serving

The Ultimate Laying Down

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I'm free!"... "I'm free!"...

Such is the declaration on the lips of so many as they come to understand the grace of God in the New Covenant.

But you will never experience the fulness of your freedom dear saint, until you die to that freedom and lay it down in the service of love to others!

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Scan The Horizon

You see, God did all those things to us and for us so that His LIFE could flow through us!

You see, God did all those things to us and for us so that His LIFE could flow through us!

Over these last many years we of the grace community have fought hard to proclaim loudly what God has done to us and for us in the finished work of Christ! We have heralded that we were crucified with Jesus, have been resurrected in Jesus, that we are seated in heaven, have been made righteous, have been made the children of God, are now saints and not sinners, that we have been completely forgiven, and so many other wonderful truths that the body of Christ desperately needs to know.

I wonder though if we have focused so much on what has been done, that we might be neglecting what needs to be done! You see, God did all those things to us and for us so that His LIFE could flow through us! Case in point: Titus 3:8.

“This is a faithful saying” – Own that statement! Paul only uses it in the Pastoral letters. Just released from prison, realizing that he is on borrowed time, he uses this phrase to highlight very important issues like Jesus came into the world to save sinners (I Tim 1:15). So what he is about to say is VERY important!!!

And what does he say?

We who have believed in Christ are to “be careful” – Normally we use this phrase in a negative context to maintain a diligent scrutiny of our environment. BE CAREFUL – there are lots of bad things out there in this world. This is the only time Paul uses this verb in the New Testament and he uses it in a positive instead of a negative manner. BE CAREFUL – Scrutinize your environment, be watchful, be aware, scan the horizon --- so that we can “engage in good works”.

We are to scan the horizon, looking for every opportunity to “DO” good works!

To not only live our lives in a righteous manner as individuals, but also to live in such a way that we sacrificially love and serve others whenever and wherever we can. In fact, the word “engage” is actually used elsewhere to “take the lead, or be the best”.  In other words, the grace of God NEVER makes us lazy or slack in our walk with God. It actually intensifies our walk as we release the LIFE of Jesus to the world around us.

Grace people are intended by God to be the best servants, the best friends, the best helpers, the best worshippers. I have a plaque on my wall that says, “Do the kindest things in the kindest way” – That is what real Grace People do.

It just comes naturally to them, because the “GOOD ONE” lives in them.

Let me put it this way: We are to so live our lives that people see that we have been given new and beautiful hearts in the New Covenant economy (Ezek. 36), and their being able to see our beautiful hearts will prompt them to ask, “I love your heart! Where do I get a heart like that?”

And then, we can simply introduce them to the One Who transformed our lives – We can tell them about Jesus!

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Remember Where Home Is

God put us in a beautiful playground. By all means, enjoy the playground. But a playground is not a home

God put us in a beautiful playground. By all means, enjoy the playground. But a playground is not a home

Found this AMAZING thought when I was teaching through I Corinthians 7.

What a special passage. Paul there says that our time is short. The word actually means "compressed".

Paul then goes on to what could almost be a tirade:

If you are married, live as if you are not married.
If you are joyful, live as if you are not joyful.
If you are sorrowful, live as if you are not sorrowful.

What?

The point is pretty clear. Whatever we are experiencing on this planet we are only going to experience for a very short time.

Do not let this present experience dominate your life - whether it is good or bad.

I put it this way to the saints at Grace Life:

God put us in a beautiful playground. By all means, enjoy the playground. But a playground is not a home. Every night a little kid, though he plays on the playground goes home.
Home is a place where there is peace, security, love, and acceptance. Home is where kids belong! That is what awaits us and that is what should govern all that we do during this "shortened time".

We are going home.
In the meantime, play hard!

In the meantime, work hard!
In the meantime, love hard
!
In the meantime, recognize and rejoice that your sorrow is going to end soon.
But NEVER, NEVER get too attached to anything here... This is not home!

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Two Kinds Of Knowledge?

This is the knowledge of God that likewise has one purpose --- others.

This is the knowledge of God that likewise has one purpose --- others.

I Corinthians 8 Paul made it clear that there are two kinds of knowledge of God. There is knowledge of God and there is the true knowledge of God.

The difference?

Knowledge of God puffs up, makes one arrogant, divisive and critical. This is a knowledge of God that has only one purpose --- the exaltation of myself.

The true knowledge of God is that which makes one loving. This is the knowledge of God that likewise has one purpose --- others.

Oh, that the true knowledge of God would be known and expressed.  Jesus said it was this that would turn the world upside down --- LOVE.

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Christ In Y'all

If you are truly walking in grace and love, in turn, it will become ALL about others, for that is what God is all about - you and others.

If you are truly walking in grace and love, in turn, it will become ALL about others, for that is what God is all about - you and others.

It is NOT about you,
it is ALL about God,
but because it is ALL about God it is all about you

If you are truly walking in grace and love, in turn, it will become ALL about others, for that is what God is all about - you and others.

So, it is all about you, but if that is where it stops, you are falling short of the New Covenant. It is a plural you in Col. 1:27. It is NOT "Christ in you" -but it is "Christ in y'all"

An Interesting Insight Found in Galatians

There is a very interesting insight found in the book of Galatians. Here we have an entire book devoted to defending the pure grace of God and warning against mixing the old and new covenants. This book stresses repeatedly the Gospel, that salvation is by faith and not by works. Think of it, my friend, an entire book that stresses that we must not add works to the message of salvation.

There is however, one verse that stands out like a sore thumb in chapter 5. It says that we are to be very careful to not use our freedom to serve our flesh.

Now, let's put those two thoughts together. An entire book that warns against a performance oriented mindset in terms of our faith, versus one verse that warns against perverting our freedom. This tells us something.

Most people are going to err on the side of performance. This is understandable, is it not? We were all birthed under law (Rom 5:20), lived out of the flesh for years before coming to faith, and of course were blitzed by the lie that we shall be as God. Our greatest struggle is that we are going to be prone to a man-centered, performance oriented, law keeping, righteousness earning mindset when it comes to the things of God.

For the precious few who come to understand the grace of God, we will face a different danger, that we will abuse grace and walk in our flesh. This too is understandable, for when our pendulum is found to be at one extreme, it very often swings to another extreme.

The vast majority of people need to understand what the Gospel of grace is all about, but they will never understand it when we who know grace continue to walk in a self-oriented, self-satisfying lifestyle that refuses to lay down its life in sacrifice for others and blame that lifestyle on the grace of God.