I want to simply say that it has been an absolute thrill for me to come into your life via this incredible medium these past six months. I want to just simply say “THANK YOU SO MUCH” I LOVE PREACHING, I LOVE THE WORD OF GOD, I LOVE STUDYING,I LOVE BLOGGING, I LOVE MY LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST WHO MAKES ALL OF THIS POSSIBLE TO BEGIN WITH. I also want to thank you for your friendship, your prayers, your graciousness, and for following “VERTICAL VIEWER” My mind has been swimming with all kinds of thoughts about what to say here. Perhaps the best way I can do that is by using scripture; Wow, what a novel idea!! I was looking at Titus chapter two earlier and verse thirteen caught my attention; “Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (nkjv) As 2012 is upon us my question is very simple indeed, “My friend what are you looking for in 2012? I think it’s a very fair question is it not? Ive been looking at other blog sites these past few days and I’m impressed with some of the things their saying. And quite I’ve often if I’m honest, I’m thinking I wish I had thought of that. A great many of you are blessed to be able to share some incredible, awesome insights with your readership and then again if I’m honest, We disagree on many aspects of scripture and what it teaches. But I’m thankful that our God, his Son and the Holy Spirit, the Bible, The Body of Christ and Christianity in general is being BOLDLY proclaimed to a lost and dying world. We have what the world needs, we have the answers to their problems. Our role and responsibility is to simply be witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ. So as we enter yet another year, may the God of heaven guide and direct you into the love of his dear son, may your soul prosper, may your family be blessed, may you be successful in all your endeavors. I pray that 2012 will be a banner year for you personally, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and in every way possible. But in the meantime, I pray that all of us will be “looking” for that blessed hope and glorious appearing….” So from our house to your house, let me say “HAPPY NEW YEAR” In this new year you will notice some changes on this blog site. I’ve been looking at several other themes to go with in this new year. So stay-tuned to get a peek at our new blog site, trust you like it; would appreciate some feedback if that’s ok!! Well, friends and neighbors have to get back to studying the word. My message will come from ACTS CHPT. TWO tomorrow, entitled: “Why are you here?” God Bless My Friends!! Fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith!! So until next time beloved, “Keep Looking up because Jesus is coming again”
Monthly Archives: December 2011
Introduction: What exactly is Christianity and has it always been as it is today? “Christianity” in most people’s view, is a conglomerate of all religions, regardless of how remotely they resemble the scriptures, that profess to believe in Jesus Christ. This belief in Christ, the founder of Christianity, may involve an actual belief in his person and teaching or simply a general acceptance of the historicity of Christ, the fact that a man named Jesus lived. I invite you to take a trip back in time, all the way back to the First Century.
I. Contemporary denominationalism
A. Denominationalism, many different churches, teaching many different doctrines, did not exist in the First Century (time of Jesus and the apostles).
B. There was one universal church and the local churches were united around the word of God (Eph. 4: 4, 5) As a result, Paul could “teach every where in every church” (I Cor. 4: 17).
C. Denominations are the result of a party spirit and men rallying around men (I Cor. 1: 10-13). For a number of years, there were 360 different denominations listed in America. That number grew to 1240. Now, there are thousands, with new ones started every week.
a. Some origins: Baptist, 1607, Holland, founded by John Smith; Methodist, 1739, England, John Wesley; Presbyterian, 1536, Switzerland, John Calvin; Episcopalian, 1534, England, Henry the eighth; and Mormon, 1830, America, Joseph Smith. The Lutheran’s claim to be one of the oldest denominations is essentially correct, but they only go back in time to 1520. The Lutherans are 1500 years removed from Christ and the apostles!
II. Roman Catholicism
A. Many think of the Catholic Church when they think of ancient Christianity. It is true that Catholicism gave birth to most of the older denominations (the Reformation Movement). Lutheranism and Protestantism originally came into existence as a result of realizing they could not reform the Catholic Church (see addendum).
B. However, Roman Catholicism (as a full-grown entity) cannot be traced back to the time of Jesus and the apostles. Most reference works cite AD 606 as the date of origin of the Catholic Church.
a. In fact, the scriptures appear to speak of the development of Catholicism, but in the atmosphere of apostasy and departure from the truth (2 Thes. 2: 1-12, I Tim. 4: 1-3).
b. The impetus which resulted in the total corruption of power being given to “one man” started within the eldership, just as Paul prophesied it would (Acts 20: 27-31, 2 Thes. 2: 4).
c. Various doctrines, which are associated with Catholicism, did not begin in the First Century (not part of the “doctrine of Christ”). The date of origin for the teaching of transubstantiation is AD 1215; celibacy, 800; purgatory, 593; and the legalization to generally practice sprinkling was 1311. Catholicism, as such, is 600 years removed from Jesus and the apostles.
III. Let us now travel all the way back in time, past denominationalism, the Reformation Movement, and Catholicism. Let us go back to the First Century when every individual Christian was a priest and collectively constituted a priesthood (I Pet. 2: 5, 9).
A. It was a time when men and women heard the simple Jerusalem gospel and responded in implicit obedience (Acts 8: 12, they did not practice “infant baptism”).
B. It was a time when Peter and others were simply preachers of the gospel, they claimed no papal power and presented the gospel to the people in their own language (Acts 2: 1-11, 14-40).
a. Peter, while inspired, made no claim to papal infallibility; when he sinned, he was rebuked and he refused worship from any man, even a Gentile (Gal. 2: 11-14, Acts 10: 25, 26). The doctrine of celibacy had not been introduced by man, at the time of the First Century; hence, we observe Peter being a married man, as were most of the other apostles (Matt. 8: 14, I Cor. 9: 5 ff.).
C. The First Century was a time when elders or bishops had the oversight of the congregation where they served (Acts 14: 23, I Tim. 3: 1-7, Tit. 1: 5 ff.).
D. It was a time that preceded the creeds and dogmas of men, as we know them today. The word of God was the final authority and they were taught to abide in Jesus’ teaching (I Pet. 4: 11; 2 Jn. 9).
a. Fellowship was spiritual and determined by the truth taught and practiced (2 Jn. 9-11).
b. The local church wore no human names, as seen, there were no Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians in the time of Jesus and the apostles (Rom. 16: 16, I Cor. 1: 2).
c. The saved were simply known as Christians, members, believers, disciples, and saints (Acts 11: 26; I Cor. 12: 27; I Tim. 4: 12; Acts 6: 1; Phili. 1: 1).
d. Christians were to believe and practice the same belief, the one faith (I Cor. 1: 10, Jn. 17: 21).
e. Religious division was not glorified, as it is today, but was viewed as sinful (I Cor. 3: 1 ff.).
E. The First Century church met on the Lord’s Day to observe the Lord’s Supper, sing praise to God, pray, have preaching, and to give of their means (Acts 20: 7; Eph. 5: 19; Acts 4: 31; Acts 20: 7, 2 Tim. 4: 1 ff.; I Cor. 16: 1, 2).
a. Their worship was simple, sincere, and spiritual. They did not have bands for their entertainment or productions to placate their theatric propensities.
b. Religion was not big business and the churches were not into the social gospelism, not in the First Century (I Tim. 3: 15).
c. In the First Century, much emphasis was placed on the truth of the gospel and they believed the truth was not relative, but fixed and ascertainable (Jn. 8: 32, 31, Gal. 2: 14).
Conclusion: It is high time that we stopped practicing a distorted, human manufactured, and perverted “Christianity” and travel back, not to Protestantism and Catholicism, but all the way back in time to ancient and pristine Christianity. All the way back past the pollution and smog to the time of “the churches of Christ salute you”? (Rom. 16: 16.) Moreover, the gospel, as given in the First Century, is final and has no provision for additions, amendments, or addenda (Jude 3).
Addendum: The term “Protestant” was born in an atmosphere of protestation to the Catholic Church. When the diet met at Spires in 1526 the majority were dissenters to Catholicism. Ferdinand of Austria, the one presiding over the diet, demanded the enforcement of the edict of worms. When the diet met again at Spires in 1529, the Catholic party was largely in the majority. There was a concentrated effort, therefore, to regain the measure of political power of the Catholic Church that had been lost in 1526. The following is a quotation of part of the protesting which led to the famous beginning of “Protestant” (notice the use of “protest”): “We protest publicly before God….we do not consent or agree with any resolutions or acts contained in the last degree of Spires above referred to (1529, dm), which, in the great concern of religion, are contrary to God and to his holy word, injurious to our soul’s salvation…and we hereby solemnly declare that, from reasons already assigned, and from other weighty considerations, we regard all such resolutions or acts as null and void.” Hence, the origin of “Protestant.” Notice that the inception of “Protestant” was in the climate of the second meeting of the diet at Spires in 1529, 1500 years after Jesus’ church came into existence (Matt. 16: 18, Acts 2: 47, 5: 11).
Introduction: Jesus and His apostles often warned of men preaching “another Jesus” and “another gospel” (2 Cor. 11: 4, 3, notice allos, same sort, not heteros, different sort; a “Jesus” closely resembling Jesus, yet subtly and importantly different, vs. 4; Gal. 1: 6-10). They warned that we must abide in the original gospel, the doctrine of Christ (Gal.1: 6-10; 2 Jn. 9,10, Rev. 22: 18, 19). Much is changing in the religious world about us. We must wisely choose to get back to the biblical patterns. The early church is described for us in the New Testament. There are modern forms of “Christianity” that do not fit the biblical pattern.
I. Psychological Christianity.
A. Feel good about yourself pep-talk religion.
a. Seek religious attitude adjustments for tension and frustration. Connected to the health and wealth gospel of most Tele-evangelists. “Send me more money and you will get more back in monetary wealth”. Sin is a minor concern if ever mentioned at all.
b. The gospel pertains to the mind, but not in the sense just noted (Phili. 4: 8, 13).
II. Social Christianity
A. Club privileges, facilities, social-recreational emphasis with a little
a. A good time religion with special appeal to those who cannot get into lodges, clubs, or the society column. This form of “Christianity” offers and provides for social-recreational desires of the club (church?):
1. Gyms, kitchens
2. Theater, plays, parties
3. Day-care, Mothers-day-out, etc. (Cp. Acts 2: 46, 47, 44).
III. Political Christianity.
A. Campaigns, rallies, political marches to influence government to clean up
B. Early Christianity was separate from government, as such (Rom. 13: 1-7, cp. with prophet under old economy, Jere. 1: 10).
IV. Emotional Christianity.
A. Thrives on emotional hype, looks for guidance in life through emotional
“signals” that can be imagined as one wants.
a. Looks for experience with God through emotional signals that are easily imagined.
Thrives in church atmospheres staged for a high amount of hype and pep-rally
emotional boosts. Does not get its energy from “learning from Jesus”. Teaching alone is
dull and inadequate. A team with a great emotional pep-rally will still lose without knowledge
of the game and a clear game-plan. Likewise, a team with a great knowledge of the game
and a clear game-plan need to add some pep to the plan. Many churches are 90% pep with
a dangerously low percentage of knowledge. They pep themselves to do the
wrong things (Rom. 6: 17, 18).
V. Sacramental Christianity.
A. Loyalty to certain rites or ceremonies that are believed to give one a
“pass” to glory.
a. To some it is the “supper”. The mere partaking of the supper keeps their
passport ticket up to date each week (cp. Jn. 6: 51, 53-56; 66-69). These have “a form of godliness” but deny its actual power (2 Tim. 3: 5).
VI. Theological Christianity.
A. Intellectual, smugness in factuality with little emotional connection with
a. Cold acceptance of some facts makes a “sacrament” out of the mere
knowledge of facts. Know a man who can argue very intelligently with the liberals about
biblical authority, but he does not attend anywhere and actually serve the Lord (cp. Rom. 6: 17, 18).
Conclusion: True Christianity is: Factual (Acts 2: 36, 37 ff. “do”); life-changing (Acts 2: 38, 41, 42); emotionally satisfying (Acts 2: 41, “gladly”); and obedient (Acts 2: 41). We need to seek to let the gospel work in us in the same way it did in the early disciples. We need to be sincere and honest before God and let Him live in our heart, soul, mind, and way of life. Our interest should not be in what will please ourselves. True Christianity is described for us by God in the New Testament. Let us be Christians of the New Testament pattern. Nothing more; nothing less.
THE URGENCY OF EMERGENCY!!
I. IMMEDIATELY THEY FOLLOWED JESUS – Matt. 4:18-22.
A. We Must Be Eager To Follow Jesus.
1. When the controversy swirls (hard, controversial topics) – Jude 3.
2. When family objects – Matt. 10:37.
3. When hardships occur – Matt. 10:38.
4. Will we stand or limp? – 1 Kgs. 18:21.
B. We Must Be Assured That We Are Not Following Man, But The Son Of God – Lk. 5:5-8.
1. He has demonstrated His power – Jno. 20:30-31.
2. His word establishes truth – Lk. 5:5.
C. Eliminate Excuses For Not Following Jesus – Lk. 14:15-24.
1. Though invited, excuses offered show lack of proper value being placed upon the host & the occasion.
2. Excuses of necessity, valid concerns & arrogance are still offered which reject Christ & His blessings!
3. Excuses do not excuse failing to come to Jesus – 14:24 (Jas.4:17).
4. Why not now?! – Acts 16:30-34
II. SOME WILL IMMEDIATELY RECEIVE THE WORD & THEN IMMEDIATELY STUMBLE – Mk. 4:16-17.
-(We all know of such occurrences & they distress us!)
A. Why Does This Happen?
1. Mk. 4:16-17 – No root in themselves.
a. Faith does not grow & strengthen.
b. Endure as long as faith is not tested.
c. When test of faith comes — stumble.
2. What is the remedy?
B. Diligently Pursue Spiritual Growth – Heb. 6:1-3.
1. Build a mature faith – Col. 2:6-7.
2. Hear & obey word – Jas. 1:23-25.
3. 2 Pet. 1:5-10 – Diligent spiritual growth is an urgent need in order to prevent stumbling! (What is gained, escaped, uncertainty of life.)
III. IMMEDIATELY SATAN COMES – Mk. 4:15 (1 Pet. 5:8; 2 Cor. 2:11).
A. His Objective: Keep The Word Of God From Us – v. 15.
1. He knows its power – Rom. 1:16; 1 Cor. 1:18
2. He blinds minds to it – 2 Cor. 4:3-4.
B. Satan Never Rests – Job 1:6-7.
C. We Must Diligently (Immediately) Resist Him – Jas. 4:7-10.
1. Prov. 4:23 – Guard it with vigilance.
2. Prov. 3:7 – Fear God & depart from evil. (Matt. 10:28)
1. Acts 22:16 – “And now, why do you delay?” (NASV); “And now why are you waiting?” (NKJV)
2. In view of what is gained (heaven), what is escaped (hell) & the uncertainty of life – “Why Not Now?!”
“THY WORD HAVE I HID IN MY HEART…. PSALM 119:11
We should read the Bible from cover to cover. We should want to know what the Lord said.
Many of us, while acknowledging that the Bible is the word of God, have not read it in its entirety. We have been hindered from reading the Bible completely for several reasons. It is my hope and prayer that we would be rid of all obstacles to the hearing and reading of God’s word.
We must realize that the Lord expects us to read all the Bible. The Lord said on one occasion, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God‘” (Matthew 4:4). Not live by some words, but by every word of God. Thus we need to read every word of God. We need to be like the Bereans who “received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
These Scriptures should dispel the idea that we need only read some of the scriptures. This notion would cause us to be judges of what in the Bible was important. But “every word of God is pure” (Proverbs 30:5).
Then, we may make ourselves a promise to read all the Bible, but it does not get done. But other things are getting done. Television shows are watched, other books and magazines are read, and our time is spent on other things. If this happens, then we simply have not made the precious words of our Creator a priority. Whatever is most important should be done first.
But isn’t understanding the Bible important? But can you understand what you have not read? Paul, commenting on what he wrote, said,”By which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Ephesians 3:3-4). If we are not careful, we may get the idea that our understanding comes from something or someone else apart from our reading God’s word, which would be contrary to what the Bible says. In order to enter the house of understanding, we must go through the door of reading or hearing the word for ourselves. Thus, Timothy was told to “give attention to reading” (I Timothy 4:13).
When Jesus was confronted with a question, He showed where we should seek answers for spiritual inquiry. “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? He said to him, What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” (Luke 10:25-26).
Let us also notice that Jesus did not refer the questioner to his own dreams for an answer (see Jeremiah 23:28). Jesus did not suggest the man’s own opinions as a source for the answer to his question. Proverbs 3:5-6 teaches us to trust the Lord, which is to trust what He says in His word. In this way our steps are guided as we follow God’s Word. “Your word is a lamp to my feet. And a light to my path” (Psalms 119:104).
To this question, Jesus did not appeal to other non-Biblical religious writings. Let other books be read, but do not use them as a substitute for the reading of the Bible. And never believe that the reading of the Bible is incomplete without these other books.
There may be many of us who agree that all the Bible should be regularly read. We might say, “I read the Bible every day, but I simply have not read it all.” If I believe that I can seriously read the Bible for several years and not complete it, I have one or both of two problems. Either I am reading the same passages of scriptures, thus not “adding to my faith virtue, to virtue knowledge” (II Peter 1:5) or I am not reading as much as I think I am.
There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible. If I read 4 chapters of the Bible every day starting January 1, I would have read the entire Bible by October 26. If I can read the whole Bible in as short a time as a year by reading as few scriptures as four chapters a day, it should become clear that within 10 or 15 years I ought to have read all the Bible, God’s Holy Word.
Any of us who go a lifetime without reading all of the Bible while believing we are working toward that goal are not spending as much time in God’s Word as we have made ourselves believe.
I am not contending that we read the whole Bible only one time. Rather, we must make the reading of the whole Bible a regular part of our lives. If we do not read the entire Bible for ourselves, then we have only the opinions of others and they are doing our thinking for us.
Lets let our attitude be that of David writing in Psalm 119. “Therefore I love your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold” (vs 127). “How sweet are your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth” (vs. 103). “Oh how I love Your law It is my meditation all the day” (vs. 97). If we truly are “those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Matthew 5:6), then we will read the Bible from cover to cover
“Blessed is he who reads …” (Revelation 1:3).
Does Doctrine Matter? (2)
1. Review Part 1: Sound doctrine is essential to our relation with God & Christians; Doctrine matters!
a. Sound doctrine comes from God…Christ…Apostles…Scriptures.
b. Sound doctrine is good (1 Tim. 4:1-16).
c. Sound doctrine must be held fast (2 Tim. 1:13).
2. Must also understand how deadly false doctrine is in order to accept & appreciate why sound doctrine is necessary in our lives.
3. Reasons why we can & must know sound doctrine.
II. FALSE DOCTRINE IS SIN, cf. Acts 20:28-32; 2 Jno. 7-9.
A. It Deprives a Person of Truth, 1 Tim. 6:3-5.
B. It Removes a Person from Grace, Gal. 1:6-7.
C. It Overthrows People’s Faith, 2 Tim. 2:14-18.
D. It Enslaves, Corrupts & Curses, Rom. 6:15-18; Gal. 1:8.
E. It Deceives & Sears Consciences, Eph. 4:14; 1 Tim. 4:1-2.
F. It Causes Division & Stumbling, Rom. 16:17.
G. It Destroys Souls & Defames Truth, 2 Pet. 2:1-2.
III. CAN WE KNOW (DISCERN, IDENTIFY & OBEY) SOUND DOCTRINE?
A. Yes, because Jesus Said we can Know His Doctrine, Jno. 7:16-17.
1. Right heart (will) +hearing = Understanding.
2. Must want to learn before we can! (Isa. 30: 9-10; Matt. 13:14-17)
3. Objection: “How do you know what you are learning is the truth?” (“What is truth?” Jno. 18:38)
a. Examine the Scriptures, Acts 17:11.
b. Study to be approved, rightly divide the word, 2 Tim. 2:15.
c. We must test all things (1 Ths. 5:21; 1 Jno. 4:1).
B. Yes, because Jesus Said we can Know the Truth, Jno. 8:31-32.
–Objection: “You have to have perfect knowledge. No one knows everything!”
a. Can we know anything? (Yes)
b. Then, we can know truth (Jno. 8:32; Eph. 3:4).
C. Yes, because we can Identify the Doctrine of Christ, 2 Jno. 9-10.
-Test what is taught against the apostles’ doctrine, 1 Jno. 4:1, 6.
D. Yes, because of the Christian’s Relation to Truth, 2 John.
1. Love is expressed “in truth,” 2 Jno. 1, 6 (Jno. 14:24).
2. Truth abides in us & will be with us forever, 2 Jno. 2.
3. Grace, mercy & peace with us “in truth,” 2 Jno. 3.
4. Can walk in truth; commanded to walk in truth, 2 Jno. 4.
5. Truth does not deceive, but brings reward, 2 Jno. 7-8.
6. Abide in doctrine of Christ to have fellowship with God, 2 Jno. 9 (1 Jno. 2:3-5).
7. We must “bring” doctrine of Christ or we advance evil, 2 Jno. 10.
E. Yes, because we are to Teach no Other Doctrine, 1 Tim. 1:3.
1. Means there is a true doctrine that can be taught!
2. Apostolic doctrine taught & learned, Rom. 16:17; 2 Tim. 2:2.
F. Yes, because Sound Doctrine is the Basis of Fellowship, Worship & Life in Christ, Jno. 17:20-21; Acts 2:42; 1 Jno. 1:7; 2 Jno. 9-11.
1. The word that is preached must be mixed with faith in order to profit us (save us), Heb. 4:1-2, 6.
2. Sound doctrine doesn’t profit us until we have the faith to obey it!
Does Doctrine Matter? (1)
1. Doctrine means instruction, that which is taught.
2. Many different doctrine among believers. This is not as it should be; such is not the will of God. (Jno. 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10)
3. Sound doctrine: The teachings of Jesus, 1 Tim. 6:3.
4. Does doctrine really matter? Yes. Necessity of sound doctrine is seen when we understand its source & what it accomplishes in our lives.
5. Questions: Do you believe doctrine matters? How committed are you to sound doctrine?
I. DOCTRINE IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR RELATION WITH GOD & CHRISTIANS.
-(Doctrine of Christ & doctrines of demons, 2 Jno. 9; 1 Tim. 4:1.)
A. The Source of Sound Doctrine Shows it is Essential.
1. God the Father, Jno. 7:16-17 (12:48-50).
2. Jesus the Son, Jno. 7:16-17 (18:19); Tit. 2:10; 2 Jno. 9.
3. Holy Spirit, Jno. 14:25-26; 16:13.
4. Apostles, Acts 2:42 (1 Cor. 2:13); 1 Tim. 1:10-11; 2 Tim. 3:10.
a. Delivered God’s doctrine, Rom. 6:17; 1 Ths. 2:9; 1 Tim. 2:7.
b. Speech & Scripture (words & writing), 1 Ths. 2:13; 2 Ths. 2:15; 3:4, 14 (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
B. The Nature (traits) of True Doctrine Shows it is Essential.
1. Sound (healthy, wholesome), 1 Tim. 1:10; 2 Tim. 1:13.
2. Faithful word, Titus 1:9.
3. Nourishes us, 1 Tim. 4:6.
4. Good, 1 Tim. 4:6 (cf. doctrines of demons that deceive, 4:1).
5. Accords with godliness, 1 Tim. 6:3.
6. Saves, 1 Tim. 4:16. (Without it we are lost!)
C. How we Should Respond to Sound Doctrine Shows it is Essential.
1. Spread it, Acts 5:28.
2. Obey it from the heart & be set free from sin, Rom. 6:17-18.
3. Command & teach it, 1 Tim. 4:11.
4. Give attention to it, 1 Tim. 4:13.
5. Continue in it, 1 Tim. 4:16 (Acts 2:42).
6. Carefully follow it, 2 Tim. 3:10.
7. Abide in it, 2 Jno. 9.
8. Test all things that are taught, 1 Ths. 5:21-22; 1 Jno. 4:1, 6.
1. Doctrines concerning salvation matter & can be known (Acts 16:30).
2. Doctrines concerning worship matter & can be known (Jno. 4:23-24).
3. Doctrines concerning the church matter & can be known (1 Tim. 3:15).
4. Doctrines concerning morality matter & can be known (Tit. 2:11-12; mdr, modest dress, speech, worldliness, etc.).
1. NT teaches us good doctrine; sound doctrine (1 Tim. 6:3).
2. Hold it fast & be blessed by God (2 Tim. 1:13). Cast it off & be lost.
THE TRUE GRACE OF GOD!!
1. Christians stand in the true grace of God – Rom. 5:1-2; 1 Pet. 5:12.
2. There are false views of the grace of God:
a. Irresistible & selectively applied (Calvinism).
b. Continuous cleansing (neo-Calvinism) – Cleansed even as we sin. This view of grace tends to minimize doctrinal correctness while championing unity in doctrinal diversity. (Applied in mdr, morality, denominationalism…)
3. What is the true grace of God? How does standing in grace affect our lives?
4. A scriptural framework in which to understand & be blessed by the “true grace of God.”
I. THE TRUE GRACE OF GOD IS UNIVERSALLY AVAILABLE, BUT NOT UNIVERSALLY RECEIVED – Titus 2:11; Rom. 5:15 (12).
II. THE TRUE GRACE OF GOD IS ACCESSED THROUGH CHRIST BY FAITH – Rom. 5:1-2; Eph. 2:8.
III. THE TRUE GRACE OF GOD TEACHES US TO OBEY THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST – Titus 2:11-12.
· Cf. Noah (grace, faith, obedience) – Gen. 6:8-9, 14, 22; Heb. 11:7.
· 1 Pet. 5:12 – The “true grace of God” includes…
-Obedience in holy living – 1:13-16. -Abstinence from fleshly lusts – 2:11-12.
-Submitting to civil government – 2:13-17. -Spousal responsibilities – 3:1-7.
-Putting away worldliness – 4:1-3. -Abstaining from idolatry – 4:3.
-Fervent love for one another – 4:8. -Hospitality – 4:9.
IV. THE TRUE GRACE OF GOD DOES NOT TOLERATE SIN — Rom. 6:1-2, 15.
· Grace does not say, “in spite of your sin you will be cleansed & saved.”
· Grace calls us to repudiate & repent of sin – not let it live in us & reign over us – Rom. 6:11-12.
· “What about one sin just before I die??”
-Sin condemns……even one – Mk. 10:21.
-Hypothetical “what ifs” do not justify an ongoing practice of sin (Col. 3:9).
-Grace is greater than sin when we repudiate sin! – 1 Jno. 1:8-9.
V. THE TRUE GRACE OF GOD DOES NOT MAINTAIN FELLOWSHIP WITH FALSE DOCTRINE – Heb. 13:9; Gal. 1:6-9; Jude 3-4; 2 Jno. 9-11.
1. Do not be deceived by concepts of God’s grace which overlook sin & minimize the importance of faithful obedience & sound doctrine.
2. Acts 20:24, 32 – The gospel is the word of God’s grace. In order to stand in grace one must believe & obey the gospel!
By the Grace of God!!
1. Grace and works of salvation (designed to merit/earn salvation) do not coexist, Rom. 11:5-6.
2. But, grace and works of faith do coexist, Tit. 2:11-12; Gal. 5:6 (4).
3. False doctrines about grace give comfort to and cover for sin, Jude 4.
Example: You can never be good enough to earn yourself a home in heaven, therefore, sin no longer affects your eternal life. Grace becomes cover for the sins that are committed (“nobody’s perfect” and “everybody does it”). Rom. 6:21-23
4. These false doctrines include:
a. Saved by “grace alone” (irresistible grace), Josh. 24:15; Matt. 11:28.
b. “Cannot fall from grace”, Gal. 5:4.
c. “Continual cleansing”, Rom. 6:1-2; 1 Jno. 1:9. (Imputation of the righteousness of Christ so that God does not see your sin.)
5. Christians stand in and rejoice in “the true grace of God” as we follow the gospel, which commands obedient faith from us in order to be blessed by God in Christ, Lk. 17:9-10.
I. BY THE GRACE OF GOD…
A. Sinners are Saved, Eph. 2:1, 4-7, 8-9.
1. By grace: the source, the gift of mercy and love.
2. Through faith: the sinner’s faith, produced by the gospel.
3. Not of yourselves; Salvation is God’s gift (charis, cf. 1 Cor. 16:3).
B. We are Justified, Rom. 3:24 (Tit. 3:7).
1. Condition: Through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
2. Access into grace through faith (not the law of Moses), Rom. 5:1.
C. We are Accepted in the Beloved, Eph. 1:6.
1. Only in Christ is grace bestowed; by grace we are made gracious!
a. charitoo: To make graceful; to honor with blessings.
b. By means of Christ (grace) we are encompassed with favor (1:3).
2. Saved freely by His grace, Rom. 3:24.
3. Only when baptized into Christ, Gal. 3:26-27 (action of faith).
4. Grace is applied and blessings are bestowed when the sinner is baptized, cf. Tit. 3:4-5, 7.
D. I Am What I Am, 1 Cor. 15:10.
1. Paul was appointed to be an apostle (gift, Eph. 4:7, 11).
2. Note: grace labors (works)!
3. Abundant grace saves the lost, 1 Tim. 1:12-16; Eph. 1:7.
II. NOT BY THE GRACE OF GOD.
A. Grace does not make it Impossible for Christians to Sin and Fall Away (to be lost), Gal. 5:3-7; 1:6-9.
1. Grace is greater than sin, but it does not prevent Christians from choosing to sin and losing our souls! Jas. 5:19-20
2. Trusting in God’s grace means keeping oneself from sin.
3. Trusting God’s grace is not ignoring sin as if it has no power to cause you to be lost! 1 Cor. 10:11-13
B. Grace does not Turn Sin into Righteousness, Rom. 6:1-2.
1. Trusting in God’s grace means you make a choice that sin will not reign over you! Rom. 6:11-14; Gal. 2:18
2. Grace does not…
a. Turn vain worship into true worship (as if how we worship does not matter), cf. Lev. 10:1-2 (Jno. 4:24).
b. Turn immorality into purity (as long as we are sincere), cf. unscriptural divorce and remarriage without repentance and ceasing the sins, Rev. 9:20-21.
c. Turn error into truth (word of His grace is true, Acts 20:32); Gal. 2:20-21.
C. Grace does not Sanction Fellowship with Sin or with those who Condone the Practitioners of Sin.
1. The heart is established (founded upon) grace; not upon false doctrines that bind where the Lord has not bound, Heb. 13:9.
2. Nor is grace extended to those who loose where the Lord has not loosed (going beyond the doctrine of Christ forfeits God’s grace), 2 Jno. 9.
3. Those who stand in the grace of God will not have fellowship with those who go beyond the doctrine of Christ, 2 Jno. 10-11.
1. God’s grace does not and will not save you in spite of your sins.
2. God’s grace has appeared and offers salvation to every sinner.
3. The gospel of the grace of God calls the lost to salvation by grace through faith, commanding a willing faith that obeys the Master, Heb. 5:8-9.
The Powerful Word of God!!
1. If our word expresses who and what we are, how much more does the word of God do so of Him?
2. God’s word is not bound (restrained), 2 Tim 2:9 (Isa 55:11).
3. God’s word is a powerful instrument, Heb 4:12.
a. Word of Christ is powerful (Lk 4:32, 36; 5:1).
b. Those who hear and keep God’s word are blessed (Lk 11:28).
4. Why we must know God’s word, Psa 119:1-8: Blessed and undefiled (1-2), avoid sin and no shame (3-6), praise God (7), obey God (8).
5. The power of God’s word compels responses of trust and obedience in us.
I. GOD’S WORD: A CREATIVE FORCE.
A. The Physical World, Heb 11:3; 2 Pet 3:5; Gen 1:3, 6; Psa 33:4-9.
B. Man’s Spiritual Life, Matt 4:4.
1. Power to produce faith, Rom 10:17.
2. Power to save, Rom 1:16; Jno 8:31-32, 51; 17:17; Acts 13:26; 2 Cor 5:19; Eph 1:13; 5:26; Jas 1:18, 21; 1 Pet 1:22-23.
II. GOD’S WORD: A SUSTAINING FORCE.
A. The Physical World, Heb 1:3 (preservation); 2 Pet 3:7 (Psa 147:15-18).
B. Man’s Spiritual Life, 2 Pet 1:3; Matt 13:23.
1. Spiritual growth, 1 Pet 2:2.
2. Protection against evil, Eph 6:17; 1 Jno 2:14.
3. Instruction in righteousness, 2 Tim 3:16-17; 2:15.
4. Hope and grace, Col 1:5-6.
III. GOD’S WORD: A JUDGING FORCE.
A. The Physical World, cf. 2 Pet 3:7, 10, 12.
B. Our Life on Earth, Jno 12:48; Rev 20:12.
1. Our words, Matt 12:36-37.
2. Our thoughts and motives, 1 Cor 4:5.
3. Our actions, 2 Cor 5:10.
4. Our religious beliefs and practices, 2 Tim 4:1-4.
IV. PRACTICAL RESULTS OF HONORING THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD (what we will do when we honor God’s word):
A. Spend Time with God’s Word, Psa 119:97; 1:2.
B. Use God’s Word Every Day in your Life, Psa 119:104-105, 133.
C. Share God’s Word with Others, Mk 16:15.
1. God is active in the world and in your life through His powerful word:
a. In the world: God is holding all things together, and offering salvation to a lost world through faith that will obey the word of Jesus Christ.
b. In you: As you obey God’s word, Phil 2:12-13.
2. Man’s word has no power to create or save. All of our judgments will be judged by the One who judges all.
3. We must conform to His word; Live under its power and receive its blessings.