Fight the good fight and stay strong in the Lord as you face various trials and tribulations. The Christian life is filled with suffering, but you can suffer well.
More at https://jnwheels.com
Fight the good fight and stay strong in the Lord as you face various trials and tribulations. The Christian life is filled with suffering, but you can suffer well.
More at https://jnwheels.com
From A Series Called “Bring Me Back” – Thoughts About Prodigal Things.
We have been invited. To us, the call has been made – to sit with the Savior. The amazing thing is that He has chosen to sit with us. The Savior pursues sinners. He sits with us, eats with us, teaches us and welcomes us to learn from Him. If Christ does not receive sinners, than none of us shall be received.
“This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
It has almost always been this way for us as humans. We have always found ourselves found and pursued by God. First as the magnum opus (the master-work) of created things – the wonder and fascination of the angels, and then as the paragon (the prize) of Christ as our savior. You see, we once enjoyed unbroken and unstained fellowship with God – no sin involved. We walked and talked, dined and learned from the omniscient one. It was His joy and His choice to include us in His love and awesome presence. We were created by Him and made to enjoy being with Him. Later, we chose to be apart from Him, and as a result we suffered. With Him, as we were designed to be, we thrived. Apart, we suffered in so many ways. In order to be restored to that place of togetherness and intimacy, He had to once again choose us to be united together with Himself. Sin broke us, salvation restores us. He must pursue, or we will never be found.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you..”
Thats what I mean when I say that we went from magnum opus to paragon. We were fine, and then we were fined. Sin broke us and we had no currency worthy to pay the debt for our sin. We owed a debt that could not be paid. Who can pay such a ransom? How to you fix something that is fundamentally and physiologically broken. How do you fix a broken soul when no man can manufacture such a remedy? Sin broke us, and broken things don’t fix themselves. It must come by the masters own hands. He made this battle His own and paid the price through Christ Jesus on the cross. Pure and holy blood to cover polluted and sinful hearts. His blood, purified impure hearts. He won. He gets the prize. Because He chose to do so.
Thats what makes passages like this one found in Luke 15 and John 15 so awesome. It doesn’t say that the sinners ate with Jesus, it says that Jesus ate with them – with tax collectors and sinners. He chose where to dine, and who to dine with. To the religious and wise, these people were the scum of the earth, and yet to Jesus, they were the prize – the trophy Christ had come to win. God gets what God wants, and if He wants you, then He has you. Welcome to the table – His table.
To Him it is a victory, to us it is a battle. We flail, but He fights, and when He fights, He wins. Some of us need to hear this today. He fights for you. He loves His kids – His creation and prize. We wander, and when sheep wander, they get lost. Lost people hurt themselves. Jesus finds lost sheep, and when He finds them, He heals them and welcomes them back with rejoicing. To Him, this love for you is natural – it is who He is for you and toward you. Listen:
“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
So if others think that you have failed, that you are unworthy or if satan and your own mind have made you think that you suck. You may have done sucky things, but that is not what Christ hangs over your head. The banner over your head is Christ and His victory over your sin. Satan calls you worthless and unworthy – a tax collector and sinner! But God … He called and calls you “Saint!”, not sinner. To your Father in heaven, you are the lost one, pursued and found by Jesus Christ – purposefully.
Are you hurt or hurting? Are you lost?
What sin have you wandered into?
How far are you from where you want to be?
Maybe your not where you should be or how you should be?
How do we get back to where we belong?
Look! There He is. He is coming! With joy on His lips and singing in His heart to pour over you as He lifts you up from that place of refuse, and places you on His shoulders. He has come to bring you back, oh wanderer!
It is never too late to come back to God, in Christ!
Sin called you lost, but repentance sets you free.
Sin will keep you far from Him, repentance will place you on His shoulders, and He will nurse you back to health and bring you safely back into fellowship with the Father and His holy people, now and forever.
Can you say it? “Bring me back to You!”
The consequences of our sin have been felt and that road is rough, but the healer can make us whole again. We have been bought by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. His blood is a river that covers all sin and never runs out. Deep deep blood, it covers all your sin… all…your … sin.
It is always ok to come back.
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Sin caused us to go from unashamed to filled with shame. From peace with God to fear of God. “I was afraid,” said Adam. In his nakedness, Adam realized that what he was now feeling, was not in God. He had become something else. He had become sinful and this was something he had never experienced with God. God was not this new thing. The contrast was obvious to Adam. God was pure and man was stained. There had been no shame with God… but now, with sin, He was scared with God. Scared of God, His Creator and friend. God, in the garden with man as a sinner, was a scary thing to Adam. He recognized the Holiness of God in contrast to the sinfulness in his own heart and mind. His consciousness was no longer at ease but it was bothered. “Hide! Hide Adam!” That was the new thought in his mind. Because he recognized that He would be judged as unholy in contrast to the perfect creator before him. He was now a broken vessel. The pieces were scattered across the floor. And the thought of standing before His first love – God, and accepting this fact was too much to bare… and so he hid himself.
But God was not scared. He was not afraid of these consequences. He pursued his broken man and woman. His masterpiece was not beyond repair. Even from the first, God was ready to put the pieces back together. Man was about to find out what love is, and what love can do. It can forgive the greatest and gravest of failures and mistakes. It can heal the wounded and most broken of hearts. It can calm the storms and fears that we all feel. We recognize the failure and He provides the reconciliation. He takes it upon Himself to cover the shame we all feel and He covers it by His blood. He sacrificed His own creation and clothed Adam and Eve in the skin of an animal for the first time. He created the covering that would ease their shame until Christ would come to cover us forever! We are the broken and He is the saving grace. Let that comfort you in your pain and help you to look at Him once again, as loving creator of all things. Your gracious and loving creator, friend, and God. The broken things can and have been restored.
These are the Broken Pieces and Saving Grace.
Though Jacob has neglected God, God is still working, even behind the scenes. He is about to allow pain into the lives of Jacob and his family. The megaphone is coming. Though sin tries to derail the people of God from the best purposes God had for them, God is still sovereignly working all things together for His good purpose and pleasure.
The Pain of their own choices is about to become the ice water splashed upon their spiritually sleepy faces. God will use these circumstances to wake them up from their slumbering state. The fear of God has left them, but its about to return. They have taken things, dramatically into their own hands and yet God is about to bring them back. God is bringing Jacob to the end of himself. Jacob will be brought to pathetic and disgraceful lows… We must all get there, sometimes time and time again in order to look back up to God from our knees and acknowledge Him once again as Lord and master.
One more quote, and listen carefully, and then we will dive into our text.
From Lewis, once again:
“Let me implore the reader to try to believe, if only for a moment, that God, who made these deserving people, may really be right when He thinks that their modest prosperity and the happiness of their children are not enough to make them blessed: that all this must fall from them in the end, and if they have not learned to know Him they will be wretched. And therefore He troubles them, warning them in advance of an insufficiency that one day they will have to discover. The life to themselves and their families stands between them and the recognition of their need; He makes that life less sweet to them.
If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer, He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and [(emphasis mine) then, in our broken state, we will finally] come to Him because there is ‘nothing better’ now to be had.”
Jacob is getting there. The Brokenness is coming and Potter is standing ready to make him right once more.
Audio Book Version:
As far as Gods people were concerned,
It had always been about “the Kingdom” – God’s rule here on earth. About God’s people living in and living out the fulfilled promise of the one and only true God.
This reality hinged upon the promises of God being fulfilled in a man, a king, a ruler that would be the deliverer of Israel – Gods people – a son and descendant of the son of David from the tribe of Judah. This would be the King of the Jews! The king of the people known as the praisers of God – for that is what Judah means: “to praise.”
The Jews were in fact to be the praisers and worshipers of God, and that is what the Messiah, the Christ, the Promised King would do, He would unite the people of God as worshipers of God and rulers with Him forever.
That is the promise, and what good is a promise unless it is fulfilled?
That promise and its fulfillment is what the entire bible is about.
Will God be true to His promise?
Will he fulfill His covenant with man?
And to us, the question is asked:
Will we accept His King? …even if it comes in the form of a
helpless baby? … born of an unwed mother?… in a barn, atop
a pile of hay, surrounded by animals?
Its easy to like the promise, but will we accept its fulfillment?
The Gift of a savior came… but it took some time.
Like most major changes throughout history, the gift of a savior king for Israel would not come without major opposition.
People fear change… it makes us feel uncomfortable.
It threatens our norm and moves us unwillingly a lot of times from our comfort zone.
The birth of a savior had been rumored as wise men had followed a star from the east to Bethlehem where they believed that THE Messiah had been born.
Upon this discovery Herod, the King and ruler of Palestine, fearful that he would lose his power and maybe even his throne, decided to take his fate into his own hands and he acted in a most desperate and wicked way.
He ordered that all male children in Bethlehem under the age of two were to be murdered. (Jer 31:15)
Joseph, as we know had been forwarded in a dream and had fled to Egypt to keep his son Jesus safe.
Imagine, a father, protecting (or saving) his son, who would later become his Savior.
Like Herod, people who would protect their own power over their own lives – their own will and comforts, have always had and always will have a hard time accepting their own need for a Savior.
To acknowledge God, is to acknowledge that you are not superior in the universe.
If God exists, than He by default is more powerful than us, and
if He is more powerful than us than He rules over us, and if
He is Ruler, than He must have rules and If He has rules, than
one day we must be accountable to them.
And for most, that is simply unacceptable.
To acknowledge God as ruler and king of our lives would require us to accept His ways and change ours.
It would require us to acknowledge our state of needing Him and His rescue if we were to find out that we were indeed not perfect like Him.
If a holy God demanded that were unacceptable and unworthy of His kingdom in our imperfect and sinful, dirty state of being, than we would NEED a rescuer, an offering of forgiveness… a ransom.
Herod could not accept a ruler over his life, threatening his kingdom, and so he refused to bow the knee and violently resisted the will of God and took matters into his own fleshly hands.
But the will of God can not be thwarted.
God would fulfill His promises to usher in His Kingdom with the promised Messiah seated on the throne.
Truly, the clay is in the Hands of the Potter, and the Potter will have His way with His purposed vessels.
Truly, the Kingdom of God was at hand and there was nothing man could do to stop it.
The Messiah and Savior and King had been born and He was being raised as one like us – only without sin or imperfection.
The Kingdom of God was upon us all and God had sent a messenger to prepare the way….
He was not a normal man…
normal meant 9-5, vanity, well-groomed,
respected, a home owner, a car payment,
SHOES for goodness sake!
But not our messenger.
John was anything but normal.
He was a believer.
He was a disciple of God and a forerunner of the messiah.
He was truly willing to look a fool for the sake of setting the stage for the one who could save his own soul and the souls of those who would repent and believe.
It is in fact those who are weak and humble and willing to follow God, who prepare the way for others to meet their maker and Savior. Remember Paul’s words to the Corinthians about their calling
“26For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards,[c] not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being[d] might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him[e] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”
1 Cor 1:26-31
God would use a man, clothed in camels fur and belted with cow skin and who lived in the dusty wilderness, eating grass hoppers and honey.
Not a great looking celebrity or CEO or viral sensation.
Not a rich man or an impressive man, but a CALLED man.
A man whom God had selected. A Humble man. A man willing to do the will of God. A man willing to forsake worldly comforts to afford others the comforts of an eternity with God.
A man willing to speak the truth even if it cost him everything.
A man willing to be laughed at and insulted and questioned and beheaded.
John was not a man chasing riches or popularity. He was chasing God. Longing to follow Him and do His will. To make Him know, even if it cost Him everything.
Herod had feared that the messiah would live to conquer his throne, but it was Gods desire to conquer the hearts of men.
His victory was to overthrow the sin and rebellion that man had become accursed with. His Gift to us in His coming was the gift of repentance and the fruit of salvation.
Changed hearts, leading to a changed mind that could finally worship God without needing the continuing sacrifice of an animal, but worshipers who could continually come before God forgiven by the blood of their savior and sin-conquering King.
The Kingdom of God was upon us. God’s promise was being fulfilled and John The Baptizer was preparing the way!
It was the beginning of the Good News, coming in the flesh:
2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way,
3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”
4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
John’s Message like a Truth Sword cuts through our armored skin and penetrates our souls.
His preaching and message was the truth from God, highlighting the chasm that sin had laid before us and the Father, that could only be bridged by the sacrifice of the son. Our sin kept us from the Kingdom of God and it was only through the Son could that bridge be repaired.
Sin was the injury. Repentance was the healing balm.
of our advent series we talked about our fall into the cursed life because of Sin and our desire for it. Joel highlighted our need for a Savior because of our being cut off from the righteousness that is needed to live in fellowship with a Holy God. That is what holiness is and what it does – it is cut off from fault and error and sin. You cannot live righteously and wrongly at the same time. In order for God to be right (holy), He must keep those who are wrong out of His Kingdom.
But God’s purposes were not to keep us from Him forever, not even sin could separate us from the Love of God.
Randy emphasized the Prophesies concerning the coming of our savior. God not only planned our salvation, but He verbally predicted it for us in written form before it would even take place. He told us that He would save His people, and He saved and is saving His people through the promised Messiah – the Christ – The Savior of Gods people, just as He had promised. Jesus Christ.
Ryan reminded us that God’s ways are not our ways. Christ did not arrive with flashing light and a parade. He was born of humble means and circumstance. There was no room for Him in the inn. He was a baby. Helpless, needy, dependent upon His mothers milk and needing a blanket to keep warm. This was how God showed up in the flesh. Just as God had planned, sovereignly. The conqueror of Sin, born as a baby.
Josh shed light on the reality that the light of the world has shone in our hearts and he highlighted the emphasis in scripture that the people of God would be the bride of Christ. That Jesus as light of the world would shine in our hearts and give us life. That God has promised salvation and He has delivered on that promise.
What will you do with that promise?
Will you believe?
Will you Repent?
Belief itself is not without it’s evidence. Just as the proof is in the pudding, the evidence is in the fruit.
Salvation as a gift is to be received and the gift received leaves itself evidences.
The first being a repentant life.
Repentance is a deep inner change of the mind, heart and
That doesn’t happen without showing its evidence.
You can know who God is and be an unbeliever – an unrepentant person or being.
Example: The Devil.
A Person who has heard the truth and received (i.e. believed) the truth has experienced a miracle.
This is in fact, known as regeneration.
The gift of God to us, in removing the blinders from our eyes and the snares from our feet so that we can believe and see Him in His glory and grace and be recipients of the Gift of God – Salvation.
This Salvation is all of God alone.
Speaking of God’s Servants, Paul says to Timothy(2) (2:25-26) that
25 He must correct those who are in opposition with courtesy and gentleness in the hope that God may grant that they will repent and be led to the knowledge of the truth [accurately understanding and welcoming it], 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.
When I pray for my unbelieving friends and family members, I pray that God, in His great kindness and mercy would grant them repentance as a gift of His great grace.
What was Johns message in the wilderness?
It was that the Light was coming into the world and that it was now time to confess our deeds and repent, that we might receive new life.
His message was direct, and bold and to the point:
To the religious, he rebuked, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear Fruit in keeping with repentance… Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
And to all:
“I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” Matthew 3
The change God seeks is the change of the heart and mind. He takes evil men and replaces their calloused hearts with fleshy hearts. He takes a perverted mind and purifies its thoughts. He takes and old filthy garment and replaces it with a new clean and spotless one. He takes our unworthy sacrifices and becomes the pure spotless lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
This was the coming Kingdom that John preached about. The Kingdom of God and Christ who would forgive the repentant sinner and make His kingdom in their hearts.
But the Kingdom came to those who would believe and receive?
It is both.
Many knew Jesus, but did not receive Him for who He divinely Is. They know Him, heard him, ate with him and saw his miracles, and yet they did not receive the gift of God, but instead rejected it. Even the demons believe, says the scriptures. Repentance was not a fruit of their lives but rather a hardness of heard. Rocky hearts do not grow on trees, fruit does. Those who are connected to the vine bear fruit and that fruit resembles Christ. Those who’s stony and prideful hearts keep them christ are not attached to the vine but remain on the ground, only observers but not partakers of the fruit. Though they may gather close to the branches, they are not part of the tree.
This is why it is so important for us to speak the truth as John did. He was a witness to the truth, faithfully preaching a baptism unto repentance, why? So That many would believe and receive the gift of God in Christ – Salvation.
Who do we call to repentance? Who do we ask to believe? Who do we pray for, that repentance might be granted?
We preach to all, we pray for all, and we love all.
“for God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Who is the “whoever”?
We don’t know…. And so we preach the good news to whoever we can, and we pray that GOD, who is rich in Mercy, would grant the same repentance to those hearers that he has granted to us, even though we were sinners.
Consider John 1-3 with an emphasis on the word receive.
If God’s good news of how He has loved you, and sent His Son Jesus to die for you has reached your ears and pierced your heart and has created the feeling of remorse for your sins for maybe the first time, than can I rejoice with you, that a miracle has taken place. That is a Gift from God for you.
Receive this Gift gladly. Accept this reality that God has allowed you to repent and turn from your sins and not only believe Him but to obey Him.
This is the fruit of a life reborn – regenerated and made to come alive for the first time.
Its not Just about believing, it’s about being born again of God alone.
John said toward the end of John chapter three, that
“He (speaking of Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease…whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true…whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life…”
John’s Gospel is the only gospel that does not mention John the Baptist’s death and his beheading at the hands of Herod. . .
It’s as if John the Baptist simply fades out of the picture just as he would have wished.
John simply described himself as a Voice. The voice of one crying out in the wilderness.
We all have a voice.
What will your voice give witness to?
John proclaimed the coming of his Savior and told people to believe and receive Gods Gifts of Grace: Repentance unto Salvation.
I cannot imagine a better way to be a voice, than to proclaim the Salvation that has come to us by God in Christ Jesus or Lord.
From the Sermon: Remembering His Great Love – a survey of Gods Love through the book of John
Text (BLOG) Below:
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
“16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”
The purpose of this exhortation this morning is simple. It is to encourage our hearts in the love of God.
Often times, we question whether we are loved by God or others. And, sometimes, we cannot find it in ourselves to love others or even ourselves, and so the question’s arise within ourselves from time to time, “Are we loved?” “How are we loved?” “Does God Love Me?” “Can I love myself and others?”
These questions do indeed come with answers if we listen to the right sources. If you want the answer – need the answer, go to the source. The source of Love has spoken and given the answers that comfort even the most distraught and hurting hearts. When we are broken or doubting in the area and need for love, it is comfort that we are in need of. It is really a deep question and enquiry of purpose and belonging.
What is my purpose if love is not some part of it? To be loved and to give love. We all want it. We all need it. And sometimes we need to be reminded of it. To be comforted by it, by the source itself. To be comforted by the love of God for us as His creatures and kids.
How are we comforted by God? We are comforted by his great love.
He gives it, He shows it, and He promises it eternally.
The comfort He gives is an eternal comfort and good hope, freely given – through His generous grace.
I want to answer a couple of questions this morning about the love of God toward us and for us.
1. Does God love us?
(take a moment and allow several scriptures to remind you of Gods love)
“39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should
lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up
on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that
everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him
should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the
The will of God is to bring all who look upon Him and believe into eternal life with Jesus – receiving the same reward: eternal life.
God has compelled Himself in love to save the otherwise un-savable.
Does God love us? The answer is a simple yet resounding YES! Because He willingly decided to act upon His love for us by saving those who believe in Him.
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish
but have eternal life.”
The Simple answer to this question is yes.
God loves us and has set His desire to save us and glorify His Son and Himself by doing so.
Amazing isn’t it!?
Its incredible that being the object and recipient of Gods love can, in and of itself bring Glory to God, and in doing so give our lives and our love meaning and purpose.
But, how can this be? How does this happen?
21 “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
To love someone is to set your affections upon that person, and to be full of good-will toward that person.
The closest relationship I can think of, to give as an example of this sort of love, is that love between a parent toward a child.
It a pure love, wishing only good upon its recipient. No evil is wished upon the other, only good things and pleasant thoughts are extended toward your child.
The Love is reciprocated. It is received, recognized and aimed back at its originator. We call this Love, and it becomes worship for those who believe. As a result of receiving this love, we want to obey and respond in kind. We want to be like God was and is toward us – loving and lovely.
How is it that love exists in our hearts and in this world?
1 John 4:18-19
19 “We love because he first loved us.”
It exists because God, among many other attributes, is a loving God who loves us as His own.
This is the agape love of the father extended to us – now made his children through faith, because of His reconciling us to Himself through Jesus, His son.
And so, does God love us?
2. How has God loved us? (How has He comforted us?) (How has He given us Hope?)
He has loved us by sending His Son into the world, specifically to fulfill the will of the Father in saving us and giving us eternal life with His beloved son.
The eternal curse of sin was deservedly upon us as trespassers and law breakers. And yet the penalty of that curse was undeservedly placed upon Himself in the flesh upon the cross.
Gods righteous judgement declared all sin to be punishable by death. It (sin) did not belong. Not with God, not in His presence and not in eternity.
Who could settle and satisfy Gods wrath and righteous judgement?
What propitiation could be made, allowing us to escape the wrath of God to come upon the sins of the world?
A solution to the problem did not exist. It does not exist outside of the One who can accomplish the impossible.
Unless God acts within Himself to remove our sins, they cannot be removed. Within our lives as unforgiven sinners, we were missing the best of Love… Gods love, and so we were missing the best of life… eternal life.
He could not simply remove the punishment.
That would not make Him just.
Simply, justice would not be served.
He also, could not declare righteous what had been tainted by sin.
That would not be right.
Justice had to be imposed.
But how could sin be removed and punished at the same time?
The penalty was death.
How do you cure death?
God took it upon Himself… (selah)
The Father of all creation, compelled by His own love toward those who would believe, made Himself to become the sacrifice that would appease His own wrath.
Rather than letting us face the eternal consequence of our own sin, He became sin for us and stood in our place before the Judgement seat of God, as the Son, paying the price for our sin, dying, though He had been eternal life Himself, and there, feeling the pain that should have been ours, allowed Himself to be tortured and executed as a slaughtered lamb at the hands of those whom He created, and who were corrupted by sin, and He was nailed, hands and feet to a splintery wood cross, and there the eternal wrath of God was thrust upon Jesus Christ, once and for all satisfying Gods wrath and delivering justice on the offenders who would look to Christ Jesus for salvation.
He did what could not be done by anyone else. He took our sin’s upon Himself – all of them, and then rose in victory – sin could not keep Him in the grave because it was not His sin that caused His death, it was ours!
What was impossible for man, was made possible by God Himself.
1 John 3:1:
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
We could not inherit the eternal spiritual life because in our sin we had become spirituality dead, and yet God in His love moved Himself to act on our behalf, sending us the promised rescuer, Himself, in Christ as Savior.
Does God Love you? You tell me…
1 Corinthians 15:50-55
50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
How has God loved us?
He has loved us by sending us His Son as Savior and by doing for us what only He could do – dying in our place and sharing with us His eternal reward – eternal life.
3. How has and does He show us His love? (What does Gods Love look like/Act Like?)
In John 1
Verse 38-39, 42
Jesus invites us to follow him, and receive a new identity in him. Like Peter, to go from a man led by the impulses of his flesh, to become a man led by and standing firm in Faith, proclaiming the truth that changes our hearts and minds and saves us for heaven, by the grace of God through Christ.
In John 2
Jesus defends and preserves His house, His presence, and His church and a place to meet and talk with God. In love, by grace we are invited as His children, to pray with Him. He preserves His house as a house of prayer, casting out those who would stand in the way of you and the Father. Christ has brought us to the Father, now and forever.
In John 3
Jesus reasons with us, offering us His salvation and the new life, causing us to be “born again” into an eternal spiritual life, and declares Gods love: “for God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
In John 4
Jesus speaks with the outcasts and marginalized – sitting down with and drinking water from the cup of the samaritan woman – an adulterous woman rejected by the jews, yet accepted and pursued by God, here at a well, found by her Savior. She had been looking for peace, but not until Jesus found her did she know it. Here, with love extended by God in the flesh, her life was now made whole.
Gods love shows itself in His love for those hurting and the outcast, as He healed many who were hurt, lame, diseased, blind, poor and even the demon possessed.
In John 6
With great compassion for those hungry, who followed Him, He twice, miraculously fed them with fish and bread, to satisfy their physical hunger, simply because He cares for them and He cares for you. It may just be that simple, that God takes care of you because He Loves you. He Loves you now and into eternity.
Do you trust Him? Do you trust that He Loves you?
26 “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor
gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by
being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?
28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the
lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin,
29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not
arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass
of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into
the oven, will he not much more clothe you…?”
And not only does He satisfy us with physical bread for our bodily hunger, but He becomes our very sustenance and life, being “the bread of Life”:
35″ Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever
comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me
shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me
and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will
come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will
but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him
who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has
given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will
of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and
believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him
up on the last day.”
He is also the Living Water (John 7:37), providing not only for our physical hunger, but satisfying our spiritual thirst eternally. He has given us His Spirit – inside us, to give us life and keep us for God eternally.
In John 8
God comes to the defense of a women caught in the very act of adultery, and forgives her of her sins. He is not ashamed to humble Himself in coming to our rescue. The woman would have been stoned otherwise, if Jesus had not intervened.
What sin is so big or so condemning in your life, that Jesus would not stoop to the ground and lift you up from your mess?
Just as He did for the Women caught in the very act of adultery, He has done for you. He has and will come to your rescue.
38 “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor
rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will
be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus
No sin is too great, no one has become so backslidden or gone too far into the darkness that Christ cannot redeem or rescue you by shining His very light of forgiveness into your life to bring you back into His glory and grace. For that is His mission – Gods mission – a rescue mission.
In John 8
He is the light of the world and whoever follows Him will not walk in darkness but will have the very light of life.
Do you need to walk into the light? He loves you, for that is why He came, and comes to your rescue.
In John 10
God reassures His love for and eternal protection over His sheep, even laying down His very life to win you back to Himself – dying to protect you from the enemy of your soul.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came
that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the
good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for
the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd,
who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and
leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and
scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and
cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I
know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father
knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for
the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold.
I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So
there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the
Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take
it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of
my own accord.
In what other ways has God and does God express His Love for us?
In John 11
Jesus weeps with those who have lost a loved one (Lazarus). Not only does he weep over our lack of and lapses of faith, but he takes it upon Himself to increase our faith through miraculous acts of His grace upon our life. Here, He raises a dead man, Lazarus, not only restoring life, but increasing our faith.
He walks on water and calms storms, He makes wine for celebrations, He washes the feet of His followers, He defends His disciples against the attack of the legalistic pharisees, He promises His Spirit as the keeper and sustainer of our salvation, bringing us home to heaven. He fulfills His promise to us, by laying down his life for us on the cross, and pleasing His Father, and finishing His mission.
He forgives those who persecuted Him, and He forgives and restores Peter, who betrays Him 3 times. . .
Does God Love You?
16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.
Does He Love you? Are you loved?
The answer is a resounding YES! Y.E.S!
Look at what great lengths He has gone to, to show you His great love for you, and in doing so, Jesus has completed and satisfied the will of His Father, giving God glory.
And finally, in Love, He redeems our praise and brings us into worship. Our Response is to Love as He has loved us. To forgive others. To be instruments of His Love, Mercy and Grace.
6 “Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give Him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
9 And the angel said to me,
“Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Be reminded now, and make no mistake, that you are eternally loved, oh child of God, and blessed forever.
By Jeremiah Wheelersburg (J.N.Wheels)
Listen to Jeremiah and Special Guests on “The Minister The Ministry and Me Show” on iTunes and several podcast platforms. Also known as The 3M Podcast.
J.N.Wheels talks with guest Jeremiah Jasso about the importance of keeping with sound doctrine in the the church for this generation and future generations. Should we be scared of Doctrine? Should we as christians embrace and teach doctrine? What is doctrine anyways? Find out on this episode of the 3M Podcast w/ J.N.Wheels.
To listen to the full episode click HERE and find the 3M Show on your favorite Podcast platform.
The Following is the transcript of my recent sermon on Sola Gratia – Grace Alone.
3 Types of Grace:
God shows kindness to all.
Our topic today.
Gods Help and Glory in our everyday blessings and victories over sin.
What is Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)?
Grace alone for salvation or
Simply put–when talking about grace it’s
Salvation as a gift of God.
The church needs to remind ourselves of the essential doctrines of the faith– Founded in Sola scriptura– or the Scriptures alone.
These are the distinctions that set us apart from every other faith system on the planet.
Because they are founded in God, not man.
They are otherworldly and beyond the reasoning of man.
They are godly.
When we talk about…
-Justification by faith alone (Sola Fide)
-The Scriptures alone being the revealed source of truth and revelation of God’s redemptive plan (Sola Scriptura) and
-The grace of God alone for salvation (Sola Gratia).
We are talking about God sharing Himself with us. These attributes and realities are found in Him, not us. Gods Grace is an attribute of God, being shared with us. A true gift that cannot be found anywhere else. No one has it but God himself and if He does not share it with us, we are rightfully dead where we stand in our sins forever.
We are the beggars, and He has the goods.
When we talk about these essential doctrines, we’re talking about things which we would not have known had God not, in his kindness, that is, in His Grace, revealed them to us through his Holy Scriptures.
The gospel is the kindness and grace of God for undeserving man.
God did not have to supply His grace to us in saving sinners.
This kind of grace and kindness is an attribute of God which He has decided within Himself to share with us.
We would not have it (that is His Grace in saving us from ourselves – Daily!) unless He moved Himself to love us in this way–that is the gospel–giving us of Himself, that is His Son to stand in our place and receive the wrath of God, poured out in full upon His body, becoming the curse of sin, that we had earned through our unrighteousness, sin and willing rebellion against Himself.
He laid down His life and we became the undeserving benefactors of His reward – Eternal Life!
Only the righteous may stand in His presence, and Christ is the righteousness of God, and through faith in Christ alone, have we been covered (justified) in His righteousness.
God is freely (graciously) Justifying Sinners Through Faith in Jesus Christ and What He has achieved for us in our stead.
This is solely and purely an act of God by his choosing not ours. We do not have that kind of righteousness within ourselves–to be rebels and yet choose righteousness.
God had to, Himself, intervene and choose us as recipients of this wonderful and amazing gift of God’s grace for salvation through his son.
That is why the Scriptures ascribe salvation as the act of God alone,
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit
“… but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me,[a] is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”
“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will..”
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.
2 These 2:13
But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
And the psalmist:
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
My Salvation is YOURS! not mine.
It is not my doing.
I did not, could not earn it.
I could not accomplish it.
It is a gift from You, oh Lord, granted by Your Kindness to guilty sinners.
This is foundational to our understanding of Soli deo Gloria:
To God alone be the Glory.
How can we give Him Glory if we ascribe one iota of our salvation to our own doing or earning?
Can we share His Glory?
1Listen to me, you that follow after righteousness, you that seek the LORD: look to the rock from where you are hewn, and to the hole of the pit from where you are dig. 2Look to Abraham your father, and to Sarah that bore you: for I called him alone, and blessed him, and increased him…
5My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and my arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait on me, and on my arm shall they trust. 6Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look on the earth beneath: for the heavens shall vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. 7Listen to me, you that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear you not the reproach of men, neither be you afraid of their revilings. 8For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be for ever, and my salvation from generation to generation…
12I, even I, am he that comforts you: who are you, that you should be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; 13And forget the LORD your maker, that has stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and have feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?…
15But I am the LORD your God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: The LORD of hosts is his name. 16And I have put my words in your mouth, and I have covered you in the shadow of my hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say to Zion, You are my people.
All these things help us obtain a bigger view of God than is popularly taught in our culture.
Though Paul and his readers could not comprehend completely God’s sovereignty, still he understood this, that God alone is righteous and holy and sovereign and he can and will perform his will, his way, for his own sake and glory.
“But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”
Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”
Who are we to question God?
Who He saves or how He saves?
We are simply recipients of His Grace and our response is to be that of Worship and praise and adoration toward Him for His gift of Amazing Grace.
We must see God on the throne Sovereignly (holy/righteous), then we must rightfully see ourselves and our eternal state before this Holy and Righteous Creator God.
God Created all things and He did so beautifully.
He declared that all was good.
And man was in fellowship face to face with God – instructed to not eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, yet woman tempted and deceived by “the deceiver – satan” disobeyed and ate, then offering it to the man (adam), he also ate, yet his was a deliberate act of willful rebellion. He transgressed or sinned against His Friend, His God – Creator and mans nature has never been the same. Though he once chose to walk in the garden with God, now he had chosen to walk in his own ways, whatever the consequence and as a result, his heart would not choose righteousness unless an act of Grace on Gods part would lead him back to God.
Here is our human condition before God: Romans 3
“…both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,
as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
in their paths are ruin and misery,
and the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being[c] will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”
It is through Scripture Alone that we come to know who we are and what we are in need of. We need God.
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
And so God intervened (though He did not have to), promising a savior who would once and forever conquer deception, sin and death. God had set Himself on a mission to reveal His kindness through patience and long-suffering – showing us how good and wise and glorious and loving He is and has been to us.
He spoke through Noah and Enoch and Revealed Himself and made covenants with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and David.
He spoke through Judges, Prophets, Kings and Priests until He finally stepped into the timeline and spoke as Himself – Savior.
He who had once operated as creator, would now become savior to all who would believe.
If we are to understand grace, we must understand God as Holy, Sovereign, Righteous Judge.
If we are to receive Gods gift of Grace, and experience its Joy as a result, we must understand our desperate need for saving grace because of our sin and its deadly consequences.
Christ had come to die in our stead.
To take our place.
To bring a once and final acceptable offering to God of a perfect righteous spotless sacrifice (the lamb), in order to appease the wrath and justice of God toward sinners.
John Said it perfectly as he saw Jesus approaching:
““Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
Who else could offer themselves as such an offering but God Himself in Christ.
1Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” 3But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. 4I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. 5Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
6Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spiritsa of God sent out into all the earth. 7He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9And they sang a new song, saying:
“You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were slain,
and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reignb on the earth.”
11Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12In a loud voice they were saying:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!”
14The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
No one is worthy but Christ.
No man can stand before the presence of God except the God who became man in order that we might be made holy in His eyes through the sacrifice of the lamb of God – Jesus Christ.
This is Justification.
Made through Christ, Just as if we had never sinned in the eyes of a holy and righteous judge.
This is the love and Grace of God toward sinners, that He would choose us, sinners to be His bride. Not because of our righteousness, but because of Christ’s Righteousness for us in our place.
“21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
The reformers rightly defined grace as:
Gods Unmerited Favor
You never earned or deserved it, don’t you dare try now to earn or be deserving of it.
It began in the heart of God as a gift of grace and it will always be that – Gods unmerited favor.
You were never worthy and yet God chose to save you.
Simply accept and enjoy the gift.
Your only worth now is through Christ and Christ alone.
You are not and will never be your own savior.
Sola Christos – Christ alone is Savior.
For more from Jeremiah, Check out his podcast here: The 3M Show
What is written below is in response to another pastor within my community publicly condemning his congregation for exercising their liberty to drink alcohol in public or private – just so you know the context.
“Why even beat this drum?” you might ask, since I have publicly debated this topic multiple time’s online. I do believe passionately that if we begin to twist scripture to fit our own and every personal deep seeded conviction, and then pressure those around us to believe and practice the same, and especially if we are going to allow those who speak in our pulpits at our churches to do the same, we are going to:
1. Lose an entire generation of people and congregants who can see through the clouds of legalism that is spewing forth from this type of interpretation, even if they cannot articulate it. and
2. We are allowing our churches to produce accidental pharisees even though the intention was well meaning.
I cant even count the number of people I know and have met who are leaving the church or are discouraged and bewildered in their church because of the heavy handed doctrines that are being taught in regards to the topic of christian liberty. Pastors telling people what they can and cant do in life, in their families, in their careers. “Then what am I allowed to do?” Thus, the bewilderment of so many.
As pastors, preachers or Bible teachers, we are not instructors on every detail of everyones life, but rather conveyors of truth. Once that truth is accepted, it is up to the individual to grow into maturity and make their own decisions that can glorify God. We help them get there through discipleship. Not making them into our image but Christ’s.
This topic (on restricting liberties) always comes up around the issue of alcohol (which I believe is a “non-issue”) which is why some have come to believe that I am defending only the believers right to drink alcohol (because I do enjoy my craft beer) but that is not the case at all. In fact, that is not even what this article is about (not about alcohol). I am defending the believers right to their God given, fought and died for liberties in general – all of them.
Once you begin down the slippery slope of restricting others liberties (legalism), it becomes inevitable that you will produce in yourselves and in your church a horrific result of “christian superiority” over those who are not like you. That is dangerous and that is exactly where the pharisees erred. You and I cannot fill in the blanks where God has decided to keep silent or give liberty.
Which is exactly why my conversation began with the following verse:
(Following is my public online response)
“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 2 Cor 10:12
We all know that eating the food and where it comes from makes no difference (in relation to food offered to idols). But just because we know that we can eat it, lets not become, in our knowledge (or liberty), arrogant. Rather, in love we should consider the weakness or ignorance on these things (liberties) that those weaker or younger in the faith might display by their sensitivity to such matters. (1 Cor 8:1-8) These people’s conscience were still captive to the influence of these (false) idols. Thats not where we want to leave people. “their conscience, being weak, is defiled.” (1 Cor 8:7)
Corinthians encourages us to grow in the grace and knowledge of God, not stay weak in mind and faith. Paul was concerned about those who still believed in the power or influence of idols (that they, the idols, are something when they are not – idols). He is concerned that the one mans knowledge (which is commended), that it is ok to eat meat, even if it was once offered to a idol, would encourage another (weak minded and confused) believer that its ok to worship Jesus and to continue to worship idols as well. The context is to say, “we don’t worship idols, but some still haven’t gotten there yet – or figured this out yet” We should help them get there by getting our meat elsewhere if need be. He is not condemning the mature christians liberty but commending it by saying, “hey, we know better, and because of that, lets be mature enough not to send our weaker brothers and sisters, stumbling back into the idols temple and away from the one true God.”
But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols?
And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 1 Cor 8:8-11
He is talking about leaving the faith and going back to idol worship. We are to raise up or disciple our congregations to believe that there is One true God only who is worthy of our worship and that idols are nothing, therefore eventually they will grow up, not stay weak, and realize, like those with knowledge, that the idols that the meat is offered to are literally nothing and that the meat is just that, meat. “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” Jesus – Matt 15
This kind of teaching was at the core of Jesus’ teachings toward the pharisees and those trapped by legalism. Its about the heart. We encourage people to grow up! And in growing up in Christ, its becomes natural to make decisions based on our love for God and one another.
We encourage christians to grow and mature in a way that helps them to make all their decisions in a way that glorify God. When teachings like this (“dont do this or that”, “god revealed to ME that this is a stumbling block and unwise for you”) are taught year after year as people sit under our guidance, it becomes confusing, harmful and non-beneficial. Its encouraging christians to sip on the pastors milk when they should move onto the meat – maturing and being able to make their own decisions based on the scriptures. Thats where we get true wisdom – not from pastors who make statements like: “when God revealed this to me.” Thats nothing but legalism and extra-biblical teaching. This leaves no room for maturing or discussion or differing opinions on the matter (which the Bible leaves open for discussion). What else can be said or discussed among the church if the pastor is claiming that his opinion is from God?
Example from the Video: “You think you have the liberty to drink?” You cannot practice liberties, even “in the privacy or your home” your liberty “is a stumbling block” expressing “liberty” in “air quotes” “thats how some of you started drinking” ….etc.
A fat person finally got themselves on a diet and grabbed an apple before heading to church only to find mature believers at church eating extremely unhealthy donuts that the church provided…. stumbled.
Where does this logic stop?
Paul was not discouraging liberties. For Liberty Christ has set us free! “So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Gal 5:1
It is not beneficial as pastors to tell people what liberties they can and cannot partake in. The bible does not teach that alcohol is a sin. It does not discourage the use of alcohol. Rather, it encourages wise decision making and giving God Glory in all things with our liberty. Any teaching that makes a believer think that they are pleasing God by not doing this or that IS LEGALISM AND THERE IS NO OTHER WAY AROUND IT. Stick to the text. trust God to grow up the believer. They WILL make decisions that prove their love for God and one another.
First of all, the context here was never speaking about alcohol.
Second, if your going to condemn others liberties in this one area, then you should discourage all liberties (like my donut example above). i.e. Christians shouldn’t use the internet because some people got save from porn. Christians shouldn’t eat food because some christians were saved from eating disorders. Christians should not throw parties in their homes because a christian was saved from a party lifestyle. Christians shouldn’t be seen in malls because some christians were saved from excessive spending and vain lifestyles. You shouldn’t talk sports because that one guy was saved from gambling on sports…etc
This logic above is wrong because we were not saved from these things alone but from all sin and lots of those things (like the meat offered to idols) were not sin in and of themselves but it was the idolizing of them and rejecting God in order to do life on our terms that was and is the sin that we are all saved from. Idols.
If alcohol can lead to drunkenness, therefore we say “stay away!”, should the same reasoning be applied to everything? Because of the potential? If gaining wealth can lead to “the love of money” which is the root of all evil, should we not also say “stay away from money all together!” Should the church stop accepting tithe to avoid this temptation? Because it has certainly corrupted so many believers and churches. Certainly not. Instead we are encouraged and even commanded to walk in wisdom with our liberties not without them. We as individuals and churches should have a structure that allows accountability in these areas of our lives.
Don’t demonize “liberty” for the false assurance that it will keep people from sinning. Encourage people, that they have the liberty to Give God Glory in all things and in everything that they do.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
1 Cor 10:31
Though I do not think the following comment is necessary as a follow up, I have provided it for clarification due to a good brothers feedback. Thanks brother.
Sin is NOT liberty. If you cannot practice self-control or sobriety in any liberty than it has become an idol and a sin to you. You are better off abstaining from those liberties that cause you to sin. Drunkenness is Sin and cannot glorify God. Being high is the same, therefore drugs that cause you to lose your faculties and become intoxicated cannot qualify as liberty – they are sin and should be repented of and avoided.
What in Life do you prize the Most?
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