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By the Mercies of God

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Romans 12:1 NASB

One of the difficulties we often have is understanding how totally depraved we are apart from Christ.  We often think that we are deserving of the gifts and the blessings of God. However, the Word of God says in Isaiah 64:6 “Our righteousness is as filthy rags.” Our righteousness is the best we can give and it alone is not enough. The bible also says in Ephesians 2:3 “by nature we are children of wrath.” The word of God gives a very bleak picture of the nature of man. Every man, woman, and child that has ever lived upon this earth has made a conscience choice at some point in their lives to rebel and sin against God. Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”

The bible also tells us that God requires death as the payment of our sins. (Romans 6:23). Death had to be paid as a penalty of sin, but praise be to God that I Corinthians 15:3 tells us, “Christ died for our sins.” We should have paid the penalty of our sins but Jesus stood in our place. Although we have turned our back on Him time after time, God loved us enough to send His Son to become sin for us. II Corinthians 5:21 say, “He (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Due to this great sacrifice John said in I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” No one is worthy of this great gift of sacrifice. We deserve death and hell, yet God gives us grace by giving us His Son.

With this grace in mind Paul said in Romans 12:1, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” He is urging us because of the mercy of God to give ourselves entirely to Himself as a living and holy sacrifice. God doesn’t want dead sacrifices. He desires living sacrifices that are set apart for His own purposes. If we truly understand the mercies of God and the great grace that God has bestowed upon us we would have no problem serving Him. The mercies of God have purchased us from sin, death, and hell, and reconciled us into a right relationship with Him. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),” Ephesians 2:4

Because of the mercies of God I will gladly surrender myself to Him in full submission. Because of the mercies of God I will gladly serve Him with full sincerity counting it an honor. Because of the mercies of God I will gladly give my life as a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Fully Trusting in His Power

“And what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.” Ephesians 1:19 NASB

The clear teaching of the Word of God is that we are saved by grace and not of works. We simply make a choice to repent of our sins and believe on Jesus for His redemptive power. At that moment the power of God unto salvation is worked out by God within our lives. We are fully dependent upon the power of God to convert us and then regenerate us. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (II Corinthians 5:17).

The fact of God’s power at work in our lives for salvation is undisputed among bible believing Christians. However, we often fail to realize the continual need of the power of God in our lives after salvation. The redeemed child of God cannot obtain the holiness of God within his life apart from the power of God initiated it. Are we saved by grace apart from the law and works only to be saved and left to our own devices to live out our salvation in accordance to the law and works? Of course not. Ephesians 4:24 says, “put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” To put on the new self is to put on Christ. (Romans 13:14). Apart from the power of God at work in our lives we cannot be saved. Likewise, apart from the power of God in our lives we cannot obtain the righteousness and holiness God requires as Christians. We start of fully dependent upon God’s power and remain fully dependent.

James 2:18 says, “But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James is clearly not arguing that one needs works to have faith. Rather, he is arguing one needs faith to have works. Even in our works we are fully dependent upon God’s power. We often quote Ephesians 2:8, 9 declaring that we are saved by grace through faith and not of works. This is a vital truth for true salvation. However, we often forget about the next verse, Ephesians 2:10 says, For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works.” We are clearly not saved by works but are clearly expected to work. We are not to work in our own power, for that is boastful and arrogant before God. Act’s 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” You will receive power to do the work in which God requires.

Jesus said apart from Me, you can do nothing. (John 15:5). Just as we are full dependent upon God for salvation, we are fully dependent upon God for righteousness, for holiness, and for our good works. Praise God just as He saves those who believe in His name, He will empower those who continue to do so.

 
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Posted by on February 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Preach the Word

“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” II Timothy 4:1-4 NASB

Paul told Timothy, a time would come when men would not endure sound doctrine. Clearly, we are living in those days. I often hear people say, preachers included, “We don’t need doctrine, we just need Jesus.” How do we know we need Jesus apart from the biblical doctrine that teaches us of our need of Jesus? Doctrine is simply biblical teaching. Jesus Himself commissioned the church to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you.” Jesus didn’t tell us to only baptize the nations, which is important and indicates their clear need of Jesus, but also to make disciples, followers of Jesus, and teach them. What do we teach? We teach the Word of God, “all that I commanded you.”

To preach simply means to proclaim or make known. Clearly the pastor on Sunday morning preaches to the congregation, however, preaching should not be limited to this time nor is it only the pastor’s responsibility. We find Steven, who was just appointed as a deacon, preaching to the Jewish leaders in Acts seven. Clearly, the proclamation of God’s word doesn’t have to be directed to a large gathering of people either. Philip proclaimed God’s Word to the Ethiopian Eunuch while Paul and Silas shared God’s Word with the Philippian jailer.

I believe every Christian is responsible for the proclamation of God’s Word. I also believe the reason we have such moral decay in our world today is the direct lack of sound biblical teaching and preaching. I’m not saying there isn’t good solid preaching from the pulpit today. Clearly there is. However, every Christian is responsible to carry that good solid word to their families, their communities, and their world. Whether we are teaching our children around our dinner tables within our homes or conducting a bible study, with and individual or with a group, while on break at word, we should be proclaiming God’s Word.

Paul told Timothy to do the work of an evangelist. Jesus, with evangelism in mind said Go therefore. To evangelize is to share the gospel for the purpose of compelling someone to put their faith in Jesus. When Jesus said Go therefore, He was literally saying as you go. As you go about your everyday routine of life evangelize in the name of Jesus. We need to make a point to plant gospel seeds everywhere we have had a presence.

Imagine for a moment if every Christian began proclaiming God’s Word throughout this world and standing firm upon their biblical convictions. This world would quickly be changed for God’s glory. I know you are full of excuses as to why you can’t do this. You don’t know God’s Word well enough right? Do you own a bible? Yes? Then you have your solution. Pick it up and start studying it. You’re not bold enough right? Then pray for boldness as the church did in Acts four and God will give it to you just as He did them. As a matter of fact, if we trust in the Lord, He will give us everything we need, all He requires of us is faithfulness and obedience.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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It’s Done!

“Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous.” Joshua 1:6,7

As Joshua stood at the banks of the Jordan about to cross over and take possession of the land, he knew there was an enemy on the other side willing to fight to the death to keep what they perceived as their land. He knew he was in for a major battle. The enemy wasn’t going to simply hand over the deed to the land once they crossed over. They would have to fight for it.

However, God promised them victory. Three times in chapter one God declared that He would give them possession of the land. In verse three God said in the past tense, “I have given it to you.” It’s already done. When God makes a promise, although it has yet to come to pass, it is done. Jesus has promised that He will return again one day. It hasn’t happened as of yet, but the promise has been made; therefore, it is as good as done. In the same way Jesus perfectly fulfilled the promises of His first coming, He will perfectly fulfill them with His second. It hasn’t happened yet, but it is done. How, you may ask. Because God said it.

With this in mind God told Joshua twice in this verse to be strong and courageous. God said again to Joshua in verse nine, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” I John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” If we know that God loves us perfectly, which He does, and we are walking in accordance to His path and plan, we have no reason to fear. God is with us; therefore the enemy has no chance at victory, because we already have the victory.

When you choose to callously sit in your comfortable pews, in the midst of your cozy climate controlled coliseums, listening to the cares only of the called standing behind his craftily carved pulpit, you are no threat to the enemy. You are still wandering in the wilderness. As a matter of fact, you are among Satan’s favorite Christians. However, when you come to the point where you are sick and tired of seeing Satan and his minions trample God’s creation and blaspheme His holy name you will chose to stand and fight the good fight. Be warned, when you do Satan will take notice and he will fight back. You are now a threat to him. But don’t fear, be strong and courageous. God will be with you.

Satan’s only hope at victory is for the Christians to remain within the walls and play church. Just like most churches have been doing for years. His greatest fear is for the church to rise up and be the church. For he knows when the church rises to the occasion to fight the good fight he stand no chance at victory-for God’s promises are done! Therefore, stand up and fight the good fight in the name of Jesus!

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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