Hi this is our Blog on Grace. We hope and pray that the Grace of God will flood into your life like it has ours. A good place to start is to listen to the mp3 messages, they will not only turn your world around, you will feel like you have just been saved all over again!

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Amazing Grace

I know that this is old but it is so beautiful. Chris Tomlin has redone the song....... I love it, especially the part that goes:

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace


Check the Youtube below ......
Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see

'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace


The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, Who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine

You are forever mine


Monday, 28 January 2008

Love Louisa...(28Jan08)

 
Hi everyone
 
Isn't it wonderful how unique everyone is? Have you noticed even though there are certain types no one is absolutely the same? Either in looks or personality. I often marvel how different my two daughters are. Same parents, same up bringing but totally different in looks and personality. Not that I'm complaining! How wonderful, how interesting.
 
Wouldn't it be boring if all God's children looked and acted just the same no matter what the circumstance?
I'm so glad God made us all so unique. I identify with this creativity in a way as I dislike doing the same thing the same way every day. But you'd think that after a time God would loose interest and keep a few tried and tested models and make a few million each of those. But no.
 
I was looking a shells on the beach the other day and the uniqueness and minute detail of each magnificent shell made me think. Most of those shells will never be seen by anyone and yet such care and attention goes into the design of each one! Then I looked at weeds growing on the side of the road. They literally are here today and gone tomorrow and yet the intricate patterns, functional design and colours of each one is amazing.
 
If God takes so much care in the making of things that seem to be of little significance, how much more care and attention goes into the making of each child He loves and calls His own. Each has a purpose and each has a place in the grand scheme of things.
 
Why is it then that I want everyone to be just like me? As a friend of mine once said, "I wish the whole world was just like you and me! But sometimes I wonder about you!"
 
Let's applaud our differences and make room for everyone. I'm sure that, that's what God wants... 
 
Lots of love Louisa

Grace Theology on Rewards

Can any one help me with "Grace Theology on Rewards"?
I have a firm grip on my acceptance and position in Christ, the gift of blessings and the finished work of the cross. But "rewards" how does that work in the context of Grace, at what point would my works become a 'dead work' ..... things like that.

Thanks

Chris

Sunday, 27 January 2008

Wayne's World...(27Jan08)

Galatians, an introduction to Romans.
 
There are three very similar books in the New Testament. They are Galatians, Hebrews and Romans.
 
They are all written primarily to show us how we were in the old covenant of the law and works, and are now in the new covenant of grace. They protect and guard the correct Gospel.
 
The book of Hebrews, was written primarily to Hebrews. Who had a legalistic Jewish mindset.
 
The book of Hebrews argues the finished work of the cross, using Old Testament patriarchs, the tabernacle, the priesthood and sacrificial systems and others, showing that these were no longer relevant as Jesus fulfilled it all.
 
So the book of Hebrews was to the Jews.
 
The Book of Galatians was written for the same reason as and Hebrews and contains strong harsh rebukes against legalism. It was written primarily to gentiles who became Christians. 
 
Romans was written to both Hebrews and gentiles, and contains a more rounded theological base for our gospel. As an introduction to the book of Romans were going to look at some scriptures from Galatians.
 
This will help us to easier understand Romans, and its context. 
 
Galatians 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-- 7which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!
 
First of all, and before we go any further we just need to clear up some terminology.
 
Lets define the word Gospel..
 
Lets use the bible to do so…
 
The word gospel literally means "good tiding" or "good news."  
 
The Greek word euaggelion,  which is translated 74 times in our New Testament actually more accurately means..
 
The-nearly-too-good-to-be-news.  
 
We see also Paul using gospel and grace interchangeably in his writing. 
 
Gal 1:6  I marvel2296 that3754 ye are so3779 soon5030 removed3346 from575 him that called2564 you5209 into1722 the grace5485 of Christ5547 unto1519 another2087 gospel:2098  
 
This shows us that the "grace of God is the Gospel."
 
GRACE=GOSPEL
 
We need to see and understand that this gospel is a gospel of grace. Our new covenant is a gospel of grace.
 
Paul's life mission was to protect and to proclaim that Gospel. The passionate plea of his heart was…stick to the grace of God, stick to the one only true gospel, the almost too good to be true news of Jesus Christ our savior, who forgives our sins and never counts them against us.
 
Lets get back to our scripture here...(Galatians 1:6-9)
 
Paul was astonished…KJV Paul marveled. Why, they were abandoning the true Gospel and taking on another one.
 
Paul was so upset about this that twice he said if anyone preaches any other Gospel to you, let him be eternally condemned. Strong words and strong feelings. The true Gospel, the gospel of grace is the only Gospel. It must be defended. It's purity protected, it must be proclaimed to the lost!
 
What was actually happening here? The Christians were falling from the Gospel of the grace of Jesus, to a legalistic Gospel, which as Paul says…"really is no gospel at all" . A gospel of self effort and works and self righteousness that the Jews were under, was pulling the Christian into confusion. Paul passionately addressed that..no he said, stick to grace.
 
Look at these two scriptures.
 
Galatians 3:1You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? 3Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? 4Have you suffered so much for nothing--if it really was for nothing? 5Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?
 
And again in chapter 5:4You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
 
Separated from Jesus and fallen to another Gospel, that really is no Gospel at all.
 
The foolish, bewitched Galatians were trying to earn and maintain there salvation with God through legalism and works and self effort. This is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel of Jesus is that Jesus paid the price in full, so that we may be saved and made righteous forever. This is the point of this whole book…keep the true gospel of grace, don't pervert it. The whole book of Romans is dedicated to expounding this more fully, which is why we will be looking at it in greater detail later.
 
Clearly Paul was trying to undo the mistake that Christians and churches had fallen into legalism.
 
It's interesting to note that this was written to Christians. If Paul wrote us, you, me, this church, other churches a letter, what tone would he have to take? Who has bewitched you? You foolish Christian?
 
Or like in other letters…your faith has been reported all over the world?
 
You know what has always been interesting to me…Why did they (the gentiles) struggle with issues of the law?…They (the gentiles)were never under the law (the law was a covenant between God Himself and the Jews…not the gentiles)…so how did Christians, gentile converted Christians, come under law?…where did they learn it? I believe well meaning Jewish Christians mixed the Christian message of grace with the law, which is what Paul was addressing in the Galatian church. This has been passed down for centuries in the church today. The number one threat in the modern church today is tradition and legalism. It was the biggest threat then and still is now. So it's important to unlock Gods awesome truth, and the freedom of the glorious gospel of Grace.
 
For us at Coastlands Christian Church, this part of our calling to call, the world into his grace. To help Christians transition into his Grace, and to disciple churches into his grace, and to plant Grace Churches. By grace churches I mean free churches, that preach the correct gospel instead of the "perverted/different " gospel.
 
We are not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation, to all who believe first to the Jew and then to the gentile, for righteousness from God is revealed for all those who believe, we receive the free gift of righteousness through faith in Jesus. The righteous live by faith.
 
That's what we do when we visit churches we give them the Gospel, according to the bible, according to truth.
 
That's what the apostles did the proclaimed and protected the true Gospel. It's what Paul lived for..
 
Acts 20:24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.
 
That's what were called to preach and to teach, the Gospel of Gods grace.
 
Home group leaders, here is an assignment for you, at home group. Discuss and define the gospel. The true Gospel according the bible. Jesus Gospel of grace.
 
So we want to be a free church made up of men and woman, children and grand parents who live in the glorious freedom of the saints. Who live in the glorious gospel of the grace of God. Where ever person has, and is being transformed by the power of his mighty spirit working deep within. It's once we know this Gospel and experience it and live in it, that it will flow out of us. He changes us to the degree that it becomes clear to everyone, and every where we go, the light of Jesus shines out of us. Out freedom is a war cry to the world "come be free". Because we are truly changed, not surface change, not obeying a list of do's and don'ts, but totally transformed, our very state changed forever. People will begin to approach you and say… "I want what you Got, coz clearly you have something", and that some thing was produced through the miracle working power of the Gospel in you. Praise God.
 
It's not what we do, but what he has done. It's not what we have to do, but what he is going to do through us and with us. He is building his Church and the gates of hell will not prevail. Come on church rise as stars, and shine in a crooked and depraved generation, let's praise the Lord. Thank you Jesus. 
 
Ministry
 
"If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." 39By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive
 
Jesus wants streams of living water to flow out of you, and out of this church. Let's call on the spirit now, according to the word. If we believe we will receive. Let's receive so we can go from this place and spread the very fragrance of Christ. 
 
Next week
 
What is the good news? Bring friends, bring those under bondage, bring the unsaved, bring the un-graced and watch as the revelation of Jesus transforms lives. Watch too how God confirms his word with signs following.
 

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Wayne's World...(23Jan08)

Why Jesus came…

Please will you turn to John 8..

Why did Jesus come?

What was his purpose. What on earth was the Father thinking when he sent Jesus to us?

Were going to look at a few scriptures and pull out a few common veins of truth from each passage.

John

Chapter 8
1But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" 6They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." 8Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11"No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

There are a few things I would like to pull out here.

The context is a lady caught in adultery. Now the law required more than just compromising evidence to prove adultery, but actual eye witness. She had literally been caught in adultery. The pharacees were trying to trick Jesus here. They were saying that the law required her to be stoned. The Romans did not allow Jews to stone people to death. If Jesus allowed the stoning, he would be breaking the Roman law, and would incur wrath from the Romans. If he denied her stoning, he was showing that he had no regard for the Hebrew law.

Here are a few thoughts for you…This is a powerful truth. This shows exactly how the devil operates still today. He gets behind the law to accuse us. Here the teachers of the law quote the law in her accusation. The devil quotes the law in his accusation to us. Here are a few facts.

The requirement of the law was the execution of both parties? (lev 20), so where was the man?

Also the method of execution was not prescribed!

So here we have accusation seemingly based on the law. The devil loves to get behind laws. He operates on our ignorance, he brings accusations. Unfair accusations, distorted accusations. He wants to constantly separate us from God through feelings of un-worthiness and failure. He will lie to you and try any trick to humiliate you and bring shame on you. Don't fall for it friends, be aware of his schemes.

BUT watch how Jesus deals with this.

He simply says, if you have no fault then kill her. They all were sinners and walked away.

The fact is that we are all sinners.

Then the amazing words… "then neither do I condemn you"

Amazing, Jesus savior of the world, come down from perfect holiness with the Father, with a woman caught having sex with another man besides her husband. He passes no judgment on her, neither does he condemn her.

This is how Jesus treats us. Even when we mess up, and make mistakes, he still loves, accepts us and does not condemn us.

Then he says "go and leave your life of sin".

Jesus did not condone what she did, it was clearly wrong, he simply did not judge her for it.

Then I believe Titus would be real for her.

Titus 2v11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good

Is it not His love that has captured us?

Is it not His great kindness towards us that has softened our hearts and lead us to serve and obey Him more than ever?

In our wickedness, He loved us, while we were sinners, He called us. Is it not His Grace that transforms us?

Just incase you think this is some really crazy, unbiblical teaching turn to Romans 8:1

What does it say?

1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

This is how Gods grace works. It's not based on what we've done or on what we deserve, but based on His love for us, and what He has done for us.

Here we have law teaches and pharacees, but His love is for the sinner.

John 3v16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. 18Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

Jesus came to save us. Not to condemn us.

What he requires of us is belief.

John 1v12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God-- 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

What Jesus really wants from us is our belief in Him. It's from there that we become children of god, from believing.

Chapter 19v1 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3He wanted to see who Jesus was, but being a short man he could not, because of the crowd. 4So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. 5When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today." 6So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. 7All the people saw this and began to mutter, "He has gone to be the guest of a `sinner.'" 8But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount." 9Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost."

Another account of Jesus unconditional acceptance of a sinner. This so impacts Zacheous that he decides to do all sorts of things for Jesus.

Why had Jesus told him to do these things? NO

Did Jesus get behind the law and condemn Zach? No.

Would Jesus treat him differently coz he did these things?NO

So what happened. Jesus love and acceptance broke through, and as a result, Zach was instantly changed. Jesus said today salvation has come. Salvation comes through a revalation of Gods love for us, and it changes us forever. His morals, his ethics, his practices, his dealing with the world were all changed. How? Through the presence and love of Jesus…that's what changes us. Jesus love and his presence.

What is going on here? Jesus with adulterers, Jesus with tax collectors, with sinners.

Why did Jesus come to earth? He came to seek and save what was lost…not so much the lost, but what was lost?

The glorious freedom of being loved and accepted by God. Intimacy with God. Boldness to walk and talk with God in the cool of the day, as Adam and Eve did.

There are countless accounts in the bible where God chooses to show his mercy instead of wrath. Love instead of Judgment. He loves us, and he loves you.

It's from this place that we can confidently approach the throne room of grace, that we can love and enjoy God. That we can swim in the river of his love and his presence. Let the love of God reign in you hearts, believe in his great promises, and experience the power and glory of his presence.





Monday, 21 January 2008

Warts n' All...(21Jan08)

Gregg has graciously asked me to contribute to the blog at his peril.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am a bit of a rebel.
I am hoping that my experiences and testimonies will be of some value in their sharing though!
 
God has impacted my life through the gospel of grace in the most phenomenal ways.
Along with the freedom of knowing your right-standing with God comes a whole lot of wrestling, which deserves as much illumination as the liberty and joy.
As I have experienced a deeper revelation of the grace of God, I have seen the outworking of this in my life and the lives of others who are in transition.
 
When we see people saved out of darkness and a life of sinful behaviour, the change is so evident and beautiful.
We see the lights come on as they experience the grace of God in the most beautiful ways.
Seeing this always moves me to tears and my chest just feels like it will explode!
Unfortunately in my short walk with God  (3  years )… I have experienced and seen many people (including myself), fall into a different kind of bondage within the church.
I don't need to elaborate here.
 
I am starting to see something else that is quite paradoxical happening around me.
Please bear with me..I am sure you have all had thoughts or revelation that you battle to put into words.. anyway..here goes..
 
I'm convinced that one of the main reasons churches are so terrified of the grace message is because the freedom that God brings through it often doesn't look good from the outside initially.
 
All around me, I am seeing people coming out from under law …they look divisive and rebellious.
They used to look respectable, upstanding?
To all intents and purposes, it looks like they are actually backsliding!
As all the dross that they've been clinging to (and fellowshipping with) rises to the surface, it is put out of their control and into the father's hands, it looks like they're out of control. (which they are?)
In this attitude, God is able to deal with besetting sins and issues either by way of a process or dynamic and radical deliverance because the heartspace is one of truth and transparency.
 
There has been much laughter amidst the tears as I realise that  temptations that held such allure in my thought realm, when actually confronted with a grace-filled heart….turned out to be nothing but demonically constructed houses of cards that fell at one breath from the living God!
 
Hebrews 2 v 1-4 – (emphasis mine)nkjv
"Therefore we must give the more earnest heed (all the more careful attention) to the things we have heard,  lest we drift away.
For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward…how shall we escape if we neglect SUCH A GREAT SALVATION, which began at first to be spoken by the Lord and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him".
"God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will"? -

Lots of love
Roy
 
 
 
 
 

 

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Love Louisa...(20Jan08)

Hi everyone,
 
The start of a New Year in South Africa has been very challenging so far. I have found that the election of Jacob Zuma as president of the ANC and the recent frequent electricity blackouts have most people including Christians giving up. Many are either planning or scheming how to leave the country. Others have checked out mentally living in denial. Some have even thrown their hands up in the air spiritually giving up on the idea that prayer works and that we as Christians can make any difference.
 
I must say I have alternated between all three... But quietly in the back of my mind I hear the Holy Spirit speak and I feel differently again.
 
When Jesus came, the Jews saw Him as a political saviour who would rescue them from harsh Roman rule. Even the people close to Him, to the very last believed this. They missed what God was doing right before their eyes, because they were looking through natural rather than spiritual eyes! Jesus came to restore the Kingdom of God to earth and this had nothing to do with the natural earthly comfort of His followers.
 
Surely the commission of Christians now is also to restore the Kingdom of God on earth too? Yes I do believe that God will do it, we read in Psalm 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, the people labour in vain. And in Zechariah 4:6 Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord. God wants everyone to be saved. But we also have a part to play! 1 Timothy 2:1-4 I urge then, first of all, that requests, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our saviour, who wants all men to be saved.
 
I have always had a problem with prayer because why pray when God will do what He wants any way? Never the less I have continued to pray and when I was praying for this country last year with a group of friends we wrestled with the same thoughts. I felt that we were trying to twist God's arm to do what we want and I felt despondent. How can you fight God? And why would you want to? Then I saw us arm in arm with God like in a rugby scrum, working together to do God's will. That really helped my faith and made me want to pray again, knowing that we are working arm in arm with Him to do His will and not trying to persuade Him to do what I want in my limited understanding. Let us begin to more and more see things as God sees them...
 
Many people in South Africa have put their faith in the ANC ideology and because their expectations haven't been met I believe despondency and despair are making people angry and desperate. The country is ripe for revolution or revival.
 
And instead of the Christian's being sure of their faith and united in their goal to bring the Good News to those who desperately need it, many are aimless, fighting each other and not sure of what they believe. The devil must be satisfied.
 
It's time to get my act together and do what I can do, with God's help with all I have been given by Him to let God's will be done, His Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven...Amen
 
Lots of love
Louisa 

 

Friday, 18 January 2008

Friday, 11 January 2008

Love Louisa...(9Jan08)

Hi everyone,

Sometimes life is just one foot in front of the other in the right direction. If the thought of a New Year doesn't thrill you, don't despair God has a solution in His Word for you. The instructions to help you carry on faithfully to the end are found in 1 Peter from verse 3:

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have Him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven-and the future starts now! God is keeping a careful watch over us and the future. The day is coming when you'll have it all-life healed and whole.

I know how great that makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime. Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this up, it's your faith not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of His victory.

You never saw Him, yet you love Him. You still don't see Him, yet you trust Him-with laughter and singing. Because you keep on believing, you'll get what you're looking forward to; total salvation.

Or maybe you'll recognize this version of His promise to you:

Verse 5-For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self- control; and to self-control perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If this makes you groan, rather than encouraging you, let me give you hope!

  • Firstly you do win with everything in the end

  • God is carefully watching over you to see to it that this will happen and is happening right now

  • I can testify that for many years I have been doing as instructed and have suddenly realized that even without realizing it, I have been kept, and He is still keeping me from being ineffective and unproductive

  • Also God has ensured that my trust, with laughter and singing, in Him has been restored and has even increased

Sometimes we just have to do what we have to do-but the results make it all worth it.

Psalm 119:32 I'll run the course you lay out for me if you'll just show me how.

Lots of love Louisa

Tuesday, 08 January 2008

Poem by Ilana Markgraff

 
I was regretting the past and fearing the future,
Suddenly my Lord was speaking
'My name is I am'.
 
He paused, I waited - He continued,
'When you live in the past with its mistakes and regrets,
It is hard, I am not there.
My name is not 'I was'.
 
'When you live in the future, with its problems and fears,
It is hard, I am not there,
My name is not 'I will be'.'
 
'When you live in this moment,
It is not hard, I am here,
My name is 'I am'.'
 

Friday, 04 January 2008

More on Repent

I got this from a blog, and I am not sure which one it is, sorry. So please forgive me not giving recognition to you. 

Some Thoughts On Repentance And Faith

"But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, son, go work today in my vineyard. He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went." Matthew 21:29

Interestingly enough the word repent here in greek is the word Metamellomia; which means to be remorseful with a desire to undo the wrong you have done. It means to change direction. This is the same word used when Judas repented of what he had done in betraying Jesus and took the money back and then later hung himself. Jesus however is using this word to get the attention of the scribes and Pharisees along with this little story about the rebellious sons and the vineyard.

"And he came to the second, and said, likewise. And he answered and said, I go sir: and went not."
Matthew 21:30

Can you follow the flow here and see that Jesus is trying to knock away a faulty foundation that the Cheif Priests and elders had convinced themselves of thinking they were the children of Abraham? Can you see where the world today also has the same inclination within their own evil nature to think themselves deserving of God's blessings without any change in their attitude here perhaps thinking that repentance and Johns Baptism were for those really bad people who were not part of the family of God like they were?

"Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you."
Matthew 21:31

Many that follow Free Grace theology from Zane Hodges perspective are teaching that using repentance in the gospel call is confusing the gospel message. Also, many that follow the Lordship group, sometimes do not seem to see the need in being careful not to mislead or confuse others when using the call to repentance in the gospel message. I believe that you can confuse people in the gospel invitation, but I also believe that when repentance is delivered properly, following the way Jesus used it....then it exalts the beauty of the gospel. It doesn't confuse it. Also the person that feels that repentance should not be used in the gospel call is ignoring a tremendous amount of scripture that gives us every warrant in the world and even encourages us to in fact use it....and to use it boldly at that. The person however that does not see the need for precision with these truths is making light of words of God. Look at how Jesus finishes off this little parable.

"For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him." Matthew 21:32

Notice here that Jesus is using faith first in that the publicans and harlots believed and were healed but that with the Pharisees he is using repentance and Metamellomia repentance at that. Yes the same repentance that Judas repented with. Did the publicans and harlots repent? Yes they did and as we see they believed and repented because of Jesus' words. Jesus is trying to reveal this to the Pharisees who saw no need that they should repent. Of course this repentance is incomplete and will not save if like in Judas' case you have no promise to believe in and that is the key.

"Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders," Matthew 27:3

Notice that Judas repented and even did a 180 degree turn. Judas illustrates to us the tremendous danger of allowing Roman Catholicism into the evangelical camp and what a tremendous tragedy it is that major men who consider themselves to be evangelical continue to encourage it.

I do hear many ecumenical and neo-evangelicals often say that Judas needed to repent and that it was better that he had never been born because he was unwilling to repent. This clearly is error and dangerous error at that, reflecting a confusion of understanding the gospel call as well. They see faith dangerously close to being a vow and a commitment on our part that gains God's favor. Always remember that the sinner needs to receive at the cross.

Let me quote this again,
"Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself..."

What was lacking in Judas' case?

"..I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood." Matthew 27:4a

Judas had no faith in the Son of the living God...but he did believe that Jesus was an innocent man. Remember he was the one who challenged the woman who poured out that expensive ointment saying it should have been given to the poor when in reality he was a theif and trying also to turn Jesus' disciples against Christ.

I think it also to be very troubling that
some Lordships try to make a case that Judas believed that Jesus was the Son of God because he was in the boat when the other disciples confessed this truth. They join up with the no-Lordships in trying to make the case that belief in the Son of God has no power. Judas simply never believed. He was clearly a skeptic and in his final and dark hour he still refused to believe in Him. He never was clean. He never believed. He never had faith alone in Christ alone and in His grace alone to the glory of God alone.


The apostle Peter in the book of acts shows us why we have every warrant in the world to boldly teach repentance in the gospel call, and if you look in his sermons and exhortations you will see that he was listening closely to Jesus and put it all together, and that when we come together with the whole counsel of God; faith occurs, and then that repentance becomes Metanoia, which has the positive aspect of the change of mind about your love of sin and your only hope found in taking that sin to Christ who alone is your sin-bearer while you receive in His resurrection power the ability to turn from sin. In fact I heard that the Greek meaning in Peters exhortation could read like this: "Since you have received the gift of God, Repent and be Baptised." I am no Greek scholar so perhaps someone out there could enlighten us as to whether this is true. The Metamellomia that Jesus spoke of grabs the attention of the sinners heart and alarms his conscience but it does not save. Metanoia is what occurs when one turns to God in faith believing in his death, burial and ressurection and His grace alone. This was of tremendous cost to Christ and costs you absolutely nothing. His saving work is free and to say that your salvation is costly to you is to insult the finished work of Christ and His grace. Salvation is not a Roman bartering system.


Some, I doubt not, have tinkered up Christ's teachings, and Christ's gospel, from a desire to do more good. Things are allowed to be said and done at revivals which nobody could defend. Do you notice, at the present moment, the way the gospel is put? I am uttering no criticism upon anyone in particular, but I continually read the exhortation, "Give your heart to Christ." The exhortation is good, but do not suffer it to cover over the gospel word: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." In the Sunday-school, the teaching often is, "Dear children, love Jesus." Now, this is not the gospel. The love of Jesus comes as a fruit, but the gospel is, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." If we think that we shall do more good by substituting another exhortation for the gospel command, we shall find ourselves landed in serious difficulties. If, for a moment, our improvements seem to produce a larger result than the old gospel, it will be the growth of mushrooms, it may even be the growth of toadstools; but it is not the growth of trees of the Lord. Let us keep close to Christ as our infallible Teacher in these days of peril, and be exceedingly jealous of the truth, else we may be duped, as Pompeii tricked certain cities that would not admit his troops. He said, "I don't ask you to allow my armies to be billeted upon you; but here are a few sick and wounded men, for whom I ask that you will allow them to rest among you." When the invalids were within the walls, they opened the gates, and the inhabitants were easily subdued. Keep out the little errors for which sympathy is asked; or, if not, your citadel will be captured before you are aware of the attack. Stand fast in the faith once for all delivered to the saints, and let no man spoil you by philosophy and vain deceit." CH Spurgeon- An All Round Ministry


Thursday, 03 January 2008

Wonderful Teaching

God's Great Gift
Notes by:  D. J. Reed
 
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!  NAB
2 Corinthians 9:15 Thank God for his Son—a gift too wonderful for words! NLT
 
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  NIV.
 
The tradition of giving and receiving of gifts during this season was all started by the most generous person of all, He also happens to be the maker of all things He is also know as The Almighty.
 
The gifts He has given started it all.  He is the most incredible, awesomely generous Person you will ever meet. True to His nature He has given us the most astonishing gifts.  It is appropriate that we unwrap some of these gifts this morning. 
 
These are gifts that God is calling out for you to come and get this morning.
It is to be highly recommended that you come and get them.
 
We exchange gifts at this time of the year, as we look at the gifts God has given us, let us look at the kinds of gifts we can bring that excite Him most, that are the most meaningful gifts.
 
The most amazing thing about the gifts God has given us is the motivation for His giving. The motive of totally selfless love.
In this He shows us the meaning of true love, and how to be truly great lovers.
 
Napoleon Bonaparte:
"Alexander the Great and my achievements will eventually come to nought -
But the works of Jesus Christ will transcend and supersede all that we have ever done; because what we have done was accomplished by force - But what He has done has been accomplished by LOVE."
 
1.THE GIFT OF HIS SON
 
Firstly, the most amazing gift ever given is the gift of His Son
       
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. NIV
 
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that  whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. NIV
 
Matthew 20:28  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." NIV
      
John 6:32-35
 
2.THE  GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE
        
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. NIV
 
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not  from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. NIV
 
Eternal life:  Depth & Duration – It's quality and it's quantity. 
 
WHAT DOES ETERNAL LIFE REALLY MEAN?
 
Receives it's Life – DNA from another world
This kind of life is sustained by an atmosphere from another world, - When we truly worship we breath the atmosphere of "ANOTHER WORLD"
If nourished by food from another world – When we draw our inner nourishment – feeding/filling of the inner man from the WORD we are nourished by food from another world –See John 6:33
Lives by the rules of another world – "Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven"  When we pray this we are asking that the rules of ANOTHER WORLD become the rules of this world.
Reproduces itself by reproductive cycles from another world – Being born again from above.
Has a quality of life of beings from another world.
Has an energy source from another world – See Romans 8:11
Submits to a Government from another world – Heaven
Reveals a HIGHER ORDER OF LIFE – We are aliens in this world
  
Ephesians 2:12-13
12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. NKJV
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. NKJV
 
In Salvation God spanned the light years that separated us from Him, and transported us into another world – FAR from the other/old one;
He also impregnated us with the DNA/the DIVINE genetic make up.
 
1 Peter 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. NIV
 
3.THE GIFT OF REPENTANCE
 
The God given ability and motivation to turn your life around; To reach out to God to help you radically change your values, your views on life, your attitudes, your activities & your value. 
 
Acts 5:31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviour that  he might  give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. NIV
 
Jeremiah 24:7 I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart. NIV
 
2 Timothy 2:25 Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of truth NIV   
 
    
Jeremiah 32:39  I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me for their own good and the good of their children after them. NIV
 
See Acts 2:37-38; John 13:3, 5
 
4.   THE GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
 
Romans 5:17-18 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.  18 Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. NIV
 
You may not perceive your need of this gift.  Maybe you think you OK on the righteousness chart.  But the reality of this issue is that we are all totally out of this essential commodity if we want to have any meaningful/quality relationship with God.
    
5.  THE GIFT OF PEACE
 
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. NIV
 
God's answer to the United Nations and the "Peace Accords"
 
Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  NIV
 
6.  THE GIFTS WE MUST BRING
 
The gifts He wants us to bring, some surprising ones:
These are not gifts that He needs, He has need of nothing we can give him, the only reason He wants us to give anything to Him, is because we need to give these things up in order for all His gifts He gives us to work.       
 
For instance if my computer crashes, is no longer working I have to give it to the guy at the repair shop.
 
God has given us a "Manual" that explains to us how to "use" this gift of eternal life.  It is important to read the manual properly, with an un-jaundiced eye.  Many people say they have tried it and it did not work, no wonder they never took the time to really read the "Manual" – the Bible.
 
Even if Albert Einstein were alive today and you were to give him the latest high-tek computer to help him expound on his theory of relativity, he would need to read the manual, do some computer training,
or this computer would never work for him, he would find it useless.
 
G K Chesterton:
"The problem with Christianity is not that it has been tried and found wanting: But that it has been found difficult and left untried."
 
  6.1  Our sin Rom 3:23Isa. 64:6
 
  6.2  Your heart –
 
           Proverbs 23:26a My son, give me your heart NIV
                                                                          
  6.3  Your sorrows/burdens
 
       Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
       and I will give you rest. NIV
 
   6.4  The Control of your life.  Make Him the CEO of your life;
After all He is the CEO of all of heaven and He is the CEO of the Future Government of Earth.
 
Conclusion:
 
Have you come for your gifts? 
Are you aware that they are here, under the Tree of Calvary?
What have you brought to your King today?
The Eco-System of the Kingdom
 
In geographic ecosystems there are some essential elements that need to be available in abundance for the life to flourish.  For flora and fauna to flourish there needs to be an abundant supply of Sunlight and Warmth, of Water, of Nourishing Minerals and Nutrients in the soil, there needs to be the Right Atmosphere – Good Clean Air with lots of Oxygen.
 
In the ecology of the Kingdom of God there are also some essential elements that need to be in abundance, and not in short supply:
 
The Light of Illumination of the Mind and the Spirit of Man by the Spirit;
The Warmth of Love from The Father above and from the Son's Rays;
The Water of the Cleansing and Washing God provides through Salvation and Sanctification;
The Nourishment of the Word of God [In Samuel's day the word of God was scarce -  ] [Milk and Meat].
The Atmosphere of the Spirit, God's Breath, The Atmosphere of Love in the Church – the Oxygen of Heaven.
And just as in Nature these things are not static, but on the move,  Plants grow, animals and birds multiply, and move about.
 
GOD is the Primary source of the supply of all of these essentials.
But it is up to US to keep the eco-system in motion.
 
We have to pass on what God gives us.
 
 

Wednesday, 02 January 2008

Repent - Metanoia

Metanoia
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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For other uses, see Metanoia (disambiguation).
Metanoia (from the Greek μετανοῖα, metanoia, changing one's mind, repentance) is a word which has a few different meanings in different contexts.
 
Metanoia in the context of theological discussion, where it is used often, is usually interpreted to mean repentance. However, some people argue that the word should be interpreted more literally to denote changing one's mind, in the sense of embracing thoughts beyond its present limitations or thought patterns (an interpretation which is compatible with the denotative meaning of repentance but replaces its negative connotation with a positive one, focusing on the superior state being approached rather than the inferior prior state being departed from.)
 
Biblical References
From the Greek μετάνοια -- compounded from the preposition μετά (after, with) and the verb νοέω (to perceive, to think, the result of perceiving or observing) -- metanoia means "a change of mind". In Christianity, the term refers to spiritual conversion. The word appears often in the Gospels. It is usually translated into English as "repent":
 
And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
καὶ λέγων ὅτι πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ: μετανοεῖτε καὶ πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ.
(Mark 1:15 )
 
Theology
In Theology, metanoia is used to refer to the change of mind which is brought about in repentance. Repentance is necessary and valuable because it brings about change of mind or metanoia. This change of mind will result in the changed person hating sin and loving God. The two terms (repentance and metanoia) are often used interchangeably.
 
However, the prefix "meta-" carries with it other variants that are consistent with the Eastern Greek philosophical mindset, and perhaps is at odds with Western views. "Meta-" is additionally used to imply "beyond" and "outside of." E.g., metamorphosis as a beyond-change; and, metaphysics as outside the limits of physics.
 
The Greek term for repentance, metanoia, denotes a change of mind, a reorientation, a fundamental transforma­tion of outlook, of man's vision of the world and of himself, and a new way of loving others and God. In the words of a second-century text, The Shepherd of Hermas, it implies "great understanding," discernment. It involves, that is, not mere regret of past evil but a recognition by man of a dar­kened vision of his own condition, in which sin, by sepa­rating him from God, has reduced him to a divided, auto­nomous existence, depriving him of both his natural glory and freedom. "Repentance," says Basil the Great, "is salva­tion, but lack of understanding is the death of repentance." Repentance thereby acquires a different dimension to mere dwelling on human sinfulness, and becomes the realization of human insufficiency and limitation. Repentance then should not be accompanied by a paroxysm of guilt but by an awareness of one's estrange­ment from God and one's neighbor. [2]
 

 
 
 
 
 

More from Philip Yancey

This really shook me up last night. I read the passage below and have had to ask myself if I have become like this to those that that have not had the grace of God revealed yet.
 
"Coles tells of an imprompru sermon Martin Luther King Jr gave one day to 'brothers and sisters in the movement' at the SNCC office. The volunteers were growing tired of relentless opposition, and had few victories to show for all their efforts at registering voters and dismantling integration laws. King senses the student' temptation to become bitter, and then to turn on opponents in the same spirit of hostility they had been receiving - to become the enemy, in other words.
 
A big danger for us is the temptation to follow the people we are opposing. They call us names, so we call them names. Our names may not be 'redneck' or 'cracker'; they may be names that have a sociological or psychological veneer to them, a gloss; but they are names, nonetheless - 'ignorant', or 'brainwashed', or 'duped' or 'hysterical' or 'poor white' or 'consumed by hate'. I know you will give me plenty of evidence in support of those categories. But I urge you to think of them as that - as categories; and I remind you that in many people, in many people called segregationists, there are other things going on in their lives: this person or that person, standing here or there may be other things - kind to neighbors and family; helpful and good-spirited at work.
    You know, I think, what I'm trying to say - that we must try not to end up with stereotypes of those we oppose.
Even as they slip all of us into their stereotypes. And who are we? Let us not do to ourselves as others (as our opponents) do to us: try to put ourselves into one all-inclusive category - the virtuous ones as against the evil ones, or the decent ones as against the ignorant. You can see that I can go on and on - and there is a danger: the 'us' or 'them' mentality takes hold, and we do, actually, begin to run the risk of joining ranks with the very people we are opposing. I worry about this a lot these days.
                                                                                                                                                    (From The Call of Service)
 
Reading King's words, and Coles's response, I realised that Coles himself had, for me, turned the spotlight on that very temptation.
I had become the enlightened, right-thinking, educated cultural observer - the perilous stance that Coles had batled all his life, the perilous stance of the Pharisee. I need to rediscover the levelling truth of Jesus' gospel, which has more appeal to the prodigal son than to his responsible and successful brother. I needed a change in heart as much as a change in thought. Just as King sought to forgive those who had wounded him, I needed to forgive the church that had wounded me, or I would be left with a gospel of law and not grace, of division and not reconciliation. In his field work, Coles had unwittingly uncovered a radical Jesus who exposed my own masked needs."
 
From "Soul Survivor" by Philip Yancey (Hodder & Stoughton 2001),