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Has Grace Gripped You?

July 30, 2014
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Being an unashamed member of the Reformed circle, I’ve found myself wanting more from my Reformed brothers and sisters. Why is it that we claim to know so much about the Bible, and to be so consistent from Genesis to Revelation, and yet we’re lacking essentials of the faith when it comes to other believers who are not Reformed or even worse when we engage the unbelieving.

Where is this disconnect?

Have we become so indoctrinated in the 5 points that we feel as if we own a patent to them, are smarter than anyone who’s not Reformed for believing in them, or have we actually not even grasped the BIG IDEA of the doctrines of grace?

Where did we go wrong? More importantly, how can we get back on track? I’m sure someone much smarter than I has provided an answer towards this very topic, but I’d love to give my little input into this matter.

Grace hasn’t gripped us. Grace, grace, God’s grace, grace that covered our sins. That grace has yet to grip us. We forgot just how awful we were, and how deceiving we are without the Holy Spirit. We have taken grace for granted in our daily lives, thereby forgetting how much we need it and ought to extend to others. We no longer see ourselves as covered in the blood of Jesus when we look in the mirror. Instead, we see people who have pulled themselves up by their bootstraps shortly after understanding the TULIP, aka the doctrines of grace.

Brothers and sisters, we have fooled ourselves. If the grace that God gave us through the substitutionary death of his Son, Jesus doesn’t wake us up, then we are all but most to be pitied. It’s because of this great oversight that we do not extend grace to those with whom we disagree rendering our evangelism to quickly become about whose more right. Jesus is no longer the topic. Their sin is no longer the issue. Rather because they don’t agree or hold to a different position due to their interpretations. We’ve become that loud clanging cymbal and noisy gong that Paul warned against. No grace; no love. No love; no message.

So to my Reformed camp I beg you to consider the gospel. There’s grace running all through it. See it and savor it. Speak of it and savor it. Soak it up and then savor it. Let the very grace that gripped you at the moment of salvation grip you again on a daily basis in your conversations and interactions with the lost and non-Reformed.


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Why I Need You And You Need Me

July 28, 2014
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I will be their God and they will be my people.

This piercing phrase has always gripped my attention since the day I heard it in Old Testament 1 class. God, who is outside of time, comes to a people whom He has selected out of the masses to be his special people. He takes it upon himself that say they are mine and I am theirs.

As we see revelation progressively revealed and made clear migrating from Abraham to the apostles in the upper room, we find this phrase being made clearer and clearer in a much louder sense. This event in Pentecost has been talked about by a few prophets, and now it’s coming to fruition. God has killed his Son, raised his Son, and set his Son at his right hand. Then God through his Son’s death and his Spirit’s work selects a special people out of the entire world to be his people. Nothing like this has ever happened nor will it be repeated.

The church is born. The special people are all collectively seen as ‘my people’ to the creator God. We are family. Identities have changed. Natures have changed. Relationships have changed, and changed forever.

So God picks you out, Jesus pays your debts on the cross, the Spirit opens your heart and mind to realize these truths and grants you faith in which you repent of your sins and believe in Jesus. Now you’re part of the special people. You are a part of God’s people. You’ve been added to the group. You have been given everything the rest of the group has been given in a very simplistic sort of way. But now, there’s a twist.

You’re part of a body of like-minded believers. You’ve been given a particular spiritual gift that’s needed in order to help the particular body you belong to locally function properly and grow up into a mature man who looks like Jesus. That’s why you need me and I need you – because on our own, we’re not in the people of God, the local body of believers, and our spiritual gift can’t be properly used thereby rendering it useless and unnecessary. Worst of all, we’re completely incapable on our own of looking like Jesus.

If it’s our desire to look like Jesus, we must understand how much of that is riding on our acceptance of being a committed insider of the people of God.

I pray that this encourages and frees you to trust the Gospel to empower you to live for Jesus with your local body of believers to help one another look like Jesus.


Why Your Sin Is No Secret

July 28, 2014
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Jesus came to call the sick, not the righteous.

No matter how you try to slice it, dice it, chop it, or decorate it, the ones who are saved are the ones Jesus calls sick. Let that sink in.

To call yourself Christian is to in some way identify with the group that Jesus labeled as sick and in need of a physician. Therefore, one cannot then puff out their chest with their head held high and act as if they’ve got it altogether, and by their willingness to say the name Jesus out loud outside the corporate gathering of believers that they are somehow better than those who don’t attend and those who don’t identify with that group.

And yet I am amazed how often so many Christians attempt to downplay their sins verbally speaking. Mostly out of fear do we not want others to know how wicked our hearts are, but we’ll quote Jer 9. Mostly out of acceptance do we not want others to know how wicked our thoughts are, but we’ll quote Ps 34. Mostly out of misplaced faith do we not want others to know how we sometimes love our sins and want to stay there a little longer, but we’ll not dare quote any verse. Why do we do these things?

I contend it is because we’ve forgotten the trickery our hearts play on our minds, so the trust and weightyness that we place on our actions greatly outweigh, and even overshadow, our fleshly living when it’s detached from the great grace and mercy Jesus gives us daily.

No matter how you try to slice it, dice it, chop it, or decorate it, the ones who are saved are the ones Jesus calls sick. Let that sink into your heart.