Off the Cutting Room Floor

As I mentioned during my message, I had to leave some sermon material on the cutting room floor for time's sake. Basically, I would have liked to talk more about redemption as restoration. Here's what I cut from my manuscript:

Redemption always involves restoration.

The goal of redemption is to recover what’s been lost, to restore what’s been ruined, and to return what’s been taken captive.

The Survivor Tree was restored—it not only lived, it was replanted where it once stood, at the site of the Twin Towers. At one time it was buried under the concrete, steel and glass of the two towers that fell on it. It was lost and ruined and held down. And there it is today again. It was restored.

And that’s what Christ did. Look at what Paul says in Galatians.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:4-7)

Look what shaped his language and understanding.

22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, Israel is my firstborn son, 23 and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.” [Purposely ambiguous term meaning service or worship.] (Exodus 4:22-23a)

We are restored into a personal relationship with God. And the restoration of our relationship is only the beginning. We are restored for service and worship. We are being restored for doing good.

Titus 2:14 (NIV) – [Christ] gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.

When God gives the law to Israel he says that by keeping it they will show the world how good and wise God is.

See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?