. My best friends were neighbor kids who all went to the local public school. They never mentioned God and my best friend started experimenting with drugs and hanging out with the local hippies.

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After graduation from high school, I went to college for a while but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and I drifted away from the Church. I remember thinking I had gone to Mass every morning for years and so I had done enough. When I graduated from high school, I graduated from all that going to Church. I remembered God and would pray to Him sometimes. One day, I did go sit in the back of my Church and tried to decide my future. What was my life to be like? What did I want? After sitting there for a while I knew I wanted to be a wife and mother and that was my direction I would point my life.  I avoided my old friends and went to beauty school with an older cousin who was attending and who I had always looked up to. I hung around with a different group of friends there and through them I met my husband. I knew when I saw him that he was the one!! It was like I recognized him although I had never seen him before. We dated for two years and then we had a big wedding and got married in my Church.  Ross was baptized a Methodist but he didn’t go to Church, but neither did I hardly ever by then. He was in college and I was working in a beauty shop. Finally, he graduated, had his degree and got his first job when we had to move away from my family and friends. In our new little town, I did go check out the local Catholic church there once by myself, but I felt so lost there. It was the first time living away from where I grew up.  After a few months, I found out I was pregnant. I was really looking forward to finally starting our family. When our son Matthew was born it was about the happiest day of my life! Then, two years later our second child Andy was born. We moved around quite a bit with Ross’s job for a few years and

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Life got really busy raising our family.  After a while, we were transferred to Texas.  I registered here at St. William in 1985 and would try to take my boys, who were in elementary school by then, to Religious Education and Mass occasionally, but they fought me so much because they didn’t want to be go. Their dad wasn’t going, so neither would they.  My husband at that time was a workaholic and on his day off he wasn’t about to go to church, even though we would try to go on Christmas and Easter. While my husband was gone at work all the time, I tried to make myself happy by buying things. It seemed like everything I ever thought I wanted in life I had – a husband and family, but still something was really missing.  As the boys were growing up, I would try to go to Mass occasionally, because I vaguely remembered I should be going to Church, but I usually forgot it was Sunday or if I did remember to go, I would become sad because I would see all the families there together and I couldn’t get my family to go with me.

******

The boys grew up and went to college and then in 2000 our youngest son Andy informed me he didn’t believe in God. I just felt sick about it and I knew his soul was in danger.  I told my husband about it and he was very upset, too, and we had a conversation about our beliefs and God, which we had never talked about before. I decided to try to talk Andy out of being an Atheist but the more I debated with him the more I knew I didn’t have the answers I needed to have. I didn’t know enough and he had made up his mind. I decided I needed to learn more about God and I started to try to read the Bible. I remembered some of the stories in the Bible were familiar from my childhood but, I only read as far as Numbers.

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In 2001 The 911 terrorist attack happened and Ross told me he wanted to go to church. They were having a special Mass because of the attacks. I was so glad he wanted to go! Then, we kept going back every week because he wanted to keep going. He liked hearing the priest’s sermons. Week after week, we went on Saturday night, listening to the sermons, and then we would go out for dinner. One day after Mass Ross told he wanted to start looking for a new house. It was something he had heard in one of the sermons. That sounded great to me and we started our search and found what we wanted and moved. It was there I met a new neighbor who wanted to go walking.  She lived across the street and had just moved in, too. We started walking together for our exercise and she asked me one morning

******

“Are you saved?”

I didn’t know what to say. I told her I thought so, but I wasn’t sure. She always wanted to talk about Jesus. That made me kind of uncomfortable because I had never talked with anyone before who wanted to talk about Jesus so much when we weren’t in Church. She was always bringing her church up. I even tried to avoid her for a while because I thought that was odd and didn’t like her bringing it up so often.  She always brought up her church and Jesus and asked me questions about my religion – I didn’t know the answers. At this point, I realized though that I should be more like her and not afraid to talk about God to others. I really wanted to have a stronger faith like hers and I realized I should not be afraid/uncomfortable about it like I was. I talked to her about it and she said let’s pray. So, we sat at my kitchen table and she said a prayer and I remember telling God I wanted to know Him and be closer to Him. After, we both cried for awhile she went home and I went about my day, but I felt very peaceful all day. The next day I went for a walk by myself because Vicki couldn’t go that day. I noticed it was like I had landed in Oz and all the colors were more vivid and brighter and I noticed the birds singing and I was so full of joy! I didn’t know what had happened but I felt like my “ON” switch had been flipped on.  I had a great urge to learn about Jesus and I wanted to learn what to do to please Him.  For months I read books trying to learn everything I could about God. I went to all the extra things they had at St. William that I thought I could learn something. I read the whole Bible in a year and I joined the Bible study group here at St. William.  Then, I was reading a book that told me about the Eucharist I got so excited when I started to realize what the Eucharist was. I went out to the living room where Ross was and I told him I thought he needed to be able to take the Eucharist!  We had been going to Mass every week since 911 but he couldn’t go to Communion and I guess God had been working on my husband, too, because he mentioned something about maybe going to RCIA. I got a bulletin out from the last Saturday night and RCIA was starting the next week!  I called and signed us up. I went through RCIA with him in 2006. RCIA for the first seven weeks is the same as the Jesus is Lord class so what you are learning now is what I learned.  We sat in the front row every week and as he learned about being a Catholic I learned all about my faith as an adult.  I remember at every class we attended, I learned so much! Even though I had a Catholic education, I was getting all my questions answered. My relationship with Jesus was growing and as I was understanding the Gospel, my love for Jesus was growing just like I had prayed for.  I went to Confession after 35 years and it was so wonderful to feel completely forgiven. When I took the Eucharist then I knew it was the Body and Blood of Christ that I was given. The heavenly manna.  Who can be worthy of this miracle, nobody! Yet, it happens probably every second somewhere around the world in the Catholic Church!  Jesus always is giving us Himself in the Eucharist.

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Now, I have pointed my life in God’s direction.   My life is full of trying to do God’s will and not mine. Well, at least I try.  I know now why I’m here on this earth, what my purpose is… to love and serve God and that following God’s will is the only things that will make us happy because God created us and knows how we work much better than we know ourselves. My husband Ross became a Catholic that year and our faith has brought us closer.  Ross and I both found our faith through RCIA  & Jesus is Lord class, and we continue to be involved in it because it helps us not only stay close to God but we love watching others go through this process.  I think our son still doesn’t believe in God, but I know that someday he will need God because we all need Him. And as he turns to God, I hope to be able to help him to find his faith, too.

SURRENDER TO CHRIST

CRUCIFIX AND ROCKS: Pick a rock – this rock represents you {some rocks may be dirty, pointy, have rough edges, etc.}. Think and reflect on this evening’s talk. As Catholics, we aren’t always afforded the opportunity to “say” yes even though our godparents did so on our behalf. Tonight is our chance to say Lord Jesus, I come to you as I am and I say yes. You can say whatever you like. There is no right way to do it. Say a prayer or meditate on Christ’s work on the Cross while looking at the Crucifix. This is an opportunity to willingly and purposefully give your life to Christ and surrender to His will for your life. It’s not meant to churn emotions, but it’s ok if that happens. We are responding to what Jesus did for us on the Cross. Place rock in the basket after you have finished. Take as much time as you need.

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SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION

  • PRAYER
  • QUESTIONS
  1. WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE DAY OF THE HOMEWORK? {read and share why}
  2. ANY COMMENTS ON PRAYING FOR YOUR PARTNER?
  3. WHAT STRUCK YOU ABOUT THE PRESENTATION?
  4. DOES ANYONE WANT TO SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCE WITH THE ROCKS AND THE CROSS?
  • STUDY:  Read Mark 1:1-20; Revelation 3:14-22; Mark 9:42-50.

SUMMARY

Homework is to be done daily – reflect on Scripture and Salvation: God’s Solution for Sin through the week. If you are in a group, pair up two or three and commit to pray daily for your prayer partner. Small groups come together for a few minutes of question and answer in the large group. If you have any questions, please leave a comment in the combox below so that we can help in any way possible.

CONCLUSION

Prayer of Abandonment

Father,
I abandon myself into Your hands;
do with me what You will.
Whatever You may do, I thank You:
I am ready for all, I accept all.

Let only Your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures –
I wish no more than this, O Lord.

Into Your hands I commend my soul:
I offer it to You with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into Your hands without reserve,
and with boundless confidence,
for You are my Father.

Charles de Foucauld

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About Martina Kreitzer

Martina is a cradle Catholic, wife to Neil, and mother to six kiddos here {and three in heaven}– 4/96-6/12. She decided to homeschool the kiddos in 2010 after many years in public schools. She is the creator of Catholic Sistas which focuses on a feminine perspective of the Catholic Faith. The website was the result of an existing camaraderie by the contributors in a Catholic women’s group she created. She is also a Seal of Approval evaluator for the Catholic Writers Guild. Lest you think she spends all her time online, Martina has enjoyed getting out into the community by serving on the Pastoral Council from 2010-2013. She is constantly on the lookout to make her parish as welcoming as the small town she grew up in East Texas. This task is not easy given that St. William is the largest parish in the Austin diocese, serving well over twenty thousand parishioners. She loves Jesus, coffee, bacon, chocolate, photography, more bacon, evangelizing, and the company of those unafraid to use their sense of humor.