A Party in Your Honor
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Somehow we managed to surprise each of the three Hutchcraft kids when it came time for their 16th birthday party. Now our daughter's was a Teddy Bear picnic party. (You should have seen all those high school students coming with their teddy bears - even the guys! They really did!) And then the boy's themes were - well, there was the '50s theme, and then there was the Wild West party for another son. Actually, we have always tried to make something special out of the kids' birthdays. After all, your birthday is the only day of the year that's uniquely your celebration. It's always a great feeling to have a party in your honor.
Now this may come as a surprise to you, but someone would love to have a party in your honor - the angels in heaven. Honest.
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from the words of Jesus in Luke 15 beginning with verse 3, "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says: 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."
Rejoicing in heaven when one person comes home spiritually; that's a great picture isn't it? It seems that the angels break into a celebration - a welcome home party - when someone turns from their sin to Jesus. Some of us stumble over that word "sinner"; we don't like to think that applies to us. That's somebody else, right? But the Bible says clearly, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Every one of us has missed the way that we were created to live.
We were supposed to live centered around the One who gave us our life. Instead we've lived with ourselves in the center, and sin is deadly. The Bible says it literally carries an eternal death penalty.
But Jesus is that loving Shepherd who came after us lost sheep. And "lost" may be a good word to describe how you feel - confused about why you're here, wondering why there's a deep loneliness that never really goes away, wondering where peace and fulfillment are really found. All that is because you're away from the One who made you - the One who loves you most. But Jesus came after you. He went all the way to a cross where He died to pay the sin-penalty that you could only pay with an eternity in hell.
So on the day that you finally put your trust in Jesus to be your own Savior, the angels begin the party in your honor. Why? Because they know how much it cost to rescue you. They saw the Son of God return to heaven with something He didn't have when He left for earth - nail prints in His hands and feet and a spear wound in His side. They also know what's at stake in your decision about Jesus. They know this is life-or-death; this is heaven or hell.
Maybe with all you know about Jesus, with all your religion, you've never actually been born into God's family. And you've never told Jesus that you're turning from running your own life and totally trusting Him to forgive your sin and get you to heaven. I hope you will not risk another day without Jesus.
If you want to get this settled once and for all, and you want to begin your relationship with Jesus Christ today, would you tell Him right now, "Jesus, I believe that I have run my own life, and I know that's wrong. And I believe You paid the penalty for it when You died on the cross. I believe You didn't stay dead, but You walked out of your grave. And Jesus, I turn from running my own life to grab You with both hands as my rescuer from my sin. Beginning today, Jesus, I am Yours."
We'd love to help you be sure you belong to Jesus Christ. In fact, that's why our website is there, and I want to invite you to go visit there as soon as you can today. It's YoursForLife.net, or you can call for the little booklet Yours for Life. Just call toll free at 877-741-1200.
This could be the day they've been waiting for in heaven for a long time - the day they have a party in your honor because you have finally come home.
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