HANDS – EASTER SERVICE AT THE SHALOM CENTRE

Posted: March 25, 2016 in Easter
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These are the hands of Alf Bourne, a 97 year old volunteer Chaplain. Photo by Ross Cochrane using Paint.net

HANDS

The Bible is our HANDBOOK for Salvation

I got to thinking about the Bible being a HAND book. And it struck me that there are a lot of hands that are in its pages.

What are the hands of the handbook of the bible that speak about Easter.

  1. HANDS OF GRACE

The hands of Grace are the hands of God handing us His gift. The Bible says that God hands us the gift of heaven on a platter. We don’t have to work for it with our hands, earn it and we don’t deserve it. It’s given to us by grace as a gift from His hand. “The gift of God is eternal life”

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NLT) says “Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done” by our hands, “so none of us can boast about it.” 

Eternal life is God’s handiwork, handmade for us, and we are handpicked to receive it.

But there’s a problem taking this gift in hand.

What’s the problem?

The problem is to do with the hands of man

  1. THE HANDS OF MAN

The trouble is that God’s hands are pure, sinless hands.

But the hands of people in the world are sinful hands.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

God sought to give the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, a guiding hand

But when Adam and Eve sinned, things got out of hand. They took the law into our own hands rather than live as God intended.

God’s hands are too pure to put up with our sin.

We became enemies of God, and those with sinful hands cannot go to heaven because the “wages of sin is death.”

How could God hand us His love when we turned our hands against Him.

What could be done?

Did God throw up his hands because the situation seemed hopeless? No.

Did He force his hand upon us and make us comply with His will? No.

He had a plan. He wrote it in his handbook and written in His own hand, He tells us about …

  1. THE HANDS OF GOD
  • On one hand – God hates sin and must condemn those who sin.
  • On the other hand – God loves you and me and wants to save us from the hands of the evil one, from condemnation, from going to hell, from a life that is less than He intended.

Make no mistake, God acts with a heavy hand towards our sin. Because of the sin on our hands, it looked like the entire human race was destined to go to hell.

You see, we forced God’s hand and compelled Him to judge our sin. But fortunately, God knew how to handle the problem of sin.

That’s where Jesus’ hands come into the story.

Let’s look at what the handbook says about…

  1. THE HANDS OF JESUS.

Jesus also wanted to have a hand in the human race.

The hands of Jesus that created the world became the tiny hands formed in Mary’s womb. He became a human being and lived among us.

He wants to have a hand in your life and my life today because Jesus is a hands-on kind of person

The rough, calloused craftsman’s hands of a village carpenter, working hands that gripped lumber with bare-handed fingers, removed splinters, shaped timber and sanded the rough edges are the hands that want to shape and craft our lives today.

Those strong, calloused but gentle hands that could restore sight to the blind with a touch, bring life to the dead, heal deformed hands, and lift those who were lame up from the dust are the same hands that want to heal the wounded places in our lives.

The same compassionate, helping hands that took five loaves and two fish and fed the five thousand; the same servant hands that washed His disciple’s feet; the same loving hands that prayed for little children and blessed them want to touch and change your life forever today.

But what has all this got to do with God’s problem at hand? If we are still condemned by God, how did Jesus’ hands change things?

Well, here’s what happened.

Jesus had the same clean, sinless, pure hands of God

The handbook of the bible says in 1 John 3:5 (NLT) “there is no sin in Him.”

Judas had the blood of Jesus on his hands, but even Judas said, “I have betrayed Innocent blood.”

Pilot declared “I find no fault in Him”

Why is this important?

Only clean, sinless hands can do what Jesus did for us.

Here’s what He did.

It was the time of the Passover and Jesus hands took up bread and wine and told His followers that it was a perpetual picture of His coming sacrifice. On Good Friday, many celebrate communion and remember His words, “Do this in remembrance of Me”.

Why did He say that?

Because He knew that His hands were hands that would be betrayed, abandoned, lashed and bound.

The Handbook says The Son of Man was betrayed into the hands of sinful men. 

Jesus was handed over to the religious leaders and then they handed Him up to be judged by Pilate.

Pilate sought to take his hands-off and to distance himself from judging Jesus.

But the crowds forced his hand and cried out “Crucify Him”.

He didn’t want to have Jesus blood on his hands so he tried to wash his hands of it.

But they took Jesus away to be crucified and the hands of Jesus carried His own Cross.

When the Romans crucified Jesus, they drove nails into His hands. He died for us and paid the price for our sin.

Jesus knew firsthand what it was like to suffer and die. In Luke 23:46 (NLT) it says that on the Cross, “Jesus shouted, “Father, I entrust My spirit into Your hands!” And with those words He breathed His last.” 

They were crucified hands.

The sinners price was borne by those hands in full. “The wages of sin were paid.”

On that day, we handed over our sin and He handed over His forgiveness and we are made right with God. He bore our sin and paid the price of death which leaves our hands free to receive God’s gift of heaven.

He won the victory over sin and death hands down.

But all that will mean nothing to you and me without

  1. THE HANDS OF FAITH

The hands of faith are our hands reaching out to Jesus

Jesus is always on hand to hear our prayer of faith.

That’s what happened with Thomas.

Ten days after the resurrection, Jesus said to Thomas: John 20:27-29 (NLT) “Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Put your hand into the wound in My side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!” “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed. Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen Me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing Me.” 

Jesus wants all hands on board 2 Peter 3:9 (NLT) says that God “… is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent”.

Faith is not a hand-me-down commodity from Christian parents. Every person must make their own choice. It can’t be second hand.

Faith is our choice. We have a free hand. God won’t force your hand.

Faith is getting our hands off the controls of our life and putting our lives in His hands. He will take you by the hand and lead and nurture you in your faith.

In fact, you can do this today if you want to.

The bible says today is the day of salvation. Now is the time. The time is at hand. The hand of the clock is moving. We can’t hold back time.

The question is, will you take hold of His hand today.

Faith is shaking hands with God and getting right with Him.

Faith is putting our hands up and surrendering our lives to Christ.

Faith is raising your hand and saying, Here I am Lord, take me in Your loving hands.

For those who believe in Him, in John 10:28-29 (NLT) He says, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. My Father has given them to Me, and He is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from THE FATHER’S HAND.”

When we are in the hands of God anything is possible.

THE HANDS OF JESUS

Fingers that flung worlds and stars in space

Became the tiny fingers formed in Mary’s womb,

Then craftsman’s hands, all calloused, shaping wood and stone,

Hands to feed five thousand, and defy the storm,

Hands that seek God’s will to make our hearts His throne.

Hands betrayed, abandoned, lashed and bound,

Forsaken hands, abused and battered, have borne

The sinners price in full. Yes, He alone

Reached out His hands to us, and we are found

And known

So today, as we pray, could you just open your hands in front of you and open your heart to Him.

Dear Lord Jesus,

I know that I am a sinner.

I have sinful hands, and I ask for Your forgiveness.

I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead.

I turn from my sins

and hand over my life to You

I invite You to come into my heart and life.

Take my hand.

I want to trust and follow You

as my Lord and Saviour.

I accept the gift of eternal life

That you hand me

In Your Name.

If you prayed that prayer and meant it, then Jesus will give You a hand in living life to the full, as God intended. Amen.

 

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