Misleading Definitions of Grace


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Grace is the maximum expression of God’s love, His ultimate gift, the greatest manifestation of power and the most effective instrument of success. Grace is not the enemy of the law, but the fulfillment of it. Did grace not come through Jesus?[1] Is not Jesus the fulfillment of the law? In Matthew 5:17 Jesus tells us, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” (KJV)

         For those who speak against the law as if the law is some kind of disease, you are dangerously mistaken. The law is God’s standard and his standard has not change.[2]

         The law proved the point that none of us is able to follow it. The law pointed straight at Jesus as our only Savior.[3] I have been reading and watching videos in social media with absolutely incorrect interpretations and definitions of grace. Boy, they sound good! But there is one major problem; the message is dangerously incomplete.

         If you listen to these folks, they make it sound as if folks under grace are exempts from any works. Let me make this clear, grace is not a reason or an excuse for us to be lazy, it is indeed the reason why we do good works.

         We do not do these works to gain or retain salvation; we do these works because it is what the Word tells us to do. Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (KJV)

         This theme of good works and of being a blessing in this world, is not a new one; it is clearly established from the very beginning with Abraham. God raised the nation of Israel to be a blessing to the world.[4] So, if the Old Testament establishes God’s people as the instrument of blessing in the world, how much more, we, New Testament folks, ought to be a blessing, as we are partakers of a greater promise?[5]

         To these new evangelicals of grace I say, do not read beyond the Word of God in trying to find new definitions of biblical concepts. What you are doing is not new, Paul told the Corinthians Church, “And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.” First Corinthians 4:6 (KJV)

         I heard a man saying, “Grace is more than an unmerited favor.” Does this man realize that grace is a word that already has an established Greek definition? John 1:17 tells us, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (KJV) The word grace here is the Greek Word cháris, meaning: “To rejoice. Grace, particularly that which causes joy, pleasure, gratification, favor, acceptance, for a kindness granted or desired, a benefit, thanks, gratitude. A favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver; unearned and unmerited favor.”[6]

         Notice that, in listening to these Neoevangelicals, they say a lot of things with very little or no Scripture and when they do use Scripture, for the most part, is used out of context. Some, not all, are borderline inclusionist; that is the belief that everybody is going to make it to heaven.

         When you see folks going beyond the original meaning of the words, ignoring and minimizing Scripture and teaching private interpretations of Scripture, run from them.[7] In order for us to be Jesus’ disciples we must remain in His Word.[8] In other words, the Bible is the place where we find and confirm truth, not in Dr. Joe Blow’s fancy and private interpretations.

         The truth is that we as Christians are not called by God to be lazy; we are actually called to do many things; make disciples, teach Jesus commands, care for the poor, the widows, minister to those in prison and in hospitals and the list goes on and on. This idea that we are just floating around in this world doing nothing, is not biblical. We as Christians have so much to do that indeed, without God’s grace we won’t be able to accomplish anything.

         As Christians we should be equipping the saints to the work of the ministry according to Ephesians 4:12-16. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). As the direct result of all these lazy, hippie gospel promoters and these misleading definitions of grace, we have many saints walking with dead faith.

         We will be judge by Jesus for the things we did and did not do while on this earth.[9] Doing something is not a recommendation, is a biblical mandate. So I conclude with these words: Get up your BUTT and DO Something for GOD!

Biblical Reference:

[1] John 1:17

[2] Matthew 5:18

[3] Galatians 3:15-22

[4] Genesis 22:18

[5] Hebrews 8:6

[6] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[7] 2 Peter 1:20

[8] John 8:31

[9] 2 Corinthians 5:10

I am Not Called to Change the World


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I believe that one of the ideas that continue to consume our pulpits is the idea that we, as Christians, are called to change the world. Many also go as far as blaming the Christians for the condition of the world.

         I have been a member of many local churches. Personally, I have been a pastor of two small congregations and I am the first to tell you that we, the church, are not where we are suppose to be. Nevertheless, part of the reason for that reality is that we are focusing on the wrong thing.

         But how do we relate to this world system? What is our responsibility?

In Luke 4:18-19 Jesus announced the essence of his job description and in fact, the job description of all of us as Christians,

 

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,

Because He has anointed Me

To preach the gospel to the poor;

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,

To proclaim liberty to the captives

And recovery of sight to the blind,

To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” (NKJV)

 

         The reasons for the anointing of God in our lives is clear: 1) To preach the gospel to the poor. 2) To heal the brokenhearted. 3) To proclaim liberty to the captives. 4) To recover the sight to the blind. 5) To set at liberty those who are oppressed. And, 5) To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. None of these reasons speak about changing the world; changing laws or the constitution.

         We will never eradicate this world system; that is because we are not called to do so. God will destroy this system in one hour! Revelation 18:10 tells us,  standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.” (NKJV)

         Beloved, we are not from here; we are citizens of heaven.[1] We are vessels of clay[2] in the hands of God. Our greatest evangelistic tool is to love one another, for the Bible tells us in John 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (NKJV).

         We need to fix our house, get back to the pure teaching of God’s Word and sound doctrine. We need to make room and prepare our hearts to receive new disciples, teach them and equip them in the Lord and send them out so that they can do the same for others.

         We go and make disciples by going into the highways and compelling them to come.[3] We go and feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, reach out to the stranger, cloth the naked, look after the sick and minister to those in prison.”[4] We give them, not a man-made religion, but the pure and undefiled religion that does not ignore the orphans and widows in their troubles.[5]

         We need to cleanse ourselves from the mediocrity of our teaching and preaching, from our compromising views, from our political correctness, from our spiritual laziness, from our denominational worship, from our distractions and ultimately, from our lack of faith in believing that God is who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do.

 

 

 

 

[1] Philippians 3:20

[2] 2 Corinthians 4:7

[3] Luke 14:23

[4] Mathew 25:35-36

[5] James 1:27

A Letter to an Atheist


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You hate me because of my faith; but deep inside that is not really the problem. At the heart of your hate is your hate for God.[1] You don’t want me to spread my message of hope; but in your hypocrisy, you fight, not only against my God, but also to spread your atheist views.

         You want to set people free from religion; I want to set them free from the consequences of sin and give them hope through Christ. We both should be able to be free to do what we think is right for the world; but you fight against my right to do so.

         You want to prove everything through science, you demand evidence; you demand a sign, but the Lord will only show you one sign, the most ridiculous one, the sign of Jonah.[2]

         For some of you, your hate will last until the very last hour, your punishment for all eternity. For all eternity you will be expressing your hate against my God back and forth, back and forth… for all eternity. For all eternity you will be drinking from the bitter cup of your rebelliousness; for all eternity you will be burning and you will feel thirst without any possibility of drinking a glass of fresh water[3]. But the words of your mouth will be evidence of the righteousness of God. The words of your mouth will be evidence against you, for some of you will refuse to repent even in your torment and pain.[4]

         God gave you the freedom to follow or reject Him.[5] Then you use that freedom to blame every evil thing on God; the matter of suffering is your issue; it is not that you need evidence of His existence. God made his existence obvious[6], He gave you morals[7], He show you His power[8] and His authority as the Godhead[9]. You know of His judgments, but not only that you go against His righteousness; you made the decision to suppress His truth and promoted your demonic agenda.[10]

         The reality of the life, dead and resurrection of Christ is your scientific answer, but you live to mock Christ and to mock the story of God’s creation. You reject God’s knowledge in exchange for your foolishness.[11] The wrath of God is upon you.[12]

         You proposed for a divorce between science and God. Romans 1:22-23 describe your foolish arrogance, “Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.” (NKJV)

         It is my prayer that my love for you overcomes your hate for me and for my God. It is my prayer that the love of God arrest your heart and that you conclude, in your heart, that my God is good[13] and that His judgments are true and righteous[14]. It is my prayer that you repent for your blasphemies.

         It is my prayers that you realize that God’s ways are higher than our ways.[15] At the end of this dimension of life only God’s people will enjoy His glory, not because we are better, but because the holy sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. His humiliation is the heart of our salvation.[16]

         There is an end-time revival coming, the pouring out of God’s Spirit[17]. His Shekinah glory will fill the earth[18]. The last call for his salvation will come to an end. The time will come when He will no longer be found.[19] The closing of His time of grace and the manifestation of His judgment are quickly approaching. In the mix of your hostility I give you the Gospel, the good news that it does not have to end this way. God loves you! He is the redeemer, who will make all things right, but who will also judge all things.

 

 

 

 

[1] “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” John 15:18 (KJV)

[2] “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”

39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Matthew 12:38-39 (NKJV)

[3] Luke 16:14-31

[4] Revelation 16, Luke 16:24 and Mark 9:43

[5] “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (NKJV)

[6] Romans 1

[7] Romans 2:14-15

[8] Romans 1

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

[11] Psalm 14:1

[12] Romans 1

[13] Psalm 136:1

[14] Revelation 19:2

[15] Isaiah 55:9

[16] John 3:16

[17] Acts 2:7

[18] Habakkuk 2:14

[19] Isaiah 55:6

An Irresponsible Gospel


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Are we teaching an irresponsible Gospel? So in the name of “My God will provide” we forget about being good stewards of what God has given us. In the name of “My God will provide” we fill our lives with loans. So we forget the Scripture as Peter encourages us to be good stewards, “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” First Peter 4:10 (KJV) The Apostle Paul then encourages us to be debt free; “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8 (NKJV)

         Are we teaching an irresponsible Gospel? In the name of “All I need is the Holy Ghost” we do not study, we don’t go to college, but passionately refuse any form of education instead. Are we not aware that the teacher who teaches our children must have at least an associate degree in college? Were we not told that the doctor that cares for you when you are sick spend his youth educating him/herself in order to be able to help you? Did anybody tell you that the attorney that defended you when you got in trouble has countless years of education? What can we say about the judge? Mechanics, Plumbers, Electrician and Carpenters spend time learning and expanding their knowledge; many even become business owners. So why do you feel that it is unnecessary for you to further your education for the sake of preparation for the work of the ministry? Have you forgotten what the Scripture says? “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

         Are we teaching an irresponsible Gospel? In the name of “God sees our hearts” we give God our worst and lock excellence in the closet of our mediocrity. I am talking about many things, but emphasizing in music and the expression of any art for the Lord. Why are we always an echo of what the world is doing? Why do we refuse to listen to God for originals; for the new songs that He requests. The psalmist tells us, “Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.” Psalm 33:3 (KJV)         Are we teaching an irresponsible Gospel? In the name of “The New Testament does not speak about tithing” we don’t see it necessary to give. Do we not know that we are under a greater covenant base on greater promises? (Hebrews 8:6). Do we not know that to whom too much is given, much is required? (Luke 12:48). More clearly Jesus stated in Luke 6:38, “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (NKJV) Ultimately, our giving is a reflection of the geographic spiritual place of our hearts “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21 (NKJV)

         Are we teaching an irresponsible Gospel? Are we so smart now that we feel no need to backup our statements with God’s Word?  In the name of, “The Holy Spirit speaks to me” you come up with all kinds of outrages and unbiblical statements. Are you above God’s Word? Does God contradict Himself now? What a fool you are for thinking in such way. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 teaches us, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (KJV)

         Are we teaching an irresponsible Gospel? In the name of “I do not want to offend anybody” we water down the Gospel, we hold back the truth and we allow foolishness to enter the ears of the people God has called us to pastor. The political correctness has indeed entered the church. False teachings, fornications and all kinds of perversity are allowed in our churches for fear of being accused of judging; some are going as far as calling what is evil, good. Have you heard the warning from Prophet Isaiah? “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” Isaiah 5:20 (KJV) We are called to tell it like it is, in love, but the truth nevertheless. Are we teaching an irresponsible Gospel? Are we?

         Are we teaching an irresponsible Gospel? Don’t you know that you are my family? Why don’t you fellowship with me? So, the little God bless you on Sundays during the service is enough for you? Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” (NKJV) Have you been made aware of the meaning of the word assembling? ”To gather together. The act of gathering or assembling together (2 Thess. 2:1 [cf. 1 Thess 4:17]). Heb. 10:25 does not merely denote the assembling for corporate worship as a solitary or occasional act, but as customary conduct. The prep. epí (1909), to, must refer to Christ Himself as the one to whom this assembly was attached. Thus it would have the meaning of not betraying one’s attachment to Jesus Christ and other believers, not avoiding one’s own personal responsibility as part of the body of Christ. Syn.: sunagōgḗ (4864), a gathering of Jews for worship, a synagogue; ekklēsía (1577), an assembly, church; sunédrion (4892), a council; panḗguris (3831), a festive assembly; sunodía (4923), synod, companionship on a journey. Ant.: egkataleípō (1459), to desert or leave stranded, to abandon. It refers rather to the separating of oneself from the local Christian community (often because of the dread of persecution).[1] So this gathering together is more than just, “Going to church on Sundays” It requires three things:

  1. That we be connected and relationship with Christ.
  2. That we be connected with one another; that is, beyond our Sunday gatherings.
  3. That we do our part in the Body by taking care of our responsibilities as it refers to our service to God and His people.

Are we teaching an irresponsible Gospel? Are we?

prep (preposition)

[1] Zodhiates, S. (2000). The complete word study dictionary: New Testament (electronic ed.). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.