Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Can you be Christian and gay?

 30 He then led them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”31 They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you and your household will be saved.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his household. 33 In that hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds. And immediately he and his entire household were baptized. 34 Then he brought them up to his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced with his entire household believing in God. Acts 16:30-34 MEV   

 There is a question that many might believe to be quite controversial. There is a subject that can be divisive and may even cause anger to arise within people. That is this issue of homosexuality and the Christian faith. 

 This is a sensitive subject because most people personally know someone who is homosexual. Emotions are therefore heavily involved in this subject. In order to address this matter, emotions must be set aside and clarity and dignity, and compassion must be given precedence so truth can come forth. 

 Let's be clear and concise and to the point. Let's answer the question I brought forth. Can one be a Christian and yet be gay? The answer to that is found in our opening text.

 What must one do to be saved? Keep the commandments? Give regularly to charity? Observe the Law perfectly? No, for one to be saved all they need to do is one thing. Believe. Simply believe in or place their trust in Christ. It's that simple.

16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 MEV

 Surely brother you're not suggesting one could be a practicing homosexual and be a Christian. Well, can you be a practicing gossiper and still be saved? Can you be a worrier and still be saved? These are sins people conveniently omit when listing disqualifications of Grace and salvation.

 To answer the question, yes you can be a homosexual and be a Christian. For all it takes to be saved is trusting in Christ alone. Our behavior isn't our Savior, Jesus Christ is. 

 This is the Gospel proclamation. God so loved you He gave His Son to take your place. He died for you and arose victoriously therefore the price has been completely paid for! God isn't mad at you or anyone. In Him is found perfect peace and complete forgiveness and real Love. Life, eternal life, hope, and acceptance are only found in Christ, all He asks is for you to believe it, trust Him alone, and receive it freely.

Is that it? Yes, that is it. It's a simple answer to a question that stirs so much controversy. You can be gay and be saved. It's all because of Grace.

 Where Grace has responded and placed a period don't place a comma or clause designed of men or the world system. Neither place a comma designed to be a combination of the two wherein we seek to gain the favor and approval of this world system and its way of thinking. Grace is God's unearned favor, when received it produces empowerment, Grace doesn't empower the opinion of man.

 Grace empowers what the Spirit has revealed in the Word of God. Where we see salvation is freely available to whosoever will receive, this doesn't equate to Grace condoning or celebrating every action and thinking pattern of men. The question asked is can one be gay and Christian not is homosexuality a sin. I have answered the question Biblically and with love and Grace. 

 In truth, people ask this question because inwardly they believe living a sinful life negates one from being able to receive salvation. If sin can stop one from being saved, then we are all in trouble. We all have sinned and are unworthy in and of ourselves to be saved, that's why it's all about His Grace and not our works, worth, or goodness.

 The controversy that those outside of Christ stirs concerning this issue is that it is not sinful to engage in homosexuality. They are adamant on this point. They will censor any speech, cancel any presentation, or appearance, and even place in jail in some places, anyone who doesn't affirm this position. 

 Jesus is the person of Grace. He didn't affirm this position. He detailed only two genders from the beginning, and what constitutes marriage. Therefore there is no Grace, that is no empowering of such unions or practice. 

 Paul details that homosexuality is a sin throughout his Epistles. Paul also goes in-depth in Romans 1 detailing the true nature of the practice of same-sex relations. Paul details that the natural sexual use of woman is with man and man with woman. 

 None of these truths are presented as harsh and wrathful anger against anyone. They describe the actions that are sinful. They don't stop there. They give the remedy, and the answer is Jesus. 

 In order to walk in victory, we must have our thinking renewed to Christ's thinking. God Almighty spoke through the Prophet Isaiah concerning His mercy, revealing a powerful truth we must all grasp. For my thoughts are not your thoughts

 We have to come to the place where our thinking is renewed to His thinking. Our thoughts are birthed from our own sense of "justice" and how things should be. Our thoughts are conformed to the world system when we align with them and when we look to them for wisdom and "truth."  When our way of thinking takes precedence then we aren't living with a renewed mind but a conformed mind.

 The unrenewed mind seeks for God to follow it. It is not interested or invested in following God. To follow God means to embrace whatever He says concerning any subject, to forsake the status quo, to stand out from the crowd, and affirm His view not what others believe or think. 

 We can conform to the age. We can seek the approval of man. We can ignore what God plainly says and embrace what modern man says about it instead.

 We can say the whole Wives submit to your husbands, husbands love your wife and lay down your life for her, marriage is between a man and a woman, and sexual relations before marriage is sinful, hey we don't like those passages. We choose to reject them. Let's either ignore them or dream up a new interpretation for those passages that make us feel better and are approved of men. 

 We can do all these things, and God still loves us and calls us His own. We can still find Grace in time of need. We can still come before the Father freely. We can do all these things but we will not be walking in the victory that's fully available. We can be popular with men but not walk in the full power of redemption. It's our choice.

 In summation, God is loving and Good to all. His invitation is there for whosoever may come. There is nothing hindering His Love and Grace and salvation. Can one be gay and be saved? Yes, it's all by Grace. Does that mean being gay isn't a sin? No, it doesn't. The Word is clear it is sinful and contrary to God's design for mankind. Does that mean God is angry? No, God is satisfied with Jesus' redemptive work. It just means you're living contrary to His will and He has better for you. Renew your mind to God's Word and find victory, the complete victory Grace procured. God is not mad at you. God loves you. 

 Image by Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Theology of sickness and disease

how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38 MEV

Dear Friend, I pray that in every way you may prosper and be in good health,  just as your soul is prospering. 3 John 2 Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament 

 Ever heard the word theology? This word can bring with it the connotation of boring book knowledge that only dull "egg-headed" scholarly types get enthusiastic about. The word can also bring with it the idea of deep spiritual knowledge that only a few can actually grasp.  Believe it or not, just as in the natural realm we hold to certain opinions or ideologies in our Christian life we all hold to some form of theology.

 Theology isn't about some deep study that goes over everyone's head. Theology is merely the study of God. At the same time though, theology can also be a viewpoint about God we hold fast to. What is your theology?

 When it comes to theology, often the Church as a whole tends to build a theology around what can't happen or what didn't happen. Pertaining to Faith, is your theology centered on how Faith can't move mountains today? Is your theology about how Faith only works for the saving of our souls and forgiveness of sins but never anything else? 

 When it comes to healing what is your theology? Is it that God used to heal before the Scriptures were fully recorded but now that we have the Bible we don't need healing? Is it that God can heal but of course we could never believe God will heal? Or is it that we ceremonially offer prayers for the sick but in actuality never really expect them to actually receive that physical healing?

 Many well-meaning and sincere believers hold fast to a theology of unbelief. Unbelief rooted in negative experiences and years and years of indoctrination from the religious traditions of men. Unbelief that goes through the motions of prayer and faith but never actually expects any tangible change or miraculous intervention from the hand of God. Unbelief that is birthed from not knowing intimately the Goodness of a loving Father who longs to bless, provide, protect and pour out His healing power. 

 Many sincere Christians hold fast to a theology of sickness and disease rather than a theology of healing and wholeness. Through wrong teaching and wrong believing, many actually believe God is the author of affliction, infirmity, distress, disease, and death. Some actually affirm God sends sickness and disease to show us He loves us.

 Is God the author of sickness and disease? Does God dole out disease to His children to instruct them? To better them? To improve their character? To make His own some type of "testimony" to inspire others who are also going through their own turmoil to just keep smiling through their burdensome affliction? Is this the image of God Jesus demonstrated to all of humanity when He walked the sandy seashore of Galilee?

 Jesus is the express image of God our Father. Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the Father. Jesus never once placed disease on a single person He encountered. He never sent forth famine or pestilence or plague. Jesus never once made anyone sick, on the contrary He healed all who came to Him. Jesus went about doing good healing all. Jesus is the author of life and health, not disease and death, God is a Good God!

 What a cruel image religious tradition has conjured up. They preach the concept that the God who created the entire universe somehow takes pleasure in the affliction of humanity. That God shows His love and compassion for us by giving our loved ones cancer, multiple sclerosis, or alzheimers. This tradition of men is a lie and contrary to who God revealed Himself to be in Christ. God is a Good God, He isn't the destroyer of lives but the giver of life. 

When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them and said, “You do not know what kind of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village. Luke 9:54-56 MEV

Jesus here affirms He comes to save men's lives not destroy them. Our theology is Jesus. As His Church we should passionately reject the notion or idea that God wills disease and death. What was Jesus' attitude about sickness and disease? He healed all who came to Him. Sickness and disease do not come from God, they are contrary to His perfect will.

in righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. Isaiah 54:14-15 KJV

 This passage declares the Righteous will be far from oppression. It states fear and terror and oppression shall gather against you but God declared not by me. The opening text for our study is Acts 10:38. That passage declared Jesus went about healing all who were oppressed. According to Acts sickness and disease is a form of oppression. Isaiah declared oppression gathers but not by God. This is Biblical evidence God isn't the author of sickness and disease. Who is the oppressor? The enemy. Who is the healer? Jesus. 

 We as the Church need to have a Jesus theology about infirmity, illness, infection, malady, and malfunction. We shouldn't expect or tolerate or God forbid celebrate sickness and disease. We need to resist it and stand together and pray against it. I am not saying condemn or belittle those suffering affliction. I am not saying attack their dignity. Our hearts go out to all who are suffering. We stand with them. I am only saying we don't proclaim their suffering is the plan and purpose and work of God our Good Father. 

 God is our Good Father. He isn't our bad father. He isn't the godfather who takes and breaks. He is our Good Father who mends and heals. God is our Good Daddy who restores and covers us with His precious Love and mercy. 

 God isn't the author of your tragedy. God is the answer to your tragedy. God isn't the source of your trouble. God is the turnaround for your trouble. He's the one turning it around for your good. 

 In summation, we need to have a theology of life and healing and not a theology of suffering sickness and disease. We are not shaming or disapproving of those who have suffered or are still suffering from sickness and disease. We aren't maligning the dignity of anyone who has experienced sickness or disease. We are just affirming the Goodness of God. We are renewing our thinking about how Good our God is. We are reaffirming the truth that God is never the author or sender of any sickness or disease. 

 How can we trust God if He is the one afflicting us? God is our Good Daddy. Let's holdfast to a theology of healing and not of crippling illness and infirmity. Let's holdfast to who God has clearly revealed Himself to be in His Word and the redemptive work of Jesus. 


Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Receiving Righteousness-relationships

For he hath made him be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:17 NASB

 We've begun an extensive study examining Righteousness. We've seen what Righteousness is, perfect right standing with God. We've seen who the Righteous are, those who believe. Now we are exploring the importance of receiving of this gift of Righteousness. 
Paul informs us of the importance of receiving of the gift, not just possessing the gift. The Holy Spirit through Paul reveals to us that we can rule and reign victorious in this life when we receive of the gift of Righteousness. Speaking for myself, I know for certain I do want to reign victoriously in this life, how about you?

 Paul gives us insight on how. By receiving His abundant Grace and receiving of the gift of Righteousness. Righteousness will cause every aspect of our Christian life to flourish and prosper. 

 Today, it seems good to look at our relationships in light of Grace and Righteousness. Allow me to put a qualifier on my upcoming words. I am only speaking of those who've put their trust in Christ. Life outside of Christ is never victorious. 

 I want to focus primarily on Christian marriages, but these same principles can apply to our friendships and parents and their children. So let's ask, how do we receive of the gift of Righteousness in our relationships?

 Remember, Righteousness is that gift by which we have perfect right standing with God. We stand completely accepted and approved of the Father. We can stand in the presence of God Almighty without any sense of unworthiness, shame, guilt, condemnation, insecurity, or inferiority. 

Because we are accepted and approved, and shame-free we can interact with our friends and children, and spouses the same way. When you know you're approved, you can look upon your spouse with peace and joy knowing they are also accepted and approved.

 Too often though we tend to look upon ourselves as unworthy and unaccepted and find it difficult to receive the love of others, especially our spouses. Lowered self-image causes us to resist and even reject the love of our spouse in certain instances. 

 We must understand that we are forever accepted and approved of God. We must receive of the gift of Righteousness. We are made worthy and therefore we can readily, freely receive love from our spouse. 

 Still many times we receive Grace and right standing for our personal failings and shortcomings, but we still live by the Law and Old Covenant mindsets when it comes to marriage and family. We will cheer and shout amen because our sins are forgiven. But we still govern our relationships by a different system than Righteousness.

 What am I saying? Too often believers live with a reactionary theology, for instance, unconditional eternal security cannot be true, why? They see a believer living in some blatant sin and their reaction is, see there is no possible way they are still saved. Healing can't be God's will, why? They prayed for someone and a short time later the person died of the disease, so the reaction is to conclude God doesn't want to heal all. 

 Sometimes in relationships, believers choose the reactionary road instead of the Grace road. They base their actions and words on the actions of the other person. Because they did or said this, I will say or do this. This is reactionary theology at work. This is the Law at work.

 When looking at marriage troubles, the majority of preachers and counselors, and believers see only causes and effects. They diagnose troubles by causes and effects. In fact, they even teach and believe if you want a healthy marriage, cause, and effect are the best way to achieve it. 

 Does this sound familiar? Doesn't it sound more like, do good get good and do bad get bad? It does, and sisters and brothers that is Law 101! This is being Law led and possessing Old Covenant thinking patterns. 

 The Old Covenant is if you do this or that then God will respond. Under the New, Jesus already moved and we respond to what has already been accomplished and receive what is already ours. Successful relationships are based on Grace, not Law.

  Receiving of the gift of Righteousness in relationships means you see your spouse as the Righteous, accepted, and approved child of God. You choose to treat them the way your Father treats you. Your actions and words are not a reaction to what they do but rather what Jesus did.

 The cause-and-effect view of marriage also releases people from their own personal choices. An adulterous spouse merely claims because the other person did this or that or didn't do something enough I had to commit adultery. Under Grace, we are solely responsible for our choices.

 Receiving of the gift of Righteousness in marriage means we see ourselves as accepted and approved and we also see our spouse the same. Instead of berating them for their flaws, we affirm their approval with God. Instead of old covenant thinking like I will be intimate with you if you lose enough weight if you finally buy me that item if you allow my mother-in-law to move in etc, we see them as Righteous and treat them accordingly.

 In summation, receive your Righteousness. See your spouse as Righteous. Think, when you mess up does God keep bringing it up year after year? Then don't do that to your spouse. Did God forgive you and make you worthy? Then forgive your spouse when they fail and see them as worthy of your love. Does God make you earn or deserve intimacy, favor, goodness? No Jesus paid the price, so don't try to make your spouse try to earn and deserve intimacy, and kindness, and favor from you. Live the Grace life fully, not just in church but in your marriage and family. 

Image by Juliane Koch from Pixabay 

Monday, January 25, 2021

What are the Laws written on our hearts? The Love of God

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Hebrews 8:10 NKJV

 We've been in an ongoing study answering the question what are the Laws God has written on our hearts or put in our hearts and minds? Tradition tells us that God has put the Ten Commandments within us. That the Church has the Mosaic Law engraved within, this is how we keep those commandments. Sisters and brothers, nothing could be further from the truth.

 In this study, we have seen how the Law is the ministry of condemnation. That the Ten Commandments are the ministry of death. God isn't putting death and condemnation within us. God brings life and Love not condemnation and death.

 So what has God placed within us? Faith, He has put Faith within our hearts. Romans 12 is clear, all believers have Faith. Faith is a Law in the same sense gravity is a law. It works every time it's used. 

 God also has placed within us the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. That is that we are now the abode of the Spirit, and we have new life in Christ. We who believe have the very life and nature of God within. 

 And finally, God has placed within us His divine Love. The very Love of Almighty God has been shed abroad in our hearts.

And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5 MEV

 James calls the Love of God the royal law. God loves us and has put His love within us. His Love is eternal and unconditional.

 Too often when hearing about the Love of God it is shared only in the sense of how well you are loving others. How well you are not holding grudges, harboring unforgiveness, or getting into strife with others. What we need to hear is how much God unconditionally loves us. How His Love is matchless and unfailing towards us. That His Love is continually cascading over His Body, the Church, ever reminding us of His steadfast Faithfulness, mercy, kindness, and long-suffering towards us.  

 When we receive His great Love for us within it transforms our thinking. It changes our motives within. It forms and fashions more mercy and kindness than we ever thought possible. It moves us to forgive and go the extra step in goodness to others. 

 When we say the Law and commandments are not written or engraved upon our hearts traditional religion gets upset. They cry out how then will people behave or act morally? How will they live uprightly? 

 The truth is no matter how many laws you pass, no matter how many rules you create, no matter how many regulations you dictate, none empower anyone to actually fulfill those commands. They only cause the flesh to crave the wrong and resist the right. The strength of sin is the law.

 One then asks does Grace then give freedom to sin? The answer is very difficult to receive. Why? Because of the wrong thinking of religious tradition and the negative influence a fallen world has on the patterns of thought of mankind. 

 The truth is this, yes Grace does give the freedom to sin. What?! When reading this you may be incorrectly reading into what I stated. Grace gives you the freedom to sin but it doesn't shield you from the consequences of sin. What am I saying?

 Freedom isn't true freedom if you're not able to make negative decisions. Think of it, why don't you just steal your groceries from the store weekly? Is it only because theft is illegal? If so, then your true heart is that of a thief and not one of love. What if taking all the groceries you wanted without paying was suddenly legal? Would you still pay for your groceries?

 Think before you respond. If you didn't pay, the business owner, his employees, and the various food companies and their employees would be drastically affected. If you would pay regardless of what the law says then you understand the motivation of love within your heart. The love within your heart wouldn't want to afflict financial harm and undue burden and stress on others even though it wouldn't affect your life.

 The same goes for sin. God looks for sincerity. He seeks sincere relationships. He wants to know if your heart truly desires sinful deeds or does your heart long for Him and His ways of conducting your life. This is the Grace of God in action. 

 To help and bring more clarity, you as a Christian are free to commit all the sin you wish. Jesus paid the price for all your sins. God isn't going to punish Jesus for your sins and then turn around and punish you also. That would imply Jesus' work was insufficient and we know that it was.

 God isn't going to punish you for sinning. However, don't misunderstand the statement. You're free to sin, sin all you want. However, you're also free to experience all the consequences that sinful living entails. If you commit adultery, be prepared for major consequences. You will lose the dignity and trust of members of your family. You will pay immensely in divorce courts. Shame and guilt will haunt you. People will speak of you behind closed doors and your reputation will be shattered. People will never forget you're the person that cheated on their spouse. 

 Though God isn't punishing us for our sins, there are some spiritual consequences for sin. It erodes our confidence in prayer. It dulls our spiritual senses. We also shrink back from fellowship. So are we free to sin? Yes, we are free to choose relationship or rebellion. That's what makes for sincerity in Faith. Again, above all God desires sincerity and truth within our hearts and mind. 

 In summation, God has not written condemnation and death upon our hearts. He has put within us His Faith, His Love, His Spirit and given us His life within. We are a habitation of God through the Spirit. God loves us eternally and this Love within brings real transformation that produces sincerity on the part of believers. God is a Good and Loving and Faithful God. 

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Monday, October 26, 2020

Abounding Grace: Abounding in Love

But as you abound in everything—in faith, in utterance, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love to us—see that you abound in this grace also. 2 Corinthians 8:7 MEV

You do well and excel in every respect—in unstoppable faith, in powerful preaching, in revelation knowledge, in your passionate devotion, and in sharing the love we have shown to you. So make sure that you also excel in grace-filled generosity. 2 Corinthians 8:7 TPT

  We've been in an extended study of the Amazing Grace of God. We are examining how this Grace abounds in all areas of our new life in Christ. We've seen how this Grace abounds to our Faith, our knowledge of God, and our devotion to the Father. 

 Today, I want to continue this study examining how this Grace abounds in our love walk. Often we hear messages about walking in love. We hear a sermon or read an article about forgiving others. The concern is these messages and articles don't always tell you how.

 How do you love fellow believers? How do you love the leadership in your local church? How do you love members of your family? How do we love those outside of Christ?

 The Word shows us how, and it is all by His Grace;

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:9-11 NKJV

Remember Grace supplies. God doesn't demand of us anything and gives us no power or ability to do what He asks. Grace supplies all we need to live victorious and fruitful lives.

 Because God loves us first, through this supply we can love our fellow believers in Christ. Even when they don't see things the same as we. We have the Love of the Father within. We can find common ground, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 I have friends from differing denominations. When we don't focus on our differences in theology, but on Jesus, there is a sweet fellowship. When we come in agreement to see lives changed and turned toward Christ we both rejoice.

 How do we love leadership? We pray for them. We pray for our children's ministers. We pray for the pastoral team. We pray that they speak the truth in love. If you can't find any agreement, find a church where you can find more agreement than less. For instance, if you believe in the Gifts of the Spirit for today and the church you attend doesn't, you might find it more agreeable to find a church that believes this. 

 Pray for leadership, don't tear them down with words and gossip. It's the same with your family. Pray for them. Pray for your family. If they are making poor choices, you don't have to fellowship in that setting but you can send love and kindness.

 For those outside the Church, you won't have the same worldview. That is if you have made Christ Jesus the focus of your life, your worldview is different than those who aren't focused on Jesus but on self. How then do you love them?

 Love doesn't mean you celebrate and promote other's way of living. Love means exactly what it means. Sharing goodness and kindness even with those with you disagree. Love doesn't mean you need to be a doormat for abuse. Love means you share God's Love with all. 

 Sometimes that simply means walking away from conflict. Sometimes that means not responding the same way they speak to you. Sometimes love challenges people to come up to a higher level. 

 We can love others because Christ so loved us. We can forgive others because Christ forever forgave us. We don't have to hold people's wrongs against them because Christ doesn't count our sin against us. Because we are Loved we can love.

 In summation, this Grace abounds to our love walk. Christ's perfect Love and mercy and goodness compels us to share love. This is abounding Grace, it abounds to all areas of life. 

Image by Ylanite from Pixabay 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

What Gospel Are You Hearing? Is the Gospel a Political/Social/Activist Gospel?

I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. Galatians 1:6-7 NKJV

16 For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile Romans 1:16 NLT

 We've begun a brief study I've entitled what Gospel are you hearing? Many are proclaiming a message that is an either a Gospel mixture of Law and Grace or of truth and error. There is only one Gospel. The Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 Let's revisit the true definition of the Gospel. The Gospel defined by Thayer's Greek Lexicon is the glad tidings of salvation through Christ. The proclamation of the Grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ. It is that simple. This is the simplicity of Christ.

 Whenever we proclaim the true Gospel of Christ this is what we are supposed to be preaching. We aren't bringing sad tidings or bad tidings if you will. We are proclaiming good Gospel news. When you hear someone proclaiming a message that is contrary to this, know you're not hearing the Gospel. You're just hearing a message.

The political gospel?

 The pulpit is a place to proclaim the Grace of God. It is a sacred place to lift up and exalt Jesus and His Finished Work. It is not the place to promote a political message. 

 Am I teaching that Christians should not participate in politics? Absolutely not. Each of us abides in some nation of this Earth. As responsible citizens, we can let our personal voice be heard during elections, (unless one's resident is in a place where there is no free election and Government control makes all the decisions the best recourse is prayer and if it all possible perhaps relocation). 
 Though we can personally allow our voice to be heard with a vote, this is not the Gospel message. There are some 200 nations on this planet. Which political message then is the one size fits all message that is part of the Gospel? 

Wasn't Jesus a socialist?

 This mentality is an unfortunate philosophy some cling to. Because Jesus taught giving to the poor and unfortunate some have interpreted this to mean Jesus' message was an ancient form of  Marxism. Jesus was not a socialist. He didn't conquer Rome and then "equally" redistribute the goods and property of the Roman empire throughout the globe. Jesus taught freewill giving. He didn't proclaim a message that Government was to impose its will on the people and force them to redistribute their material possessions. 

 The good news Gospel of Grace is a message that doesn't need men to muddle it up with human philosophies and ideologies. Under Grace, we have received the everlasting love of Almighty God within. God's Spirit personally directs our love and giving to be a blessing to those around us. Let's let God be God in people's lives and He will direct their steps. 

The social/activist gospel?

 Is the Gospel of Jesus Christ a social or activist message? If it is which cause are we to take to the streets to march and demonstrate for? Which is the one cause all believers in Christ have been instructed to contend with? I have viewed the news media outlets over that past few years, so which cause is the Christian cause?

 Are believers compelled by Christ to march to ensure Europeans have a 30 hour work week? That American youth shouldn't have to pay for their college education? Is the cause that should unite all believers in Christ, that America has immigration laws that some don't want to be enforced or want to repeal? There is a strong and passionate debate on this issue. 

 If immigration is the issue, then are we called to protest only the United States immigration laws? Why not Canada? Why not Ireland? Why not Israel? Why not Austraila or Japan? I can only trust that you see the futility in labeling this a Gospel issue. 

 We are to proclaim the Gospel of Grace to all nations and tribes and tongues. We are not to add to the Gospel. The Gospel is not the message of liberalism or conservatism. It is not a social movement. I want you to pause your passionate cause for a moment. The Gospel is Jesus plus nothing or is it?

Is the gospel Jesus plus a cause or activity?

 So is the Gospel message Jesus plus "income equality"? Jesus plus who you vote for? Jesus plus open borders in America? Jesus plus the 2nd Amendment? I wish God would clarify this for us. 

 Allow me to address another aspect of this. The social aspect some cling to also includes good works not just protesting or activism. Feeding the hungry, taking care of the homeless and other good deeds are these the Gospel? If you say, of course, let me frame it another way.

 What washed us from our sins, cleansing us and what forgave us once for all time? Is it the Blood of Jesus plus taking care of the poor and destitute? Is it Jesus once for all sacrifice plus our giving shelter to the homeless? Is it the Finished Work plus building orphanages? I hope you already know the answer.

 It is only the shed blood of Jesus that forgives and cleanses us. It is His final sacrifice that washed us, made us clean and exchanged our old life with His new eternal life. It was His Finished Work that made us the righteousness of God in Him, perfect and acceptable in the eyes of our good Father in Heaven. 

 I have actually heard some make statements like giving a person a hug is more effective than hearing someone preaching a sermon. I'm sorry, that is not conveying the Gospel. Can you imagine someone sharing a testimony like this;
 "Oh I know I'm saved, a Christian gave me a hug on the street."
"I know I'm right with God because a ministry fed me a chicken dinner."
 That sounds silly but the way some speak about the Gospel this is the impression they leave and what they declare the Gospel is. Is this accurate?
13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” Romans 10:13-15 NLT

What am I saying?

 The Gospel is the Gospel of the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not a politically affiliated message. It is not an activist cause. It is not a social movement. It is not about doing good deeds. If it is then we've traded the Gospel of Grace for a gospel of works and performance. I sure hope you marched at the right rally, took up the right cause, fed enough hungry, visited enough prisoners, clothed enough naked, and met enough needs to become righteous.

 Now when we received the Gospel of Grace and have been transformed by His love and goodness, we will begin to bear fruit. Give someone a hug alright, but do it in Jesus name. Hug a fellow tight, but afterwards, share that Gospel with them. Feed the hungry, help the homeless, but make sure they know this is God's love in action. After they're warm and fed, give them the good news of Grace. 

 The Gospel needs to be conveyed for it to be received. The Gospel of Grace is the only thing that brings change to people. Simply feeding them or providing a need is good but not enough to bring about new life. If so the many, many secular thrift and consignment stores in the World should have many lives changed but there is no testimony of salvation because of them. As believers, we have the message that brings hope, love and new life. As we go about doing good and meeting needs let's not omit giving people the good news Gospel of Christ. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Healing Grace: Consider Jesus and not your imperfections and receive your healing

For it’s by God’s grace that you have been saved. You receive it through faith. It was not our plan or our effort. It is God’s gift, pure and simple. You didn’t earn it, not one of us did, so don’t go around bragging that you must have done something amazingEphesians 2:8-9 Voice

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. 3 John 2 NKJV

 In the recent weeks, we've been studying the healing Grace of Almighty God. So far we've seen that God is always good. That He is for us and never against us. That He isn't orchestrating evil in your life. We've seen He is there for us even in the darkest of times, bringing peace and assurance. 

 Why minister on the truth of healing? Why teach His healing Grace? Because we are boldly proclaiming the full Gospel of the Grace of God. Any gospel that reveals God sometimes heals and sometimes wants you sick, or sometimes brings deliverance and other times brings affliction isn't good news. 

 A gospel that only offers you forgiveness, and a guaranteed destination of Heaven, but is powerless to heal your body or abundantly bless you in this life is not the true gospel. This kind of "gospel" only serves to diminish expectations, dissipate hope, and deter faith. Where is the good news when we tell people God will only take care of you after you die, but until then you're on your own?

 Christ and His Finished Work has done so much more. He has provided for us all things that pertain to our life. That is good news, but you may be saying, "what if I don't merit Him doing anything for me?" Some may be wondering "what if this illness and infirmity were of my own making?" 

 This is of great importance that we address and answer these questions. Many in the Body of Christ have been taught that the reason they've not experienced the healing power of God is because their sins and shortcomings have disqualified them. Their faulty faith failures have short-circuited the receiving process. What is Jesus attitude on this?

21 Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Gentile woman who lived there came to him, pleading, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! For my daughter is possessed by a demon that torments her severely.” 
23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.” 
24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”
25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”
26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”
28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.”And her daughter was instantly healed. Matthew 15:21-28 NLT
 This is an amazing example of God's healing Grace. At this time, Jesus was operating under the Old Covenant and hadn't yet paid the price for all mankind. He was ministering to the House of Israel only at this time. Yet we see the faith of this Gentile woman, who reached out and grabbed hold of God's Grace and power and received her miracle.
 At first glance, it seems Jesus was being cruel to the woman. I see deeper, that Jesus was leading her to a place where she could receive, even though she couldn't merit it. This woman was outside of the Commonwealth of Israel. She had no Covenant right to ask for anything. Yet, she received, how so?
 Jesus told her the Covenant didn't yet extend toward her. What she did is consider Jesus and His great Grace towards Israel and said surely with so much Grace I will simply take from the overflow, just the "crumbs" falling from the table. This is all I need to receive my miracle. She had so much faith in just a drop of His goodness and Grace that Jesus marveled at it. 
 This woman considered Jesus and not her imperfections and received. She didn't consider, "well I am not a Jew this healing is not for me." "I don't merit this healing because my people serve a different god." She looked past her demerits and embraced His goodness and kindness and Grace and received her miracle!
Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith. He endured the cross and ignored the shame of that death because He focused on the joy that was set before Him; and now He is seated beside God on the throne, a place of honor.
Consider the life of the One who endured such personal attacks and hostility from sinners so that you will not grow weary or lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3 Voice
 What is the answer for us when we find ourselves in the trouble of our own making? What do we do when we know we haven't been living lives that are honoring to the good name of the Lord? What about when we have believed by faith we are healed but as of late have been wavering and faltering? 
 Hebrews gives us the answer. Stay focused on Jesus and His faithfulness. Consider Jesus and not your faults and failures. Certainly, we don't celebrate living in a manner that is sinful and selfish. Yet, we must realize no one is able to merit one thing from God based upon performance. God's standard is 100% perfection 100% of the time. This is why our focus is Jesus and not performance.
 This Covenant was cut between God and the Son Jesus, not us anyway. Therefore it is Jesus performance and obedience that is the root or basis of this Covenant. Our performance has nothing whatsoever to do with our receiving. So many ministers want to find ways to disqualify and exclude God's people from receiving.
 Christ and His Finished Work provided a complete redemption. This Gospel of Grace isn't a half measure gospel. This Gospel doesn't provide for eternity only. This Blood that was shed isn't saying I purchased you an eternal address in Heaven but as for healing and provision you need to find your own help, I'll just be waiting for you when you get to Heaven.  
 In summation, if you want to receive your healing stay focused on the Lord Jesus and His Finished Work and not your sins and imperfections. His shed Blood has forever qualified you to receive all that Grace has purchased in eternal redemption. God isn't looking down upon you with folded arms and a frown of disappointment. He isn't looking for ways to withhold healing and provision from coming your way. He is a good Father who is perfectly and perpetually satisfied with Jesus Finished Work and receives good pleasure when He supplies all your needs.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Still More Objections to healing in the Finished Work

 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.           1 Peter 2:24

Over the past several weeks we've been looking at healing in the finished work of Jesus Christ. In a brief review we have seen that Jesus purchased for us the healing of our physical bodies in His finished work on the Cross. He has paid the full price for our wholeness. We answered some objections such as not looking at the experiences of others. We saw how by the blood of Jesus we are perfect in Him and God isn't withholding healing from us. We answered the sovereignty and God's willingness objections with God's love and His Word. We looked at focusing on the finished work and not bitterness or unbelief. 

Even after all these truths are revealed there still remains some objections to healing. This week I'd like to address a major objection to healing that many sincere believers cling to. That God is glorified when we are sick. This is a belief among many in the Church, that God gets glory sometimes when we suffer with sickness and disease. 

This idea has its roots in some misunderstood Scriptures in the Gospel of John:

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. John 9:1-3 
This verse is coupled with John 11
Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. John 11:3-4
See brother, its right there. God gets glory out of sickness. Paul said in the mouth of two or three witnesses will a truth be established. Twice we see how God uses sickness to glorify Him. This is usually how the dialogue goes. Trying to reach these folk who steadfastly hold to this interpretation of Scripture is rather difficult. Some folks minds are likened to cement. Thoroughly mixed and well set.
The interpretation of these passages usually plays out like this. God made men sick so that Jesus could come around and heal them. Then all those who saw would realize Jesus came to be the Messiah and many would believe. That is where they totally miss God. They reason that Jesus only went about healing to prove His Divinity and who He was. If this is so why did Jesus many times discourage people from revealing who He was? 
The missing element to the equation in tradition ruled thinking is the love and mercy of Almighty God. Jesus healed people because of His compassion and love for them. Newsflash, God so loves you too. He wants you well and whole. 
Here is something to consider. If Father God gets glory out of sickness why did Jesus go around healing ALL who were oppressed of the devil and "rob" God of all that glory? Was Jesus being counter productive to God's plan?
But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” And he arose and departed to his house. Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men. Matthew 9:6-8
 Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them. So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel. Matthew 15:30-31
What do we see that gives God glory? The healing power of God in demonstration. The Lord in His loving mercy removing painful illness and restoring brokenness into wholeness caused men to truly glorify God in Heaven. God's Word is not contradictory. We must not allow obscure passages to rob us of clear passages that prove beyond doubt what God's will is on a certain truth. The problem with the obscure passages is we haven't rightly divided them. 
So I want to rightly divide these two passages to remove this concept that God gets glory out of you suffering with sickness and crippling and painful disease. I will do this over the next couple of posts. If you want the truth about these passages then don't hesitate to stay tuned to get the answers. God and His Word are one. They never lie. God desires you to live in wholeness. This is the good news of the gospel, the finished work of Christ.
I truly pray this post blesses you abundantly. Consider sharing with others so we can get this truth out there that God is good and sickness is bad! May the blessing of the Lord overtake you this week.