Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The son in whom He is well pleased.

And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”Matthew 3:17

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:26

 Have you ever considered how wonderful a truth it is to be a child of God? There are several Scriptures that reveal we, who believe and have accepted Christ, are now adopted into the Family of God. 

And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you. Galatians 3:29
(Being a child of God offers us exceeding great promises and blessings.)

 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. Romans 8:15-16
(We can call on our Father. He has adopted us as His own. We are not orphans or abandoned or alone.)

 With this established foundation take a closer look at a portion of Scripture where Jesus faced the enemy, satan and overcame him.
 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry. During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say,
‘People do not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say,
‘He will order his angels to protect you.
And they will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ ”
 Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.’” Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”“Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say,
‘You must worship the Lord your God
    and serve only him.’”
Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.           Matthew 4:1-11 
Having a solid foundation in faith teaching the obvious truth we focused on was the fact that Jesus withstood the enemy and his lies through standing on the Word and speaking God's Word. Now I am not taking away from that truth.  We do see Christ standing on the everlasting Word of God. It does make satan flee in terror when we know the Word of God and stand firm on it!
 What I want to reveal to you is a point many fail to recognize. What gave Christ the boldness and the confidence to resist the devil? Was it just the fact that He confessed a few passages from the book of Deuteronomy? 
 I submit to you that, that was only a partial truth. I believe the whole truth began at the last portion of Chapter 3 of Matthew. What did the Father tell Jesus? 
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Matthew 3:17 NLT
Jesus went into the wilderness temptation having just heard this Word from God. In other words, Christ rested in the knowledge that His Father loved Him and was well pleased with Him. 
 When the enemy came tempting Jesus, notice what satan always said. The enemy said, "if you are the son of God...". What didn't satan say? He never used the words the Father spoke over Jesus. The devil never used the words if you are God's beloved Son in whom He is well pleased do this or that. Why? Because the devil knows if he reminded Jesus that God loved Him unconditionally, that love would sustain Him during any onslaught he could bring. 
 Even though satan never quoted fully what the Father said Jesus still remembered. In fact, the first line of defense Jesus used against satan's temptation was man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from God. Well, what Word had just proceeded from God to Jesus? That He loved Him and was well pleased with Him. This Word was the foundation for victory in overcoming all the onslaught of satan.
Now we who are God's Children have this same love offered to us. Did you know God is also saying this to you every day? "you are my dearly loved son who brings me great joy". Doesn't this stir you heart more for our Father? 
Some will say that is only for Jesus, not us. Well, Paul didn't think so.  Look at Romans 8 again:
And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory...Romans 8:17a                 
We are joint heirs with Christ Jesus. We are cleansed and holy by His blood. God now sees us as His Children. We are the beloved children of God in whom He is well pleased.

When the enemy comes to accuse you. When he comes with lies that you are not going get the victory in your situation. When he comes with a temptation to get you to fall into sin. You remind yourself and the enemy you are God's dear child in whom brings Him great joy! This knowledge of unconditional love we have from God will put us over in every situation we face. Every sin will lose its appeal when we rest in His love for us. When we know we bring Him pleasure and joy what can the enemy offer us that compares? We have complete victory through this love.

Again thanks for taking the time to read. I pray this message has encouraged you and strengthened your walk with the Lord. May God's richest best be yours. Feedback is always welcome and prayerfully consider sharing or signing up via email to receive future posts. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Understanding the clear message of grace (Pt 5 of 5)

I was so filled with joy to hear stories about your children walking in truth, in the very way the Father called us to live. 2 John 4

Anyone who gets so progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ, walks out on God. But whoever stays with the teaching, stays faithful to both the Father and the Son. 2 John 9 Message

Removing the error from the true and real

We've been in a five part series entitled "Will the real gospel of grace please stand up." In this series we've discovered what grace is not. Grace is not Universalism or Inclusionism (future or historic). Grace doesn't mean we should spout off curse words to prove how "free" we are. Grace also doesn't mean we no longer need the five fold ministry gifts or the local church. So now that we understand what grace is not, lets discover what the gospel of grace is!

1.) Grace defined is unearned, unmerited favor. Its Father God's extension toward us in blessing and love

Grace is not simply an empowerment. Many have attributed this definition to grace. The Greek word for grace is Charis. It literally means kindness and favor. Digging deeper in the Greek and the related Hebrew word Khane we discover grace also means dispose to show favor and blessing. To simply define grace as empowerment can lead one to believe that performance and works are still required to "earn" God's acceptance. Grace then gives you the ability to complete all these "duties". 

Nothing could be further from the truth. Our Father's extension to us in blessing and favor apart from our works or performance or self efforts produces an empowerment in our life.  So what is grace? It is God being disposed to show favor and love and kindness to His children apart from their own efforts or works or performance. 

2.) Grace means ALL our sins are forever forgiven

When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we partake of His finished work on the cross. We receive the complete forgiveness He purchased for us. One major question many ask is, 
"Does this mean only my past sins are forever forgiven?"
No! This perfect finished work paid the eternal price for ALL our sins! He has forgiven us our past and present and future sins. If this only covered our past what would we do about our current sins? 

Does Jesus need to come down and die again and again each time we sin after we are born again? Of course not! Jesus paid for all sin once for all time with His one time sacrifice on the cross.

Every priest stands day after day ministering and offering the same sacrifices time after time, which can never take away sins. But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. Hebrews 10:11-12

Jesus paid for our past sins and failures. Jesus blood was a more than enough payment that also paid the complete price for our current mess ups and sins and even our future failures! The Word of God is clear. He has forgiven us all our sins.

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, Colossians 2:13

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32
I write to you, little children Because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. 1 John 2:12

This sounds too good to be true. All our sins? All of them? Allow me to give you a word picture. 

When I was a young man I accompanied my mother to a parade in my home town. We stood street level and we couldn't see the whole parade. We might have seen two or three floats down either side of us. Of course we clearly saw the float directly in front of us. No matter how hard we tried we couldn't see it all. We couldn't see it from beginning to end. All that was visible was what was near. Is this how Jesus sees our life? Only our past mess ups and failures? 

Allow me to complete this word picture. With a desire to see more of the parade, we ventured to the top floor of an open building. From this vantage point we were able to see the whole parade. From start to finish. The whole procession was clearly visible. This is how Jesus sees our life when we come to Him and receive His free gift of salvation.  

Jesus like this rooftop view sees all our lifetime. From our first breath to our last. When we accept Him, He receives us, all of us, our whole lifetime. So when I came to Him and surrendered my heart to Him, He saw my whole life of sins. Even the ones I hadn't committed yet. He forgave me of ALL my sins. So now I am completely forgiven. My past and present and future is cleansed by the blood. This is grace. Undeserved, unearned, unmerited favor and love.

3.) Grace provided a way so that we are now perfectly accepted and in right standing with God

to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6

We have been perfectly accepted by His blood. Grace made the way for us to be completely acceptable by our God and Father. We are loved. We are accepted. We have perfect relationship with our Father through His grace. Through this grace we also received His righteousness. 

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

The great exchange. He became something He never was so we could be something we never were. Now we are in perfect right standing with our Father. No longer plagued by guilt and shame we can come boldly into His presence. We received His righteousness. We traded our sin for His right standing with the Father. If it is Jesus’ righteousness and not our own we received then we are just as righteous as Jesus Christ! 

4.) Grace brings security to all those truly in Christ

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”  John 10:27-30

Grace is proof enough that our salvation is not based upon our ability or efforts to "remain" saved. We could never perform enough to earn God's favor. No amount of good works brought us close enough to meeting God's standards. His standards are absolute perfection. The alarming truth is that His standards of perfection have never changed. Even after we are born again. This is why grace is the essential element of our salvation.

Consider this. When we were unsaved and unrighteous before the Lord, what amount of effort could make us righteous? Could any one righteous act remove our unrighteousness? Was there any amount of giving or feeding the homeless that would've removed our shame and sin? Of course not. 

We received the New Birth and the free gift of righteousness by the grace of God through faith. So now that we have received His free gift of righteousness, what makes us believe one act of unrighteousness removes our right standing before the Lord? In other words our conduct didn't get us into God's family. So our conduct won't get us out of God's family. Now, of course I'm not advocating living in sin. Sin harms us and others and can lead to natural consequences and bring about corrupting influence on our minds. Christ reminds us He has better for us. He continually reveals who we already are in Him through the new birth. We are eternally secure in Him. This is the glad news of the finished work of Jesus Christ. 

But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.  He is now waiting until His enemies are made His footstool.  For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. Hebrews 10:12-14

It states clearly we are perfected forever by the finished work of Christ. It doesn't state we are perfected only until we blow it. We are secure in Christ Jesus. This is all because of the grace of Almighty God.

In summation we can rejoice in the good gospel news of Jesus' grace. His grace supplies us with all we will ever need to fulfill all the will of God for our lives. Grace is super abounding good news. There is no need to try and alter clear Scripture. There is no need for making up strange doctrines to come up with a "new thing". His grace is our sufficiency. 

I pray this series has blessed you. Stay tuned as we go into more detail in future posts concerning eternal security, the supply of grace and our sonship. Please consider sharing if this blog post has blessed you. As always feedback is welcomed. Grace to you all.

"Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/"

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Walking in the true freedom of Grace

I was so filled with joy to hear stories about your children walking in truth, in the very way the Father called us to live. 2 John 4

Anyone who gets so progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ, walks out on God. But whoever stays with the teaching, stays faithful to both the Father and the Son. 2 John 9 Message

Grace Revolution or Grace Rebellion?

We are currently in a study I’ve entitled “Will the real Gospel of Grace please stand up?” (If you’ve not read any of the other posts in this series I highly encourage you to. You will find them in the Blog Archive section of this site). In this series I’ve asked hard questions. I’ve attempted to challenge some viewpoints with clarity and love.

In quick review, we discovered the teachings of Universalism, Ultimate Reconciliation and Inclusionism, or Trinitarian Theology, to be in error. These ideas are not validated by the Word of God. 
 To abide in a Grace Revolution not a Grace Rebellion has been one of our main themes in this series. We’ve seen how a grace rebellion manifests itself in erroneous teaching. How else is this rebellion expressed? The purpose of today’s post is to reveal exactly where  this rebellion rears its head in grace circles. I see three distinct areas 

Is speaking with vulgarity and profane words, a true sign of freedom in God’s grace?

Usage of curse words in our everyday speech. Is this an expression of our freedom in Christ? Is this a sign to the World that grace produces liberty? Do you want the real truth? Using profanity, curse words, “off color” expressions don’t “prove” how free you are. It only shows others how actually crude you are.
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:30 NKJV
Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. Ephesians 5:4 NLT
Of course, none of us are perfect and I am not condemning those who are maturing in the Lord. I have seen those, who had a profane mouth, continually follow the Lord and abide in His grace. Those “F” “bombs” fell away without effort or the pointing of fingers by religion. What I am pointing out as rebellion, is this idea by those who claim to be mature in Him who feel that profanity is somehow acceptable. Or is also a sign of liberty through grace. To those I’d say wake up to who you already are inside. We want to be a light to the World. We don’t need to send the wrong message.

End Time Events.

Allow me to make a quick note concerning Eschatology. Whatever particular view you hold to is up to you and the Lord. Your belief in the Rapture is not a prerequisite to receiving the Lord and becoming a New Creation in Him. In the same manner someone NOT believing in a Preterist view of the End Times doesn’t prove they haven’t received the “full” “revelation” of Grace. Folk need to stop promoting an elitist view concerning the gospel of grace. That is an area of grace rebellion many fail to recognize. Let me clarify. The notion that other believers and churches aren’t “with” it because they don’t agree with your particular view point concerning grace and the end times is an elitist attitude. Let’s walk in love with one another. Grace builds us up in Him, it doesn't tear down. 

Is belonging to a local church or attending church a bondage to religious tradition or a law mindset?

This is the main focus of this blog post. I want to shout this from the mountaintops. The local church is NOT a symbol of law or Old Covenant mindsets. Belonging to a local church does not equate one being in bondage to religious tradition. Now before we continue I know there are some who will immediately oppose me or just quit reading altogether. Let me first address those who oppose the local church.

He binds their wounds, heals the sorrows of their hearts. Psalm 147:3 Voice
He heals the brokenhearted And binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3 NKJV

We who have received this beautiful message of grace believe wholly that Jesus finished the work on the cross. He completely purchased our healing. Our complete total healing. Any hurts we have received through the leadership of a particular church He has paid the price for. Jesus heals the wounds. He makes all things new. We can move on instead of wallowing in self pity, bitterness, and angry rebellion. The institution of the local church isn't the problem. It's religious, law minded, controlling leadership that is the issue. We don't have to neglect church altogether. We just need not align ourselves with insecure leadership. Now allow me to elaborate why the local church is a gift from God.

1.) Love and Unity

We don't attend church weekly to get something out of it. Church gives us an opportunity to express our love to other believers.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalm 133:1 KJV

Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10 NKJV
He joins and holds together the whole body with its ligaments providing the support needed so each part works to its proper design to form a healthy, growing, and mature body that builds itself up in love.  Ephesians 4:16 
Being a part of a church allows us to abide in unity with each other. We build each other up in love there. Belonging to a local church affords us the opportunity to be a blessing to our fellow believers. Sure you can love others in your living room. You can be a blessing anywhere. So why not leave your four walls and bring your love to a group of believers who have set aside time each week to worship Jesus? 

2.) Ministry of the Holy Ghost and His gifts.

Being joined to a local church brings about a solid foundation where we can be encouraged through the gifts of the Spirit. It offers us opportunities to grow in exercising and flowing in these gifts ourselves. It allows us to encourage other believers.

Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 1 Corinthians 14:1-4 KJV

Belonging to a local church allows for more of the corporate anointing to flow and bring about these gifts more and more. Again we can learn to flow more in these gifts and therefore build up others.

3.) Ability to bring your supply of the Spirit

For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ Philippians 1:19 NKJV

How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification 1 Corinthians 14:26 NKJV

Belonging to a local church offers us the chance to bring our supply to the Body of Christ. When we come together we can share insights, prayers, victories with others. We are corporately built up. We can help the hurting and downtrodden. Instead of keeping our gifts and insights to ourselves we can give to others. 

4.) Belonging to a local Church provides fellowship for the Saints

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25 NKJV

Belonging to a local Body of believers provides us with the essential fellowship we all need as Christians. Contrary to popular opinions, Christians aren't "lone wolves" or "mavericks". We all need one another. Let me touch on one subject that is of great importance. 

Concerning fellowship whom exactly do we fellowship with in our Church? Do we only have Caucasians in our midsts? Or do we only have Hispanics among us? Or do we only have African Americans in our house of worship? Brethren this ought not be so! We ALL need each other. There is no "white" church or "black" church. There is only ONE blood bought Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Racism is how the World system operates. Not so for the believers in Christ Jesus! We are ALL brothers and sisters in Christ. Belonging to a local church allows us to fellowship across cultural lines if you will. 

Keeping ourselves out of church and because of bitterness or hurts creating "house" churches may not give us the opportunity to interact will all the Body. I refuse to go to a church that is only one "color" and others aren't welcomed. I want to fellowship with ALL my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. You know each culture has something worthwhile to bring to the house of worship. While I'm on this subject let me just go all the way. This brotherhood and fellowship we have through Christ means there is no such thing as a "mixed" marriage. There is only one true color for Christians. It is red. Blood red! The blood of Jesus, amen! Let me make this as clear as I can. All cultures and "colors" are included in the Family of God if they have received Jesus as Lord. Therefore, I love all my brethren in Christ regardless of their skin color. If you're from Africa, or Russia, or China, or even Saudi Arabia and have received the Lord you are my family. I love you in Jesus Christ.

5.) The local church offers us a place to exhort one another

not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25 NKJV 

Do you know the definition of exhort? It means to comfort. It means to strengthen. It means to encourage. It also means to summon others to one's side. This is proof enough why we need the local church. We need each other! Again, church membership is not just so we can get something out of it. It is opportunity for us to encourage and build up our fellow believer. We can be used by the Lord to stir up our fellow believers. What a great blessing to be a blessing!

6.) The gift of the five fold ministry

God gave the Body of Christ a gift package. We haven't always received this gift package. Some have abused their gift that is sadly true. It doesn't negate that a gift package has been given.

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,  to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV

God gave us the gift of the Pastor in the New Covenant. How can some deduct because of grace that the Pastor is no longer needed? The office or gift of Pastor is a New Covenant gift. How can one come to the conclusion it is a legalistic office or Old Covenant mindset? This is the apex of rebellious thinking. Yes, many leaders have abused their position. That doesn't diminish the true leaders in the Body of Christ. Let me say this. It is not bondage or control to honor a Pastor or Teacher. I honor Pastor Joseph Prince because of the revelation of grace God has given him to share with the Body of Christ. The only time honor is out of order is when we must dishonor ourselves to honor a minister. We don't place anyone on a pedestal, or a status of "celebrity". A minister isn't "better" than anyone if you will. He does however, have a gift from God for the Body of Christ. We should gladly receive it from God.

Simply put, if God gave us the office of Pastor then this is proof enough we need the local church. Let go of all the hurts and misdeeds of others against you. Let the peace of God flow within you. Let His healing remove all shame and hurts from poor leadership. So in closing I say emphatically we need the local church. Grace revelation doesn't do away with the local church. Find a loving, Bible believing fellowship and bring your gifts to be a blessing there. Allow me end by expressing my heart.

My passion is to maintain a pure gospel of grace. So we can proclaim a clear gospel message to the lost. That we be able with the truth set those captive to legalism and performance based faith free! In order to accomplish this we need an error free message.

This is why I keep referring to this phrase, a Grace Revolution not a Grace Rebellion. We don’t want to turn our liberty and freedom in grace into an opportunity for error or wrong thinking to prevail. When wrong thinking prevails wrong living is prevalent. We desire to walk in the true freedom of grace.

I trust this post has blessed you. I pray you will continue reading even if you don't ever see yourself going to church again. Prayerfully consider being apart of a local fellowship. Let's love one another in Christ. As always feedback is welcomed and consider sharing with others. Grace to you all. 


Monday, April 7, 2014

Walking in Pure Grace

Will the Real Gospel of Grace please stand up pt.2

Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love. How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded. 2 John 3-4 NLT

 Anyone who gets so progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ, walks out on God. But whoever stays with the teaching, stays faithful to both the Father and the Son. 
2 John 9 Message

 Dearly loved friends, I had been planning to write you some thoughts about the salvation God has given us, but now I find I must write of something else instead, urging you to stoutly defend the truth that God gave once for all to his people to keep without change through the years. I say this because some godless teachers have wormed their way in among you, saying that after we become Christians we can do just as we like without fear of God’s punishment. The fate of such people was written long ago, for they have turned against our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude 3-4 TLB

 We are currently in a series on the gospel of grace. In this five part series I am endeavoring to examine all the emergent voices in the "grace movement" or "grace camp". Before you object I know grace is not a movement or camp.  Grace IS the gospel of Jesus Christ. While we know grace is the gospel it is still imperative to take a close look at the different voices arising in the proclamation of grace. Is every voice in the wind something we should be following? 

 Again I must reiterate that examining an idea or philosophy does not equal bitterness. It does not mean it is unloving or legalistic. Paul himself is a great example of this. He is the Apostle of grace. He is also the Apostle of love. God through the Apostle Paul brought forth the major doctrines in the life of the believer. The truths of love, faith, righteousness and grace and peace all can be traced to the Pauline revelation. Now how did Paul deal with error?

But when Peter came to Antioch, I had to oppose him to his face, for what he did was very wrong.  When he first arrived, he ate with the Gentile Christians, who were not circumcised. But afterward, when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people who insisted on the necessity of circumcision.  As a result, other Jewish Christians followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others,“Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions? “You and I are Jews by birth, not ‘sinners’ like the Gentiles. Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.” Galatians 2:11-15 NLT

 Paul confronted Peter because he did not want the gospel to be polluted with legalism or traditions of men. This is the same motive I have in writing. I desire to see a pure gospel. A pure grace gospel presented to the World. So lets examine some of these "additives" to the pure gospel.

 Ultimate reconciliation, is this part of the gospel of grace? Is this idea Biblical? Is God so loving He would never send anyone to hell? Let the Word be final authority.

And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16 NLT

For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law Romans 2:12 NKJV

It will not be so for the cowards, the faithless, the sacrilegious, the murderers, the sexually immoral, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all those who deal in deception. They will inherit an eternity in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. Revelation 21:8 Voice

 If you note these Scriptures are clear. Those who are unbelieving or rather reject the grace of God choose this option. An eternity apart from God who loves them. Nowhere do the Scriptures teach a "restorative" justice. Folks who reject the grace will not have their "sentence" commuted. God is merciful and gracious and long suffering. God is all these things but He is also just. When we proclaim the message of grace we must agree with God. We must not pollute the stream with false teaching. This is doctrine is a lie and will harm those who hear it. 

 Now what about Inclusionism? Is this Biblical grace? We have just addressed future Inclusionism. It is unBiblical to accept this view as truth. So what about historic Inclusionism? This idea that all mankind was included in the death and resurrection of Jesus. That all are already born again and righteous before God and possess the new nature within but just don't know it. Is the gospel message a "revelation" of who you already are? 

 We will continue in the next blog examining historic Inclusionism or Trinitaran Inclusionism. I pray that this message today has helped you in your walk with the Lord. I pray you consider what has been stated today and see if what you believe is Bible truth or man made ideology. Feel free to leave feedback. Consider sharing if this has stirred you within. Blessings on you as you consider these truths. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Will The Real Gospel of GRACE Please Stand Up?

Let grace, mercy, and peace be with us in truth and love from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, Son of the Father! I can’t tell you how happy I am to learn that many members of your congregation are diligent in living out the Truth, exactly as commanded by the Father. But permit me a reminder, friends, and this is not a new commandment but simply a repetition of our original and basic charter: that we love each other. Love means following his commandments, and his unifying commandment is that you conduct your lives in love. This is the first thing you heard, and nothing has changed. There are a lot of smooth-talking charlatans loose in the world who refuse to believe that Jesus Christ was truly human, a flesh-and-blood human being. Give them their true title: Deceiver! Antichrist! And be very careful around them so you don’t lose out on what we’ve worked so diligently in together; I want you to get every reward you have coming to you. Anyone who gets so progressive in his thinking that he walks out on the teaching of Christ, walks out on God. But whoever stays with the teaching, stays faithful to both the Father and the Son. 
2 John 3-9 Message

  It is a joy to write to you this day. I want to explore the gospel of grace with you. I want to take you on a journey of self discovery of what you actually believe. Upon the conclusion of this series my desire is that you would analyze your own heart and mind and locate your own beliefs and why you believe them. You know Ive heard a particular phrase stated many times throughout my lifetime. It is a simple phrase. It says this, if we stand for nothing then we will fall for anything.  Let me make my intentions clear to you in writing today.

 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. Jude 3-4

Here is this same passage in another translation 

 Friends, I have been trying to write you about our common salvation. But these days my heart is troubled, and I am compelled to write to you and encourage you to continue struggling for the faith that was entrusted to the saints once and for all. Vile men have slithered in among us. Depraved souls who stand condemned have made a mockery of the grace given to us, using it as a pretext for a life of excess, lived without any thought of God. These poor fools have denied Jesus the Anointed, our one Lord and Master.
Jude 3-4

  We are told here to contend for the truth. If we want to experience greater peace and joy from the revelation of God's immeasurable love and grace we must stay within the truth of God's Word. The Word states many times we are to rejoice in the truth. So it is obvious then we cannot rejoice in error. 

 But Evangelist John doesn't pointing out error to others mean you're not walking in love? Isn't this stirring division?

 I respect this concern. I actually honor this concern. My intent is not to spread division. Let me speak my heart. This scripture articulates my heart and intent.

 It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. 1 Cor 13:6 AMP

or celebrate injustice; but truth—yes, truth—is love’s delight! 1 Cor 13:6 Voice

 So my heart is this, to rejoice in truth. Truth you see is Love's delight. If I sent you a voicemail, and then you took the recording and altered it or distorted it, would that be loving on your part? Would it be unloving on my part to point out you distorted my original message? Can you see why it is not actually loving to change or alter the message of grace or the gospel of Jesus Christ? It is from a heart of love for the truth that I bring forth this message. I want to ensure we have a pure gospel going out not a distorted one. 

 Are you in a grace revolution or in a rebellion?

This is a very important distinction. A wonderful brother in the Lord has taught this topic in depth in his book : 
"After the Revolution - What must follow a Gospel Revolution."    
Pastor Ryan Rufus. We must reevaluate our hearts and motives and intents. Are we pursuing pure grace or are we in rebellion against the Body of Christ and any "traditional" interpretation of the Word of God? Are we constantly seeking some "new thing"? Are we looking for "truth" and will only "see" it if it contradicts the orthodox view of Scripture? 

 In expounding on this particular truth I believe that I and others like me have a distinct advantage, if you will. You see I have a strong Word of Faith background. In this great move of God many wonderful truths were revealed to the Body of Christ. However, even in the midst of truth being revealed much error and excess also came forth. Many were continually looking to change the Scriptural understandings we had been taught. This is good in some areas such as healing or provision. This doesn't mean though we have to alter the Bible to make our particular doctrine or "revelation" fit.

 You see we don't speak to the Bible. The Bible, God's Word, speaks to us. God declares His truth to us. We don't conceive a thought, or idea or new "revelation" or philosophy and then proceed to search the Word looking to reinforce or back up our claims. 

  So to begin only you can search your own heart. Are you in a rebellion or a revolution. A revolution seeks to make things better. A rebellion wishes to tear down and destroy. Are you so offended or hurt by legalism or controlling leadership that now you wish to eliminate the local church or Biblical leadership? Is this rebellion or revolution? 

  I want to go on record as saying I love the Body of Christ. We are not at odds with anyone. Remember the true enemy is the devil and his spirits of error and religion. You see when you are in the grace revolution you are withstanding, from a place of victory, the spirit of religion. You are contending,  with faith in God and walking in love as your "weapons" against that religious spirit. When you are in rebellion you are actually aligning yourself unknowingly with the spirit of error. 

 So when I mention these teachings or philosophies that are grace rebellion, I am not against the people within but rather the spirit of error. Lets begin to look closely at these ideas.

 First I want to examine Universalism. I am going attribute the full definition to Universalism. There is no real Christian Universalism. To me that view is really Inclusionism or Ultimate Reconciliation.
Universalism in it purest form is the idea that all roads leads to God and thus salvation. 

 There is not much to debate here. Those who know Jesus already know He has made it clear He is the only way.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. John 14:6

 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 
Acts 4:12

 There is no other way to Heaven. There is no other way to everlasting life. It is only through Jesus Christ and His finished work can we have new life. Some may say aren't you being closed minded when you say Jesus is the only way? Well, in reality you're not being open minded when you are saying He isn't. In reality you're being susceptible minded. Having a Susceptible mindset is a state of being where you've allowed your mind to be easily accessed by the spirit of error. I truly believe that grace rebellion has it's roots is in this state. 

God is loving and gracious. He respects freewill though. He has given us the assignment of spreading the good news. This includes spreading the good news to those in other "faith's" or religions. I know when we minister truth with love and in demonstration of the Power of God the truth of God's love and grace shines to the darkened hearts of the lost. The glorious light of God open's eyes and they respond in faith receiving new life and new creation within. Beautifully adopted into God's Family.

 I will continue on my next post with the views on Inclusion and Ultimate Reconciliation. For further study check out Brother Paul Ellis teaching on these topics. I pray that you be blessed and encouraged as you read this. I pray that even if what is said in future posts goes contrary to your present view you won't be offended. I pray you examine your views in light of clear Scripture. 
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