Sunday, March 01, 2009

Lent, First Sunday

"This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." Mark 1:15

There is so much packed into this one little verse. John Mark summarized Christ's entire life and message into three short sentences. My summary of his summary will be longer than his summary! :o)

First, "the time of fulfillment". Christ came to fulfill all the prophecies of a Savior and Messiah. He was the embodiment of the covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. His life, death, and resurrection would complete everything begun in the Old Covenant. One man. The God-Man. Incredible!

Secondly, the "kingdom of God is at hand". Every day, Jesus established the Kingdom more and more, as hearts were turned toward God. Even today, in us, and through us, as we draw closer to God and are used as instruments to draw others to Him, we are seeing the Kingdom build and grow. In our hearts, His Kingdom is there. As we live as the people of God, we are His Kingdom in action. As others turn their hearts to Him, we see the Kingdom grow. The Church is His Kingdom on earth. That, to me, is quite amazing! And my words are not even beginning to do it justice.

Third, "Repent...". Turn away from your sins. Confess them. Be baptized for their remission (forgiveness and removal). It's a 180 degree turn! And not just a one-time event...a daily one!

And the fourth, "believe in the Gospel". Just repenting is really a good thing. But then, there's more! BELIEVE here, means much more than saying or thinking, "Yes, I agree with what the Bible says. I sure do concur that what Jesus said and did was true. Yep. Sure do!" That's a great start: repent, be baptized, mentally agree with that...but there's more to belief. It means to allow your lifestyle to come into line with all Jesus said and taught. To live it out daily. Don't get me wrong. I know this doesn't happen all at once. As our own Father Joe so eloquently, yet succinctly said this morning: It's a journey. But keep going on the journey! Don't stop at the preliminary steps! Grow in grace, dear friend!

My offering to God: I will examine my life and ask God to forgive my sins.

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