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. 



Darss said...

This is bang on bro! Thank you for your boldness and great explanation of truth! This message is needed at this time :-)

John W Reed said...

Thanks so much. Please share this important message with others in your sphere of influence. This truth needs to be proclaimed in the four corners of grace teaching.