Tag Archives: Grace

Dare to Believe and Share the Gospel

If you discovered the cure for cancer… would you share it?  Of course you would.  Are you a believer in Jesus Christ?  Do you believe the gospel of the Bible and have faith in Jesus?  If so, do you realize you have something infinitely more precious than a cure for cancer to share.  You have something of eternal consequence, of eternal power.  What you know can change people’s lives forever.  You have no power over them directly, but you do know the truth; in order to have your sins wiped out, and in order to be raised from the dead and take your place in Heaven, you need Jesus.  You need His sacrifice, His grace, His blood.

You, my dear brother or sister (in other words my fellow believers), have been given much.  I don’t care about how popular you are or how rich or how poor you are, what you own or what you eat.  The fact is you have been given much.  And, to whom much is given, much is expected.  Embrace the fact that you are watched; unbelievers are watching you.  How do you act?  How you act does not save you, this we know, but how you act shows a bit of Jesus to the world.  Don’t use His name in vain… that’s not about cursing, it is about calling yourself a believer, and then acting like the world while others watch you.

This is not about beating people about the head with a Bible; is there anything more off-putting?  What I’m talking about is a quiet faith that is shown in what we do, what we don’t do, what we say, what we don’t say… how do we control our anger, do we love our family in Christ, do we love God and love our neighbors as ourselves?  Notice that; love your neighbor as you love yourself.  Many Christians act as though you have to hate yourself, no, that’s not the answer to pride.  The answer to pride is to love God first and foremost.  A believer’s right pride comes from Jesus and what He has to offer.

Sharing your faith should be a lot like breathing, breathing is not flashy or showy, it’s natural.  The Bible is clear; a proof of God and His Son hinges on us loving each other and treating our brothers and sisters AS brothers and sisters.  Care about one another.  Pray for one another.  Pray for our country because we need it.  We don’t need a president, we need God.  Our founding fathers were, in the vast majority, Christian.  They repeatedly reminded us that our nation is a strong nation because of our moral beliefs rooted in scripture.  We know there is sin.  We know there is grace.  We share the gospel in the lives we lead, how we treat our children and other people’s kids.  We share it in the way we treat our family… we share it in the way we treat our enemies.

I heard Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame being interviewed today, and he was right as usual; the answer is not a man-made ideology, its not liberalism, it’s not conservatism, the answer is God.  The greatest story ever told is one centered on forgiveness of sin, and the power of Jesus over death, Hell, and the grave.  Before someone has correct ideology, they need the creator of all in their lives, it is the only way they can think straight. I’m dumb, God is brilliant.  I’m weak, God is strong.  I’m sinful, God is perfect.  We, and all people, need God in our lives.  Share Him, in whatever way you are called to.  Read your Bible.  Pray. Pray hard.  The world needs it.

Our country is made up of states, states are made up of counties, counties of towns, towns of families, families of individuals.  In the age of grace God deals with individuals, not with nations as in times past (that time will come again, but is not yet).  That means the individuals that make up this country need to be rooted in Christ.  If the individuals are rooted, the nation is rooted.  You can’t control anyone else, but you can work on you with God’s grace and power.  The answer to our “secular” problems are indeed sacred in nature.  Grow deed roots and help others do the same.

Grace and peace be with all of you who believe in Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God, my prayers are with you, pray for me, pray for our nation, and our family in Him.

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Filed under Apologetics, Christianity, Prayer, Religion and Politics, Sacred Secular

Famous Last Words

When we look at the books of the New Testament (NT) chronologically, we can do something kind of interesting.  We can look at the main authors of the NT (Peter, Paul, and John), and figure out which words we can read in scripture were the “last words” of aforesaid Peter, Paul, and John.  That is what we are going to do in this article, but it is also interesting to go through and read the last sentences of the books of the Bible; it doesn’t take long and it can really make you think, so when you have some free study time, try it out.

Alright, here’s the list:

Peter: 2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Paul: 2 Timothy 4:22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen.

John: Revelation 22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Do you see the theme yet?  I see 3 components that are always there.  This article is inspired by a teaching by Doc Scott, and he picked one aspect to focus on so I mention that component first, and that is grace.  “Grow in grace,” “grace be with you,” and “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”  Do you think grace is important?  Each and every last word from the heavy hitters of the NT includes grace.  What is the second?  Jesus Christ.  What is the third?  The “amen,” the affirmation to the reader of these things.  When God repeats things, they tend to be important don’t they?

In order of importance:

1) Jesus.  Let’s look at the phrases used: Lord, Saviour, Christ.  Those are the titles given to Him in these three passages.  The way that the word “Lord” is used here by Jewish individuals can leave no room for debate, it means they are bestowing the honor of the word reserved for God and apply it to Jesus.  Remember Thomas’ “my Lord and my God?” Here that is underscored by the big 3.  Saviour meaning one who saves. Christ meaning Messiah.  So Jesus, our “God is with us,” Who is our Savior and Messiah is the cornerstone of the great last words of Peter, Paul, and John.  We would expect no less, but do we recognize Him in such a profound way in our speech, even in our churches in today’s world?  Should He not be included in every single last word that we have in our churches and between believers? Our Lord, Saviour, and Messiah; Jesus.

Peter even admonishes us to grow in the knowledge of Jesus.  We should learn of and be reminded of, His life, death, and resurrection.  His life including perfection, and His teachings, His death and why He had to die, and His resurrection as the sign and promise of our faith.  Study it, teach it, learn of Him because His yoke is easy and burden light.

2) Grace.  I’ve taught on here about grace.  The Greek means “unmerited favor.”  Peter received the grace of Jesus firsthand after denying Him 3 times.  Jesus forgave and forgave and forgave.  Peter never earned it.  Neither do we ever earn forgiveness.  We cannot work our way to forgiveness, there is no physical act we can do to earn forgiveness, He bestows it upon us and we are to grow in it!  This is why I decry anything that smacks of sacramentalism.  Peter, Paul and John offer the reminder of grace and the free flowing nature of it from God to us, and we don’t do anything to merit it.  The Lord and Saviour Jesus the Messiah did everything to merit the grace for us!!  What is our response? Faith.

In Galatians 2:21 Paul boldly proclaims “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”  Jesus died for the free flow of grace to us from our God!  His death was both necessary and sufficient to open the gate… to tear down the curtain dividing us from God.  Paul clearly says, “grace be with you.”  Unmerited favor be with you.  No hoops, no red tape; grace be with you.  The same comes from John, the Apostle of love; “grace be with you.”  Do you get it yet? lol Grace be with YOU.

3) Amen.  Amen translates into “so be it.”  Grace be with you, so be it.  That’s double affirmation being displayed with faith.  It is the communication that what has proceeded the “amen” is in line with God’s will, and that it shall be done because of His goodness and promises. When we have faith, which is trust, in what God has said and done, we have that ability to say amen; so be it.  Jesus is Lord, Saviour, and Messiah.  Learn about Him.  Grow in His grace. So be it!  If only our preachers and teachers reminded us of this, and underscored the meaning of it, and taught it with authority.

So, those are the things that Peter, Paul, and John believed were so fundamental that they included them at the very end of their correspondence.  Humans tend to remember the first things and the last things mentioned to them in letters and speeches. Pay attention to these things and put them in your heart, because they are fundamental to what it means to be Christians.

To my fellow believers in Jesus who have placed their trust in Him, I say; grace and peace be with you through faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

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Christian witness…

There is a lot of talk in Christian circles about being a good Christian witness.  This is based upon the idea that the world (made up of non-believers) is watching us, and we should outwardly show, in some way, shape, or form, what being a Christian is about.  Now, it is clear that scripture teaches us something similar, and that we are to be a people set apart in some ways; I would argue in spiritual ways and understanding.  Many times this idea gets twisted into a form of legalism, which is never good.

Apart from that, I was just recently ruminating on the fact that it isn’t just important that we present ourselves to the world in certain ways, but I honestly believe it is just as important, or perhaps more important, that we present ourselves to our fellow Christians as…well, fellow Christians.  When we present a life of faith and trust in God to our brothers and sisters in Christ, it strengthens our own walk, and it also heartens others.

I’ve been in different circumstances lately where a fellow Christian modeled this to me, and that in turn allows me to respond in kind.  Christians are indeed supposed to be a community, a fellowship of believers.  That does not always imply going to a church…but in a way it does, since every meeting of Christians, two or more, is indeed “church.”  I guess the point of this post is to say this; lets really let the Holy Spirit guide us in our dealings with fellow Christians, let’s yield to Him (for it is from Him that any truly good act comes, not ourselves) in our responses to each other, and not just in our responses to the world.  And yielding to the Spirit ensures that our response isn’t the fake “oh, look at me, aren’t I a good Christian” type of act.

Many are going through rough times right now, and I do believe that if we took the time to ponder the fact that we are now a part of an extended family with the same Father, and the same Brother, we may be a lot more inclined to respond the way scripture tells us too.  Weep when our siblings weep, rejoice when they rejoice, pray for them, listen to them.  Sometimes it isn’t the fun thing to do, or the easy thing, but with the guidance of the Spirit, it can bolster faith all around.  I also urge people to notice the “weep when they weep” command; we believers know that not everything is always sunshine and light, the rain does fall on the just and the unjust alike.  Laying guilt trips on people going through rough times isn’t the answer in the least, neither is bashing a believer who slips and sins.  It’s all about grace and  faith, folks, and helping to uphold that faith in us, and in our fellow believers, and sharing God’s grace with each other, not just the world.

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What is Grace?…

As I’ve done before with concepts in Christianity such as the church and faith, I want to pause for just a bit and reflect on Grace.  Without grace, charis in the Greek, we humans would be in a situation that we literally could not get out of.

Our sinful nature is a fact…God’s righteousness is fact.  These two facts are why we so desperately need God’s grace.  The “simple” idea behind grace in this context is that it means “unmerited favor.”  Of course unmerited means that it is completely free; it is unearned, not worked for.

God’s grace is an awesome concept, but one that can kind of be skewed if one isn’t careful.  If anyone ever hears that this or that act bestows grace upon someone, then they cannot be talking about the unmerited favor of God, because of the nature of grace.

We also must acknowledge what brought God’s grace to us; Christ Himself.  John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Faith and grace fit together, because we are not saved by works.  Romans 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

The fact is that we are all deserving of death due to our sinfulness, but God extends His grace via His Son so that we might have His unmerited favor.  We don’t work for it in any way, it is a gift freely given.  This idea is also there to keep us humble and to keep us from judging others…for what kind of boasting (save in Christ) can there be if we all acknowledge that we did absolutely nothing, performed no work, to merit God’s favor?

Another concept that is often connected to grace is “peace.”  I’ll go into that more in a different post, but it shows us that peace is possible within this concept of grace.  If the favor shown to us by God is not merited by works, by something we do, then it isn’t going to be snatched away if we slip and sin. It is always easy to find hope in Grace.

In Paul’s writings we can see how much he intimately connects the idea of grace with the gospel; take Galatians for example; Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Paul was furious that someone had come along and started laying legalism onto the Galatians, and the Galatians were apparently beginning to be swayed by it.  Yes, an understanding of God’s grace, His unmerited favor bestowed upon us is essential to the gospel message that it is by faith, not works that we are put into Christ, that we are “saved.”

Again, the idea of grace underlines the fact that it is not about who is a “good person” and who has done all of these “good works” under their own steam…it is all about Christ, and faith in Him that connects us to this grace of God.  We all know that there is no one good but God; next to His righteousness our own righteousness is nothing, is less than nothing.  It is that unmerited favor that we so desperately need because we cannot ever match His Righteousness on our own, it is literally impossible.  We also cannot ever merit His favor because of His nature of absolute righteousness and absolute justice.  Praise God that He is also absolutely merciful and He does indeed extend unmerited favor to us humans!

Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

This serves as another reminder that God’s grace is offered to us for His glory, not only because He loves us (which He most definitely does).  As we give thanks to God for His grace it is acknowledging the glory of what He has done for us, and continues to do for us, as well as acknowledging our need for Him, and our inability to get to Him on our own.  So, the next time you ponder God, His plan, His character, remember all of the implications of His Grace, especially when thanking and praising Him for the matchless gift of His unmerited favor…

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord!

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Uphold each other…

Exodus 17:11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.

There’s no joking and no denying that a lot of us are going through rough patches right now…almost every believer I know is being “attacked” on one front or another; physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, emotionally, etc…  We are wrestling against ourselves, this world, and/or principalities and powers.

We must never forget that even the heroes of the Bible (save Christ) needed God, working through other humans to “lift them up” and support them from time to time.  In chapter 17 of Exodus, we have Moses overlooking a battle.  As he raises up his hands (being a visual representation of God’s intervention) the Israelites start winning, as he lowers his hands, they begin to lose.

God, of course, is the main focus here…and Moses is the prophet center stage.  But we see here a very human side of God’s chosen man in this case.  He literally cannot hold up his own arms…have you ever tried to raise and hold up your arms for any length of time?  It starts to ache, to cramp, to hurt fairly quickly.

Now, add to that the knowledge of the stress of the battle; he knows when he begins to put his arms down that his people start getting slaughtered.  Fortunately, Hur and Aaron are at hand (literally) and help Moses.

Folks, don’t forget to uphold each other, as we can, when we can, where we can.  Our spouses, our friends, our teachers, our students, our brothers and sisters, family, our preachers/teachers/pastors, our praise leaders, our music makers, etc….  Sometimes we all need it; even Moses needed it.  In the end all glory goes to God, of course, for His power and grace.

We are a family, we believers, and we should act like one.  (Yes, that also means we will bicker and fight…sometimes pull hair, and give the silent treatment 😉 ).  But, the fact remains, we all need our hands held up every now and again; we are human.  Just a reminder in these times.

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