Archive for the ‘Vineyard’ Category

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It’s too quiet here

June 20, 2008

I admit it has been silent around these parts for a time. Don’t worry or cheer too quickly as I am just taking a bit of a break. It has been hectic with work and starting the Kinship Groups at our church, yet, if that was not enough I have started or rather restarted my goal to get my Associates Degree in psychology through the University of Phoenix. They have an online department that I am taking two classes.

The classes are not that hard, though they are very much alike. I am often wondering which class the assignment is for! LOL!
I stated I started a kinship group in our church yet find that I am not that comfortable with the “group”. Don’t get me wrong it is not the people, but there are some interesting dynamic in this group that just do not seem a right fit for me and my wife. I see that with small children we are more in tune with the “family” crowd. What we are in now is a group that is quite interesting, yet comprises mostly of women, most of which are highly educated and hold multiple degrees. None of that bothers me, yet, I feel rather estrogen challenged.

As I was leading last Wednesday, I truly felt the Lord stating that one of the women there should be leading this particular group and I may need to move on to start another.

This is not a bad thing, as that is what we as leaders are to be doing. We are to keep our eyes open for someone else to be a leader, help, and encourage them to step up. It just seems this is on the accelerated course.

I do appreciate your prayers on the group and on my restarting education. Work will always be work and at times I am just ready to hand in my resignation yet know that the job is better paying than most out there. Mostly I pray that the job will change in areas it needs to change.

Be blessed,
iggy

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It’s too quiet here

June 20, 2008

I admit it has been silent around these parts for a time. Don’t worry or cheer too quickly as I am just taking a bit of a break. It has been hectic with work and starting the Kinship Groups at our church, yet, if that was not enough I have started or rather restarted my goal to get my Associates Degree in psychology through the University of Phoenix. They have an online department that I am taking two classes.

The classes are not that hard, though they are very much alike. I am often wondering which class the assignment is for! LOL!
I stated I started a kinship group in our church yet find that I am not that comfortable with the “group”. Don’t get me wrong it is not the people, but there are some interesting dynamic in this group that just do not seem a right fit for me and my wife. I see that with small children we are more in tune with the “family” crowd. What we are in now is a group that is quite interesting, yet comprises mostly of women, most of which are highly educated and hold multiple degrees. None of that bothers me, yet, I feel rather estrogen challenged.

As I was leading last Wednesday, I truly felt the Lord stating that one of the women there should be leading this particular group and I may need to move on to start another.

This is not a bad thing, as that is what we as leaders are to be doing. We are to keep our eyes open for someone else to be a leader, help, and encourage them to step up. It just seems this is on the accelerated course.

I do appreciate your prayers on the group and on my restarting education. Work will always be work and at times I am just ready to hand in my resignation yet know that the job is better paying than most out there. Mostly I pray that the job will change in areas it needs to change.

Be blessed,
iggy

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Some N. T. Wright…

May 6, 2008
N. T. Wright

2. On Worship:

3. On the Sacraments:

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Some N. T. Wright…

May 6, 2008
N. T. Wright

2. On Worship:

3. On the Sacraments:

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Pastor Allen Hodges debate at MSU Billings

February 24, 2008

My pastor and friend Allen Hodges was in a debate at the local University this week. Here is part of his side of the debate. It took place 2/21/08 at MSU Billings.

Is there a god?

Yes—I say this both from the logical and personal perspectives.

My position tonight is, as well as I am able, to explain both of these perspectives.
I’ll start with the logic of the existence of God and then move into the personal aspects…
No one here, or anywhere for that matter, is able to refute the existence of absolutes in the universe. None of us deny the existence of gravity, nor can any of us suspend the force of gravity. We may be able to use it to our own purposes and even be able to fly or send rockets out of some of the force of gravity. But we all live within its power and effects. Nor is gravity the only absolute we encounter. None of us can operate outside of the laws of physics. None of our theories of the existence or origin of the universe discount or deny these very laws. Now also, none of us, though perhaps some may be able to, can necessarily explain how these forces work. None of us may be able even to see these forces. We can only see the effect of these forces and live taking these into account. The argument that something is true or even exists based solely on our belief in it, is shown to be illogical when presented in the case of physics. These laws of physics exist and act regardless of our belief in them or our understanding of their working. They simply are and we live within their bounds.

Likewise, the argument that there is no god, because we don’t believe in a god are moot. Our lack of belief in no way invalidates the existence of absolutes, nor of god. Some may argue that they won’t believe in a god because they don’t see this god. But each person claiming such, lives their entire life within the bounds of the absolutes of physics unaware of the contradiction in regard to god. Our eyes only register a small spectrum of the known light frequencies, yet none of us deny the existence of x-ray or ultraviolet light. We don’t see these, yet we know they exist. The same is true of god. Our ability to see is severely limited as is our understanding of the forces at work in the universe, yet we each live our lives within the certainty of their existence.

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Pastor Allen Hodges debate at MSU Billings

February 24, 2008

My pastor and friend Allen Hodges was in a debate at the local University this week. Here is part of his side of the debate. It took place 2/21/08 at MSU Billings.

Is there a god?

Yes—I say this both from the logical and personal perspectives.

My position tonight is, as well as I am able, to explain both of these perspectives.
I’ll start with the logic of the existence of God and then move into the personal aspects…
No one here, or anywhere for that matter, is able to refute the existence of absolutes in the universe. None of us deny the existence of gravity, nor can any of us suspend the force of gravity. We may be able to use it to our own purposes and even be able to fly or send rockets out of some of the force of gravity. But we all live within its power and effects. Nor is gravity the only absolute we encounter. None of us can operate outside of the laws of physics. None of our theories of the existence or origin of the universe discount or deny these very laws. Now also, none of us, though perhaps some may be able to, can necessarily explain how these forces work. None of us may be able even to see these forces. We can only see the effect of these forces and live taking these into account. The argument that something is true or even exists based solely on our belief in it, is shown to be illogical when presented in the case of physics. These laws of physics exist and act regardless of our belief in them or our understanding of their working. They simply are and we live within their bounds.

Likewise, the argument that there is no god, because we don’t believe in a god are moot. Our lack of belief in no way invalidates the existence of absolutes, nor of god. Some may argue that they won’t believe in a god because they don’t see this god. But each person claiming such, lives their entire life within the bounds of the absolutes of physics unaware of the contradiction in regard to god. Our eyes only register a small spectrum of the known light frequencies, yet none of us deny the existence of x-ray or ultraviolet light. We don’t see these, yet we know they exist. The same is true of god. Our ability to see is severely limited as is our understanding of the forces at work in the universe, yet we each live our lives within the certainty of their existence.

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I’m not your critic, don’t even know you.

November 14, 2007
I received this in the comments on my post My last words to my HYPER CRITICS . Originally I posted a comment back but then decided not to… but I have decided to let you the reader read this and post your comments to this person.

Be blessed,
iggy

I’m not your critic, don’t even know you. If your involved in the Vineyard movement, I’ll just consider that you have not come to your right mind.

My question has to do with your introductory comment:

“I find it rather strange how some will demand perfect doctrine from others…”

How do you square that with:

I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another…and

…As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God…and

…knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation…and

… Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar…and

…I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book….

Though no one can demand you must believe perfect doctrine and hold it, the Scripture does. It does it in this way. That which is opinion is not truth. Only that which can be established as true is to be taught. That is what Paul and Peter, Solomon and Jesus were saying: Do not go beyond what is written. Simply, and profound. The rule is this, if you do not know it to be the truth and the only truth, keep your mouth shut, or as Proverbs would say: Even a fool is counted wise when he remains silent, or a fool does not wait to hear the end of a matter before speaking. There are sound words to learn and if there are not, then we have no Bible, even a poorly translated one to refer to.

I will leave you with this:
Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain…So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter…I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them…charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine…If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed…Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers…

The fact is iggy, the Word of God, that is Jesus Himself (ref Revelation) commands us to hold perfect doctrine. It is a simple thing, as I said. Stay within the bounds of what you know. To do more or less is to condemn yourself: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

To put it in the language of the emergent, get your pompous head out of your posterior cavity and come into the light…

Sorry for the crudeness, but these are straight forward statements of Scripture all agreeing with one another, simple enough that even a child can understand them. I have simple words for my children: The world is not pink, your head is not your butt, and don’t piss on a flat rock. Crude but effective with children and all Biblical, in a weird sort of way. I would not preach it that way except to my kids. They understand it though.

One last thing: What do you have that you did not receive?

Posted by lordodamanor 11/14/2007 12:06:00 AM

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I’m not your critic, don’t even know you.

November 14, 2007
I received this in the comments on my post My last words to my HYPER CRITICS . Originally I posted a comment back but then decided not to… but I have decided to let you the reader read this and post your comments to this person.

Be blessed,
iggy

I’m not your critic, don’t even know you. If your involved in the Vineyard movement, I’ll just consider that you have not come to your right mind.

My question has to do with your introductory comment:

“I find it rather strange how some will demand perfect doctrine from others…”

How do you square that with:

I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another…and

…As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God…and

…knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation…and

… Do not add to his words,
lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar…and

…I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book….

Though no one can demand you must believe perfect doctrine and hold it, the Scripture does. It does it in this way. That which is opinion is not truth. Only that which can be established as true is to be taught. That is what Paul and Peter, Solomon and Jesus were saying: Do not go beyond what is written. Simply, and profound. The rule is this, if you do not know it to be the truth and the only truth, keep your mouth shut, or as Proverbs would say: Even a fool is counted wise when he remains silent, or a fool does not wait to hear the end of a matter before speaking. There are sound words to learn and if there are not, then we have no Bible, even a poorly translated one to refer to.

I will leave you with this:
Teach and urge these things. If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain…So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter…I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them…charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine…If you put these things before the brothers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, being trained in the words of the faith and of the good doctrine that you have followed…Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers…

The fact is iggy, the Word of God, that is Jesus Himself (ref Revelation) commands us to hold perfect doctrine. It is a simple thing, as I said. Stay within the bounds of what you know. To do more or less is to condemn yourself: “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

To put it in the language of the emergent, get your pompous head out of your posterior cavity and come into the light…

Sorry for the crudeness, but these are straight forward statements of Scripture all agreeing with one another, simple enough that even a child can understand them. I have simple words for my children: The world is not pink, your head is not your butt, and don’t piss on a flat rock. Crude but effective with children and all Biblical, in a weird sort of way. I would not preach it that way except to my kids. They understand it though.

One last thing: What do you have that you did not receive?

Posted by lordodamanor 11/14/2007 12:06:00 AM

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Grace: Sermon from Oct 21st

October 22, 2007
God’s Grace: What is it?

Proverbs 3:34. He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.

Joke:

A man died and went before the pearly gates and of course there was Peter there. Peter greeted the man and began to explain that things are on a point system in order to get in.
The man stated “Great! This will be easy!” and then stated “I never cheated on my wife once…”
Peter stated, “That’s great! 3 points!, anything else”
The man proudly stated, “I never cheated on my taxes, yep paid every cent.”
“Wow!” said Peter, “That is another 2 points!”
Now this went on for about an hour until Peter said, “You have 35 points, anything else?”
“I have nothing more…” said the man.
The man began to realize his situation and trembling said, “It looks like the only way I will ever get in, is by the Grace of God…”
With that the Gates of Heaven swung open wide… and Peter announced loudly, “Enter in!”
Just to warn you we will be looking at a lot of verses today.

Grace the unmerited favor of God.
• This is the most used definition
• Pastor Allen’s definition brings out a fuller understanding of the definition being the way God feels about you… it is God’s emotion of compassionate love toward you.
• I still see that there is even a bigger understanding Grace as I see it as the very substance that holds all things together.

Our God is a Gracious God.

• The character of God is that of compassion. Exodus 33: 18-20. Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” 19. And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
• God’s Character is that of Goodness
• God created all things out His goodness
• Genesis God speaks of creation that “it is good” for it came from Him.

Now fast forward to the New Testament.

• John 1:1-3. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. He was with God in the beginning. 3. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

• John 1:14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

• Galatians 5: 22-23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
God produces His fruit in us. We do not produce any “good” fruit.

• I touched on this a bit last time I talked, in Matthew 7:15-19. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17. Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

• If one thinks that they can be good we must remember Jesus’ own words in Mark 10:18 “No one is good–except God alone.”

• To think any goodness comes from the human heart or human effort actually works against God’s grace.

God’s Grace is not by Human works

• The most famous verse of course is Ephesians 2:8-9 8. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9. not by works, so that no one can boast.

• Romans 11:6 if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

In order to have Grace one must have Jesus

• John 1:14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

• Again Jesus was the “Let there be…” those very first words of God that started the Great Conversation. It is through Jesus all things were created and all things were good… for all things passed through Jesus and passed through Grace and Truth that were in Him.
Some teach of different “graces”

• Some teach that there is more than one grace; I see this as missing that there is one and that is the same grace that was in Christ who was in the Father before all creation.

• This Grace is the very plan of God of salvation, called “the election” that was purposed in Jesus by the Father even before creation.

• Ephesians 1:4-6 4. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5. he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– 6. to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Law versus Grace

Illustration of Law…

• The law is just: When I was in grade school they still spanked you when you broke the rules. One of the rules of the Southside School I attended was “Do not throw snowballs. Now that is a bit tough for a kid in the first place. One day after a nice snow fall, I was sitting on the swing in the play ground at recess. I suddenly felt a biff on the back of the neck and my neck became cold and wet. I told Tommy to stop as we are not supposed to throw snowballs… and biff he threw another one. Now once is enough, twice is a fight, but I was still under restraint of the Law… so I appealed to it again and biff… third time is a war! I picked up snow and packed it good and threw it… I don’t remember if it hit him or not, but I do remember the voice of the attendant yelling something about us being in a huge amount of trouble. I tried to explain I was only defending myself yet we both still were brought before the board of education… or rather the boards of education.
One was called Big Bertha it was the shorter of the two, the other was the Red Baron. These boards were paddles about 10 inches long and the other about 14 inches long… both had aerodynamic holes drilled in them for more precision. Now the Red Baron got its name of course because when it was used the person was bearing red when it was all done.

I appealed my case of self defense again, and the principal had his principles so he did not listen. I do remember that as I dropped my draws and Tommy did also, He received the Big Bertha… and I counted 1 then 2 swats… then it was my turn and of course I received the Red Baron… and I counted, 1 then 2 then to my surprise… 3 swats! Man… how was that fair?

• The Law is just and it has no mercy. It is what it is and one under must suffer the consequences even if the excuse for breaking it is a really good one like self defense from a snowball assault.

• James 2: 10. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

• Romans 9: 30-33 talks of those under the law stumbled over its purpose and those who did not even seek God were found by God by His grace. 30. What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31. but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.” 33. As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” That stumbling Stone is Jesus.

• The Law was a “school master” that leads us to Jesus. (Galatians 3:24) In fact it is actually the slave that was in charge of the child to help them learn the essentials of life… after the child had matured there was no need for the slave to continue his teachings. This is true of the Law it is to lead us to Jesus and in that we are mature… though this is the beginning of a New Life (in capitals)

It is by Grace through faith we are saved.

• After placing one’s faith in Jesus we are no longer under the Law but under
Grace.
• This grace is all in Jesus and is Jesus just as Jesus is literally truth incarnate Jesus being filled with Grace and Truth embodied both..
• Jesus is also in “very nature” God. (Philippians 2: 6)
All that is, is of Christ, through Christ and for Christ…
• The eternal plan we that we would be “in Christ”
• The creation was all through Christ
• And we were created to be God’s image and that is for Christ. As we now are being transformed into His image.

There are many misconceptions our there about God’s grace.

• Some think and I was taught that Grace saved us, yet we must maintain our salvation… Yet, Paul states that is not true in Galatians. Galatians 3: 3. Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
• Some teach that we can add to our own righteousness yet that negates grace as we are giving the righteousness of Jesus in exchange for our own.
• Some teach that grace is like a bar of soap and that we only use it when we sin…
These are all lies.
• Grace is what saves us and keeps us… it sustains us and transforms us. I personally believe that God maintains our salvation and we cannot add to it by anything we do.
• Some are in bondage to the lies that are taught and this is why Jesus came to set those in captive free.
• If you are under this type of teaching (which is not happening here) I recommend getting out from under it.

Grace is not a license to sin.

• The biggest fear that some have of the freedom that come from grace is that they see it as a license to sin
• Some even took Paul’s words that stated that where sin was, Grace abound even more as a mandate to sin more!
• Paul stated that was not the intention at all of grace…

Grace is to set us free to walk in the righteousness of Christ Jesus

• Romans 5, 6, 7 all emphasize that we died to sin.
• Romans 6:9 states this: For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
• Since He cannot die again and we are in Christ… we will not die again also.

The Promise of the Resurrection.

• This is the promise of Grace… Romans 5:10. For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
• We are saved from death to experience new Life in Christ… this is the Life of the same resurrection of Jesus.
• This resurrection is the power to transform Lives.

Grace is meant to give away

• As we have been forgiven… which is by grace… we also are to forgive by grace.
• Colossians 3:13 -14. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Now this may sound funny to some of you… but I forgive you. I forgive you of all your sins in the Name of Jesus. Now all I ask is that you rise in the Newness of Life and walk in the very Life of Christ Jesus.
You were once dead because of your sins, but now you are reconciled to God. In that your sins died with Jesus on the Cross… and I close with this passage. I hope that you actually pray this passage of scripture as I read it.

2 Corinthians 5: 14-21

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteous of God.

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Grace: Sermon from Oct 21st

October 22, 2007
God’s Grace: What is it?

Proverbs 3:34. He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.

Joke:

A man died and went before the pearly gates and of course there was Peter there. Peter greeted the man and began to explain that things are on a point system in order to get in.
The man stated “Great! This will be easy!” and then stated “I never cheated on my wife once…”
Peter stated, “That’s great! 3 points!, anything else”
The man proudly stated, “I never cheated on my taxes, yep paid every cent.”
“Wow!” said Peter, “That is another 2 points!”
Now this went on for about an hour until Peter said, “You have 35 points, anything else?”
“I have nothing more…” said the man.
The man began to realize his situation and trembling said, “It looks like the only way I will ever get in, is by the Grace of God…”
With that the Gates of Heaven swung open wide… and Peter announced loudly, “Enter in!”
Just to warn you we will be looking at a lot of verses today.

Grace the unmerited favor of God.
• This is the most used definition
• Pastor Allen’s definition brings out a fuller understanding of the definition being the way God feels about you… it is God’s emotion of compassionate love toward you.
• I still see that there is even a bigger understanding Grace as I see it as the very substance that holds all things together.

Our God is a Gracious God.

• The character of God is that of compassion. Exodus 33: 18-20. Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” 19. And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
• God’s Character is that of Goodness
• God created all things out His goodness
• Genesis God speaks of creation that “it is good” for it came from Him.

Now fast forward to the New Testament.

• John 1:1-3. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2. He was with God in the beginning. 3. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

• John 1:14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

• Galatians 5: 22-23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
God produces His fruit in us. We do not produce any “good” fruit.

• I touched on this a bit last time I talked, in Matthew 7:15-19. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17. Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

• If one thinks that they can be good we must remember Jesus’ own words in Mark 10:18 “No one is good–except God alone.”

• To think any goodness comes from the human heart or human effort actually works against God’s grace.

God’s Grace is not by Human works

• The most famous verse of course is Ephesians 2:8-9 8. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9. not by works, so that no one can boast.

• Romans 11:6 if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.

In order to have Grace one must have Jesus

• John 1:14. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

• Again Jesus was the “Let there be…” those very first words of God that started the Great Conversation. It is through Jesus all things were created and all things were good… for all things passed through Jesus and passed through Grace and Truth that were in Him.
Some teach of different “graces”

• Some teach that there is more than one grace; I see this as missing that there is one and that is the same grace that was in Christ who was in the Father before all creation.

• This Grace is the very plan of God of salvation, called “the election” that was purposed in Jesus by the Father even before creation.

• Ephesians 1:4-6 4. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5. he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– 6. to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Law versus Grace

Illustration of Law…

• The law is just: When I was in grade school they still spanked you when you broke the rules. One of the rules of the Southside School I attended was “Do not throw snowballs. Now that is a bit tough for a kid in the first place. One day after a nice snow fall, I was sitting on the swing in the play ground at recess. I suddenly felt a biff on the back of the neck and my neck became cold and wet. I told Tommy to stop as we are not supposed to throw snowballs… and biff he threw another one. Now once is enough, twice is a fight, but I was still under restraint of the Law… so I appealed to it again and biff… third time is a war! I picked up snow and packed it good and threw it… I don’t remember if it hit him or not, but I do remember the voice of the attendant yelling something about us being in a huge amount of trouble. I tried to explain I was only defending myself yet we both still were brought before the board of education… or rather the boards of education.
One was called Big Bertha it was the shorter of the two, the other was the Red Baron. These boards were paddles about 10 inches long and the other about 14 inches long… both had aerodynamic holes drilled in them for more precision. Now the Red Baron got its name of course because when it was used the person was bearing red when it was all done.

I appealed my case of self defense again, and the principal had his principles so he did not listen. I do remember that as I dropped my draws and Tommy did also, He received the Big Bertha… and I counted 1 then 2 swats… then it was my turn and of course I received the Red Baron… and I counted, 1 then 2 then to my surprise… 3 swats! Man… how was that fair?

• The Law is just and it has no mercy. It is what it is and one under must suffer the consequences even if the excuse for breaking it is a really good one like self defense from a snowball assault.

• James 2: 10. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

• Romans 9: 30-33 talks of those under the law stumbled over its purpose and those who did not even seek God were found by God by His grace. 30. What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31. but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling stone.” 33. As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” That stumbling Stone is Jesus.

• The Law was a “school master” that leads us to Jesus. (Galatians 3:24) In fact it is actually the slave that was in charge of the child to help them learn the essentials of life… after the child had matured there was no need for the slave to continue his teachings. This is true of the Law it is to lead us to Jesus and in that we are mature… though this is the beginning of a New Life (in capitals)

It is by Grace through faith we are saved.

• After placing one’s faith in Jesus we are no longer under the Law but under
Grace.
• This grace is all in Jesus and is Jesus just as Jesus is literally truth incarnate Jesus being filled with Grace and Truth embodied both..
• Jesus is also in “very nature” God. (Philippians 2: 6)
All that is, is of Christ, through Christ and for Christ…
• The eternal plan we that we would be “in Christ”
• The creation was all through Christ
• And we were created to be God’s image and that is for Christ. As we now are being transformed into His image.

There are many misconceptions our there about God’s grace.

• Some think and I was taught that Grace saved us, yet we must maintain our salvation… Yet, Paul states that is not true in Galatians. Galatians 3: 3. Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
• Some teach that we can add to our own righteousness yet that negates grace as we are giving the righteousness of Jesus in exchange for our own.
• Some teach that grace is like a bar of soap and that we only use it when we sin…
These are all lies.
• Grace is what saves us and keeps us… it sustains us and transforms us. I personally believe that God maintains our salvation and we cannot add to it by anything we do.
• Some are in bondage to the lies that are taught and this is why Jesus came to set those in captive free.
• If you are under this type of teaching (which is not happening here) I recommend getting out from under it.

Grace is not a license to sin.

• The biggest fear that some have of the freedom that come from grace is that they see it as a license to sin
• Some even took Paul’s words that stated that where sin was, Grace abound even more as a mandate to sin more!
• Paul stated that was not the intention at all of grace…

Grace is to set us free to walk in the righteousness of Christ Jesus

• Romans 5, 6, 7 all emphasize that we died to sin.
• Romans 6:9 states this: For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.
• Since He cannot die again and we are in Christ… we will not die again also.

The Promise of the Resurrection.

• This is the promise of Grace… Romans 5:10. For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
• We are saved from death to experience new Life in Christ… this is the Life of the same resurrection of Jesus.
• This resurrection is the power to transform Lives.

Grace is meant to give away

• As we have been forgiven… which is by grace… we also are to forgive by grace.
• Colossians 3:13 -14. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Now this may sound funny to some of you… but I forgive you. I forgive you of all your sins in the Name of Jesus. Now all I ask is that you rise in the Newness of Life and walk in the very Life of Christ Jesus.
You were once dead because of your sins, but now you are reconciled to God. In that your sins died with Jesus on the Cross… and I close with this passage. I hope that you actually pray this passage of scripture as I read it.

2 Corinthians 5: 14-21

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteous of God.