Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Joy to the World

Leslie Basham: Here is Nancy Leigh DeMoss with one reason God has given us so much.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We've been blessed so that we can be a blessing. We're supposed to be channels of God's blessing into the lives of those who are still under the curse.

We become Christ here on earth, in a sense, living out that blessing, extending that blessing, through us to others.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Friday, December 19.

This is the time of year when we give gifts. It's a great tradition because it reminds us of an important spiritual principle. God has given us so much that we glorify Him by sharing with others. Here's Nancy continuing in a series called, "Jesus, Our Source of Blessing."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Well, we've been telling the story of redemption. Genesis 1 and 2, God blessed His creation. Genesis 3, his creatures broke their covenant with God and God had to put the whole earth under a curse, the curse of God, the righteous judgment of God.

And all through the Old Covenant we read, "Here's the law of God. If you obey it, you'll be blessed. But if you disobey it, you'll be cursed." And the people of Israel who said "Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, we will obey God."

They couldn't obey God. They didn't obey God. They fell short of God's law as we all do. And so we read, "Cursed is everyone who does not keep every word of this law."

And then we come to the New Covenant and we've learned that God sent Jesus to bless us. I'm telling you, I've been living in this concept for weeks now and I can't get over it--that God would have sent His Son to take on human flesh so that He could bless us.

Why would God care? We're covenant breakers. We're treacherous. We're adulterous. Why didn't He just go about His own business and enjoy eternity with Himself and His Son and the Holy Spirit for the rest of eternity and leave us under the curse? I don't know. It's God. Grace. It's mercy. It's incredible.

God sent His Son to bless us, by turning everyone of us from our wicked ways (Acts 3:26). Jesus' very last recorded act here on earth was what? It was a blessing.

You read it in Luke, chapter 24, verse 50. "He led His disciples out as far as Bethany, and lifting up His hands He blessed them." That's God on earth, Immanuel, God with us, blessing us--blessing His disciples, His followers--because now the curse has been broken.

When Jesus went to the cross, He took the curse on Himself. He became a curse for us and now He leaves His disciples and He leaves them with a blessing.

And verse 51 tells us "while He blessed them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven. That's how Jesus ascended into heaven, blessing us. But it didn't end there.

Ephesians, chapter 1, verse 3, says "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ."

You know what He's doing today, sitting in heaven? He's still blessing us. And I picture Him with extended hands, putting a blessing on those who've been restored through His cross to fellowship with Himself.

He's blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing and it's all in Christ. We are so, so blessed. Do you know, as you go through the New Testament, do you realize there is never any evidence that a child of God can ever be cursed. That's incredible news. That's a blessing.

Now, we do still live in a fallen world that bears the effects of the curse, but we have been redeemed from the curse of the law. And our bodies are one day going to be redeemed out of this cursed earth and so will this earth be redeemed from its bondage to the curse. So we've been blessed.

But you know what? That's not the end of the story. We've been blessed so that we can be a blessing, so we can bless others. We're supposed to be channels of God's blessing into the lives of those who are still under the curse.

We become Christ here on earth, in a sense, living out, Christ living in us, living out that blessing, extending that blessing through us to others.

And you see this theme all the way through the Scripture. Genesis, chapter 12, God said to Abraham, "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing."

That gives us a sense of purpose for these years we live down here on this cursed planet. We're supposed to be extending the blessing of God on this planet.

In the New Testament there are two different Greek words that are translated "to bless." One of those words is the word from which we get our word "eulogy." It means "to speak well of, to praise, to endue someone else with power, with success, with prosperity, with longevity." God speaks blessing into the lives of others through us.

Now, throughout the Scripture, that kind of blessing is often pronounced on children or on subordinates by the head of the household or by someone in authority.

And yet it's recognized that ultimately the blessing is coming from God; that it's coming through that parent or through that Old Testament priest or through that New Testament shepherd-pastor; that it is coming through people to others from the heart of God.

When people express a blessing from one person to another, they're really offering a wish or a prayer for a blessing that's to come in the future. They're wishing you a sense of wellbeing.

And you see this all through the Old Testament with fathers, before they die, giving their blessing to their children. And they say, "This is what I believe God is going to do in your future. They're expressing faith and saying, "I want to see God bless you long after I'm gone. I want to see God's blessing be on your life.

The Bible begins with a blessing as we've seen. And then we've seen how things got all messed up and the entrance of the curse because of man's being a covenant breaker.

We've seen the reintroduction of the blessing. Now we can come under God's blessing because Christ became a curse for us.

But as you read through the New Testament, you see that not only are we to become "blessers" to bless others in the name of Christ, but we see that God is still completing the story that He wrote in eternity past. And it's a story that not only began with a blessing, but it's a story that ends with a blessing.

You come to the last book of the Bible--Revelation, chapter 1. "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near."

What's He saying? "Blessed are those who keep the covenant." Now, in the Old Testament they were told "You'll be blessed if you keep the covenant, but they couldn't keep the covenant because they didn't have Jesus.

Now because Christ has come and because Christ lives in us and because He's overcome the power of the curse, we can keep God's covenant. We have the Holy Spirit of Christ who lives within us and gives us the desire and the power and the grace to be covenant keepers. And so God says, "Blessed are you when you keep the words of this covenant.

And then the last chapter of the Bible--Revelation, chapter 22, verse 14--"Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the Tree of Life and that they may enter the city by the gates."

Now, if you just took this verse without knowing the whole story, you would think that you could get yourself to heaven--I'll clean myself up so I can get into heaven.

But if you've read it in the context of the whole story, you realize, There are stains on my robes that I can't get off. I can't get rid of one sin in my life, not to speak of all the thousands of times that I've broken His law. But Christ came; He shed His blood.

The Old Testament prophets say "His robes are dipped in blood." His shed blood means that we can have clean robes, that our robes, our spiritual clothing can be clean, pure and that we can have an entrance into God's presence where we will live with Him in that blessed place for all of eternity.

And then I love this concept that we come to in the final chapter of the Bible. Remember, we started with a blessing. There was cursing; then Jesus came to bring blessing. And then we come to Revelation, chapter 22, and we're told that one day when we're in His presence, there will be no more curse.

Did you ever stop and think about that? Romans 8 tells us that the whole world right now is writhing under the consequences of the curse, even geography and geology and the planet itself is shaken up by the curse--that's why we have earthquakes and storms and our relationships are shaken up by the effects of the curse.

But the Scripture says that the day is coming when our bodies will be redeemed and this planet will be redeemed. And there will be a new heaven and a new earth. God is making all things new. And He's bringing us to the place where there will be, for those who are covenant keepers by His grace, no more curse.

Now, those who've never come to faith in Christ will live eternally under the righteous curse and judgment of God. But for those of us who've placed our faith in Christ our Savior, our curse breaker, there will be no more curse.

Isaac Watts wrote a piece of verse that we sing often at Christmas. And he says the same thing in just a little different way.

Joy to the world! the Lord is come!
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
far as the curse is found.

And the "glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea" (Habakkuk 2:14 paraphrased). He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found.

Leslie Basham: Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be right back to pray with us. If your holiday season so far has seemed to revolve around fighting crowds and rushing around, I hope that Nancy's teaching has reminded you why we celebrate.

Maybe you know someone who could use the perspective we've heard about today. And getting them a copy of today's program is one way you can share God's blessing with others.

When you order on cassette or CD, you'll get this week's entire series called "Jesus, Our Source of Blessing." It includes some of Nancy's teaching that we didn't have time to air on the radio.

For more information, you can visit our Web site, ReviveOurHearts.com or call toll-free 1‑800‑569‑5959.  Our favorite way to hear from you is an old-fashioned letter.

Why don't you write and tell us about one insight you've gained during this week's series. When you contact us, be sure to ask for your free 2004 Revive Our Hearts wall calendar. It's our gift to you, one per household, as we get ready to enter a new year.

On Monday, Nancy will unpack the meaning of a familiar Christmas carol. Hear the phrase, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" in a new way. Now again, here's Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We rejoice, Lord, that You have come. And that, at Your cross, the power of the curse was broken. Thank You that He makes His blessings flow far as the curse is found. We rejoice in Christ our Savior. Amen.

Leslie Basham:

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministry.

 

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