VBS… Wow! It’s a week like no other in the year. We pack in Bible verse, prayers, stories from scripture that come alive in the telling, great snacks and games, and just good fun make up what for many might just be the best week of the year.
And, of course, there is the pool party.
And then there is the Sunday after Bible school. I am thankful that the VBS leaders could wake up this morning. There is tired and there is VBS tired. Some are already taking kids to camp. Things really happen around here.
I am also thankful that there are some here this morning that are usually not in attendance. I know that most of you came to see your kids, but I want to let you know something. God is love and God loves you.
If you have read very little of the Bible, I am going to give you some insight into things that you probably already suspected.
First, all of this—creation—is no accident. The Apostle Paul told his readers to look at the evidence of creation itself and know that there is a Creator. We know this to be true. We know one true God and we know him best by his Son, whom today we call Jesus.
We know that God created us as the best part of everything. He even made us in his own likeness, in his own image.
On top of that, he let us make our own choices. That part didn’t seem to work out too well for us much of the time for we often made bad choices. Not all the time, sometimes we made very bad choices—terrible choices. This is what we need to understand. God loved us then and loves us now and will love us tomorrow and love us forever.
That does not mean that there are no consequences for our bad choices. It means that God will never stop loving us.
A lot of people think, that If I am as good as the next person, I can go to heaven. They may think that, but it is not in God’s word. That’s not what he told us and as he is God, it might be good to know what he told us. He is, after all, the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
God knows that we can never be perfect without him. He allows us to try. And even though we know inside that we can’t be right with God all on our own, we still try to live the way we want and hope—no wish—that everything works out for the best.
Anybody here ever been short on money and when it came to your bills you just wished for the best. You knew that you should make a budget and stick to it, but you just wished for the best. If you are not careful, the water and electric get cut off while you wish for the best.
A lot of people look at life the same way. I’ll just hope for the best. If there is a heaven, surely they will let me in. If there is a hell, oh well, I should have lots of friends there. We will take over the place.
Let me tell you this morning that there is a heaven and there is a hell and God desires that no one go to hell. He desires that all come to know him and the abundant life that he has in store for us now and forever. That is the desire of God’s heart.
But he lets us make our own decisions. Except for one. God decided that he would make us right with him. He would do the one thing that we could never do on our own. He shed his own blood to take away our sin.
I’m not going to cover how God’s people used to make sacrifices for their sins. They did. They were temporary and they could not truly make us right with God.
But God did. By the blood of Jesus—a divine sacrifice—we are in good standing with God. Jesus paid it all. We are saved. We are reconciled to God. We are ransomed. We are rescued. We are his!
And we should live the rest of our lives in grateful response to God. We should live exactly as we were made to live—as holy and righteous people.
But we don’t. We still fall short, but we never fall out of God’s grace. Grace is undeserved forgiveness. It’s unmerited forgiveness from God.
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Humankind was not getting better. We were anchored to our sin; yet, God himself made the sacrifice for us so that we could live forever enjoying the God who made us.
But we still fall short, and so we come to the memory verse for this year’s VBS.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Life still has struggles, and trials, and things that come out of left field that we make a mess of, and yet, God loves us. We do not lose our right-standing with him.
We cannot undo what Jesus has done! We can live being ungrateful for what he has done, but the blood of Jesus is more powerful than your worst sin. Jesus paid it all! He set us free from sin and we will know eternal life with our loving God.
But we still mess stuff up again and again. So, what are we to do?
Confess! Confess to God what you have done. Let him know that you know you missed the mark. He already knows. This lifts the burden from you.
God wants you to get back to living a full life. He tells us to give him these burdens that we try to carry on our own. He has paid the price for our sin and he wants us to live to the full. He wants us to live an abundant life.
If you know Jesus as Lord and have sinned, confess. It is just that simple.
The promise—the assurance—that we have is that he will forgive us. He will forgive us. There is no deliberation over the matter. He will forgive us.
Now that’s cool beans. God’s love is so great that he forgives us time and time again. Once you have professed Jesus as Lord, you need not worry about any sin that you commit. God has given us his assurance of pardon.
That doesn’t mean that we run amuck. It means that we do our best to please our Heavenly Father, but when we falter, we confess and get back to doing the best we can.
His forgiveness is promised to us. His pardon is assured.
If you do not live with this assurance because you have not yet received the gift of life abundant and life eternal through Jesus Christ, do not hesitate to make that decision today.
You will still have trials and temptations and problems, but you will be forgiven and will be in good standing with God.
Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved!
Do not hesitate to know the forgiveness of God, the peace of the Lord, and his assurance of pardon.