Posts Tagged ‘grace’

Take Heed

June 28, 2017

When I was a young Christian in my teens and twenties, there were a series of prominent Christians who fell into sin and lost their ministries.  I suppose this sort of thing has happened throughout history, but now it gets way more publicity.  This has a very destructive impact on the proclamation of the gospel.

I.  Striving:  I Corinthians 9:24-27

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

A.  Discipline

We are born again, but we are still walking around in our old bodies.  The flesh leads us in one direction, the spirit leads us in another.  We should discipline ourselves to follow the guidance of the spirit, not the flesh.

B.  Disqualified

Thankfully, we are saved by grace through faith.  (Ephesians 2:8-10)  However, faith without works is a dead faith.  (James 2:17)  Can a dead faith save us?  How deeply can we remained trapped in sin and still be saved?  I don’t think that is the question that we are to try to live out.  Rather, we should ask how much sin can we leave behind while still on this earth?  It is not a matter of earning our salvation, but living out our salvation.

II.  Not Pleased:  I Corinthians 10:1-5

 Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.

The Hebrews who followed Moses out of Egypt shared many marvelous experiences of God working in their midst.  Yet, God was not pleased with most of them and they died in the wilderness.

The opportunity was there for them to walk with God, but instead they rebelled.

People who are in the church today should be careful that they are not simply going through the motions of a relationship with God.  To say that Jesus is Lord, but then do whatever you want, is and example of faith without works.  Empty words mean nothing.  Our lives should be changed because of the presence of God in our hearts and lives.

III.  Turn Away:  I Corinthians 10:6-10

Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; 10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.

The story of the Hebrews is written for our education.  What can we learn?

The “lusting after evil things” was not just things that were purely evil.  They longed for meat, cucumbers, onions and a variety of other foods.  They were not happy with what God had provided and they wanted something else.  We should learn the secret of being content with the things that God blesses us with and recognize that our true joy comes from God.

Idolatry in the form of worshiping an idol may not present a problem to you, but what about putting something else ahead of God in your life?  Perhaps the pursuit of a career, a spouse, some form of fame or achievement will become more important to us than serving God.

God should be first in our lives.  (Matthew 6:33)

Sexual immorality is widespread in our American culture.  God intended for sex to be an experience shared between husband and wife.  Period.  Anything else is immoral in the sight of God.

Even growing discouraged and complaining can be considered a sin.  We need the help of God, and sometimes the support of friends and family, to remain steadfast, to not grow weary while doing good, knowing that we shall reap in due season, if we do not give up.  (Galatians 6:9)

IV.  God is Faithful:  I Corinthians 10:11-13

Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

No matter how long we have been serving God, we should be careful.  Our enemy seeks for the opportunity to destroy us and our witness if possible.  Be on your guard.  Take heed.  God will help us to avoid the snares of the enemy.

Our lives are changed because of Christ.  We are not who we were, but we are not yet all that we will become.  God is completing the work in us that He began.  (Philippians 1:6)

May we be more like Him.

 

These are the sermon notes from 6/17/17.  All quotations are from the New King James Version of the Bible.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

A Full Life

November 2, 2016

This past week I was reading the second epistle of John and I was struck by the third verse.

II John v3

 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

I.  Grace

Grace may be defined as receiving good things from God that we do not deserve, that we have not earned.  They are a gift.  I am reminded of Ephesians 2:8 which tells us that “By grace you are saved…”  God has reached out to us.  If we were left to ourselves, we would be lost in our sins.

I am also reminded of II Corinthians 12:9.

 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

God’s grace is sufficient for us.  Whatever situation we face, whatever need we might have, God’s grace is sufficient for us.  God will give us what we need to do what He has called us to do.

II.  Mercy

Mercy may be defined as not receiving the punishment that we do deserve.  There are many verses on the mercy of God.  We recognize that we have all sinned and that the wages of sin is death.  However, God is merciful.

Psalms 103:8-14

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
10 He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor punished us according to our iniquities.

11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him;
12 As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father pities his children,
So the Lord pities those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame;
He remembers that we are dust.

On our part, we too, are to be merciful to others.  To not repay evil for evil.  To forgive those who have wronged us.  Even as we have received mercy, we should grant mercy.

III.  Peace

God offers to us a peace that is not dependent on the absence of external conflict.  The peace of God comes from the knowledge that God loves us, cares about us and is able to help us in our times of need.

John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid

IV.  Truth

John 8:31-32

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

I am reminded of when Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?”  I am also reminded of John 14:6 “ Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

If we are seeking truth, and if we are open to it, we  will eventually find God.  Ultimate Truth is found in God.

V.  Love

I John 4:7-11

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

As believers we can expect to have lives that are filled with the love of God.  Love that comes from God, and love that is expressed through the people of God.  Of course we are also expected to love God and others in return.

So in this one verse we are reminded that as Christians we should have lives that are filled with grace, mercy, peace, truth and love.  That makes for a full life indeed!

These are the notes from the sermon preached 10/30/16.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

The Reality of Judgement

October 12, 2015

Some people think that because God is love, that no one will go to hell.  There is a very real day of judgement that is coming one day.

I.  The Great White Throne:  Revelation 20:11-15

 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

Some people deny the reality of an eternal hell.  These verses clearly present the fate of those who are not found written in the Book of Life.  They will be judged by their works.

How shall we be saved?

II.  Believe on the Lord:  Acts 16:30-31

And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

This question is asked by the jailer. The response emphasizes the important role of belief in Jesus.  It is the simple truth.

III.  The Right Order:  Ephesians 2:8-10

 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

The order here is very important.  Grace is first.  If God did not reach out to us, we would forever remain in out sins.  Through faith.  We are not saved by our works, but by our faith.  We could not have faith without the grace of God.  For works.  If we are saved, our life will produce the fruit of righteousness.

IV.  A Dead Faith:  James 2:17

Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

We are not saved by works, but by faith.  A living faith will produce works.  If the Spirit of Christ is dwelling in our hearts, how could we not be changed?

V.  I Never Knew You:  Matthew 7:21-23

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

These verses have always concerned me a little.  Simply giving lip-service to Jesus is not enough.  Our faith should be lived out in our lives.  This does not mean that we are saved by works, but rather, if we are saved, our works will change.  Here again, the reality of judgement is emphasized.  Not everyone will enter the kingdom of heaven.

VI.  Good and Evil:  Amos 5:14-15

Seek good and not evil,
That you may live;
So the Lord God of hosts will be with you,
As you have spoken.
15 Hate evil, love good;
Establish justice in the gate.
It may be that the Lord God of hosts
Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

The basic format for works is simply stated.  “Seek good and not evil”.  God will help us to understand what is pleasing in His sight.

VII.  The Love of God: I John 5:3

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

We should simply focus on developing our love for God, and for others.  The laws of God grow out of love.

VIII.  No Condemnation:  Romans 8:1-2

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.

All of this talk of judgement can create fear.  As Christians we do not have to be afraid.  God loves us.  We love God.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. “( I John 4:18)

 

Judgement is real.  Not everyone goes to heaven.  We are saved by grace, through faith, for good works.  The order is important for us to understand.  We do not change to be saved.  We are changed because we are saved.

These are the sermon notes from 9/27/15.  Any advertisements that might appear are placed by WordPress.  I have no control over them, nor do I receive any money from them. 

 

 

 

The Grace of God

February 7, 2012

Yesterday was a long day.  The specific details are not important.  What is important is that I am again reminded that the grace of God is sufficient.  Whatever circumstances we are facing, whatever is going on in our lives, the grace of God is sufficient for us.  This is true for all believers.  God does not abandon us.  His grace truly is sufficient for us, for this day, whatever the day may bring our way.