4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
Jesus Divided Time - BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini - In the Year of Our Lord)
Jesus divided time because He has had more effect on this world than anyone.
One Solitary Life
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn't go to college. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where He was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself.
He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against Him. His friends ran away. He was turned over to His enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.
While He was dying, His executioners gambled for His garments, the only property He had on earth. When He was dead, they laid Him in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend. Nineteen centuries [it's more now] have come and gone, and today He is the central figure of the human race.
All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that have ever sat, all the kings that have ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one solitary life.
Every ACLU lawsuit has a date acknowledging Jesus Christ. When an atheist tells the day of his birth, he must acknowledge Jesus Christ.
He Divided Lives (or, to be more accurate, He redeemed lives, vs. 5)
He took slaves and made them children of God.
We were slaves to sin - but now we are set free.
We were slaves to Satan - but now we are children of God.
We had absolutely no rights as slaves - but now we have full rights as children of God.
We were encumbered with a spirit of evil - but now we have the Spirit of God within us.
We had no one to turn to - but now we cry "Abba, Father."
We had no future but Hell - but now we have an inheritance with Jesus Christ in Heaven.
Do we want to be enslaved again?
8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God-- or rather are known by God-- how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again?
Christ can divide our new lives in Christ from our old lives in sin
Charles Wesley, the younger brother of John, who founded the Methodist church, was ordained into the Anglican clergy without being a Christian, as John was so ordained without being a Christian. Both of them went from England to Georgia to be missionaries without being Christians.
On the return trip, each of them encountered some Moravians. In the case of John Wesley, it was on the ship in a violent storm, during which Wesley (John) said to them, "How can you sing? You are going to die this hour," and they said, "If the ship goes down, we go up to be with the Lord."
When Wesley got back to England, Charles encountered another Moravian by the name of Peter Böhler. Charles was helping to teach this man English. Peter asked Charles a question: "What is your hope of being saved?" Charles Wesley answered that question, "Because I have used my best endeavors to serve God."
Peter just shook his head. Charles said he felt that Peter was very uncharitable in shaking his head, but later knew he could not have been more charitable or loving. He obtained a book that happened to be a commentary on Galatians by none other than Martin Luther. Charles Wesley began to read it - John Wesley had read Luther, as Felix Mendelssohn was to read Luther - and he was gloriously converted. He wrote his first of 6,500 hymns on the first day of his Christian life in 1738.
On the first anniversary of his conversion, in the year 1739, he composed a couple of little ditties. One was, "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing My Great Redeemer's Praise." What a glorious masterpiece of a worshipful hymn that is. And another little ditty about the Resurrection which has come to be, in most people's minds, the greatest hymn on the Resurrection of Christ that has ever been written: "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today. Hallelujah!" And the third little ditty was a hymn on Christmas entitled, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," or "Hark! How all the Welkin Rings." That has become one of the most beloved of all of the Christmas carols.
Then there was born in Germany the grandson of a Jewish philosopher, a man by the name of Felix Mendelssohn who was a great composer. His mother or grandmother (I don't quite remember which) discovered a manuscript of an oratorio written by an unknown composer. At least in that day he was an unknown composer, but today he is known as the greatest musician who ever lived. His name: Johann Sebastian Bach, and the composition was The Passion According to St. Matthew-a magnificent piece.
Mendelssohn determined he was going to present the oratorio in Berlin-orchestra, chorus, and all. In preparation for that, he began to study the life of Johann Sebastian Bach and found that this man was a committed Christian, and he liked what he read about him. He discovered that Bach had become a Christian through the writings of Martin Luther. He began to study those writings, and in the process, Mendelssohn was converted to Christ.
Mendelssohn wrote a song, on request, for the celebration of the anniversary of Gutenberg's printing press. He never dreamt it would be used for sacred words. In fact, he said he didn't think it could be used in that way, and with that conviction, he died. Fifty years later William Cummings discovered that the music fit beautifully with Wesley's poem, and he wed the two and gave us, a hundred and fifty years later, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," which has, without doubt, become one of the most beloved of all the Christmas carols, and rightly so.
Christ divides the Children of God from the slaves of sin.
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