Saturday, 22 October 2016

Encounters with God

"Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth."…
Genesis 1:26-28

We've just begun a new sermon series in our Sunday morning services called "Encounters with God". You can listen to it in the audio section at Bridgeman Downs Baptist Church, link on this page. What make the Christian God, the God of the Bible, so distinctively unique to gods of other religious faiths is the fact of His desire for a loving relationship with the people that He created to live on this earth. We are told that we are created in the image of God - when He says in "Our" image, that word refers to the Trinity- God our Father, Jesus Christ His Son, and His indwelling Holy Spirit. We are human, not gods, yet through Christ we have the capability of assuming His likeness and receiving His Spirit. This is always empowering and life-giving, a source of capability, comfort and witness. It is never ignorant or blind as some non-believers would attest.

This relationship is epitomized by the fact that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to assume earthly identity and live among mankind. Jesus was "despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain." (Isaiah 53:3). He was ultimately falsely accused, tried and executed. At the exact time of His death the earth shook with a tremendous earthquake and the symbolic curtain which hung in the temple, signifying the separation of God and mankind, was ripped in two from top to bottom. Jesus had made a way to God. After three days in the tomb, Jesus rose again and was seen by many thousands before His disciples witnessed his ascension to Heaven. The disciples wrote inspired accounts of his life and witnessed throughout many lands, forming the early church.

The Bible, God's inspired words to mankind, tells us that Jesus is still interceding in Heaven to God for each one of us.

There are many, many, accounts throughout the Bible of encounters that people had with Jesus. Jesus showed love and compassion and understanding to everyone that He met. Today at Bridgeman Church we looked at the story of Zacchaeus, a tax collector, a many despised and ostracized, yet singled out for friendship by Jesus. The story is found in the Bible book of Luke, chapter 19. Jesus befriended the rich and poor, sick and disabled, learned scholars, outcasts, simple working folk, zealots, prostitutes, criminals, mentally ill, religious leaders, soldiers and so many others beside. In every story where Jesus meets someone, that person is always changed for the better.

Why not read some of the gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke or John (found in the New Testament of the Bible) and encounter Jesus today? He wants to have a personal relationship with you.

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