Posts Tagged ‘Grace

19
Jul
19

Out Of The Darkness

Have you ever lost power in the middle of the night? It’s kind of scary, isn’t it? When things are pitch black and you can’t see anything, it is hard to move around to find a flashlight or a candle. Every follower of Christ has been in spiritual darkness at one point in their lives. Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:9 (NLT):

But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

We are no longer in the darkness because God called to us and brought us out of it. We belong to God. Instead of using this as a source of pride, we are to help others see the light. Instead of looking down on those lost in the darkness, we should love them into the light. Jesus is waiting for people to come to Him. He is calling to them to leave the darkness and find new life in Him. Who can you lead to the light this week? Is there someone you know who is stumbling in the darkness? Start by praying for an opportunity to share God’s love with them so that you can point them to the light.

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03
Oct
18

Sin Is Deadly

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus addresses various aspects of the Law and points us to the heart of God’s commands. When it comes to lust, He says that we should go to great lengths to avoid adultery. He said:

If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. – Matthew 5:29-30 (NIV)

Too often we downplay the seriousness of sin. In reality, sin is deadly. Sin is what sends people to Hell. Sin is what sent Jesus to the cross. What do we do? We will mess around with sin and tiptoe up to the line of sin to see how far we can go. What we should be doing is taking ten steps back from the line of sin and draw a new line. We need better boundaries when it comes to sin. If we mess around with sin, it means that we don’t understand grace. Grace is free for us, but it cost Jesus His life. Let’s not take it for granted by messing around with sin.
25
Sep
18

Jesus And The Law

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus made it clear that He was not doing away with the Law of Moses. Rather, He was going to do what no one else had ever done nor could ever do again. He was going to keep it perfectly. Jesus said:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. – Matthew 5:17-18 (NIV)

We could never keep the Law perfectly, but that doesn’t give us a license to sin against God or others. Instead, Jesus calls us to a higher standard. He calls us into a loving relationship with God by grace through faith in Him. When we enter into this relationship with God, we are filled with God’s Spirit who transforms us from the inside out. Instead of striving to earn grace, we rest in it. Instead of trying to earn salvation, we accept it as a gift. This gift is so amazing that we want to obey God because we love Him and we love people.
12
Sep
18

Giving/Receiving Mercy

I remember growing up in church and learning the definitions of grace and mercy. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve. God’s grace means that we get the gift of forgiveness. Mercy means that we don’t receive the punishment we deserve for our sins. Grace means that we get eternal life. Mercy means that we don’t get eternal death in Hell. Jesus wants us to extend mercy to others. He said:

Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy. – Matthew 5:7 (NIV)

People are going to hurt you. They’re going to lie to you and cheat on you and gossip about you. They’ll do it more than once. How will you respond? Will you try to get revenge or will you show mercy? Jesus’ words remind us that His way is best. When we show mercy to others, we open ourselves up to receive the mercy of God. Author Dave Willis said something along the lines of “We should not treat people the way they deserve. Rather, we should treat them the way we want God to treat us.” If you want God to show you mercy, be merciful to others.
07
Sep
18

Mourning Our Sinful Condition

At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’ longest recorded sermon in the Gospels, Jesus describes a person who is devoted to His Kingdom. It’s a passage known as the Beatitudes. These are the traits of someone who is on the right track to becoming what God wants them to become. The first step is to recognize one’s spiritual poverty. The next step is described in this way. Jesus said:

Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted. – Matthew 5:4 (NIV)

This is not just any kind of mourning, though. It is a mourning over one’s spiritual condition. God comforts the brokenhearted, to be sure. But this kind of mourning goes deeper than being sad over a death of a loved one or a broken relationship. This is mourning over the fact that you are a sinner and there’s nothing you can do about it. When you get to the point where you realize just how bad you are and how much you need a Savior, that’s when God will comfort you with His grace, mercy and forgiveness.
08
Aug
18

Enemies Of The Cross

God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on a Roman cross for the sins of humanity. It was because of God’s great love and amazing grace that He gave us this gift. So many people choose to reject this gift. Not only do they reject it, but they actually hate those who have accepted it. Paul told the Philippians that many live as enemies of the cross. He wrote:

For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. – Philippians 3:18 (NIV)

Paul was brokenhearted over the fact that many see the cross of Christ as a threat and who live as enemies of it. Notice that they are not OUR enemies, but rather they live as enemies of the cross. We who have received God’s grace must pray for those who live as enemies of the cross. We need to love those who live as enemies of the cross. Our hearts should break for them because Jesus’ heart breaks for them. Let us do all that we can to reflect the light and love of God to this world so that those who live as enemies of the cross will come to know that Jesus wants to be their friend.
01
Aug
18

To Know Christ

Do you know Jesus Christ? Do you know Him in a personal way? I don’t mean to know things about Him. Do you REALLY know Him? The apostle Paul wanted to know Jesus and he wrote:

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. – Philippians 3:10-11 (NIV)

To know Jesus is to know more than facts and figures about Him. It means to participate in the life of Christ. It means to know and experience the power that raised Him from the grave. It means to experience His suffering and death. It means to become like Him in the way that you love God and in the way that you love, serve and forgive people. It is a relationship based on His grace that will never end. Knowing Jesus is more than just a trivial pursuit. It is the pursuit of an eternal relationship with your Savior and Lord.



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