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PLUM Pastoral Message

December 2023




ďOut of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself.  A pure gift.  He got us out of the mess weíre in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be.  And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.  God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin.Ē  Romans 3:24-25 (The Message)


The greatest gift youíve ever been given wasnít bought in a store.  No cash exchanged hands.  It wasnít even wrapped.  Yet it cost the Giver everything.


The Bible says God sent his Son to Earth to give you the greatest gift ever.  He came to Earth to dieóso that you could be made right with God.  Romans 3:24-25 says, ďOut of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself.  A pure gift.  He got us out of the mess weíre in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be.  And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. God sacrificed Jesus on the altar of the world to clear that world of sin.Ē (The Message)


So why did Jesus have to die?  Letís go back to the basics of peoplesí problem and Godís solution.


  • Nobodyís perfect.  Iíve never met a single person who has claimed to be perfect.  I donít measure up to my own expectations, much less Godís perfect standard.  Neither do you or anyone else.  Weíve all blown it.  The Bible says, ďAll of us have sinned and fallen short of Godís gloryĒ (Romans 3:23 CEV).

  • God is just.  God wants to be fair.  When somebody breaks a law, there must be a penalty for it.  When you break humanityís laws, you pay humanityís penalty.  When you break Godís laws, you pay Godís penalty.  The Bible says, ďThe wages of sin is deathĒ (Romans 6:23 NIV).

  • Jesus paid the price for our sin.  The Bible says, ďGod took the sinless Christ and poured into him our sins.  Then, in exchange, he poured Godís goodness into us!Ē (2 Corinthians 5:21 TLB).  Jesus took on my sin and your sin and all the sin that has ever been committed.  Thatís the Good News, the Gospel. Jesus paid the price we could never pay for ourselves.

  • You must decide whether to accept Godís free gift.  God gave you a free gift of salvation when Jesus took your sin upon himself.  But, itís a gift you must receive.  The Bible says, ďYet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of GodĒ (John 1:12 NIV).

Will you accept Godís gift of salvation?  Have you accepted Godís free gift yet?  Have you been baptized yet?  Itís one thing to understand the basics of how to have a relationship with Jesus.  Itís another to accept the gift.  Godís free gift Ė Jesus Christ, is the greatest gift to humanity.  He is our redemption and salvation.  As THE GREATEST to us, we are also given the privilege to share Christ with our families, friends, neighbors and strangers.  Will you share Christ with your family and friends this Christmas?  Will you give your family and friends Godís redemptive gift this Christmas?  Hereís the promise of this marvelous gift: ďBehold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!Ē (John 1:29 (ESV)


Redemption is when somebody pays for your sins so that you can be forgiven and walk away justified.  They do your time.  They pay your penalty.  All the things youíve done wrong are paid for by somebody else.  Thatís what God did for humanity in His gift given to us in Christ Jesus on Christmas day.  Jesus didnít just come to Earth at Christmas.  He also lived a perfect life so that his sacrifice was enough to satisfy Godís judgment.  All of our sins were paid for on the cross.  And that is the reason for this season!


Christmas comes with the best news everóand a choice: What are you going to do with Jesus this Christmas?


My challenge for all PLUM families this Christmas is for us to share Christ with our families and friends.  Pass on this GOOD NEWS of Godís redemption and salvation to the world.  Be the giver of the greatest gift and change lives forever.


Pastor Alexander Y. Sumo, on behalf of the PLUM Pastoral Team




Pittsburgh Lutheran United Ministries (PLUM), 405 Kennedy Avenue, Duquesne, PA 15110        412-466-7773