For those who grew up with Vacation Bible School (VBS), the words bring back many memories. Some remember that it is usually hot. Some remember crafts, games, and Bible stories. I remember Kool-Aid and cookies. But most importantly, I remember gathering together with my friends and family to learn about Jesus. Today, VBS begins. It will be hot, there will be crafts, games, music, cookies, food, and most likely Kool-Aid. But, most importantly there will be friends and family teaching children about Jesus and modeling His love for them. Our VBS verses are: “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Col 1:15-16).
- The Relationship Began (Genesis 1:1-2, 26-31; John 1:1,14). Who are we and why are we here? Are we just highly intelligent mammals of no more importance than a whale or a chimpanzee? Are we just “lucky accidents” of the evolutionary game of chance? Or are we highly valued beings created and designed by a loving God? It is very important that we have a Biblical world-view. The Bible says that we are not accidents, but made intentionally. We are not merely another animal, but the most valuable creatures in all of creation. Our relationship begins with our creation. God created all things and He who created everything wants a relationship with us. Let this truth propel us to worship our Creator and to seek a personal relationship with His Son Jesus Christ.
- The Relationship Broken (Genesis 3). In Genesis 1 and 2, God made man and gave him a beautiful home, job, and wife. Everything seemed so perfect, what could possibly go wrong? A crafty serpent (Satan in disguise: Rev. 20:2) came into the garden intending to turn the man and woman against God. Sadly, it worked. Eve desired the forbidden fruit and gave some to Adam who ate. Adam and Eve rebelled against God and were cast out of the garden and God’s presence. The relationship was broken because of sin. Sin messed everything up. It got so bad during Noah’s day that God brought a great flood and destroyed all life that was not safe on the ark.
- The Restoration Promised (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-24; Luke 2:22-38). With sin in the world and death as a result of sin (Rom 5:12), it is obvious that man cannot restore the relationship with God alone. Man needs God to restore the relationship. 700 years before the birth of Jesus, the prophet Isaiah wrote: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Is. 7:14). This prophesy was fulfilled when Jesus was born to a virgin named Mary. The angel Gabriel was sent by God to tell her: “you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (Luke 1:31). Mary’s fiancé Joseph was understandably troubled by the news that she, a virgin, would have a child. Therefore, God sent an angel to calm him by saying that Mary “will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mat 1:21). While the virgin birth may seem mysterious, it is a marvelous truth that reveals to us that Jesus is God with us (Immanuel) who will save us from our sin. God sent His Son Jesus, as promised, to be the Savior of the world.
- The Relationship Restored (Mark 15:22-16:7). God has demonstrated His love to us through Jesus Christ. Jesus has shown great love through being the propitiation for our sins. We may not be familiar with the word propitiation; it means to “appease one’s anger or wrath”. This is important because Romans 1:18 tells us that “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Propitiation is important because God’s anger must be appeased. Why is God so angry? Because He is repulsed by sin and hates it. The Prophet Habakkuk wrote that God is “of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong” (Hab 1:13). God’s wrath is revealed against evil and there are only two ways for God’s anger to be appeased: your death or Christ’s death in your place. Jesus was sent to appease the wrath of God against sin: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21). When we are saved, we are changed. Jesus gave His life to be our Savior and restore our relationship with God.
- The Relationship Continues (John 21:1-19; Acts 1:4, 8). Through Jesus Christ, mankind is saved from their sin and their relationship with God is restored. Once restored, God works to maintain our relationship. Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6). This means that God works to preserve His children. He never casts them off. Even though we sin, God still loves us and will never leave us. This does not mean that we sin flippantly. On the contrary, one of the primary evidences that God’s Spirit is preserving you is a hatred of sin and a desire for obedience. The Holy Spirit is given to all Christians and works in us to continue the relationship.
Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? If not, admit that you are a sinner and repent. Believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Confess your faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. There is no greater relationship you can have. Pray for VBS. Pray for the children who will come. Eat cookies and drink Kool-Aid with them. May God be glorified this week.