Posts from the ‘grace’ Category

Free Will Explained Well

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“God does not choose us because we believe, but that we may believe.”

~Augustine~

“Until God saves us ,we are all like Lazarus. We are dead and unable to even call out to Christ.”

“Christ calls us out of our tomb of death into life.”

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Pascal on Mankind and God

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“Man would desire to be great and sees that he is little; would desire to be happy and sees that he is miserable; would desire to be perfect and sees that he is full of imperfections; would desire to be the object of the love and esteem of men, and sees that his faults merit only aversion and contempt. The embarrassment wherein he finds himself produces in him the most unjust and criminal passions imaginable, for he conceives a mortal hatred against that truth which blames him and convinces him of his faults.” ~Blaise Pascal~ (Pensees)

Share God’s Gift With Others – His Grace

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Grace is its own reason for doing good to those deserving the opposite.

We did not and cannot earn favor with Holy God.

God’s very nature, which is love and righteousness, satisfied our sin natured disconnect with Him by personally bridging the gap between us.

The only reason for this given in the Bible is ,”God so loved the world.” (John 3:16)

The sacrifice of God’s Son on the cross 2,000 years ago for the sin debt of all mankind was purely motivated by a God whose nature is love.

God’s righteousness stood in stark contrast and condemnation to the imperfection of mankind.

The love of God satisfied what was lacking for each of us to know God by the gracious gift of Christ’s imputed righteous nature in all who believe in Christ as Savior.

This year, in a world that is growing increasingly dark, let God’s Gift of love through Christ shine in you and through you in the same way God’s love came to us,.. even though we were undeserving and in desperate need, He came to save us.

 “Freely you have received, freely give.” ~Jesus Christ~ (Matthew 10:8)

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”

(Ephesians 2:8,9)

God Bless, and Happy New Year

Christ Centered Teaching and God Came Down

The First Christmas Gift – God Came Down To Us

 

Immanuel

 

The First Christmas Gift – God Came Down To Us

Click on this link above to watch an amazing Christmas pageant by Kensington Church in Troy Michigan.

The humorous intro includes NFL ,(American), Pro Football Detroit Lions players Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.

Following that is ,”The Christmas Song”, an original Jazz/Rock piece by the Kensington praise musicians that about blew me away.

Most or all of this stage performance was recorded live, so the video includes a 1 minute intercession after the initial song.

What follows is an amazing  theatrical story that illustrates how when God came to be with us , He brought life and light into our dark and dead world.

The Bible says that we didn’t understand who Christ,why He came, or what He was doing.

When the story begins, everything is in shades of black, white , and gray.

Interestingly, the color red is used, the color of blood, to symbolize how Christ gave His life in order to give us life.

Then everything bursts into vibrant color to symbolize new life through Christ.

The video is 86 minutes long but can be started or stopped at any point.

If you wonder what Christmas is all about, or if you feel like you have lost the joy for Christmas, this video will help you find your joy.

The pageant is filled with amazing original music and a simple yet profound message.

I recommend watching this regardless of your condition in life.

Whether alone or with family,..

this message is meant for each one of us no matter where we are in life.

God came down to us!

The first Christmas gift was to us!

Why? – Jesus and Innocent Suffering

The question of suffering is one of life’s biggest questions.

Any loss, loss of livelihood, health, loved ones is shocking to us, as it should be.

 

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The unspeakable tragedy of loss is compounded by the loss of innocent life and the suffering of innocent people.

Men, women and children needlessly suffer and die amidst violence, cruelty and neglect.

We are left to ask,”Why did God allow this to happen?”

When we experience loss,”Why!”,is the first thing that comes to mind.

There are no pat answers,… but we can find deeper reason and comfort in knowing we are not alone.

God chose to experience loss for our sakes.

God came down to us in the personage of Jesus Christ and suffered and died for us to spare us eternal suffering.

God the Father turned away from Christ on the Cross, prompting Jesus Christ to cry out,”My God, My God,WHY have you forsaken me?

God as the man Jesus Christ felt the agony of loss and asked WHY?

The Bible tells us God did this because He loves us.He became one of us, struggled like we do, tempted in every way as us yet without giving in to sin.

And He suffered to a degree that we have not, and can not, for He alone was perfect and worthy to carry all the sins of our entire human race.

Christ paid for the sins all mankind from Adam to the last of our kind who will be born.

Christ carried every sin ever committed, or that will be committed, by every victim and by every perpetrator, who ever lived or has yet live, upon Him on the cross.

And the punishment of us all was upon Him.

“Surely he took up our infirmities
    and carried our sorrows, 
yet we considered him stricken by God, 
    smitten by him, and afflicted. 
 But he was pierced for our transgressions, 
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
    and by his wounds we are healed. 
 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, 
    each of us has turned to his own way; 
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all.”

(Isaiah 53:4-6)

Because of Christ we know that the reason suffering exists can NOT be that God is insensitive to our condition.

Perhaps part of the reason is to make us what C.S.Lewis called, “Free Lovers.” We love God not for what He gives , but simply for the sake of whom He is.

If , like the old testament figure from the Bible, Job, we can love God regardless of total tragedy and loss, then our love for God will be like the love God has for us! Unconditional.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

(1 John 4:10)

God’s love is Unconditional love.

Tim Keller uses the illustration from the Book of Job in the Bible to show that Satan tried to make God question Job’s love for God. Satan accused Job of conditional love.“Take away everything you have blessed him with and he will curse you!”, he said to God.

And God permitted Satan to take all of Job’s children, possessions and wealth.

When Job still blessed God, then Satan insisted if God allowed physical suffering then Job would curse God.

Job did become very bitter, but did not curse God.

…”Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship  and said:

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart. 
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; 
    may the name of the Lord be praised.”

” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

(Job 1:20-22)

It really is all about Love.

Satan tried to convince Job that God did not unconditionally love him, just as Satan tried to convince God that Job didn’t unconditionally love God.

And perhaps then our suffering, like Job’s, has profound reason and eternal purpose.

To refine our love into the kind of love Christ has for us.

For He loved us before we knew Him.

Unconditionally.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”

(Ephesians 2:8,9)

Related Sermon by Dr. Tim Keller of Manhattan Presbyterian Church Manhattan N.Y.- 

http://sermons2.redeemer.com/sermons/suffering-if-god-good-why-there-so-much-evil-world

What Tone in Christian Discussion is Biblical ?

What Kind of Tone Is Appropriate in Christian Discussion?

Christians are to be gentle ,kind, lovingly compassionate, meek and humble, like Christ. That much is obvious, though not always common.

But what about some of the examples of situations where Christ was angry, or when the Apostle Paul burned with indignation?

I think it depends on the situation. Christians are suffering from a stifling and un-Biblical monotonic response to the issues we face today.

 

We believe one tone should apply to everything, yet Indignation is also Biblical.

Keep in mind that silence was only used by Christ during the trial for crucifixion, when He willfully gave up His life for you and I. He said nothing in His own defense.

There are many shades of Christian communication, and all are Christ like. For instance,… are you trying to encourage? For the most part ,be gentle.

Are you exhorting and spurring others on? Be hopeful and thankful.

Or are you defending the most precious life-giving Gospel,the Blood of Jesus, and Grace of God from the self-righteousness of moralistic legalists who always demand our own works be tacked on to Christ’s work? (Legalism)

Now that’s a different story. Take the Apostle Paul for instance.

II Corinthians 11:29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? (NKJV)

Christians today need to find their voices! Rightly dividing the word of God means 2 Corinthians 11:29 is in the mix.

Our insight as to when to speak up and which tone to use may make the difference as to whether we speak up at all.

Unlike the message we are all getting from our Post-modern world today, God never meant us to keep silent, He said ,”Go and Preach the Gospel.”

A lot of essential Biblical examples stand out in regard to what tone is right and when we should use them.

Too many issues demand our voices!

A great example is this video that went viral  and caused an uproar with some of the so-called,”pillars” in  modern Christendom.

In the video,Jefferson Bethke Kicks the proverbial Snot Out of Legalism!

But he has a much more subtle tone than Jesus does in Luke 11:44 !

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like graves which are not seen, and the men who walk over them are not aware of them.”

Or Jesus in Matthew 23:13

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”

In fact, Bethke is well below the tone Jesus used to beat down the self-righteous Pharisees of His day!

And Bethke is also doing the Church a service just like the Apostle Paul in the book of Galatians!

Only Bethke is milder than Paul too! Like in Gal.1:6

“If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!”

In fact,Paul was far more direct as he beat down the legalists, and he even,”withstood Peter to his face.” This is the big ,long earful that Peter heard from Paul in front of Barnabas and many others. Galatians 2:11- 21

“When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. 1Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. 13 The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

14 When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, “You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?

15 “We who are Jews by birth and not ‘Gentile sinners’ 16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.

17 “If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a lawbreaker. 19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”

Paul got in Peter’s face in front of everybody, to defend the blood of Jesus as the ONLY means to be saved!

So don’t let them make you back pedal Jefferson Bethke. Take heart!

You aren’t bashing the Church. On the contrary!

If a person loves Jesus and His Bride the Church, then he will defend the ONLY means to establish the Church.

The pure, true Gospel established by the washing and regeneration of the pure, perfect blood of Jesus Christ on the cross is the ONLY way the Church can ever exist.

Your statement  is right in line with guys who have made all the difference when it counted, like Paul, and Luther, and countless others.

Jesus vs. Religion? Jesus will always win!

Speak up! Be bold!

That is our part to this world. Give them Jesus!

Jesus is The Way – “Romans Road” To Eternal Life – Take The One Way Trip!

Striding on the Roman Road

Striding on the Roman Road (Photo credit: Bods)

“For whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

                                                    – Romans 10:13

Romans 3:10 tells us, “as it is written, THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;” (Romans 3:10 NASB) As the Scriptures say: “There is no one who always does what is right, not even one.” (Romans 3:10 NCV)

The requirement of God is a perfect life. A sinless selfless life. Who has not sinned?

And Romans 3:23 adds, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us,” (Romans 3:23 MSG)

Why does man sin and where did sin come from?

Romans 5:12 states that sin started with Adam, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned– “(Romans 5:12 NASB) Sin came into the world because of what one man did, and with sin came death. This is why everyone must die — because everyone sinned.

(Romans 5:12 NCV) What happens to those who sin?

Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 NASB) When people sin, they earn what sin pays — death. But God gives us a free gift — life forever in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Romans 6:23 NCV)

If all have sinned and the penalty for sin is death, what can a person do? How can anyone be saved?

Romans 5:8 tells us how we can be saved from our sin and its penalty, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NASB)

1But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8 NCV)

If Jesus did die for me and was raised from the dead, how does that save me from sin and its penalty?

Romans 10:9-10 is clear, “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10 NASB)

If you use your mouth to say, “Jesus is Lord,” and if you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. We believe with our hearts, and so we are made right with God. And we use our mouths to say that we believe, and so we are saved. (Romans 10:9-10 NCV)

Any one who realizes he can never live a perfect life can be saved.

Romans 10:13, for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” (Romans 10:13 NASB) For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. [Joel 2:32.] (Romans 10:13 AMP)

Salvation is a free gift.

You may be ruled by desires for things contrary to God now. Don’t worry about that, Let Jesus come into your heart and change you. He has the power to change your desires.

Your good works cannot save you. That is why Jesus died for us. Your good works are the result of genuine salvation, not a condition for you to be saved.

Ask Jesus to come into your heart, save you ,and make you His. He is waiting.

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