“Where’s the Grace of God in That?”

Psalm 130:1-4. Do we nullify the grace of God when we emphasize obedience to God? Read and consider the following (Matt 28:18–20; 1 Cor 11:1–2; Rev 22:18–19; Gal 1:8; 2 John 9–11).  Do the challenging requirements of God’s word nullify His grace?  Where is the grace of God amidst all His rigorous demands and difficult commands?

I. WHERE IS THE GRACE OF GOD?

A. In God’s plan (1 Pet 1:18–20; Eph 1:3–6; Matt 25:33–34)

B. In God’s gospel (Acts 20:24; Eph 3:1-3; Rom 1:16)

C. In God’s Son (Rom 5:15; 2 Cor 8:9; 5:20–21; Heb 2:9)

D. In God’s forgiveness (Eph 1:7–8; 1 Tim 1:12–17; 1 John 1:8–9)

E. In God’s gift of righteousness (2 Cor 5:19; Rom 4:5-12; 22-25)

“The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 5:20-21)

Would you receive His grace today?

The Gospel (God’s) Plan for our Salvation:

Hear and Receive the gospel of Christ – Rom 10:17; Acts 2:22-41
Believe the message – John 20:30-31; Acts 8:37
Repent of sin (change of heart) – Acts 2:38; 2 Peter 3:9
Confess faith in Jesus Christ – Rom 10:9-10
Baptism into Christ – Gal 3:27; 1 Pet 3:20-21
Obey Christ – John 8:31-32; Heb 5:8-9; 2 John 9

Obey the Gospel — Now!

Before you die! You could die at any time. Be prepared. Be a faithful and dedicated child of God. The Bible declares, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27). There is a horrible price to pay for the person who dies outside of Christ.

Before you can’t! A person can live in sin and then suffer in a terrible accident or suffer from a stroke or other disease and be rendered unable to make decisions such as obeying the gospel or being restored to faithfulness. There is a high price to pay for delay in obeying God.

Before you become hard of heart! The Bible declares, “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:2). When a person continues to delay in doing right, he will eventually lose sensitivity to the word of God. When a person goes beyond feeling it is impossible to reach him. Again, there is a high price to pay for delay in obeying God.

Before you lead others to sin! Every person influences others. No one will go to heaven alone and no one will go to hell alone. We will take others with us to eternity. By our delay in obeying God we are leaving a terrible example for others to follow. You may not even know of those who are being influenced by your example and thus are being led away from God. The Bible says, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9). You are the “little leaven” that will influence the “whole lump.” What kind of example are you? Again, there is a high price to pay for delay in obeying God.

Before Jesus comes! The Lord declared, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 25:13). We do not know the time when the Lord is going to return. However, we do know that he is coming again someday. Thus, we must always be prepared. When you delay in obeying God you are endangering your soul for the Lord could come today and if he did you would be unprepared and thus lost. There is a high price for delay in obeying God. Obey today! — By Allen Ashlock

What Is Evangelism?

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (Isaiah 61:1).

What is evangelism? Evangelism is an act of compassion. It is the greatest act of mercy one human being can show to another. Evangelism is loving those that are hurting, those that are broken, those that are forgotten, those that are poor.

Evangelism can become an act of pride. It can be a club to beat down those who already know they are worth-less. It can become a way of boosting our own ego by making followers of ourselves. And when used in this way we make our “disciples” twice as much sons of hell as ourselves (Matt 23:15).

True evangelism is not about building our ego, building churches, or any other selfish agenda. True evangelism is about Jesus, not about ourselves. See, when the message of the cross gets inside of you, there is no more room for self. It’s all about Him. He is everything to you. He is your life and your reason for living. He is your highest thought. He is your Savior and your King. He is your best friend. No, there is no pride in telling others about Jesus. You glory only in the privilege of being able to tell some-one of how He set you free. You don’t see the homosexual, the adulterer, the crack addict, the dead-beat dad, the murderer, the drug dealer as being somehow inferior to yourself. They are painful reminders of what you used to be. They are harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. They are living aimless lives without hope, without purpose, without God. They are weary. They are hungry. And they don’t know where to turn.

What is evangelism? It’s one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread. “Father, make your love and your grace so real to us this day that the words flow off our lips to the desperate souls all around us…” “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief!” — By David Maxson

“From the Beginning It Was NOT So”

Matthew 19:1-9. The question posed to Jesus was controversial, meant to trip Him up. It had to do with the Law of Moses and the subject of divorce. In His response, Jesus went to the Word of God and the Beginning of time.

I. GOD: FOUNDER & DEFINER OF MARRIAGE

A. Founder (Matt 19:4-6)
1. Companionship (Gen 2:18)
2. Procreation (Gen 1:28)
3. Oneness (Gen 2:24; Eph 5:27-29)

B. Definer (Matt 19:4-6)
1. Male and female (4)
2. One male and one female (5a)
3. Complementary (5b)
4. Life-lasting (6)

II. MOSES: PERMITTER OF DIVORCE

A. Command? or Permit? (Matt 19:7-8; Deut 24:1-4)
B. Acceptable? or Unacceptable? (Mal 2:16)

III. JESUS: EXPLAINER OF MARRIAGE, DIVORCE & REMARRIAGE

A. Answer given (Matt 19:9; Heb 13:5; Mark 10:12)
B. Exception made (Matt 19:9)
C. Warning issued (1 Cor 6:18)
D. Difficulty admitted (Matt 19:10-11)
E. Cost considered (Luke 14:27-33)

God designed marriage for OUR GOOD. But it can only BE GOOD if we observe what Jesus taught on marriage. Apart from His wisdom, there is only heartache and hopelessness.

“Make No Provision for the Flesh”

How do we win the fight against fleshly lusts? Several answers come to mind. Pray. Fill your heart with God’s word. Fill your time with spiritually beneficial activities. Associate with people who will influence you for good. In Romans 13:14 Paul identifies another key: “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh regarding its lusts.”

To make provision for something is to think ahead, to make plans, to provide opportunities. Paul’s word literally means forethought. Its other occurrence is in Acts 24:2, where the lawyer Tertullus praised Felix, the governor, because through his “providence” beneficial reforms were occurring throughout the land.

Obviously, making no provision for the flesh requires that we not plan ways of fulfilling illegitimate carnal lusts. But it goes beyond that. It requires that we think ahead and, when possible, avoid even the opportunity for such conduct. Here is the principle in action.

Teens, when you are planning a date, make no provision for fleshly lusts. Do not go to movies that glorify sensuality and fornication, and thereby arouse desire. Stay away from dances for the same reason. Be selective about parties; skip those where alcohol is featured. Avoid dark, lonely sites that provide the occasion for unchaste behavior.

Parents, when arranging your homes, make no provision for fleshly lusts. It may make me unpopular in some circles to say so, but when you allow your kids to have televisions, phones, and internet-connected computers in their bedrooms, you are providing a world of possibilities for wrong conduct.

Families, when you are purchasing in-home entertainment, make no provision for fleshly lusts. If you don’t subscribe to cable or satellite channels which air nudity and “adult” content, there will be no opportunity for any family member to watch it. If you refuse to listen to profanity, you will be much less likely to speak it.

Shoppers, when you are choosing your clothes, make no provision for fleshly lusts. Plenty of modest choices exist for those concerned about such things. Err on the side of caution. Don’t underestimate the appeal of exposed or accentuated flesh.

Brethren, when you place membership at a congregation, make no provision for fleshly lusts. Realize up front that you won’t always get your way, that others may be more talented than you, that we are all working together for the same cause. Remind yourself of that often and give thanks for your brethren.

If you want to know what this last point is doing here, read Paul’s illustrations of fleshly conduct in Romans 13:13. Let’s not deceive ourselves into thinking that strife, jealousy, and bickering are any less carnal or any less sinful than drunkenness or fornication. No matter the sin, make no provision for fleshly lusts. – By Frank Himmel