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Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Peter Langbroek
I'm going to tell you 5 stories to explain a very important word in the Bible. I will begin every story with a word.

Jonah lay in the darkness of a fish's belly. God had put him there to teach him what he actually feared and hated to admit. He was a rebel who hated Nineveh and wished God would destroy every one of its people. But it was God who had sent him to cry out against the city. He, in the belly, remembered Jerusalem, its beautiful temple, the sacrifice of animals, the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat. ÒSalvation for Israel,Ó--how he wished for it! ÒSalvation for NinevehÓ--how he hated even the thought of it! Nevertheless, Jonah prayed to God in his helplessness. The last words of his prayer were, "Salvation is of the LORDÓ (Jonah 3: 9). That's exactly what Jonah had to learn. Read Jonah 3 and 4 to find out.

Moses had everything the world could offer. He was, after all, the prince of Egypt. He had power, honour, and riches at his fingertips. His early childhood was deeply buried in the past. Up to about 4 years old, his mother cared for him; after that, he lived in the splendour of Egypt. Yet, Moses did not cling to it; he remembered his Jewish heritage and pitied his people living under slavery. One day, his emotions exploded when he saw an Egyptian beat up on one of his people. What that led to you can read in Exodus 2: 11-24. No one will excuse Moses for what he did, but the story shows what Moses valued as true riches. The Bible says of him, "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the rewardÓ (Hebrews 11: 24-26).

The disciples saw the rich young man leave. He had such a gracious character and such a good name. But, when Jesus told him to sell everything he had and follow Him, he wouldn't do it. Then, they were amazed when Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of GodÓ (Matthew 19: 25). "Who then," the disciples exclaimed, "can be saved!" They needed to learn the same lesson as the rich young ruler. The rich young ruler wanted a Ògood thingÓ and buy himself into the kingdom of God. The disciples thought the sacrifices they made were a sure pass into the kingdom. And Jesus replied, "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible." Read Matthew 19: 16-30.

The apostle Paul knew what he'd go through, as he'd preach to the world the Good News of Jesus Christ. There, in the house of Judas, Paul lay, praying. He had become a blind man. He neither ate nor drank. This was only the beginning. For when God sent Ananias to visit him, God said to Ananias, "Go thy way; for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings, and the children of Israel: for I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake (Acts 9: 16). True enough, after God removed his blindness, Paul began to suffer for Christ's sake. Was he a miserable man? Absolutely not! He knew he belonged to his heavenly Saviour; he was Christ's. He declared: "Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12: 10). Read Philippians 3: 1-12, especially verse 9.

Jesus knew the price He would have to pay for the salvation of His people. He would need to suffer an agony we can hardly imagine. He knew that as he kneeled down to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane. He was heavy-hearted and very sorrowful. He begged His Father, "Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me; nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done (Luke 22: 42)." As Man, He endured excruciating physical pain on that Friday, which was more than most men could endure. But that wasn't all. Jesus, the Son of God, the Second person of the Trinity, would be forsaken by His Father. Jesus, on the cross, cried out, ÒMy God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me!" Only Jesus could pay the price of sin--and he paid it, to redeem His people from their sins.

Boys and girls, what I want you to do now is write the first letter of each of those five words that come before each story. Write them in the blanks:

_____ _____ _____ _____ _____.

Now, what word does it spell?

You're right! It spells grace. Jonah, Moses, the disciples (except Judas Iscariot), and Paul, all learned what that word meant. When we celebrate Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, we can sum it up in that one word: GRACE. In faith remember what it means: God's riches at Christ's expense:

1. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

2. By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

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