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Sunday, 14 August 2016

The power of the Blood.

This morning, in L'Église Évangélique Libre, in Bergerac, was another first - for me! Having already been the first native English speaker to preach in French, I spoke this morning at the monthly bi-lingual worship service - in BOTH English and French (i.e. I provided my own translation of the English into French!). The response, I am happy to be able to say, was very positive - with one native Frenchman even asking me, afterwards, if I would give him some French lessons!!! (he was joking, of course!).
I'm not going to provide the text of the message here (it should be online at http://eel-bergerac.fr/apercu.htm within a few days), but do want to share a story that I included in the message which, itself, was on the Power of the Blood of the Christ. For the benefit of the few who follow this blog, and who speak French - either as a first, or second, language - I will provide both versions!
The story is told of an old woman who lay dying.  Her pastor visited her.  “I am told,” he said, “that you are dying”.  “Yes”, she replied.  “And have you made your peace with God?” asked the pastor.  “No”, came the simple response.  “And aren’t you afraid to meet God without having made your peace with Him?” “Not at all”, was the answer that startled the pastor.  He grew more earnest.  “Dear woman,” he asked, “do you realise that you have but a short time to live, and that you must soon meet a holy God?”  “I do.”  “And you are not afraid?”  “Not at all.”  “And you haven’t made your peace with Him?”  “No.”  “Whatever are you thinking of?” cried out the pastor.  A smile passed over the features of the dying woman.  “I have not made my peace with God because I do not need to do so. Jesus made peace, almost 2,000 years ago, through His blood, shed on the Cross, and I am simply resting in the peace He made!”

On raconte l'histoire d'une femme agée mourante. Son pasteur lui rend visite. « On m'a dit, » dit-il, « que vous êtes mourante ». « Oui », répondit-elle. « Et avez-vous fait la paix avec Dieu? » demanda le pasteur. « Non », fut la simple réponse. «Et n'avez pas peur de rencontrer Dieu sans avoir fait la paix avec Lui? » «Pas du tout». Cette réponse fit tressaillir le pasteur. Il devint plus sérieux. « Chère madame, » demanda-t-il, « ne réalisez-vous pas que vous avez peu de temps à vivre, et que vous devez bientôt rencontrer le Dieu saint?» «Je le sais.» «Et vous n'avez pas peur?» «Pas du tout. » « Et vous n'avez pas fait la paix avec Lui? » « Non ! » « A quoi pensez-vous? » s écria le pasteur. Un sourire s’afficha sur les levres de la femme. « Je n'ai pas fait la paix avec Dieu parce que je n’ai pas besoin de la faire. Jésus a fait la paix, il y a près de 2000 ans, par Son sang, versé sur la Croix, et je peux tout simplement me reposer sur la paix qu'il a faite! »
The lesson from the story concerned the happiness of those who have learned to thus rest in the peace that the Christ has made - peace between sinful people like you and like me - through His own blood, shed at Calvary. As Paul write to the early believers in Ephesus, "In Him [Jesus] we have redemption through His blood" (1:7). Jesus has paid the debt that we owe, but that we could never repay. Because of His perfect sacrifice, the just demands of God's law have been fully met, and we may enter into communion with our Creator.
Have you entered into that peace? It is available to all - regardless of your social position; your educational achievements; your employment (or lack thereof!); your financial standing; the size of your home, or car, or wide-screen television set; or any other of the many criteria by which society tends to measure and judge us. All that we need to do - but it is a BIG "all" - is to confess to our sinfulness; accept that we are unable to do anything about it; receive the offer of salvation that is made to us; and turn away from the sins that weigh us down. Not something that we are capable of doing on our own, but that can be achieved as we open ourselves to the working of God the Holy Spirit - the "Breath of God" in the Hebrew language - and let Him have His way in our lives.
Are you resting in the peace that is offered in Christ Jesus? You may do so - and you will never regret it, either in this life, or in eternity.

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