From A Series Called “Bring Me Back” – Thoughts About Prodigal Things.
It may seem an odd thing to rejoice in the return of a wayward more than in rejoicing over those who have seemingly always walked the straight and narrow road, but that is what redemption is about. It is about lifting the fallen and re-setting the broken bones. Bones that were never broken need not a cast, but those whose bones have been healed or restored, know that the restored limb is now stronger than ever before. The scars and the scar tissue are reminders of their folly, but they are also testimonies of the new life or second chance given by the hands of the healer or rescuer. Experienced grace creates grateful hearts. Grateful hearts tell their stories to others and other wanderers come home and find their own healing.
It brings me to this next prodigal tale. What things, precious to you, if they had become lost, would you do anything to find?
“Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and seek diligently until she finds it?And when she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
What, to you and I, is a soul worth? This woman had lost what might be to us, like losing an entire paycheck. But is this story about your paycheck? Its about much more than that. Its about her entire savings. She had worked so hard to save it – all of it, so all of it had become precious to her. So it is with the souls of Gods elect. They are, every single one of them, precious in His sight. He intends to lose none of them. If we wander, He turns over the tables, seeks through the mountain sides, sweeps every floor, until, at last he finds you where you are, even though you had become lost, and He places you back with the others. With Him. Lost no more.
Do we care for souls the way that Our Father does? Who is worthy and who is not worthy of our care and seeking and love? That is not for us to decide. As He seeks and saves those lost or wandering, so we too should pray for the rebel, the lost, those who have become burdens or eye sores, until they are brought back into the blessing of the beautiful life and light of eternity that we so enjoy.
The older I get, the more Gods love in me and through me is tested. It is so easy to be selective with the love I have to offer, want to offer. When I was younger, my enemies were few or nil. And now that I am aging, so are the relationships in my life. Old friends and companions have now become oppressors or those who stand in opposition. Some who I used to fellowship with, now fellowship with no one, not even with God. Some have walked away from the faith and now seek to discourage and divide. Do we have love for these? Do we, like Christ, seek to love our enemies? Do we recognize that we were the lost coin? We were the lost sheep. We were the enemies of God, and we can still become the backsliders. Does God still have love for us? I know that He does. He is seeking and saving and loving and redeeming, day and night, those who we would have counted as down for the count, but still he pursues for His name sake and for His glory. Why? Because God so loves the world. We must enjoy that love and not squander it to ourselves but allow God’s love to be a transformative love that is extended to the least, the last and the lost. We need to love the unlovable and seek their good. It is what God has done for us, may we do the same for others. Found people finding love for all, that more might be found until all the coins have been brought back to the treasure chest of eternity. Together, we who were lost are together found in Him. Every single one of us. Praise be to God!
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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.
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 ageof 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 withthe 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 wasbeing 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 finallyworship God without needing the continuing sacrifice of ananimal, but worshipers who could continually come beforeGod forgiven by the blood of their savior and sin-conqueringKing.
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 oureyes and the snares from our feet so that we can believeand see Him in His glory and grace and be recipients ofthe 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 towhoever we can, and we pray that GOD, who is rich inMercy, would grant the same repentance to those hearersthat 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 andbelieve into eternal life with Jesus – receiving the samereward: eternal life.
God has compelled Himself in love to save the otherwiseun-savable.
Does God love us? The answer is a simple yetresounding 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.
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.
The Word made flesh has given us His Word made text, and He simply asks us to read, hear and apply His heart and promises for us found in Scripture. So, in this chapter I want to briefly encourage your confidence and dependance upon the written Word of God. You will need this strength for ministry, and it cannot be found anywhere else but in the presence of God as you sit at His feet, receiving from His Word.
I feel it necessary to spend a good amount of time talking about the Bible itself. It is necessary as believers and as ministers in Jesus Christ’s ministry, that we understand the God whom we worship and that we come to know His heart toward us as best as possible. His heart, His direction, and His guidance for our lives and for the entire earth and universe are found in the Scriptures. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to our spiritual and physical lives that we think rightly about the God of the Word.
Do You Still Believe In The Bible?
If the reliability of the Scriptures are up for debate in your mind and heart, then so are all of its doctrines, precepts, directives, commandments, prophecies and promises. As ministers in the Lord we need to be confidant in who we are serving. If you cannot place faith in His written Word as a reliable source for knowing Jesus Christ who is Lord of the universe, then you are without knowledge of How you and others must be saved. If you don’t trust His Word, then you cannot trust your salvation – it is now up for debate along with every other doctrine that effects you now and in eternity, including doctrines like salvation, redemption, justification, the trinity, the love, justice, mercy, grace and judgment of God, worship, and how God wants to be worshiped. All of which and many more are very important doctrines to the health and well-being of the believer.
1 John 2:2 says, speaking of Christ, that “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” If His Word is up for debate in your mind, then so is this – That Christ’s death pleased God in dying for your sins to save you from hell. If you don’t trust His word, than you cannot trust that this is true, therefore you either don’t care about your salvation and knowing God or you’re uncertain about your salvation. Pretty important right? The Word of God.
Duh! Were “Church” People!
I recognize that by this point some of you might be thinking, “why are you including this in a book on ministry? Of course we believe in the infallible Word of God, thats why we are in ministry!” I hope this is your response, but I feel that this chapter is necessary because many ministries and ministers are departing from the truth and are now teaching doctrines of demons, having abandoned all absolutes along with the promises of God. Many churches do not teach the Bible anymore. Therefore those assisting in these ministries no longer read, trust in or find their strength in His Word! We must not be these sort of ministers or ministries. We are men and women of God and we are men and women of the truth. His truth is found in the Bible – the Word of God.
“So Why Do We Need The Word Of God? ”
Lets look at a few reasons.
2 Timothy 3:15-17 says,
“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures,which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
First of all, the Scriptures, that is your Bible, are Holy because they are inspired by God. God is responsible for what is recorded and written in the Scriptures. They are His words, He has wrought them and He keeps and protects them. They are “hieros”, that is, sacred or holy. They are inspired by God.
Speaking of the scriptures and prophecy, Peter tells us that “…men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:21)
God’s words are necessary and essential. In fact, of His own words, the Lord reveals to us through the psalmist:
“…You have exalted above all things your name and your word.” (Psalm 138:2)
It has been said that no man is greater than his word. If you cannot trust what someone says, then you cannot trust that person. Simply put, if I make promises to you about myself that do not come true or are untrue then you really don’t know me and would actually be better off not knowing me because I would have revealed to you by my lies and broken promises, that I am not who I say I am and that I cannot be trusted. I have revealed to you that I am a liar by my inability to fulfill my word. I may be a liar but God is no liar. In fact, He cannot lie. The reliability of the scriptures testify to the reliability of our God. Our God has given and kept many great promises. To prove Himself, His faithfulness and just to simply bless us, He has written His promises down, as if to say, “you can take these to the bank! I am good and will be good to my word and all of my promises. You have seen it and will continue to see my promises fulfilled.”
The Word of God is a necessity, because it is Holy and divinely inspired by the God of the universe.
Now, I will take some time in presenting you with a bit of evidence, though I am not so interested in defending the Bible or Gods existence as God Himself does not seem very interested in this either. God exists whether anyone believes in Him or not. But, it can be helpful and encouraging to us all, so here we go…
Holy and Inspired
The word Bible comes from the Greek word ‘biblos’ meaning ‘book.’ It is The Book. In the Bible, we have the embodiment of a divine revelation. It is a written work of history centered around one man, Jesus Christ. Now, let me briefly present you with…
5 proofs that present the Bible as the very Word of God:
1. The Character of the Bible.
Written by 40 some authors over a period of about 1600 years and yet the Bible is one book. It has one doctrinal system, one moral standard, one plan of salvation, and one program of the ages. The Bible is in harmony with itself. It does not contradict itself but compliments itself.
2. The Indestructibility Of The Bible. Henry Clarence Thiessen says this about the indestructibility of the Bible: “When we recall that only a very small percentage of books survive more than a quarter of a century, that a much smaller percentage last for a century, and that only a very small number live a thousand years, we at once realize that the Bible is a unique book.”
When looking at the history of the Bibles indestructibility, we must also look at the circumstances through which the Bible has survived. The Bible has been the most adored and praised book as well as the object of more persecution and opposition than any other book in History. For example, before Constantine, Rome, at one point, thought that they had exterminated the Christian religion. Diocletian, by a royal edict in 303 A.D. demanded that every copy of the Bible be destroyed by fire. He killed so many Christians and destroyed so many Bibles, sending Christians into hiding, that he actually thought that he had put an end to the Bible. He inscribed a medal that said, “the Christian religion is destroyed and the worship of the gods restored.” A few years later Constantine came to the throne, making Christianity the state religion. Man cannot thwart the purpose and plan of God, not even through evil or persecution. This is one example among many throughout history. Many stories of persecution and triumph are still being written among our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world today – in Asia, the middle east, and elsewhere.
Know this, that God is still preserving His Word. We have hundreds of manuscript copies of the Bible that predate the birth of Christ. These including detailed prophesies about Jesus Christ, His life, death, and resurrection. Among such manuscripts lies one of the greatest discoveries in modern times: We know them as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Here’s what happened and how God preserved His Word:
In 1947, a young boy wandered into a cave in Qumran (north and west of the dead Sea in Israel). He was looking for some lost sheep, belonging to his father, but instead of finding sheep, the boy stumbled upon ancient coins and a series of pots filled with ancient scrolls; the old testament scriptures. These findings of Isaiah’s writings alone dated back to 100 B.C. The scrolls had been hidden in these caves 2000 years ago and amazingly, they represented every book of the old testament minus the book of Esther.
History has made it obvious to us that God is able to watch over and preserve His word from corruption. This is a true to life miracle. But not surprising, as our God is a God of miracles!
3. The Influence Of The Bible.
Throughout history, the Bible has influenced the arts, literature, architecture, and music. The Bible has influenced the laws of the nations as well as influencing great social reforms and is constantly debated over, defended, or scrutinized in our courthouses to this day.
Thiessen says: “Where is there a book in all the world that even remotely compares with it in its beneficent influence upon mankind?” He called the Bible: “…The revelation of God to needy humanity.”
4. Fulfilled Prophesy. We read earlier in 2 Peter, that men who were “… moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” There is no other viable explanation for the supernatural knowledge witnessed in Bible prophesy, given through man, recorded in the Bible. In it, we see many impressive and detailed prophesies concerning the nation of Israel. Prophesies concerning gentile nations were also fulfilled. God is declaring to us, through scripture, that He is all-knowing. He does not simply give us a record book of past events, but confidently declares to us things to come – future events; Bible prophesy – divine revelation.
5. The Claims Of The Bible Itself.
The Bible claims to be the only infallible revelation on earth in written form given to man. In it contains the only plan for the eternal salvation of man.
The Old Testament itself claims to be the Word of God, with its some 3,800 statement like: “thus says the Lord, now the
Lord spoke, He was commanded to write in a book what the Lord had told him, The Lord said, The Word which came to…, The Word of the Lord came expressly to…etc”
The New Testament writers declared the message of God. Paul makes statements in 1 Corinthians (14:37), 1 Thessalonians (2:13), and Galatians (1:8) declaring that the things he wrote were the commandments of God, that what he preached we were to receive as the very word of God, and that the salvation of men depended upon faith in the very doctrines which Paul taught. John taught in 1 John (5:10) that his testimony was Gods testimony. Peter taught that the commands of God were spoken through the holy prophets and through the apostles (2 Peter 3:2). And Christ revealed that if you have heard or seen Him than you have heard and seen God (1 John 1:2, John 14:9).
All of this, and we have not even scratched the surface of archeological discoveries supported by the Bible and in favor of the Bibles accuracy. No other religious text compares. We don’t have time to talk about the Bibles scientific accuracy – including it’s references to the sun, the shape of the earth, and the suspension of the earth and stars. We could talk about the countless martyrs for Christ, including the willingness of Jesus’ disciples to suffer, but for the sake of time, these 5 points will have to do.
So, our first point of why we need the Word of God according to our text in 2 Timothy was, because they are holy and inspired by God. We can see throughout our worlds history, that His hand is upon them, guiding, protecting, and inspiring them. ” Let me share some other Biblical reasons about why I love the Word of God and why it is needed in pastoral ministry, ministry in general and in our personal lives.
Because the words of God are profitable.
I love the Bible because the words of God are profitable.
We gain from His Word! Ill say it again. We get to gain insight, wisdom, direction, encouragement and many more wonderful things for our life, and they are all delivered to us straight from the God who created the universe and the God who gave you life. That’s why the word of God is profitable for our whole lives! Because God knows best. He knows all of humanity and creation from the inside out – that is, things inside and outside, physical, emotional and psychological. He is in control of all things near or far – into the galaxies and universe. There is no area in your life that He is not in the position to touch, heal, change, or help. He is God, and His word is living, life giving and full of endless power!
Hebrews 4:12 says of the Word of God, that it “is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” We are lost without Gods revelation of Himself to man!
But how do we profit from these words from God?
And what are they profitable for?
Doctrine, Reproof, Correction, Instruction In Righteousness
Well, our text says:
for doctrine [that is teaching],
for reproof [that is, conviction or testing],
for correction [that is, literally to restore to an upright state, to correct your life and character. To make you right.], ” for instruction in righteousness:” The Greek here for our word instruction is: paideia (pi-da-uh) meaning that the Word of God is everything for your growing up in life for the Lord. ”
You cannot and will not grow or mature in Christ if you are lacking the proper nutrition that comes to your soul only by the word of God – interpreted and given proper application by the Spirit of God. It corrects your mistakes and curbs your passions. It increases virtue. This is Paideia – instruction. And this is all for righteousness. That is, for right living before our God. For living a life that is pleasing to Him, for Him, and for His glory. ” Do you understand that the Word of God is essential to your right living for God in Christ? Willing obedience to Gods direction for your life and submission to His instruction will create in you a pure heart – making you a minister filled with personal character. Not just a Christ associated christian but a Christ experienced christian, leader, follower and servant.
Warning To The Phonies
But shame on the pastors, leaders and so-called servants of Jesus who are not rightly dividing the Word of God. Especially to those who are forsaking the Bible all-together! They are leading their congregations down the wrong path and have no clue how to live for God. They are simply and Biblically, bad pastors – ignorant of the power of God.
The Pastor who forsakes the Word of God has forsaken his calling and is no pastor at all but is a wayward – a prodigal, desperately needing to come home. ”
For these pastors and heretics we desperately pray:
“Lord, grab their hearts and set them aright with Your Word that their congregations would be able to worship You in Spirit and in truth!”
“God, help us as servants of You and as servants to Your bride, not to forsake Your promises, but to cling to Your words for our life, ministry, worldview, help, counsel and personal nourishment.”
As assistants in ministry, the Word is our guide. We give the bride of Christ the Words of Christ and nothing else. Your opinion doesn’t really matter in the end. Stick to the Word of God.
The Word of God is power to the believer. It is Spiritual. The Word of God is not a burdensome law. It is not legalism or rules. The Word of God is not a religion! It is safety. It is a glimpse into the very heart of God who rules the universe! It is for your heart, your life, your spirit, and for eternity.
The Word of God is life giving, life changing, miracle working, alive, and true – there is nothing false in it! It is perfect, empowering, encouraging, up-lifting, healing, it speaks to us, guides us, directs us, gives wisdom, judges the thoughts and intents of our heart. It is purity in an imperfect world. It is to be treasured. It is historically accurate, and it is just and right when everything else is wrong!
And do not forget, the Word of God is for you!
Treasure your Savior and treasure His promises. Don’t allow satan to keep you from your Bible. Open it up, be familiar with it, read it, write in it, memorize it – not because you have to, but because He loves you. Guard your time with Jesus. In doing this, you will be and become a spiritual leader to your fellow ministers and to the fathers precious bride of Christ – The Church.
Briefly, if you don’t read the Bible with your wife, then start today. You are to wash her in the Word. If you don’t read with your family, start today. It is your responsibility as a man of God to love and raise your kids in the Lord. Show your family what it is to be a man of God. I didn’t say to preach and pastor them, but to love, disciple and point them to Jesus always.
Take some time right now to pray for your life, family, and ministry.
Check out Jeremiah’s FREE Book in its entirety HERE!
Check out Jeremiah’s FREE Book in its entirety HERE!
I never knew how special life was until we had our little baby Emery.
She became proof that God indeed does make beautiful things and that He is still creating perfect and beautifully.
In fact my wife and I never wanted kids the whole time we were dating and a year and a half into our marriage. That all changed after my wife and I witnessed a tragic movie theatre shooting. The next morning, my wife found out she was pregnant (surprise!). Two days later or so we had a miscarriage. God used these two tragic events to change our hearts and to let us know how special life is. It is a privilege and a blessing. This video is a tribute to the beauty and grace given gift of God called life. Thank you God for your gifts, for only you can give and take away.
Starring my beautiful wife Lindsay and my one of a kind (knit in her mother’s womb) baby girl, Emery (or as we like to playfully call her – Em’s)