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Unveiling The Glorious Gospel of Gods Grace in Christ

A Grace Precepts Bible Study


by Jim Hodges JamesH2567@aol.com (Version 7.0AE - Updated June 20, 2001)

Preface.......................................................................................................................................................................................5 Index & Study Guide...................................................................................................................................................................6 Page(s) ......................................................................................................................................................................................6 I. Why Ponder the Gospel of Gods Grace in Christ? 5-8 2 Hrs..............................................................................................6 II. Why Does Satan Desire to Keep Grace a MYSTERY? 9 1/2 Hr......................................................................................6

III. Seeking to Define Gods Amazing Grace 10 1/2 Hr............................................................................................................6 IV. Seven Biblical Truths about God's Amazing Grace................................................................................................................6 1. God gave full grace and truth to Jesus 11-13 1 Hr.............................................................................................................6 2. God desires for all to be saved by grace 3. God's grace appears to all men 13 1/2 Hr...........................................................................................................6

14-15 1 Hr......................................................................................................................6

4. God gives grace only to the humble 16-17 1 Hr................................................................................................................6 5. Kingdom treasure Gods grace in Christ 18-22 1 Hr.........................................................................................................6 6. Christ reigns & Grace rules 23 1/2 Hr..............................................................................................................................6 24-30 2 Hrs.....................................................................................................................6 31-32 1 Hr..............................................................................................................6

7. The great mystery of godliness

V. Putting the Amazing Back into Grace

VI. Discovering the Grace Empowered Will of God 33-43 4 Hr...............................................................................................6 VII. Experiencing Gods Grace 44-59 4 Hr...........................................................................................................................6 60-62 1 Hr.........................................................................................................6

VIII. Biblical Examination - The Grace Test IX. Falling from Grace

62-63 1/2 Hr....................................................................................................................................6 64-65 1/2 Hr.....................................................................................................................6

X. Grace Awakening - Revival! XI. Growing in Grace

66-71 2 Hr.........................................................................................................................................6 72-73 1/2 Hr.................................................................................................................6 74-77........................................................................................................6 78-81.........................................................................................................6

XII. Completing the Picture of Grace

Appendix 1 - Application of Amazing Grace to Life Appendix 2 - Abiding Grace for Personal Ministry

Appendix 3 - Grace Stories

82-89.........................................................................................................................................6 90-97......................................................................................................................6 98-102....................................................................................................................6

Appendix 4 - The Great Mystery (Part 1) Appendix 5 - The Great Mystery (Part 2)

Appendix 6 - By Grace through the obedience of Faith 103-120..............................................................................................6 Appendix 7 - The Throne of Grace Charles Spurgeon 121-125.............................................................................................6 Appendix 8 - The Abiding Presence Or Absence? Appendix 9 - Grace filled Books & Websites Appendix 10 - Grace Study Videotapes 126-130.................................................................................................7

131....................................................................................................................7

132...........................................................................................................................7

Introduction.................................................................................................................................................................................7 I. Why Ponder the Gospel of Gods Grace in Christ?................................................................................................................10 John Bunyan best described the state of gracelessness in Pilgrims Progress.......................................................................11 How did gracelessness begin?.................................................................................................................................................11 The worlds answer to gracelessness No big deal! Well work on the anxieties!...................................................................11 Todays worldly wisdom Substitute a self-power for Gods power in grace!...........................................................................12 Is there any hope for this strange deadly disorder?..................................................................................................................12 Abiding in Christ - the Exchanged Life of Unity.........................................................................................................................13 Grace to you!............................................................................................................................................................................13 II. Why does Satan desire to keep Grace a MYSTERY?..........................................................................................................14 III. Seeking to Define Gods Amazing Grace.............................................................................................................................15 IV. What Does the BIBLE say about God's Amazing Grace?....................................................................................................17 (Seven Biblical Truths about Gods Amazing Grace in Christ)..................................................................................................17 V. Putting the Amazing Back into Grace...................................................................................................................................37 VI. Discovering the Grace Empowered Will of God..................................................................................................................39 PART 1. Gods will for you TO BE enabled by His Grace - You in Christ...........................................................................43

PART 2. Gods will for you TO DO enabled by His Grace - Christ in You............................................................................45 To be anointed TO DO and GO requires Gods grace TO BE at rest...................................................................................46 Another (works based) religion TO DO list? No! No! No!.......................................................................................................47 Worship and Grace...................................................................................................................................................................47 Summary: Receiving the Victory!.............................................................................................................................................48

VII. Experiencing God's Grace..................................................................................................................................................50 Gods Grace Energizes Actions of Godly Love.........................................................................................................................50 Grace and the Trinity................................................................................................................................................................51 The Parables of Jesus; Living Stories of Grace........................................................................................................................52 "In Christ" the true vine - Grace flows to the branches bearing fruit..........................................................................................52 Experiencing Grace Producing Fruit.........................................................................................................................................55 Grace enables the Gospel to bear fruit and grows churches and individuals...........................................................................56 Central Christian Focus: Staying Plugged into God's Grace In Christ....................................................................................57 Is Grace limited?.......................................................................................................................................................................60 Can we get more grace? Yes!...................................................................................................................................................60 Can we ask for blessings beyond Gods will for us TO BE and TO DO?.............................................................................61 What is a believers role in Appropriating Gods Grace to His Glory..........................................................................................61 Grace, Mercy and Peace were at the heart of Pauls ministry..................................................................................................63 What Paul understood about grace he experienced!................................................................................................................63 VIII. Biblical Examination The Grace Test for Believers Examine yourself!.........................................................................65

Biblical Examination The Grace Test for Churches................................................................................................................66 IX. Can Churches and Believers fall from Grace? YES!..........................................................................................................68 A Church fallen from Grace the Revelation Church at Ephesus...........................................................................................68 Satan attacks Gods Grace in the Church through veiled apostasy..........................................................................................69 X. Grace awakening (Revival)..................................................................................................................................................70 Grace brings healing to religious disillusionment......................................................................................................................70 XI. Growing in Grace................................................................................................................................................................72 Pauls final words on Grace A Legacy of Grace..................................................................................................................77 The Graceless Warning!...........................................................................................................................................................77 XII. Completing the Picture of Gods Grace in Christ................................................................................................................78 Summary: What have we learned about Amazing Grace?.......................................................................................................79 Appendix 1................................................................................................................................................................................81 Appendix 2................................................................................................................................................................................84 Spill Jesus on the World........................................................................................................................................................87

Appendix 3................................................................................................................................................................................88 Parable of the talents discussion:.............................................................................................................................................89 Consequences of rejecting Gods Grace:.................................................................................................................................89 Consequences of Accepting Gods Grace................................................................................................................................90 THE MEANING OF THE STORY: ...........................................................................................................................................91 WARNING: DO YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO EGYPT? .......................................................................................................91 THE MEANING OF THE STORY..............................................................................................................................................92 The solemn WARNING!............................................................................................................................................................92 Appendix 4................................................................................................................................................................................97 Appendix 5..............................................................................................................................................................................105 Appendix 6.1...........................................................................................................................................................................110 Appendix 6.2...........................................................................................................................................................................113 Appendix 7..............................................................................................................................................................................131 Appendix 8..............................................................................................................................................................................137 Putting off the old, putting on the new.....................................................................................................................................137 Appendix 9..............................................................................................................................................................................142 Appendix 10............................................................................................................................................................................143

Preface
Before embarking on this study, it is appropriate to explain the limitations inherent in considering a boundless subject like God's grace. This study does not intend to place the character of Gods grace above His other attributes implying any hierarchical order (i.e. love, holiness, faithfulness, longsuffering, mercy, grace, justice, etc.). The scripture passages used have been inserted from the NKJV Bible (unless otherwise stated) to allow the reader to not have to jump back and forth between the scripture and the study for the purpose of maintaining continuity. The Bible itself should be used whenever a more in-depth contextual understanding is appropriate. Appropriately, the study of the Gospel of Gods grace in Christ begins at the cross. In this sense, the word Gospel literally means Good News! It is at the cross where we can learn the fundamental wisdom of Gods grace in Christ. By Gods grace, through Christs faithful obedience, sin and its curse of death were put to death on the cross. At the moment of Christs death, the Jerusalem Temple veil was torn from top to bottom. Gods grace had been unveiled! The cross had destroyed the barrier to the flow of Gods grace to all the beloved who would accept, by faith, Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Paul had this attitude: But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. To him the cross of Christ was the greatest manifestation of Gods grace and love. The physical appearances of the resurrected Lord during the next 50 days would accomplish the faith necessary for the spiritual anointing of Gods grace at Pentecost. Henceforth, an abiding faith relationship in Christ was sufficient for men and women to enjoy His grace filled resurrected life. For He alone is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). Therefore, let us return to the cross often and humbly pray to be washed in His blood bought mercy. This should be our humble preparation for understanding each area of spiritual truth. As each truth about Gods grace in Christ is revealed, let us pause and give thanks in His rich inheritance. Since his defeat on the cross, Satan has been hard at work veiling the Gospel of Gods grace in Christ to believers and nonbelievers alike. He has even confounded the very definition of the word grace. Satans scheme is to make Gods grace in Christ vague thereby making witnessing to that good news GIFT awkward for believers. Moreover, the rich inheritance of Gods grace in Christ resulting from Christs death can only be fully enjoyed by believers who obediently and faithfully follow the will of the One who has died! Likewise, there is an executor designated to help understand and implement His will (i.e. The Holy Spirit). It is only by the grace of God in Christ operating in us through the Holy Spirit that we can have a behavior that righteously obeys the will of the Father. Therefore, a considerable part of this study is dedicated to a Holy Spirit guided understanding of the will of God; wherein lies the secret riches of a Kings inheritance! But how do we appropriate Gods grace? Can a believer who has received eternal life pass-up the full inheritance of Gods grace and joy for this life? Can we receive more grace? Can we fall from grace? These related questions along with many others have increased the thickness of this document, hopefully to His glory! We often approach the Christian life in Christ as a subject to be learned rather than as a grace-filled life of joy established to experience both suffering and victory. The Bible commands us to: "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We cannot grow in grace through a seminar, through a book, through a sermon, or during a quiet time, as good as those may be. For that matter, we cannot even grow in grace through this study. Every newborn believer is eternally saved by the grace of God through faith as they become hidden in Christ at the cross. But each believer can only grow in that grace by learning to abide above in Christ, becoming hidden in His resurrected life (Col. 3:1-4). Abiding above, we can rest by faith in Christ who enables Gods grace and truth for daily living. For without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). And whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Rom. 14:23) -- everything else is counted dead loss to be consumed by fire like wood, hay and stubble! We must discover the secret of how to vacate spiritually and abide above on a lifelong rest of faith! By abiding above in Christ, the Christ in you becomes visible to will and to do miracles in you and through you by the grace of the Father. Furthermore, as far as God is concerned; Christ is the preacher, Christ is the missionary, Christ is the Christian worker, and Christ is the witnessing Christian. My prayer is that this study will encourage you to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18) . To Him be the glory both now and forever! AMEN. 5

Index & Study Guide


Approximate Study Time Page(s) I. II. III. IV. Why Ponder the Gospel of Gods Grace in Christ? Why Does Satan Desire to Keep Grace a MYSTERY? Seeking to Define Gods Amazing Grace Seven Biblical Truths about God's Amazing Grace 1. God gave full grace and truth to Jesus 2. God desires for all to be saved by grace 3. God's grace appears to all men 4. God gives grace only to the humble 5. Kingdom treasure Gods grace in Christ 6. Christ reigns & Grace rules 7. The great mystery of godliness V. VI. VII. VIII. IX. X. XI. XII. Putting the Amazing Back into Grace Discovering the Grace Empowered Will of God Experiencing Gods Grace Biblical Examination - The Grace Test Falling from Grace Grace Awakening - Revival! Growing in Grace Completing the Picture of Grace 11-13 13 14-15 16-17 18-22 23 24-30 31-32 33-43 44-59 60-62 62-63 64-65 66-71 72-73 1 Hr. 1/2 Hr. 1 Hr. 1 Hr. 1 Hr. 1/2 Hr. 2 Hrs. 1 Hr. 4 Hr. 4 Hr. 1 Hr. 1/2 Hr. 1/2 Hr. 2 Hr. 1/2 Hr. 5-8 9 10 2 Hrs. 1/2 Hr. 1/2 Hr.

Appendices & Homework: Appendix 1 - Application of Amazing Grace to Life Appendix 2 - Abiding Grace for Personal Ministry Appendix 3 - Grace Stories Appendix 4 - The Great Mystery (Part 1) Appendix 5 - The Great Mystery (Part 2) Appendix 6 - By Grace through the obedience of Faith Appendix 7 - The Throne of Grace Charles Spurgeon 6 74-77 78-81 82-89 90-97 98-102 103-120 121-125

Appendix 8 - The Abiding Presence Or Absence? Appendix 9 - Grace filled Books & Websites Appendix 10 - Grace Study Videotapes

126-130 131 132

Introduction
Paul appealed to the Hebrew Christians to see to it that no one misses the grace of God. Likewise, Jim Cymbala, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle, echoed this same concern for the modern-day church in his book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire: "Hebrews 4:16 does not say "Let us come to the sermon." We in America have made the sermon the centerpiece of the church, something God never intended. Preachers who are really doing their job get people to come to the throne of grace. That's the true source of mercy and grace that brings miracles." "To every preacher and every singer God will someday ask, "Did you bring people to where the action could be found. At the throne of grace? If you just entertain them, if you just tickle their ears and gave them a warm fuzzy moment, woe unto you. At the Throne of grace I could have changed their lives. Jim Cymbala, did you just dazzle people with your cleverness or did you make them hungry to come to me?" A philosopher once said that there are only two things essential to joyful living. One is light or wisdom for discovering the secret mysteries of life, and the other is mastering ones full potential in life. Light and Life...everyone is searching to find these fountains of joy, both Christians and non-believers alike. They are not reachable by anyone preoccupied with seeking happiness, wisdom, and success in all the wrong places. They are not obtained by diligently working in futility to personally achieve what only God can freely give. When one seeks and finds a life transforming grace relationship in Christ, the search is over! He is the MASTER of all light (truth) and life (grace). Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. The disciples even called Him MASTER. He alone fills the God created void in every hungry heart and brings the joyful indescribable gift of Gods grace for life. Therefore, each of lifes decisions centers around taking every thought captive, by faith, to the person of Jesus Christ who brings the Fathers empowering gift of grace. God lovingly awaits those decisions of faith in Christ within each circumstance of life, and then:

God will provide all the riches of His grace for what you need, when you need it, in the way you need it, in order to accomplish His will and purpose in you; when you are ready and willing by faith in Christ to receive it. (Author-St. Ben)
Let us begin our study by letting the Bible be the roadmap for the study of Gods grace and truth in Christ? Certainly the words contained in the New Testaments four Gospels and Acts together give us a presentation of the undeniable truth about the Person of Jesus Christ. Likewise, the fullness of Gods empowering grace was demonstrated in Jesus obedience to the will of the Father made complete at the cross. Jesus himself proclaimed the power of the Fathers grace operating in Him when he said apart from the Father I can do nothing. Jesus demonstrated grace in action throughout His ministry and through each of His parables. Yet grace itself was mysteriously never explained in the Gospels. John 14:20 would capture Jesus explanation about grace when he said: I in you and you in Me but few understood this mystery. The Gospels are God's inspired image of Jesus Christ as He is. Likewise, Acts is a historical record of the anointing of this wonderful, magnificent personality within others who believed and began the proclamation of that good news to the whole world. Together these books are inspired to teach us and instruct us in the one Person who can transform lives through the power of another, the Father Himself. Of course, the entire Bible is about Christ, but particularly in the Gospels and in Acts we find in Christ, God stepping out of the shadows as a living, breathing man, in whose life we see all the indwelling character and glory of God manifested in terms of human personality and loving actions of grace and truth. However, when we come to the Epistles -- which occupy the largest part of the New Testament -- we begin dealing with not just the presentation of Christ, but with explanation and instruction on the mystery of Gods grace in Christ. Paul was called to be a minister to the Gentiles of this mystery of the Gospel of grace in Christ. The Spirit inspired purpose of the Epistles 7

was to present this good news on such a kindergarten level of truth that anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord may be saved, understand, apprehend, lay hold of, and enter into a life of grace and truth in Christ. Thus, it is appropriate that the Epistles will be the focus of this study of Gods grace in Christ. Notice the order of the Epistles as they appear in the New Testament. They were not written in chronological order. Romans was not the first letter written, by any means; rather it is likely that the letter to the Galatians or possibly the Thessalonians was written first. Their present positional order and location within the Bible is an awesome mystery as they were compiled under the oversight of the Holy Spirit, being grouped together in three main themes associated with the good news about Gods grace in Christ. These main themes are presented within three distinct groupings of Epistles in the unique sequential order as they occur. For here the great truths of the Gospel of grace in Christ are crystallized focused -- as follows: 1. The first group (four Epistle sequence) emphasize CHRIST IN YOU-- Romans,1st and 2nd Corinthians, and Galatians -are grouped together around the first theme about Gods grace: "Christ in you, the hope of glory," as Paul would later phrases it. Spiritually Born Again man is to be the vehicle of divine life! Mans body, soul, and spirit are the instruments by which God expresses Himself. This is Edens lost secret or mystery of humanity. This is the way an invisible God becomes visible in His creation. Only on this basis, which is what we were designed for and created for, do we find eternal life and our full potential in His life. This is what makes us different, if we are different at all, from other human beings on earth -- Christ in you! -- Doing Gods will! -- the only hope of glory! These four Epistles develop this central theme starting with the process of repentance and redemption. 2. The next group (nine Epistle sequence) emphasize YOU IN CHRIST -- Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. These are grouped around the second theme about Gods grace: "You In Christ When we talk about being hidden in the body of Christ, abiding above, we receive the enabling grace of the Father to be who we were called to be. Our character (soul) is being transformed from the inside out by Gods grace into the image of the Son and the saintly spiritual status and title which was inherited at redemption. By grace through faith in Christ, we are made able ambassadors of the body of Christ living temporarily apart from our current heavenly home. Here we have the church coming to view -- we no longer live our Christian lives as individuals apart from His body. We are not just so many people struggling along trying to lay hold of Jesus Christ, but that we encourage one another to be the image of Christ to a lost world. We belong to each other in His body as well as belonging to Christ. We find rest and joy only as we exhort one another to be seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesusabiding above at the Throne of grace. Going always to the Author and Finisher of our faith who is seated there at the right hand of God. Thus, when we pray or give thanks or corporately worship and praise God in spirit and truth we are abiding above in Christ. Likewise, being available to His call to go and proclaim the good news signifies abiding above, faith resting in Christ. 3. The last group (eight Epistles) emphasize the method of life in Christ, which is faith" --Hebrews, James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John, and Jude -- how to walk by faith in Christ. Jesus Christ alone is the Author and Finisher of our faith which enables the outpouring of the grace of God. Faith in Christ alone brings the gift of the Fathers grace. He is the Alpha and Omega of the grace filled life of joy. Therefore, the result of all grace is fittingly to His Glory! This method of life by the Grace of God in Christ operates entirely through faith in the Son! Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, Therefore the secret to the Christian life is looking unto Jesus. Do not take your eyes off Him! By the power of Gods grace, through faith, believers are uniquely enabled to be who they were created to be and do what they were created to do to His glory. Therefore beloved, abide in Him as He abides in you. On this basis we experience anew these great span of Epistles, designed together to reveal all the mighty good news about Gods grace in Christ to be gripping, captivating, compelling, but beyond that, to be experientially real. Their purpose is to give us practical experience for living the grace filled life of freedom and joy in Christ to His glory. Therefore the result of this Bible study should, through the teaching of the Holy Spirit, change you. Furthermore, the complete Biblical based definition of Gods grace remains to be concluded at the end of this study. Hopefully, each reader will be persuaded to invest the time to fully discover the joy derived from continually looking unto Jesus and resting by faith in 8

the one who bring the "indescribable gift.

I. Why Ponder the Gospel of Gods Grace in Christ?


Mastery of the Bibles good news about Gods grace in Christ is a most important step in pursuing the Christian life and its blessings. The ability to reflect Christ-like character, the ability to function effectively in a church body, and the effectiveness of a personal ministry - all are absolutely dependent on how well one understands and applies grace principles. Consider other key reasons for studying the Biblical teachings on grace: Grace is the most important single precept in the Word of God apart from a personal knowledge of Jesus (the object of our faith), the cross, and the resurrection. Graces greatest expression is found in the cross. Salvation is "by grace through faith", and the Christian joy-filled life functions entirely on grace principles. Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue. (Eugene ONeill) Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all these things (Gods grace in Christ) will be added unto you. Apart from the gift of Gods grace through Jesus Christ we cannot inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. Graces antithesis is sin. Grace is at the heart of every Bible story where God is at work transforming people's lives. God is love. Gods love is made visible (manifest) through His actions of grace which bring joy and peace. Grace energizes and makes Godly love real, tangible, and visible. Gods purpose in creating the world was to UNITE ALL THINGS in heaven and earth IN CHRIST to His Glory (Ephesians 1:9-12) that GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL (1Cor. 15:28). We are to be good stewards of the mysteries of Gods plan (will) for achieving this purpose (1Cor. 4:1-2) of which we are to testify to the Gospel of graces GREAT MYSTERY for attaining holiness in Christ. Faith enables us to withstand, by Gods grace, what we cannot understand! Everything spiritual is sustained by Gods grace. Gods grace is the medium of exchange and storehouse of value (spiritual currency) in the Kingdom, given through Christ alone to accomplish Gods will. Grace, when exchanged, brings eternal Glory. In Christ, believers become "conduits of grace" from the Throne of grace to a broken world. Families become grace families; churches become grace churches, centers of great grace influence. Beginning on that day we hear and know the grace of God in truth, the Gospel bears much fruit (Col. 1:5-6). Apart from grace and Truth we cannot Glorify the Name of Jesus Christ. Gods grace indwells and enables Christian hearts to become available wellsprings of His love shining unto lost souls in darkness through the Spirit of truth, bearing much fruit. Gods grace empowers a personal testimony to the kingdom of God, its King, and His mysteries and truths about the past, present and future. Grace principles give believers great knowledge and confidence in God's will, His truth, His provisions, and His blessings, which come from becoming hidden "in Christ." Currently, Kingdom blessings come from Gods Throne of grace, through the presence of the Holy Spirit in believers hearts, and through the body of Christ. To Israel it was the Mercy Seat and the presence of Gods prophets. The rapture will usher in the Bema (blessing) seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). At Christs triumphant coming with all the angels, He will sit on the Throne of His Glory and rule the millennial kingdom with His crowned saints (Mat. 25:31). This will be followed by a Great White Throne of Judgment, and Heavens eternal Throne of Glory. We are accountable to the Master for being good stewards of His goods (grace) and for doing His business (Gods desired will) in our personal ministry. Believers are commanded to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. (2 Peter 3:18) Therefore, the goal of this study is to seek Gods heart of grace. By seeking Him prayerfully and humbly, God the Holy Spirit will unveil those biblical truths relative to the who, what, when, where, how and why of His grace in Christ. The primary objective is to unveil the biblical process for receiving the anointing of Gods grace in Christ to enable individuals to find their 10

true identity as they become hidden in Him, abiding above.

John Bunyan best described the state of gracelessness in Pilgrims Progress


Porter: What is your name? Pilgrim: My name is now Christian but my name at the first was graceless."

How did gracelessness begin?


In their innocence and before the fall, Adam and Eve acted consistently in their lives under the gracious and exclusive influence of the righteous grace and truth from within, being spiritually inhabited by God Himself. Gracelessness began in Eden as a consequence of mans rebellious act to choose to leave God out by doubting in His word/will (faithlessness). As a consequence of sin, the power and strength of Gods grace was immediately cut off to Adam and Eve and their future descendents. It was as if the divine power cord of life" (representing Gods grace and truth) was severed as the source of power to light the way of man. Man had turned off the master switch of lifefaith, and Gods Spirit withdrew from the human spirit. When the life went out, the soul of man was plunged into the abysmal darkness of a fallen humanity, uninhabitable by God. Mans heart condition became graceless (a dead spirit) and void of truth (light); henceforth, darkness and death entered in. Man had been converted by Satan from being God-centered to being self-centered. When Adam and Eve sinned against God's authority, not only did their innocent spirit die to God so that they had no life toward God, but they became converted. Conversion of the spirit begins with a changed mind, in this case toward God! Mans dead spirit mind of imaginations and emotions became the converted playpen of Satan. The power of sin entered into man and took control over his spirit, soul, and body. He became a Satan's spiritual convert, born of the same rebellion that Satan had already initiated in heaven before Creation. From that time forward, all men inherited this same converted spirit being in human form totally uninhabitable by God and available to Satan (see Ephesians 2:1-2). Romans 5:19 For as by one man's [Adams] disobedience many were made sinners, Not only was his spirit now dead to God, but his soul and body were dying by degrees as well. The race against time had started! If men, loved by God, did not repent and become re-converted to God-centered spirits before being ejected from their dying earthly bodies, they would have to eternally exist as spirit sons (or daughters) of Satan destined for eternal hell. Man's spirit & soul had become lost in space between sin and grace! He was on his own and lost! At least - he thought he was! BUT GOD! Eph 2:4-6 (RSV} But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

The worlds answer to gracelessness No big deal! Well work on the anxieties!
Mans sensitivity to small things, and his insensitivity to the most important things, are surely evidence of a strange disorder. (Blaise Pascal, French Mathematician & Philosopher 1662) Because of sin, man is graceless and in darkness. Smallness, pettiness, un-forgiveness and selfishness always result from gracelessness. This state can only be mended by humbly calling, by faith, upon the Name of the Lord to receive Gods Mercy and restore Gods grace. The worlds answer to gracelessness is restless ego-centered achievement, the striving for money, power and possessions, self righteousness, legalism, and blindness to the reality of death and dying, all prideful counterfeit enemies of grace. They are indeed strange disorders. A recent poll taken amongst the universities of Europe indicates how those students approached life and death. It was discovered that far and away the most common approach was focused anxiety not an anxiety about death, but an all consuming anxiety about life itself and the struggles of today overriding any the concern for tomorrow. But how could anyone deny the harsh statistical reality that one-out-of-one will die? We have been brought up to believe the universal lie of our day, which is being persistently flung at us through the media, that we deserve to live. However, the constant termination of life around us reminds us that this is not so. In the eyes of the 11

God of the universe something in us deserves to die; that is what universal death declares. Man declares that we can live life happily by fixing the anxieties and symptoms of lawlessness and ignore the disease of gracelessness. In the best selling memoirs of a dying man with ALS, Tuesdays with Morrie we learn deaths greatest lesson: Learn to live and youll know how to die; learn how to die and youll know how to live. Within everyone is a deep passion to find the mystery of life, and death is what demands a search beyond ourselves.

Todays worldly wisdom Substitute a self-power for Gods power in grace!


Have you observed any of this worldly wisdom? What is the power being denied? 2 Tim. 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Is there any hope for this strange deadly disorder?


Have you ever asked the questions Why do I exist on planet Earth? Why was I born? What was Gods purpose in bringing me into the world?' Certainly, Gods PLANS (WILL) and Gods POWER (GRACE) act together to achieve Gods sovereign PURPOSE. But what is Gods "big picture" PURPOSE in life and in creation? Have we somehow missed the big WAR? Remember the major rebellion in heaven! Before creation, rebellious Lucifer and one third of the angels of heaven had already been cast down and were the first to wear the title graceless and cut off from the glory of God. Darkness had created a time warp in eternity where Gods GLORY had been temporarily interrupted. But God purposed before the foundations of the Earth that His glory would be restored in all. Therefore rebellion had started in heaven before Adam and Eve were created and were able to commit that first earthly sin that caused all men to likewise inherit Lucifer's graceless condition. They became Satans first earthly converts. One can only conclude from scripture that God's slowness to judgment was attributed to His longsuffering character. Why else would He provide multiple opportunities to graceless dead spirits deserving immediate judgment and condemnation? God Himself declared the essence of His unchanging character to Moses, displayed with the image of His Glory in a burning bush and by physically passing nearby: Exodus 34:6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, God purposed to use His creation to put down rebellion and bring an end (death) to the root cause of this strange graceless disorder (sin). He certainly knew beforehand that the sin and graceless rebellion started in heaven would spread to His creation on earth. Likewise, God chose to accomplish His PURPOSE by revealing the image of Himself manifest on earth "in Christ," who by demonstrating His character of grace and truth, would put to death on a cross both sin and its curse of death and restore His glory to heaven and earth. Only God Himself could purpose to restore heaven and Earth by uniting all things in heaven and earth "in Christ to His Glory." Ephes. 1:9-12 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 1 Cor. 15:28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.

God's GRACE is the POWER behind God's WILL (plan) to achieve God's PURPOSE: TO UNITE ALL THINGS IN HEAVEN & EARTH "IN CHRIST! That GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL (1 Cor. 15:28)- Thus Gods Glory shall be restored both in Heaven & Earth!
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God isn't in heaven saying: "Let's make a deal! " God is here calling out: This is the deal! Arise from the dead! Accept (or reject) My free gift of grace, through faith in Christ Jesus alone.
Ephes. 5:14-17 Therefore He says: "Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light." See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 2 Tim. 1:6-9 Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,

Abiding in Christ - the Exchanged Life of Unity


God purposed spiritual rebirth as a GIFT of grace through faith in the person of Jesus Christ and the power of His Cross and Resurrection. Instead of my sins being between myself and God, as before, it is Jesus Christ who is now between me and my sins; and the One who has interposed Himself has given me to know that He has brought me to Himself, and turned my heart to His own praise. By grace, through faith, the "old Adam man" was nailed to the cross and buried in the tomb; by grace, through faith, the old Adam man will be kept there. Romans 5:17 For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) All the powers of Deity (grace) which already wrought together in the accomplishment of the first part of God's eternal purpose, the revealing of the Father's likeness in His only son Jesus Christ to take away sin and gracelessness at the cross, are equally engaged to accomplish the second part, to work that likeness in each of the Father's children to His Glory. God's purpose is being achieved by uniting all things in heaven and earth "in Christ." Heaven and earth is to be restored that

GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL! Glory Restored! Grace to you!


Are you like a cordless drill, running on your own power all week and then attending church on Sunday to get your batteries recharged? That's not God's plan for flowing His grace in "Christ! We're to operate like a drill that's plugged into the wall socket which draws its life from a great hydroelectric generator! Living like this will so fill you with gratitude and love for Christ that you'll gather with the church each week to release your praise. Consider this, in a master craftsmans workshop there are drills, saws and a grinders. All these tools serve different functions, yet all three are plugged into the same power source, the electrical outlet. The electricity is their "life." The "life" doesn't make them identical. It actually gives them their unique identity. So long as the "life" flows, each of these tools manifests its true identity. It's the "life" that reveals their uniqueness and purpose for being. Do you know when they lose their identity? If you unplug them! Without their "life" they would be exactly the same.paperweights! Believers are specifically born again "in Christ" to offer their earthly body to Christ Jesus to express His "life" through them. It's His life that gives believers their identity. His abiding life enables the power of Gods grace for experiencing ones true identity as each was created to be. This is sure JOY! Just think? You and the God of the universe cohabiting in the same earthly body while spiritually you are at rest seated in the heavenlies "in Christ! You say, "I don't feel like I am in heaven today! Well rain on how you feel! God says that you are spiritually there already in Ephes. 2:6. And if your feelers seem to tell you that you aren't; which is the liar, God or your feelers? Therefore go boldly, by faith in Christ, to His Throne of grace and pray down the miracles of heaven!

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II. Why does Satan desire to keep Grace a MYSTERY?


Satan has veiled Gods purpose, plans (will), and power (grace) relative to: 1. Overcoming sin/Satan, gracelessness and death 2. Doing the Lords business. 3. Glorifying the NAME of Jesus Christ. 4. JOY --- Satan is the original killjoy! 2 Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Graceless Consequences of Satans joy killing


By veiling grace and its necessary precursor of faith in Christ, Satan steals Joy! The consequences of gracelessness and leaving God and His grace out (Satans Lie) are painfully evident today in the increasing smallness, pettiness and brokenness of the world: Creation without God = unsaved evolutionists, survival of the fittest wisdom, and bad science. Man doubting God = sin/death/separation/gracelessness Life after death without the cross = cults/work-based religions Law without the Cross = legalistic society, enslaving, hypocritical, judgmental Love-love without grace = new age, unwanted pregnancies, homosexuality Spirits without grace = charismatic chaos/sorcery/psychics/out-of-body experiences, new age Works without grace = religious legalism, restless achieving, spiritual fruitlessness Goodness without grace = hypocrisy, legalism, maligning, unrighteous apostasy Sacrifice apart from grace = abortions, euthanasia, war, genocide Beauty apart from grace = lust, pornography, immorality Possessions apart from grace = idolatry, greed, selfishness, crime, starvation, homelessness, slavery Happiness apart from grace = drugs, alcohol, gossip, unhappiness, sorrow, sin Power without grace = gang-bangers, school shootings, spousal and child abuse, hate crimes, racism Churchgoers apart from grace = unsaved churchgoers or wretched but saved Christians Revival apart from grace = the program of the year vs. the experience of joy for eternity

Some Bible Translations Confound Grace - Most do not!


Watchful observation: One Bible translation, the Living Bible, has removed the word grace in many places and has substituted other errant words in many locations! Notice highlighted <substituted> words where the word <grace> has been replaced: John 1:14-17(LB) And Christ became a human being and lived here on earth among us and was full of < loving forgiveness > and truth. And some of us have seen his glory --the glory of the only Son of the heavenly Father! John pointed him out to the people, telling the crowds, "This is the one I was talking about when I said, 'Someone is coming who is greater by far than I am--for he existed long before I did!' "We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us--< blessing > upon <blessing > heaped upon us! For Moses gave us only the Law with its rigid demands and merciless justice, while Jesus Christ brought us < loving forgiveness > as well. 14

III. Seeking to Define Gods Amazing Grace


Why is the definition and true meaning of a powerful spiritual word like grace so unclear? How can a believer grow in grace if the truth about Gods Amazing grace in Christ is unclear? If there are so many distorted or incomplete meanings of the word grace, what does the Bible say about the true meaning of the word grace?

Various Published Definitions for the Word Grace


Websters Dictionary: grace (Noun) : Unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification, grace (Verb) : to confer dignity or honor on Strongs: The divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life. The root of grace or charis in the Greek is traced to an action verb meaning I rejoice, I am glad, joyful." Related Bible used words in the Greek derived from the root charis are: charisma (grace as a noun) - a free gift, a benefit, a spiritual gift. chairo (verb) - to rejoice, to be glad, to be joyful or to be cheerful or to be calmly well off. In parting as God Speed or Be Well charidzomai (verb) - to gratify, to bestow in kindness, to remit a debt, to forgive. eucharistia (noun) - gratitude or thankfulness as a result of receiving grace (from which eucharist or communion is derived). eucharisteo (verb) - to give thanks

Grace: God withholding what we do deserve and giving us what we do not deserve. A part of some church names. Prayer before meal saying grace. Amazing grace The Song. Important word (grace) for the unsaved, not very important word for the saved. Archbishop Trench wrote in Synonyms of the New Testament about the Greek word for grace: It is hardly too much to say that the Greek mind has in no word uttered itself and all that was at the heart more distinctly than is this. Handy incomplete definition for those who forget: (G)Gods - (R)Riches - (A)At - (C)Christs - (E)Expense. Max Lucados definition of grace: If God be for us, who can be against us. (Romans 8:31) Sam Sasser: Gods ability to give you new desires and then nurturing those desires until His will is accomplished. Miles Stanford - grace: love and mercy in action, which results in undeserved favor. Bill Gothard: An active force within us giving us the desire and the power to do things Gods way. Steve McVey (author of "Grace Walk" & "Grace Rules"): grace is divine enablement for one to powerfully express the life of Jesus Christ through their lifestyle. Grace: Unmerited favor. (Most common and incomplete definition)

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If you believe that you found the true meaning of grace listed above, then you may have a joyful surprise awaiting you from the Bible so read on!

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IV. What Does the BIBLE say about God's Amazing Grace?
(Seven Biblical Truths about Gods Amazing Grace in Christ)
First Spiritual Truth: God gave full grace and truth to Jesus associated with Gods Glory. Apart from grace and truth, God cannot be Glorified. Why was it so important that Jesus, after being virgin born of the flesh and filled with the fullness of truth also be given the fullness of Gods grace as a child? Gods full grace enabled Jesus TO BE the unblemished lamb of God (fully tempted but without sin) and TO DO the work of the Father which was to seek and save the lost. Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him. John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Luke 19:10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost." 1 Peter 1:19 ...but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Question: If the definition of grace is unmerited favor does that mean that Christ was unmerited to receive the fullness of Gods grace? Of course Christ merited Gods grace! Therefore this fact alone casts heavy doubt that the most commonly used definition of grace as unmerited favor is errant. The fullness of the Father was present in Christ. The disciples were puzzled by Jesus response that the Father was in Me. Furthermore, how could Jesus be in the Father? How could God be in someone? How does a Holy God become manifest in the flesh? How can God live a life through another? In a word, grace! Jesus described the grace of the Father in Him. He said: Believe Me either because of this MYSTERY of the Father in Me or for the sake of the works themselves. Remember that Christ was filled with grace and Truth as a child. Jesus was overflowing with continuous actions of divine love empowered by grace which would reach a pinnacle at the cross. The Father was in Him and He was in the Father. Amazing grace indeed. (Luke 4:1, 4:14, 4:18) ( Matthew 4:1) John 14:7-11 "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him." Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves. John 10:38 but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." Jesus whole ministry embodied grace. He spoke of the grace of the Master in the parable of the talents (Mat. 25:14-30). Jesus gave a complete description of grace in John 15:1-11 as that living life giving water which flows from the vine to enable the branches to bear much fruit. Appropriately, these same verses will be fully discussed in detail in Appendix 3 (Parable of Talents and Grace) and on page 47 ("In Christ" the true Vine). How did God's grace affect Jesus' ministry? Do you know how many miracles Jesus could have done apart from the Father dwelling within Him doing the works? Not one! He couldn't have done a thing! Jesus lived His life on earth through the source of all abundant life and power, the Father. Jesus could only do what God the Father was doing through Him. If you disagree lets review what Jesus said: John 5:30 I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. 17

John 7:16-18 Jesus answered them and said, "My doctrine is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. John 8:28 Then Jesus said to them, "When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. John 12:49-50 For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak." Get this picture! Jesus lived as a normal man who was totally helpless apart from the Fathers grace (Divine enablement). God was manifest in the flesh through the Son. Immanuel, was God with us. God was living a life of empowering grace through the life of another, His Son. The Son chose to be in total submission and dependence upon His heavenly Father. Acts 2:22 "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-REFLECTION: If Jesus found it necessary as a man to depend on the life of the Father to be expressed in Him and through Him, what makes us think that we can manage our own lives apart from Jesus who is our chief priest and advocate at the Father's right hand? He imparts three blessings, the way to the Father (cross), the truth, and the abundant life by grace, through faith. Apart from Him we can do nothing! The Bible is clear: John 15:5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. 1 Thes. 5:24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it. Philip. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? APPLICATION: As Christ was one with the Father we are called to be one "in Christ" and not called to do anything except simply appropriate by faith our union in Him as He did from the Father. The Bible is clear, Jesus will do it, not us! He will appropriate the divine empowering grace of the Father as we submit our earthly bodies, by faith, for Him to use. Jesus parables revealed secret mysteries Jesus Parables were all pictures of grace. Jesus parables portrayed the Kingdom as a kind of secret force giving grace for grace. Sheep among wolves, treasure hidden in a field, the tiniest seed in the garden, wheat growing among weeds, a sprinkle of salt on meat, a vine causing its branches to bear fruit all these hint of a movement that brings grace to individuals and society, allowing the Gospel of grace and love to change people, in their faith, from the inside out. Jesus preached the MYSTERIES about the Gospel of grace and the Kingdom to the masses in parables. The great men of God in the Old Testament did not receive the Gospel of grace which was hidden and a mystery to previous generations. Jesus in the Gospels revealed these mysteries through parables. Appropriately, the mystery of holiness through Gods grace in Christ will be discussed in the context of Pauls epistles as the Seventh Spiritual Truth about Gods Grace. Record these amazing words in your memory because they become important truths in 18

recognizing the significance of the mystery of the Glorious Gospel of grace! If you made a mental record, say an appropriate AMEN after reading the following: Matthew 13:34-35 All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: "I will open My mouth in parables: I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world." Jesus revealed the Kingdom and the Kingdom riches of grace through parables. He would reveal these mysteries intotal only to the disciples and to believers after Pentecost and to the apostle Paul. Pauls total ministry was to be the Lords appointed apostle and messenger of the mystery of the Gospel of grace to the Gentiles. Note: Paul is our unique messenger appointed by the Lord; therefore, we should listen to him and receive a great insight into the MYSTERY of the Gospel of Gods grace in Christ. Second Spiritual Truth: God desires that all be saved by grace through faith Gods desire is that all should come to repentance and the rich inheritance of His grace. However, God requires that we must choose by faith. A faith that recognizes that Christ can do it but we cannot! 1 Tim. 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Romans 2:4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? Gods goodness is the appearance of His grace within lifes suffering circumstances which calls out loudly to lead men and women to find repentance and faith in that source of goodness totally outside themselves. Worthy quote:

Gods law condemns the best of men! The grace of God saves the worst of men! (source unknown)
The Problem - The unsaved are a law unto themselves condemned under the law and graceless, outside the promise of grace and truth, knowing God but rejecting His grace in Christ by which He is glorified: Romans 3:10-12 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Romans 1:18-22 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, Third Spiritual Truth: Gods grace appears to ALL MEN Gods grace appears to all men as a spiritual light of truth shining in the darkness. Grace appears to the lost through Gods visible actions manifested in their daily lives by Gods grace empowering truth, goodness and love. Often this occurs through visible actions of Christs love from grace filled believers. When one finds Jesus the search is over! He alone satisfies the call within every hungry heart to fill the void/vacuum created by God within every human soul. He fills the void in the heart and brings the joyful gift of grace. Everyone is searching for the fountain of everlasting joy. 19

Remember the Greek word for grace charis is traced to an action verb meaning I rejoice, I am glad, joyful." True JOY can only result from Gods grace being made visible (manifest) through faith in Christ! Joy is not reachable by anyone preoccupied with self. Without faith in Christ and a humble repentance toward God the Father, grace may reappear to unbelievers but it will not remain or abide within the human spirit and soul.

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
The key words are that the grace of God has appeared to ALL MEN." Billy Graham has estimated that over 60-70% of churchgoers are not saved. Could a big mission field exists within the church itself? Unsaved churchgoers have accepted the appearance of grace (Warm spiritual feelings and emotions, experienced from preaching, worship, music and fellowship to quell the conscience as if a drug for pain). The world has veiled spiritual truth and made many blind (John 3:19), unable to see the light (2 Cor 4:3-7) and demonstrate the spiritual anointed fruit of the Gospel of grace: Christ in you, the hope of Glory. Could Billy Grahams observation just be validating what it states in Col 1:4-6: Col. 1:4-6 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth;

NOTE: The Gospel bears real fruit ONLY where believers hear and understand (know) the grace of God, in truth.
Likewise: It is not truth that sets one free but rather the knowledge of (faith in) that truth!!!!
Gods grace even appears or is shown to the wicked but it does not abide! Isaiah 26:10 Let grace be shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness; In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, And will not behold the majesty of the Lord. Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Gods grace appears as Gods awesome visible presence (Acts 17:22-30) Gods powerful sovereign presence is displayed in the universe (e.g. Earthquakes, Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Infinite Stars, nature itself, etc.) and is evident in the lives and ministry of believers who are living testaments of Gods Love and grace in Christ. In the last days these appearances of grace will increase. Romans 1:18-22 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, Acts 17:26-27 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; Acts 17:30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 20

Acts 17:31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead." Why all this blindness to the Gospel of Gods grace in Christ? Noted theologian Major Ian Thomas in his book The Saving Life of Christ has illustrates the blinding lie of Satan that controls through a thought provoking story: Imagine for a moment that I steal the uniform of a policeman who represents the true empowering presence of authority in the midst of rush hour traffic. I step out into the middle of a busy street and hold up my hand. What is the result? All the traffic stops! Although I am exercising a stolen authority, all the drivers obey me for the policeman they believe me to be. But what I am is a lie! They obey my signal but what I do is a lie! All that I am and all that I do is one big lie, but the traffic still stops, and I control the behavior of every driver who does not know the truth! Everything I say as a bogus policeman will appear to carry the weight of an authority I do not possess in them who are still in the dark about the truth, and who go on believing a lie! By the way, there is no statute of limitations on the punishment for the crime that Satan has committed masquerading as the religious angel of light and for those who imitate him. It is pathetically possible to be engaged in all kinds of religious activity that is nothing less than Satans subtle masquerade of the Gospel of grace of God. Any substitute righteousness or works on the basis of any other belief than by Gods empowering grace through FAITH in the Person of Jesus Christ is a lie straight from the father of lies, Satan himself. 2 Corinthians 4:4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. Everyone should objectively assess in their own hearts using the Word of God to determine whether they internally possess the grace of God in Christ. You know it if you found Him as He leaves no doubt! This truth is experienced as an empowering spiritual presence of the living Christ that enables a life of godliness (and is presently destroying ungodliness and gracelessness from within) and brings forth real fruit. Hence, the truth is that Gods true authority in Christ activates Gods power (grace) in and through man, bringing righteousness. That is why it takes Christ Himself abiding in a believer to be a Christian for Christ in a Christian puts God back into the re-birthed spiritual man. That is the work of God BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH in Christ. John 6:2 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." Fourth Spiritual Truth: God gives grace only to the humble. Proverbs 3:34 Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble. James 4:5-7 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Isaiah 23:9 The Lord of hosts has purposed it, To bring to dishonor the pride of all glory, To bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth. Humble loving WARNING by Jesus! Luke 14:11(NIV) For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." If one chooses to humble themselves, they can avoid affliction and scorn. They will be exalted by the grace of God in Christ. However if one chooses to exalt themselves, it is only a matter of time until they will be humbled because of the absence of Gods grace in that area of their life. Definition: Humbleness is the gift given upon graduation from the school of mans self-afflicted suffering. Jim Cymbala describes Gods attraction to weakness in his book "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire." 21

"I discovered an astonishing truth: God is attracted to weakness. He can't resist those who humbly and honestly admit how desperately they need Him."
Isaiah 40:29-31 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Luke 18:13-14 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Matthew 18:4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Isaiah 66:1-2 (NAS) Thus says the LORD, "Heaven is My throne, and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? "For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being," declares the LORD. "But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. God gave the fullness of grace to Jesus as a child. Was He humble? Yes! Yes! Yes! Thank you Lord Jesus for being the model of humbleness. You alone are worthy of the fullness of Gods grace: Philip. 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 2 Cor. 8:9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. 2 Cor. 13:4 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. Grace was the essence of Pauls humble being and who he was, a new creation, in Christ Jesus: 1 Cor. 15:9-11 For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore, whether it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. Read the story of the humble prodigal son and the graceless older brother (Luke 15:11-32) The lost prodigal son had to be found to allow the Father to pour out abundant Mercy and grace. The story does not tell how he was found but it does indicate the prodigal sons humbleness. The prodigal said: "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants." The Father was not confused about the cause and effect. He declares: this, my son, was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. We didnt see anyone find him. Just because we didnt see it happen, it does not mean the light of salvation did not shine! God's grace appeared (called) and there was a response of humble repentance. God the Holy Spirits work is indeed like the wind; we see it and know it as truth, not directly, but by its effects. Notice the legalism and gracelessness of the older brother. For so many years he had worked hard serving the father. He did not even refer to the younger son as his brother saying to the fatherbut when this son of yours came.. Neither did the older son go into the house and celebrate but stayed outside the house and the father had to come out and entreat him. The father said: you have always been with me. The older brother lacked humbleness and became the accuser of his brother and brethren who wore the robe and ring of grace (Rev 12:10). Who received 22

the gift of grace? Was it the passion filled son who suffered scorn, was lost but and was found or was it the legalistic son who stayed outside and could not accept his brother? Had the older brother fallen from grace? Definitions of humility Humility is a loving reverence for God.Humility is wisdom & strength under control of the Holy Spirit. Humility is the gift given for graduating from the school of experiencing Gods grace. Hebrews 12:28-29 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire. 1 Peter 5:5-6 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time The 7-steps from gracelessness to glory: 1. Rebellion (man exalted) begets gracelessness/lawlessness/sin. 2. Gracelessness begets mans self-created affliction in the presence of Gods goodness! 3. Affliction begets choice of humbleness towards God or higher rebellion (return to step #1). 4. Humbleness chosen begets faith in Christ Jesus (the author and finisher of our faith) 5. Faith in Christ begets Gods grace. 6. Gods grace begets humility from a believer and Glory to God! 7. Humility begets doing the will of the Father in thanksgiving and praise to the glory of God!

Fifth Spiritual Truth: Kingdom treasure - Gods grace in Christ! Let us begin with three parables Jesus only gave to the disciples and which describe the kingdom from three viewpoints. It also describes the relationship of grace to the kingdom. Here are the three kingdom parables: (#1) Matthew 13:44 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Firstly, the parable of the man represents a believer since the man must already be saved and in the field (in Christ) and working and seeking in the field in order to find the kingdom treasure. Logically, you have to be in the field in order to find the treasure! What was the treasure the man found? This parable describes a believer finding the treasure of Gods grace and Gods glory for living the Christian joy filled life found by abiding in Christ. (#2) Matthew 13:45-46 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it. Secondly, the parable of the merchant represents either a Jew of Jesus day or an unsaved person who both feel secure in their head knowledge of beautiful pearls (religion or religious knowledge). Merchants describes themselves as being knowledgeable of their trade. However, only by seeking can the merchant find the one pearl of great price (Christ). That great price was bought by Jesus at the cross! Thus, receiving the pearl is a free gift fully paid by a kings ransom. This parables described finding the way of salvation by Grace through faith in Christ! It describes turning away (repentance) and becoming totally sold out to Christ. The pearl received is Christ! Christ in you the hope of glory! Only one way to the kingdom PEARLand GIFT! By grace through faith. John 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through 23

Me. Ephes. 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, that no one should boast.

Note:

Not gift from God; rather the gift of God Himself, dwelling within us. We call The Gift of God

Himself, the third member of the trinity, God the Holy Spirit. grace is the ministry/work of the Holy Spirit, one gets both upon redemption. We are justified by grace (that was full in Christ) being exchanged for our sin as we are hidden with Him and redeemed at the cross through faith. Romans 3:24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; (#3) Matthew 13:47-48 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. Thirdly, the parable of the dragnet describes the current kingdom reality that some from every tongue and nation both good and bad will be captured and gathered into the church which is the kingdom dragnet. But not all in the church will inherit the kingdom. There will be a judgment in the fullness of time and only those saved having Christ in them the hope of glory will be the good taken into the glory of the kingdom. Jesus described a good man: Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

How does one find kingdom treasure and glory? The first two parables emphasize seeking in order to find. However, the object of the seeking is different! Both parables indicate becoming completely sold out to Christ as the primary object and freed from earthly bondages by the enabling power of Gods grace in Christ! But only the man enjoys the life changing earthly blessing of kingdom treasure! Here is a detailed interpretation of that joyful treasure that any born again seeker may find and enjoy today: Matthew 13:44 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. treasure = Gods grace and glory, lost to man because of gracelessness.. hidden = The Gospel of grace of God is hidden in Christ. field = Jesus Christ found = the treasure of Gods grace was found in the field (in Christ). hid = treasure of grace becomes hidden in the mans heart by faith. Col. 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Col. 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. joy = The grace of God in Christ floods the spirit and soul of the man with joy! Critical to understanding this parable: The root of grace or charis in the Greek is traced to an action verb 24

meaning: I rejoice, I am glad. I am filled with joy (NOTE: Joy is the direct result of Gods grace). he goes = the man goes, joyfully by faith, to the source of strength and enabling power to be freed from all earthly bondages and sufferings. sells all that he has = the man behaves as being separated from all earthly bondages that he has. He joyfully becomes totally sold out to Christ! (sanctification) buys that field = he buys the field (by abiding in Christ)! He chooses to abide above in Christ, seated in heavenly places (kingdom citizenship) while the Christ in him (able ambassador) enables the believer by the grace of God to do the will of the Father to His glory. Col. 3:1-4 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 2 Cor. 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. Only one way to the kingdom TREASURE! By grace through an abiding faith in Christ. Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. FAITH False faith: I can, with Gods help. Faith: I cannot! But He can! Great faith does not create or produce, but rests and rejoices in what God has already done. Born Again spiritual rebirth likens itself to the delivery of a newborn baby! Since God purposed both the physical birth and the spiritual rebirth processes one would logically expect to see a consistency in these two God created processes, and we do: Everyone is physically born inheriting a graceless spiritual dead condition at the age of accountability. Unless there is a spiritual rebirth in Christ, the human spirit and soul cannot enter the kingdom of God. John 3:5-7 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, `You must be born again.'' Is their evidence of birth pains preceding spiritual rebirth? Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Where does spiritual rebirth begin. Gods grace appears to all men (Titus 2:11-12) demonstrating His goodness in the midst of human self-inflicted grief and sorrow. Sorrow in an imperfect sinful world is a wake-up call for a simple truth! God is good all the time; Satan is bad all the time! It is only a matter of time before this truth becomes reality and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ as Lord. The Holy Spirit quickens the human spirit (heart). God created that human spirit to be a higher power with control the human soul (mind, will and emotions). It is the goodness of God communicated to the human spirit that results in redemption through a humble repentance within the soul. The dissected meaning of repentance is (RE= return, PENT= top). Simply stated, the word REPENT is humbly returning from a life of sin to the top (the FATHER). Romans 2:4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the 25

goodness of God leads you to repentance? Where does spiritual delivery begin? There is a turning of the newborn both in physical birth and spiritual rebirth signaling delivery. The head of the newborn is turned 180 degrees awaiting delivery through the birth canal. Likewise, the spiritual mind (head) and heart must turn 180 degrees in repentance prior to spiritual delivery. To not have this turning results in stillborn spiritual death. By the way, God does not do spiritual Caesarians but does offer multiple longsuffering opportunities to choose humble repentance and spiritual rebirth through faith in Christ. William Tyndale, the father of the English Bible described repentance as a conversion of heart and mind: Concerning the word REPENTANCE the very sense and signification both of the Hebrew and also of the Greek word is, to be converted and to turn to God with all the heart, to know His will, and to live according to His laws; and to be cured of our corrupt nature with the oil of His Spirit <grace>, and wine of obedience <faith> to His doctrine. Through faith in Christ Jesus and a humble repentance toward God, we receive mercy and are washed in his blood and justified by the redemptive gift of Gods grace. Faith and repentance are one and the same act preceding redemption. Repentance is recognition of being incapably LOST while at that same moment turning to calling upon the capable Lord to be FOUND and redeemed by faith. Redemption in Christ Jesus is not by human workings, nor by proper behavior, nor by being a good person or not even by believing there is a God (for even Satan believes in God) but by grace through faith in the person of Jesus Christ. He is the only way as there is none righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). Gods antithesis for sin is grace in Christ, not human virtue and goodness. Meanwhile the expectant church Body of Christ is continually going through the Masters biblical training for assisting spiritual rebirth. When called by the spirit induced labor pains, believers are to lovingly help in predelivery faith encouragement and in post-delivery sanctifying faith encouragement. Believers are to have a labor of love as part of the body of Christ but not work during this process of deliverance, for it says: Col. 1:29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. 1 Cor. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Christ alone delivers the spiritual born again child of God from death to life, by Gods grace through faith. He Alone delivers the gift of Gods grace. When we begin to comprehend Romans Six, we know that our death "in Christ" unto sin was completed at Calvary. We see the foundation of our deliverance--the fact that we died with Christ on the cross; and also the conditions of our deliverance--that we reckon ourselves dead unto sin and yield to God as those that are alive from the dead. Rebirth requires our identifying ourselves (becoming hidden) spiritually both in His death on the cross and in His resurrection life. Two spirits abiding together first in death and then in life: Ephes. 2:14-16 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. Col. 3:3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Ephes. 2:4-6 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, When we have been in Romans Seven for a time, we come to realize that we have been struggling to produce that which God has already accomplished for us "in Christ". Romans Eight describes the means and the method 26

for a born again believers daily deliverance--that it is through the blessed Holy Spirit alone that we are actually daily delivered by the cross, from sin's reign. The moment we cease from all our own efforts and let Him do all the work by grace through faith, He will begin delivering us from the power of sin. How long it takes some of us to come to the end of our own efforts can be seen in Romans Seven!" Hebrews 4:10-11 (KJV) For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. This is why Paul, a born again believer still needed daily deliverance? A daily walk of faith! Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Our soul (mind, will and emotions), like Pauls, is subject to great deception because it is the only remaining realm where the principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness still have limited access to influence the born again spirit. If our spirits are truly in Christ and walking by faith, then our souls are totally inaccessible to Satan. Regardless, our souls are being continually lied to and deceived about who we are in Christ! A believer must respond as Paul did learning to abide in Christ as He abides in us which is a higher spiritual dimension than the weaker soul. We must simply learn to abide above at the Throne of grace by faith and let Gods grace in Christ bring the victory in our lives below. Philip. 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus gave Paul the answer: 2 Cor. 12:9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Paul had faith in the Masters deliverance by grace through faith and testified to the results: Philip. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Unveiling the mystery of the renewal of the mind! Romans 12:1-3 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. Picture the believer as a templethe Holy of Holies is at the center of every born again believers spirit. It represents the unchangeable Spirit-filled presence of Christ in us the hope of eternal glory. This is the part of a Christian that qualifies us as saints and where we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit! This is the exact picture of Israels Leviticus Tabernacle Holy of Holies but with two major distinctions. First, the mercy seat has been replaced by the Throne of Grace. Secondly, the Levite chief priest could enter into the Holy of Holies only once a year but now a believer can chose, by faith, to continually abide spiritually in the Holy of Holies! By the authority of the blood and the cross of Christ, a believer can chose to abide in the presence of the Lord at the Throne of Grace of God. This represents only that part of our soul which we have chosen by faithful obedience to abide in Christ. Only that part of our soul which has surrendered to Christ by faith abides in the Holy Place. Beyond this Holy of Holies lies the Holy Place part our soul (mind, will and emotions). There has been a major change here from the Leviticus Tabernacle in that the veil between the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place has been removed! The incense aroma that we smell here represents PRAYER in spirit and truth. By prayer we may boldly approach the Throne of grace to receive mercy first and then grace for help in time of need. Going out we receive the renewal of the mind (soul) in the presence of the living God as a Trinity. Going out we may receive blessings (if we ask to receive) that renew the mind as follows: 27

The empowering GRACE of God The light which represents the TRUTH of the Spirit (represented by the menorah in the Tabernacles Holy Place) The Tabernacle bread representing the living WORD of God Satan cannot influence the inner court and Holy Place and has no ability to influence the Holy of Holies, our newborn spirit in Christ. Beyond the inner court lies the outer court of our souls where we are to be strengthened by the body of Christ (represented by the Church) in preparation for ministry. Here we receive encouragement to enter often into the Holy of Holies by faith to be empowered by His grace. This is where the battle occurs for the mind! Do we chose to be empowered by the Holy of Holies and encouraged by the body of Christ (Church) or do we go into the world on our own strength? It is in the outer court where Satan continues false teachings and to re-veil the life of grace and to hide the source of strength which lies in abiding by faith in the Holy of Holies in Christ. 2 Cor. 3:13-16 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Beyond the outer court is the world, the flesh and Satan and the constant bombardment which tests a believers faith whether to return to the Holy of Holies for strength. It is also where we have a mission and calling to go with the good news. Outside the outer court we must be in the world but not of the world. However, where a believer has bondages to sin in their life, Satan has erected a veil to that part of their soul to the Holy Place. Those areas of life remain soul remain outside the blessings of the Holy Place under the daily influence of a gracelessness and lawlessness world. So what is the renewal of a believers mind? As we pick up our cross daily in living sacrifice and turn to the Lord and allow our self by faith to be crucified with Christ, then just like the moment Jesus died, Gods glorious Spirit, using the two-edged sword of truth, splits the veil (Satans veiled influence) that hides the grace of God in Christ in the Holy of Holies from the soul (mind, will and emotion). The veil is rent in two, divided asunder (Heb 4:12) and the empowering grace of God in Christ flows and floods the inner court (soul) bringing glory and victory into our lives. We must go by faith into the Holy of Holies, our internal point of abiding in Christ at the Throne of grace! Our hope rests on abiding in the author and finisher of our faith, who brings the riches and power of Gods gift of grace through faith. To Him be the glory both now and forever. AMEN! Unveiling Gods glorious plan for abiding in Christ God purposed that a new kingdom would restore his glory by uniting all things in heaven and earth in Christ. Earth will to be restored as it was prior to Adam and Eves sin. Heaven will be restored as it was before the fall of Lucifer and a third of the angels. The Bible states that God allows a person to chose to die "in Christ" at the cross so they can be reborn (resurrected "in Christ") into a new heavenly kingdom of grace and truth in Christ. Faith in Christ is the Masters key that unlocks the treasure and riches of God's grace! To Him be the glory forever and ever!

God's grace is the POWER behind God's WILL (plan) to achieve God's PURPOSE: TO UNITE ALL THINGS IN HEAVEN & EARTH IN CHRIST (Ephes. 1:9-12 )
28

THAT GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL (1Cor. 15:28) Thus Gods Glory shall be restored both in both Heaven & Earth!
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (NOTE; All these things = Gods grace in Christ) 2 Cor. 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. Matthew 13:52 Then He said to them, "Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old." Sixth Spiritual Truth:

Christ Reigns & Grace Rules

Those In Christ and are not under the law, but under the rule of grace requiring faith in Him.

Though freed from the law with its stern commands, No longer ruled by its harsh demands. Im a bondservant of Christs love and only free, To joyfully act by Gods grace, righteously. (J.H. 98)
Grace is the source of spiritual power from God in Christ, enabling Christians to overcomes sins dominion. Romans 6:14-15 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Grace and sin are opposites. Grace is Gods solution to sin! Grace in Christ brings the reign of righteousness unto salvation! Romans 5:17 For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) Romans 5:20-21 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. The key ingredient for the rule of grace in our lives is continually renewing the faith in Christ who reigns! Satan wants to destroy the faith relationship more than anything else since he has no power over Gods grace. He knows that our daily walk of faith is our lifeline to being empowered for righteousness and for being a witness to the good news of Gods grace in our lives. If he can temporarily sever the faith connection in Christ, he has gained a tremendous victory. He knows that without a living faith relationship in Christ, prayer as a force in our lives will be extinguished. We will soon be just mechanically going through the outward forms of religion while experiencing nothing of Gods empowering grace. All of Satans schemes for believers is to veil and temporarily destroy the faith in the one who reigns and brings the joyful rule of Gods grace! However, a believers temporary fallen from grace condition is not loss of salvation. It is temporary, for salvation will regain the reign in Christ through sorrow filled experience: 2 Cor. 7:9-11 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. 29

Salvation reigns in Christ through a repentant faith bringing grace to sorrow!


Therefore as a body of believers we need to encourage one another to continually approach the Throne of grace to receive mercy and appropriate grace to help in time of need. This is how we can strengthen our faith to sustain the present and future attacks of Satan upon the reign of Christ and the rule of grace. Genesis 41:52 "For God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction." 2 Tim. 2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Seventh Spiritual Truth: The

Great Mystery of Godliness

Discovering this final mountain top truth about the provisions of Gods amazing grace for godliness is clearly the most significant and difficult of all. But this discovery also brings an awesome spiritual blessing. The importance of this truth is recognized by the Bibles description of this mystery as being without controversy GREAT amongst all Biblical mysteries. The only other mystery of God described in the Bible which is quantified as great is in contained in Eph. 5:32 which describes the mystery of the body of Christ, and the Church as a great mystery rather than being GREAT as a mystery. Certainly when the Bible calls only one specific mystery of God GREAT, it deserves appropriate attention. 1 Tim. 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: Ephes. 6:19-20 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. The Bible states that we are to be stewards of the mysteries of God. Therefore, central to stewardship is reckoning the mysteries of God, especially the only one that is highlighted in the Bible as GREAT!

1 Cor. 4:1-3 (RSV-amplified) This is how one should regard us <Christians>, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy <in the faith>.
Implied in this command is the notion that it is not how we see ourselves as servants and Christian witnesses that matters, rather how the unbelieving world regards us through our actions which convey, if not explain, the mysteries of God. Without controversy, great is the Mystery of Godliness 1 Tim. 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory. Titus 1:1-2 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness-- a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, The key clue to the great mystery: God becoming manifest in the flesh! Godliness or Godlikeness is the direct and exclusive consequence of Gods manifestation and activity in man. It is not the consequence of mans capacity to imitate God, but the consequence of Gods capacity to reproduce Himself in man! This is the nature of the mystery! Once a believer comes to recognize that it is only by Gods grace through faith in Christ that a believer can 30

experience God being manifest in them, then a believer is left with no option but to seek after Christ, abiding above in Him, the author and finisher of our faith. Remove the mystery or try to explain it away, and the results will inevitably be disastrous, for an individual will no longer be anchored to anything absolute; they will be at liberty to choose their own god the object of their own imitation; and their godliness will be the measure of their conformity to the object of their choice. It is one of Satans subtleties that causes men to flee from God and seek to silence Gods voice in the very practice of religion. Could it be that the very institution of religion, as distinguished from the Body of Christ (His Church), was created by man to keep people from having a personal grace relationship in Christ? By not entering into the mystery of godliness and allowing God, in Christ to be in you the origin of His own image, one seeks to be godly by submitting themselves to external rules and regulations and by conforming to behavior patterns imposed upon by the particular society (religions or otherwise) in which one hopes to be found acceptable. By perpetuating the pagan habit of practicing religion in the energy of the flesh, one would be committing idolatry in honoring Christianity more than Christ! Col. 2:20-23 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using--according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. What initiated Gods grace provisions for enabling godliness? A Prayer by Christ! John 17:20-26 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." God-image or God-void/vacuum? Man was created in such a way that he could bear the image of God without God Himself becoming visible, so that not his physical form but his capacity to behave was designed to be the means through which God intended to express His nature and His character. This godliness or Godlikeness was not to have been an imitation of God <or equal to God> by man, but the direct result of the activity of God in man. In other words God Himself behaving in and through you! Mans behavior as an effect, was to have been the result of Gods behavior as the cause. The former was to have been the brightness or the out-shining of the latters glory, the express image of the Person (Hebrews 1:3)! The image was to have been visible while the Person still remained invisible! Clues to the Great Mystery of Godliness It is appropriate to first examine a synopsis from the great theologian Major W. Ian Thomas who dedicated his whole lifework to examining the GREAT mystery of Godliness. In his books entitled The Mystery of Godliness and The Saving Life of Christ he has given practical biblical clues to this GREAT mystery. Let us begin with his illustration: I may say to a glove, glove pick up this Bible, and yet somehow, the glove cannot do it. It has a thumb and fingers, the shape and form of the hand, and yet it is unable to do the things I command it to do. You may say, Well, of course not. You have never told the glove how! But I may preach to and instruct that glove until my patience is exhausted, but the glove, try as it will, still cannot pick up that Bible. Yet I have a glove at home that has picked up my Bible dozens of times but never once before I put my hand into it! As soon, however, as my hand comes into 31

that glove, the glove becomes as strong as my hand. Everything possible to my hand becomes possible to that glove but only in the measure in which the glove is prepared simply to clothe the activity of my hand. That is what it is to have Christ (the CHANNEL and MEDIATOR of Gods empowering grace), by His Spirit, dwelling within redeemed humanity. You become the glove, and Christ is the Hand! Everything that is possible to Him by the grace of the Father becomes possible to you. Paul described the MYSTERY of godliness: 2 Peter 1:3-5 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, Abiding in the living Christ imparts to you all things that pertain to life and godliness, all that you need to live a life of righteousness and nobility of character. For Christ to be in you that is redemption; but for You to be in Christ that is sanctification! For Christ to be in you makes you fit for earth; but to be in Christ that makes you fit for heaven! Being in Christ makes heaven your home while Christ in you makes the world His workshop. In other words, it takes God to complete a man! Man, that is, as God intended him to be! God created man to be inhabited spiritually by God for God! That God may be all in all! The not-so-great mystery of lawlessness (gracelessness) Who hasn't asked, "Why did this happen to me? Why do I have to go through bad experiences? Why does cancer suddenly strike a dear one?" These are tough questions in life and death. "Why should injustice prevail? Why do wars continue their senseless destruction?" Man wrestles with injustice, evil, and the inability to make real social progress -- and always has. Why is it that we are still grappling with the problems the Romans struggled with in the days of Julius Caesar? And back even to the dimmest recesses of human history they were wrestling with the same basic problems. Why? We haven't learned a thing from history and it seems like history repeats itself. Where has all our vaunted education -- the heights of human knowledge and technology -- brought us, when we haven't been able to solve any of the basic human problems? The reason given by Scripture is that there is a mysterious power of lawlessness (gracelessness). There is a malevolent being called Satan, prince of a great kingdom of darkness and evil, a kingdom of millions of beings like himself who are in headlong stampede against the government of God, in revolt and rebellion against him, and who are intent on restraining, wrecking, smashing and mangling the love-born purpose and plans of God to bring joy to the human race. And they know how to do it! Paul describes the mystery of lawlessness. 2 Thes. 2:5-8 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. We will never understand life; and never understand the conflicts between husband and wife, between child and parent, with a neighbor, or anyone else, until we understand the mystery of lawlessness. Without this knowledge, there is no explanation of history. There is no realistic way of dealing with current conditions. We will never be able to do anything to shield ourselves in the future. For there is no "earthly way" of solving the harmful or hurtful relationships between human beings. We will constantly be merely treating the reoccurring symptoms until we learn to appropriate the power of God's grace in Christ. Grace can deal with the real source of graceless troubles, as Paul writes in the whole sixth chapter of Ephesians. Paul likewise, in First Timothy, describes the greater mystery and power. "Great is the mystery of godliness.

God has provided the great mystery of godliness for faithful believers to response to lawlessness (gracelessness). It is the gospel of grace in Christ -32

Christ in you the Hope of Glory!


What is the secret knowledge of grace & truth leading to godliness?

Gods grace in Christ, the abiding provisions for godliness in Christ the greatest solution to avoid suffering and futility that this world could ever discover.
We can never escape the struggles of this world, but we can have victory by the grace of God! That's the point. We don't have to be defeated. We don't have to be torn apart and discouraged and bored and jealous and envious and anxious and fretful and lonely. We can win, by means of the secret of the Gospel of grace in Christ. It is also called "the mystery of the gospel" (Eph 6:19), and in another place "the mystery of Christ and his church," (cf, Eph 3:4). It is simply the fantastic radical principle that God intends to live in man. The mystery that redeemed man is to be the dwelling place of God as it was in Eden. And, through the cross and the resurrection, God has set aside man's guilt and provided for his weakness and impotence for godliness, and has given him a way of handling life as it comes -through the indwelling power and the activity of Gods grace in Christ. Gods grace transforms the heart from the inside out. Through grace received as a gift of faith in Christ we are transformed and hidden in Christ -- protected. God the Holy Spirit is In Us changing us by His will and the power of grace from the inside out. The sinner does not have to remain a sinner, the weakling does not have to remain weak, the dope addict does not have to remain a dope addict, the homosexual does not have to remain a sodomite, the thief does not have to continue to steal, the prostitute does not have to continue being a harlot, the alcoholic does not have to remain a slave to alcohol, the slanderer does not have to continue to gossip, the false teacher can become a zealot for the word of truth, and the abused can forgive. The power of grace in action transforms weakness into strength, ugliness into beauty, uncleanness into purity, sinfulness into holiness, pride into humbleness, and enmity into love. Gods grace is all sufficient, for all classes, in all circumstances, unto all ages. Grace fills the vacancy in the heart, and it meets every need of Gods people in the time of burden and suffering. It is the nature of Gods love and divine grace to flood all the depths and to overflow the heights of a righteous mans needs. This is The Great Mystery of godliness! The Gospel of grace which is: Christ in you, the hope of glory. The Apostle Paul is saying this very thing to the Corinthian believers: 1 Cor. 2:1-16 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: "Eye has not seen, Nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, The things which God has prepared for those who love Him." But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For "who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. He says that among the mature, those growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. We speak or impart a hidden, secret wisdom, which none of the rulers of this age know anything about. 33

When he refers to the rulers of the age, he does not mean governmental authorities, necessarily. He is talking about the leaders of human thought -- the philosophers, the statesmen, the molders and fashioners of world opinion, the poets, the politicians -- those who lead people in every realm of life. They do not know these secrets of God. And because they don't know them, they make the most atrocious blunders. They are constantly making mistakes -- terrible, ghastly, costly mistakes which injure and damage thousands and millions of people. But God has revealed these secrets to us, by his Spirit. They are imparted to those who are filled with the Spirit. Those who possess the Holy Spirit can hear and understand these secrets of God. Paul calls them the "depths" or the "deep things" of God. The Gospel of grace.the greatest secret since the world began, now made visible! (Read Appendix 4 & 5 entitled The Great Mystery) Ephes. 3:1-5 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: Could it be more clear? The MYSTERY revealed to Paul for the Gentiles! Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Romans 15:18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done- Paul referred to his personal ministry to the Gentiles as my gospel. Romans 16:25-27 Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now has been made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures has been made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith-- to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen. 2 Tim. 2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, Romans 2:16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. What is this MYSTERY revealed to Paul and to the saints (read Ephesians 3:1-21) 1. Gentiles called fellow heirs with the chosen Hebrew people of God 2. Gentiles partakers of the promise In Christ Jesus (the Gospel of grace) 3. The Holy Spirit administers the MYSTERY (Ephesians 3:9)

The riches of the glory of this MYSTERY is the Gospel of grace: Christ In You, the hope of Glory!
Col. 1:26-29 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. Eph 3:8-10(RSV) To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places. So what is this rich inheritance? Grace is the negotiable currency of the kingdom! 34

On the day that Jesus was crucified, the front door to the spiritual bank of the kingdom of heaven swung wide open and all the glory of God came pouring out in the form of grace to all those who received Him. The glory vault of heaven became available to those who would call upon His name! The MYSTERY of the riches of grace is like a two sided coin of the kingdom which is the medium of exchange and storehouse of value in God's kingdom found "In Christ." Side 1 (HEADS) Christ in You (the hope of Glory). This occurs at redemption by grace through faith in Christ. Christ abides in every believer to do and to will. Side 2 (TAILS) - You "in Christ. We were spiritually hidden in Christ at His death on the cross and we can chose to be spiritually hidden in Christ seated in the heavenlies. This represents a believer being crucified with Christ daily picking up their cross and following Christ who brings the resurrection joy of God's grace. You say, "I don't feel like I am in heaven! Have you crucified self at His cross recently? Could it be that many have completely missed the resurrection bringing power of the cross? Humble crucifixion of sin (self) brings heavenly resurrection and this is an ongoing process of keeping the flesh dead! God says that you are seated in the heavenlies in Christ, and if your feelers seem to tell you that you aren't, which is the liar, God or your feeler? Col. 3:1-4 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Ephes. 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Is it any wonder that the ratio of Side 2 (In Christ) is mentioned in the Bible more than 10 to 1 when compared to Side 1 (Christ in You)? It is easy for a believer to miss the blessings of Side 2 spiritually. It is almost as if a believer has to be experientially "made to sit together in heavenly places!"

Therefore: You are a new creation whose spirit is resting in heaven in Christ (Side2), while simultaneously here on earth, Christ in you is expressing His loving life through you (Side1).
Where is a believers spiritual home that brings joy today, regardless of circumstance? Who gets to work "in you" when you spiritually choose to rest above at home "in Him?" Who should get the Glory? This Biblical revelation of the EXCHANGED LIFE "In Christ" deserves a Joyful AMEN! Why; therefore, do many who inherit eternal life pass-up the rich inheritance of Gods grace for this life? It is any wonder that we have to be "made to sit" together in the heavenlies hidden in Christ? But thank be to God for gracing a one sided coin and continually remolding it into the image of Christ that every believer may learn to be seated together in the heavenlies. Fully graced, we become ambassadors of our heavenly kingdom home. Ambassadors are citizens of their home country who reside in a foreign land as representatives of their homeland. Grace is the coin of the kingdom to be exchanged and shown to others as we make known the MYSTERY to be found in the rich inheritance of Gods grace "in Christ". Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 2 Cor. 6:16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God 35

has said: "I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people." Luke 17:20-21 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, "The kingdom of God does not come with observation; nor will they say, 'See here!' or 'See there!' For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you." Why is the MYSTERY of the riches of Gods grace being kept a secret today?

What God kept a mystery from ages and generations, Satan in now trying to keep a secret!
Hebrews 13:9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. Galatians 1:6-9 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. 2 Tim. 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 2 Cor. 3:13-16 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Gods Glorious Amazing grace in Christthe greatest mystery to avoid human suffering and futility that this world could ever discover. Everyone loves a mystery and this Great Mystery is for everyone to hear! Who will joyfully proclaim this good news?

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V. Putting the Amazing Back into Grace


Does grace mean unmerited favor - lets see? First, test the meaning by substituting the words unmerited favor for grace in all 100+ Bible passages. Problem #1 : If grace is unmerited favor why does God give it only to the humble? (James 4:5-6) (1 Peter 5:56) Problem #2 : The fullness of grace was upon Jesus. Does that mean unmerited favor was upon Jesus? Surely not! Try substituting unmerited favor for grace in (Luke 2:40) & (John 1:14-17). Revelation: Substituting unmerited favor everywhere mercy is used in scripture provides a corresponding match to the context and meaning perfectly. The Bible clearly defines mercy as unmerited favor since God is withholding from us what we deserve and giving us, in his love, what we do not deserve. We are called by grace to be sacrificing/merciful by demonstrating Gods Mercy. The sacrificing act of Christ Jesus on the cross was Gods mercy demonstrated by the call of grace. Note that mercy and grace are related. Humbleness together with mercy are preconditions for receiving the fullness of grace to help in time of need. The other key enabler to grace is the understanding of, and obedience by faith to Gods will. These taken together increase the faith and boldness to receive Gods powerful and abundant grace in Christ! The victory comes by grace, through faith in Christ. Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Biblical good news definition of grace:

Grace is the empowering presence of God in you, enabling you to be who God has called you to be and to do what God has called you to do, by Gods faithfulness.
1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. Example Testing the true meaning of grace: First. When testing for true meaning, those definitional words for grace must be substitutable and make sense in the context of the Bible verses everywhere in Gods Word that the word grace appears. Next: Lets sample test the meaning by substituting the proposed meaning everywhere grace is used in scripture. For example, lets test the substitution in John 1:14: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of <the empowering presence of God in Jesus, that enabled Jesus to be who he was meant to be and do what he was meant to do, by Gods faithfulness> and truth.

Conclusion: After testing over 150+ appearances of the word grace, the definition and meaning of grace did fit the context and meaning of each verse where it was tested! Also, unmerited favor did fit everywhere Mercy was tested!
Gods grace in Christ enables believers TO BE (Divine supernatural strength for Discipleship) You have seen the television commercial for the Armed Forces that saysto a musical accompanimentBe all that you can be. in the Army. I do not believe that the Army can achieve this goal but the message has strong 37

appeal, especially to the youth, to join up. Jesus alone brings the free gift of the Fathers grace to be all that you can be! Acts 17:28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.' Gods grace gives those In Christ, the freedom to become all that He meant them TO BE. Being is a statement of our heart, our state of godliness, represent the image of Christ reflected in us to others. Hebrews 13:9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, Discipleship says Clifford Williams, simply means the life that springs from grace. Paul experienced this divine strength and power given TO BE who God had called Him TO BE: 2 Cor. 12:9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Gods grace in Christ enables believers TO DO (Divine supernatural power for Stewardship) God grace enables us TO DO the Masters business thereby bringing Glory to the Name of Jesus Christ. We give Him all the Glory because we are bondservants of His Love and grace and do not receive a wage, rather a debt (Romans 4:4) for which will receive future rewards in Heaven (Credit/Reward on Earth = No Debt/Reward in Heaven; see Mat. 6:1-18). Remember that grace is the spiritual currency in God's kingdom to do His will! Gods currency (grace) is the medium of exchange and storehouse of value (future reward in this case). Grace in this sense is a storehouse of value to be paid in future Glory (John 4:36). Stewardship springs from doing the Lords business (his will) with His power. Grace enables the good results for which Christs Name is Glorified and we receive future reward (Mat 16:27) Paul describes this empowerment TO DO what God had called Him TO DO. He was called to do the work of a servant of the Gospel of grace. Ephes. 3:7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power.

What did Jesus say He came TO BE and TO DO? TO BE: Holy, Unblemished Lamb of God full tempted. TO DO: Seek and save the lost. (Note similarities to Gods will for Christ TO DO thru believers) Luke 4:18-19 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me. To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." Luke 2:49 And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?"

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VI. Discovering the Grace Empowered Will of God


Importance of Gods Will Jesus reinforced the importance of God's will vs. lawlessness (gracelessness): Matthew 7:21-23 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness! Ephes. 1:9-12 having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth--in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. David in Psalm 143:10 wrote this prayer: Lord teach me to do thy will. Psalm 40:8 I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart." Paul cautions believers not to be unwise but understand the will of the Lord. Note that the word unwise used in this passage in the Greek means moronic/stupid: Ephes. 5:15-18 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, Col. 1:9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; Col. 4:12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. Peter described the distinguishing mark of a true believer was a preoccupation and centering of their life on the DESIRED will of God: 1 Peter 4:1-2 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. Gods Will Biblically Defined Gods Sovereign will is often divided into three categories; Gods PERMITTED will, Gods DESIRED will, and Gods ABSOLUTE will. Gods will in simple terms is: (1) BE in Christ (a Christian), by grace through faith in Christ! (PERMITTED will) (2) BE conformed to the image of Christ! By grace through faith in Christ! (DESIRED will) (3) God proposes to DO the rest! (ABSOLUTE will) Theology ping-pong occurs regularly about how each category fits into the daily decision making process. Some attempts to relieve the agony of not knowing Gods desired will are helped by making only two categories; that which is Gods will and that which is within Gods will which avoids the tougher question.What does God specifically desire in each situation of life being faced today? Religious questions in the area of Gods PERMITTED will abound. Is it permitted for a Christian to dance, gossip, go to movies, or watch TV? Should there be an ABSOLUTE schedule for prayer time and being in the Word or does God 39

permit freedom? Which aspect of His will governs baptism? Immersion or sprinkling? Who should I marry? What job should I choose? Where should I live? Why do bad things happen to good Christian people? Why does evil exist in the world? Often times we wrestle needlessly with the concept of Gods ABSOLUTE will about predestination and about the future Revelation timing of the rapture of the church and the second coming judgment. In Pauls day similar religious struggles centered around what was permitted to be eaten and if and when to celebrate sacred rituals. The Lord dealt with the questions of the confused Corinthians by communicating through Paul that all things are PERMITTED except those that enslave or control their lives against Gods DESIRED will: 1 Cor. 6:12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meanwhile, Christians seeking guidance on Gods will for their daily lives receive little help from the great seminaries or from books and sermons on Gods will. Most noticeably missing is help in the area of Gods DESIRED will. Just ask someone about Gods will for a given situation. The most likely response; Just pray about it and God will answer. Or the infamous guidance; Gods Will be done! It is almost as if it doesnt really matter what God has written down in the Bible as His DESIRED will for His precious children. Pauls proclaimed the whole will of God with warning and tears. Therefore, we will attempt to reckon the whole will of God and those factors that guide our path by the knowledge of truth and grace in Christ: Acts 20:27-31 (NIV) For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. Lets try to examine the whole will of God from a Biblical perspective:

Aspects of Gods Sovereign Will


Aspect Of Will PERMITTED WILL Control Factor Gods Natural Law & Moral Law Limits & Faith Faith Central Focus Carnal Man Outcome Enabled by Mans Actions (If God Permits) Mans Position Unsaved Self-centered End Objective Pleasure (Money/Power)

PERMITTED WILL DESIRED WILL

Christian Religious Man Spirit Filled Christian Gods Sovereign Purpose

Mans Actions (If God Permits) Gods Empowering Grace Mans Faith Gods Power Gods Action

Saved Christ in you not Glorified Abiding in Christ Relationship Centered Christ in you Glorified

Works Glorified (Burnout) (Chastening) Conformed to Image of Christ Unity - Joy God is ALL in ALL (Glory)

ABSOLUTE WILL

God

What Does God DESIRE? Understanding the DESIRED will of God is crucial to receiving the full riches of abundant grace in Christ, by faith. Hence, this precepts study on grace has as its focus the DESIRED WILL of God. God has not frustrated His purpose, His plans (will), and His grace (power) by keeping His DESIRED will a secret. A brief discussion is provided on the whole will of God to establish the relationship between the elements of Gods will. Note also that it is easy to confuse the various 40

aspects of Gods will within the English language since the will of God requires four unique Greek words to precisely define which aspect of Gods will is being communicated. Lets look at each aspect of the total will of Gods separately: 1. Gods ABSOLUTE WILL or DECRETIVE WILL over everything (Greek verb: boulomai boule) Includes Gods purposive will predestined (prothesis/protithemi - purposive). Examples: Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; Romans 8:29-30 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 2. Gods PERMITTED WILL has application to all men (Greek: epitrepo to permit, allow suffering) It is very important to see that the idea of God's PERMITTED will includes the concept of Gods sovereignty. Gods natural laws and moral laws fall into this category because God has permitted that they may be violated by mans free will in spite of the painful consequences. This category permits all of mans free will choices including the freedom to sin. It does not mean that these acts have Gods permission or His desire. A good clich to remember about Gods PERMITTED will is that you do not break Gods 10 Commandments, they break you! God may permit acts of men without intervening; but if for any reason He should decide otherwise, He could prevent them in a thousand ways. Some think that anything less than cause or results totally under Gods will is a denial of God's sovereignty, but this is simply not the case. The key to sovereignty is control, not necessarily cause or results. Through His absolute foreknowledge of every plan of men's hearts, and through His absolute prerogative and ability to either permit or prevent any act, God maintains a complete and sovereign control of the entire universe. Nothing can happen unless He permits it to happen. If He decides that it should not happen, He prevents it. The power to prevent means that God has the final word. For example: Psalms 2:1-4 Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, "Let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. Here is a group of rebellious world leaders plotting against the Lord. What is God's response? Does He pull their strings as if they were puppets? No, He simply lets them rage on, because He knows He is in control: "He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them." They forgot to say: "if the Lord permits!" We should remember too, that the idea of permitted acts in this context is that of physical permission, not moral permission. These permitted distinctions are important to remember when we are confronted with tragedies and suffering brought about by the sinful or careless acts of others such as a murder, or fatal accident caused by a drunk driver. Unless we have very good reason to think otherwise, we should not say of such event that; it was "The Lord's will" in any purposive or causing sense. We can and must say that the Lord permitted it to happen, but this is true of most things that occur in the free-will universe under the constraint of science, health, and nature being tainted by the consequence of sin. Even a tragedy that occurs through the processes of nature must be regarded in the same way, since God has permitted relative independence even in the natural realm. Therefore, how can one know for sure whether a flood, tornado, or earthquake is a natural calamity or due to an intervention of the ABSOLUTE will of God? If He should decide at any moment to withdraw our life He could do so, but in most cases, He permits us to continue to live within the restrictions of natural life-limiting calamities. It is true that in His sovereign special providence that God could prevent any event from occurring, including any disaster or tragedy. But we must also respect Gods loving sovereignty that permits freedom to His created world, and we must trust His wisdom in knowing and working good in each of those tragedies that He permits. Conclusion: God has freely chosen by His love to limit Himself so that He does not always get what He wants by permitting limited free choice by man contrary to His desire for truth and good. 41

Certainly, there are some aspects of Gods will described in the Bible that fall between Gods PERMITTED will and Gods DESIRED will. Faith is always the response to Gods will that He desires. Note, however, that verses emphasizing a free will choice by unsaved men always fall within Gods PERMITTED will. Gods PERMITTED will permits unsaved men to choose by faith: 1 Timothy 2:4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 3. Gods DESIRED WILL for believers for which God supplies abundant grace for victory God wants us to understand His DESIRED will. That is why He has communicated His DESIRED will in His Word. He isnt playing a game of hide and seek with His will for His beloved children. Nor is He telling us were getting warmer or were getting colder relative to His DESIRED will. The Holy Spirit is engaged in spiritually directing our steps as we walk by faith in the spiritual light of His Word. We walk by spiritual discerning thoughts and by taking every thought captive to the Lordship of Christ. Prayer becomes the best communication method for seeking application of Gods will to each circumstance of life and receiving the confirmation to move forward. Walking by faith in Christ implies experiencing Gods DESIRED will in every situation for which His grace continually empowers the results. In the Greek, there are two different words to describe the dual aspect of Gods DESIRED will as follows: a. Gods DESIRED WILL for believers TO DO what God has called them TO DO (Greek: eudokia desire, good pleasure; object: kindness; subject: delight) used as follows: Phil. 2:13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 2 Thes. 1:11-12 Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. Gods grace is the work of faith with power. Grace fulfills all the good pleasure of His DESIRED will. b. Gods DESIRED WILL for believers TO BE who God has called them TO BE (Greek: Thelma purposeful desire, will, pleasure, a determination; and prothesis - purpose) used as follows: 1 Cor. 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 1 Thes. 4:3 It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; Mat. 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven., but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Mat. 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Charles Stanley described success from Gods perspective: Success in the eyes of God is discovering and pursuing the will of God for your life. 42

The measure of obedience to Gods DESIRED WILL operating in any circumstance can be directly related to the level of spiritual fruit produced by grace; through faith. The result is joy and peace independent of outcome or circumstance. Could the number of somber faces and unhappy spirits present in church on Sunday be directly proportional to Satans killjoy success in blocking the DESIRED will of God in those individual lives?

Stated another way; grace is Gods ABSOLUTE sovereign indwelling will and power made available to believers for achieving Gods DESIRED WILL by faith. The level of grace is directly proportional to the Joy in ones life regardless of circumstance. Remember the Greek word for grace charis is traced to an action verb meaning I rejoice, I am glad, joyful." Therefore; Joy is the flag which flies over the castle of the heart when the King is in residence. Our joy condition represents where we are in our Christian walk, in which we develop from infancy to maturity. Although our position remains immutable, our condition for experiencing joy is variable. By being obedient to Gods will, by faith, our eternal position (grace source) affects our daily condition, but in no way does our condition affect that heavenly position. If [since] ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Col. 3:1). Be strong in the Lordbe empowered through your union with Him; draw your strength from Him (Eph. 6:10, Amp.). When we concentrate upon our condition, we are not living by faith but by feelings and appearances. The inevitable result is that we become increasingly self-conscious and self-centered, lacking the strength of Gods grace. Our prime responsibility is to pay attention to the Lord Jesus, to rest (abide) in Him as our position. There will then be growth and transformation, and He will be more and more manifested in our condition from grace to grace , from Glory to Glory. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18).

Therefore: Gods DESIRED Will for every believer is: PART 1. TO BE who God has called them TO BE PART 2. TO DO what God has called them TO DO
PART 1. Gods will for you TO BE enabled by His Grace - You in Christ
It is the will of God that believers are TO BE conformed to the image (likeness) of His Son by being:

Submissive Be faithful (obedient).

Faithfully taking every thought captive to the Lordship of Christ. Be subject to

one another within His body, the church; be humble, be watchful & alert, baptized. (Hebrews 11) (Heb 12:2;13:17) (John 7:17-18) (Luke 7:30) (1Pet 2-3; 5:5-14) (2Pet 1:3; 3:18) (1Cor 16:13) (Mark 13:33) (Eph 6:18) (Mat 26:40-41) (Col 2:9-10) (Rom 8:35-39) (2Cor 3:5; 7:10) (2 Tim 2:25-26) 2 Cor. 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, Acts 17:28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.' 43

1 Peter 1:13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Peter 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." All knowledge is the outgrowth of obedience, everything else is just information states Watchman Nee as he describes the relationship of submissive obedience this way: If you desire to convert information into knowledge, you must obey it. In other words, you can believe the truths taught in the Bible, yet they can be just information to you. That is why the scripture admonishes Christians to grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord (2 Peter 3:18). Therefore: GROW IN OBEDIENCE TO AND GRACE OF OUR LORD! Submissive daily obedience is the fruit of faith and the catalyst for receiving grace. How many times have others told you to have faith in time of need? Most of the time we require more knowledge (obedience) toward the object of the faith as applied to our specific circumstance! This brings CHRIST Lordship centered DEPENDENCY into all circumstance! Anything that is not of faith is sin (see also Appendix 6). Spiritual rebirth has places us in our accepted position, from which our spiritual walk TO BE, by faith is being completed. Every Christian has been positioned forever in the risen Lord by spiritual rebirth. But only the believer who knows, grows. It is faith in the facts of our position that gives us the daily benefits of growth in our condition. If the believer is not clearly aware of the specific truths of the Word, they cannot exercise the necessary faith for growth and service. That believer can only seek his resources in the realm of self. Some of these wonderful positional and fruit bearing truths are set forth in the scriptural illustrations of the grain of wheat, and the vine and the branch which will be discussed later.

Sacrificing Be a living sacrifice, crucified daily to self; a holy temple of mercy and forgiveness! (Col 3:12-13) (2 Cor
4:10-11) (Rom 12:14-15) (Mat 16:24-28) (Heb 13:15-16) (1 Pet 2:4-5) (Luke 6:36) (Eph 4:32; 5:1-2) (Luke 17:3) Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. The believer was never intended TO BE "a new creation" and overcome the "old man" apart from the grace of the CROSS - and therefore the death and resurrection of Christ is indispensable for life. Likewise we must take up our cross TO BE made "in Christ" Jesus' likeness by following after Him. Unless the CROSS and resurrection is made the basis upon which the "old nature" is kept crucified and dead, then a believer only drops into another hopeless form of self-effort morality destined for failure.

Seated

in heavenly places, abiding above - abiding at the Throne of grace in Christ. We are TO BE crucified with

Christ in all our wilderness circumstances (our daily cross) in order TO BE resurrected "in Christ" and TO BE seated in heavenly places (our promised land of Canaan) at the Throne of grace where we receive grace TO BE all that God wills us to be in Christ. Let us rejoice! Ephes. 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Col. 3:1-4 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Abiding "in Christ" Above - We are already hidden and seated in the heavenlies "In Christ"- representing a believer 44

enjoying the benefits of Jesus resurrection power for life. We have a whole lifetime of circumstance for learning how to appropriate the grace that God has already supplied abundantly according to riches of His Glory in Christ Jesus. You say, "I don't feel like I am in heaven! Well rain on how you feel! God says that you are spiritually there, and if your feelers seem to tell you that you aren't, which is the liar, God or your feeler? By grace, through faith in an ascended Christ; believer's spirits can chose to be seated in heavenly places "in Christ" enjoying His rest and joy at this very moment (Ephesians 2:5-6). Isn't that awesome? A Christian is not only permitted into paradise at physical death, but they should be faith resting believers spiritually in heaven "in Christ" today. We are spiritually both in the wilderness on earth and in the promised land, Canaan. We are partakers on earth of the heavenly calling of "Christ in us" and we are seated in the heavenly places "in Christ." The great and only lesson to be learned in the wilderness sufferings is FAITH, "a dependence on the Lord." The faith that brings the beloved relationship and grace of the Father is found in heavenly places "in Christ, Therefore, believers should stop expending so much energy seeking acceptance from people or promoting prideful self accomplishments in the wilderness. Gaze at the cross and you will know peace - constant unworthiness, but yet peace. Believers should rest in their eternal acceptance in the heavenly kingdom of God abiding spiritually with the Holy One who is worthy and who desires to live His life "in them" through their earthly bodies. A believer's role on earth is to seek, by FAITH, things above by abiding "In Christ" in the heavenlies, thus becoming true ambassadors of Christ on earth. This permits the "Christ in us" to flow grace and truth to lost but loved, souls. The Christian cannot but thrive in this heavenly environment, "hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).

Sanctified - Be holy, righteous, filled with truth!

Fulfilling the MYSTERY of godliness! (1Thes 4:3-8; 5:23) (1 Cor 2:16;

6:11) (Heb 2:18; 10:10) (Mat 5:48) (1Pet 3:15) (John 17:19) (Rom 5:20; 6:1-2; 6:11-14; 8:10-13) (Acts 26:18) (1John 3:9) (Eph 1:4) (Titus 2:11-12) (Gal 5:16) (2 Thes 1:11-12) (Jude 24) 1 Thes. 4:3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.

PART 2. Gods will for you TO DO enabled by His Grace - Christ in You
Eph. 2:10 Created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them It is the DESIRED will of God that we are TO DO the Masters business as we rest in Christ by faith and allow Jesus to will and to do through us. We will then DO his will by:

Seeking first the Kingdom of God.

Seeking often to worship and praise Him at the Throne of grace. Seeking the will

of the King and His Word of Truth. (Mat 6:32-33) (Col 3:1; 2:2) (Jam 1:22-25; 4:8-17) (2 Chron 7:14-18) (Acts 17:27) (Heb 11:6) (Deut 4:29) (1 Chron 28:9)

Saying Thanks - praying/rejoicing always. (1 Thes 5:16-28) (Philip. 4:4-6) (2 Cor 6-15) (Col 4:4-7) (Acts 2:42) (Jam
5:13-20) (Deut 16:11-15) (John 17:13; 15:11) (Psalm 33:1-2; 100:1-2) 1 Thes. 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Serving - Manifold ministry of grace serving the Lord! (1 Peter 4:10-11) (Acts 1:8)
Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 45

All believers are commanded to be ministers as light and salt by: Ministering/preaching good news to the poor/afflicted. (Mat 11:5) (Isaiah 61:1) Comforting the sick & broken hearted. (Mark 11:5) (Isaiah 61:1) Proclaiming liberty (grace) to captives. (condemned under the law) (Acts 4:33) (Isaiah 61:1) Setting free the prisoners of Satan. Casting out demons from spiritually lost and blind, angry at God. (Mark 16:17) (Eph 4:17-19) (2Tim 2:23-26) Proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord! - Resurrected, in us, the hope of Glory and His soon second coming judgment. (Acts 4:33) (Col 1:27) (Col. 1:5) (Isaiah 61:2) (1Pet 1:3-4) (Heb 12:28-29) (Luke 4:18-19) (Acts 20:1921; Acts 26:18) (1 Pet 2:9; 4:10-11) (Eph 5:8) (Rom 2:19) (Isaiah 61:1-2) (2Cor 4:4) (Mat 5:13-15) (Col 4:6) (John 1:6-9; 3:19-21; 12:36) (2Tim 4:5) (Mar 1:17-18)

Sharing in His body In love for all the saints. (Col. 1:4) (1 John 4:7) (Philip 2:2) (Heb 13:20-21)
By being in unity in the body through corporate praise/worship. (Rom 15:5-7) By communion and the breaking of bread: Do this in remembrance of Me! (Acts 2:42) By devotion to teaching of the Word, by prayer and by fellowship. (Acts 2:42) (Acts 2:46) By edifying the saints with unique spiritual gifts and by serving one another. (Rom 12:3-8) (Acts 2:44) By using resources to meet needs/tithes & offerings. (Acts 2:45) (Acts 1:8) (Acts 4:32) By discipling one another - encouraging/exhorting/admonishing (Rom 14:19) (Col 2:1-3) (1Thes 5:11) (Heb 3:13; 10:23-25)

Suffering - for the faith.

The jaws of Satan as a roaring lion are sufferings to believers.

(1Pet 3:14-17; 4:12-19; 5:8-14; 4:1-2; 4:16; 1:6-8; 2:19-21) (2Cor 1:3-6; 12:6-10; 4:6-17) (Rom 5:3; 8:17-18) (Rev 2:10) (2Tim 2:8-12; 3:5-12) (Mat 5:11-12; 26:31-75) (Jam 1:1-6) (Isaiah 43:2; 1:18-27; 48:9-11) (Job 23:10) (Acts 5:40-42) (John 15:18-21) (1Cor 4:9-16) (Eph 3:8-13) (Psalms 119:65-72; 34:19-20) (Philip 3:7-8)

Standing firm in the Lord and His promises; faithful, courageous, in love for others.
(Mark 12:31) (Rom 5:1-4; 138-11) (Eph 6:10-20) (Gal 5:1) (1Cor 15:1; 16:13-14) (Philip 1:27-28: 4:1) (Col 4:12) (2Cor 1:24) (2Thes 2:14-15) (James 1:2-5) (2Tim 2:1) (Joshua 1:1-9) (Deut 31:6-8) (Daniel 10:18-21) (Jer 1:1-12) (1Sam 17:3237) (Neh 1:1-12) 2 Cor. 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 1 Peter 2:15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men

To be anointed TO DO and GO requires Gods grace TO BE at rest


A believers labor is TO BE at rest (you in Christ) seated in heavenly places, while Gods grace (Christ in you) provides the empowerment TO DO. Faith resting is a choice TO BE by Gods grace who God desires each believer TO BE! Want some eternal glory? Then strive harder TO BE at rest by faith, abiding in Him above! Become available for His abiding call TO DO and GO enabled by the Christ in you the hope of glory! Col. 1:29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. Hebrews 4:10-11 (KJV) For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. 46

1 Cor. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Personal works for earthly credit motivated by human pride or personal glory are graceless works. Ministry empowered by grace is not human works but it is Christs abiding work in a believer. Our labor (hard work) is the work of resting by faith! Have you ceased from your own works? Abide in Him above and rest by faith as He abides in you to will and to do!

Another (works based) religion TO DO list? No! No! No!


The Law says: This do and thou shalt live. Grace says: Live, and then thou shalt do! The religious performer is accepted and appreciated on the basis of what they do, the steward on the basis of who they are In Christ. The religious performer starts the day anxious and worried, wondering if their work will really please the master. The steward rests in the secure love of God and the enabling power of His grace. The religious performer is accepted because of their productivity and performance. The steward because of their position as a person in Christs performance. Grace enables the results. The religious performer is accepted because of their workmanship, the steward son or daughter because they are His workmanship. At the end of the day, the religious performer has peace of mind only if they are sure they have proven their worth by their work. The steward can be secure all day, and know that tomorrow wont change their status. When a religious performer fails, their whole position is at stake; they might lose their position. When a steward child fails, they will be grieved because they have hurt the Lord, and they come to the Throne of grace and receive mercy and grace to help in time of need. They are not afraid of being thrown out. Their basic confidence is in belonging and being loved in Christ and empowered by grace. Ones relationship with Jesus Christ does in a great measure determine what one does for the Master. But what one does for the Master does not in any way or to any degree determine their relationship to Him.

Worship and Grace


Jesus described true worship as: John 4:23-24 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." Worship Defined:

Worship is Gods grace in Christ (the invisible image of divine life) being displayed in and through a willing vessel bringing Glory to God. All God desires of man is humble availability and faith - to be who man was created to be, the human visible image of divine life, inhabited by God for God.
Romans 12:1 (NIV) Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship. When a person, right in the midst of their daily life, right where they live and where they work, right in the midst of those often difficult circumstances and often at the very Throne of grace, is being flooded by the grace of God in Christ and bearing abundant fruit by the Spirit, they are glorifying and worshiping God. In this sense worship, praise and prayer are relationally similar but different in focus: 47

1. Worship is our occupation of all of our spiritual being with Christ Himself in allowing Gods grace to enable us to be who we were created to be. Worship is not about doing! When a flower blooms, it is worshiping God. When a bird sings, it is worshiping God. When a plant grows, fulfilling its appointed task with its leafy arms outstretched, it is worshiping God. When Gods Holy Spirit acts in man to Gods Glory, man is worshiping God. This of course is what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit: To allow the Holy Spirit to occupy the whole of ones personality with the adequacy of Christ who brings the gift of Gods grace which begets glory, 2. Praise is the joyful expression of our heart condition caused by His grace operating in and through us. 3. Prayer is the highest form of heart-filled communication with God.

Note to Remember: God does not need us to do! --- He gives to all life!
GOD DOES NOT NEED US TO DO FOR HIM! This may be a shock but that is what the Bible says: Acts 17:24-25 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. If you believe otherwise, you should be encouraged to take an honest inventory of all your abilities and assets and then compare those to the omnipotence of a God who stood at the vast edge of nothingness and said, "Let there be!" and there was. Stop reading and think about that for a moment. Now, what was it you have that God needs? If you are troubled by the news that God DOESN'T NEED US, then here is a word you will be glad to hear. The good news is that GOD WANTS US! God desires to empower our true worship by His grace. Marys perfect worship example: Luke 1:38 Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her. Humble, Available, Faithful (Obedient) Worship! Next Abides Jesus! Gods grace Manifested - God was made manifested in the flesh

Summary: Receiving the Victory!


The Problem: We cannot achieve victory in the Christian Life! That's not God's plan! The Solution: We can only receive it, by grace through faith! The battle belongs to the Lord! By grace, through faith, He brings the deliverance and the victory! (Deut 1:30; 3:22; 20:4, Ex 14:14). We are known by the Lord and inherit the Kingdom because we worship the Father by doing His will, accomplished totally in the enabling power of His grace, bringing glory to the name of Jesus Christ! 1 Cor. 9:24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. Only one receives the prize.Christ alone is worthy and we are part of His body! The prize: the hope of glory! (Philip 3:20-21) Note: such a way = By grace through Faith! 48

Action #1 By taking all thoughts captive to His Lordship By Faith! Humbly taking by faith every thought captive in submissive obedience to the Lordship of Christ who brings the power of the grace of God to enable us TO BE all that we were meant TO BE! This is the step of FAITH! 2 Cor. 10:5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, The walk of Faith! Picking up the cross daily and following Him by Faith! Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. Action #2 By Christ abiding "in me", spirit filled, at redemption by the presence of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:9) We are to run the salvation race before us TO BE conformed to the image of Christ as a runner in the strength and endurance that comes from Christ abiding in that runner. He is the finisher of our salvation and glory. Our moment by moment battle is to fix our minds that we are in heaven "in Christ" while simultaneously setting our minds to move through our daily tasks, believing that Christ is meeting them through us. We work at resting while we rest at working. Action #3 - By abiding in "in Christ" crucified with Christ daily, resurrected and seated in heavenly places resting as a beloved so that He can more completely abide "In you" through your earth suit, a true ambassador. If the believer does not know of his position in the Lord Jesus. and how to abide in Him as his very life, there will be but one result. He will struggle in his un-Christ-like condition rather than rest in his Christ-centered position. In most cases, a believer is more aware of his condition than of his position. This is the reason for so much failure and stagnation. If we are to grow and become fruitful, our faith must be anchored in the finished work of our positionin Christ. There is no basis for grace, by faith in our changeable, unfinished condition. Your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (1 Cor. 2:5).

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VII. Experiencing God's Grace Gods Grace Energizes Actions of Godly Love
God is love. Gods agape love, which is demonstrated throughout Old & New Testament stories, is made visible through His actions of grace bringing joy and peace. Grace is the activator and energizer of agape love. Likewise, grace in Christ activates believers to extend brotherly love to others for which God supplies divine power and strength. Abiding grace brings the power to carry out the Lord's new commandment: John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." 1 John 4:12 No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. Looking for agape love in all the right places The great statements of love in the Bible are a mystery since they rarely mention grace directly with the word agape (Godly) love. However, graces empowerment of agape love is described: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Amplified: For God so loved the world that He gave the gift of His grace in Christ that whoever by Faith (believing in Him), would have everlasting life. (e.g. Salvation is by grace through faith) This John 3:16 verse summarizes the complete Gospel, likewise Paul exhorts this same good news: Galatians 1:6-9 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Remember Jesus answered prayer that brought the fathers grace and agape love to the disciples and those who will believe in Me through their word. This agape love abiding in man is a direct result of Christs abiding presence in them! It established unity and love in Christ empowered by Gods grace. John 17:20-26 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them." That is: By grace through faith in Christ, God empowers His agape love in and through the life of another! He even supplied the faith through Christ such that no man can boast of their love. Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, Unless Christ abides by grace through faith there can be NO empowering Godly agape love!!!!! It is only as we "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. that we can grow in faith hope and love. By 50

grace through faith Christ abides (Christ in you the hope of glory) enabling agape love: 1 Cor. 13:13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 John 4:11-12 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. NOTE: When we abide in Christ, then His love is manifested to others by grace through faith. Grace makes agape love real, tangible, visible. Grace makes love happen. It is a divine power -- the spiritual energizer battery that keeps going, and going, and going. A grace-filled life is a life overflowing with agape love actions.

Gods love is made visible through His actions of grace which bring joy and peace.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.

No greater grace in action: Jesus Christ laying down His life at the cross to redeem sinful man is the greatest demonstration of love ever made visible in grace action through divine strength and resurrection power.
This is why Paul described only one thing in which he could boast the highest grace and love: Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. The more we comprehend the extent of Gods grace in Christ and the power of Gods grace in us and toward us, the more we will respond with love. Its an irresistible reaction to the love of Jesus Christ our Lord. Awareness and acceptance of grace in Christ brings the application of His love to daily living. In the richness of grace, love cannot be restrained, the fruit of the Spirit flourishes. Grace given brings forth eternal Glory! 2 Cor. 9:8: And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Grace and the Trinity


All three persons in the Godhead are equally gracious towards sinners in need of Mercy and to the saints in need of sustaining grace. The grace of the Father, Son, and Spirit are equal in degree and extent, but distinct in operation and administration. 1. The Father is the FOUNTAIN of all grace. He purposed the fact and plan of grace. He formulated the covenant of grace and devised the means "whereby His banished should not be expelled from Him." He made choice by grace of the subjects of grace, and then in fullness of time sent His Son into the world to be the medium of grace. He chose to indwell saints with grace through the Holy Spirit. He established his throne of grace, available and accessible to all the saints. 2. The Eternal Son is the CHANNEL and MEDIATOR of grace. The only way the grace of God can reach the sinner is through the Lord Jesus Christ, the true vine in which grace flows to the branches. Let no rejecter of God's Son think himself to be the beneficiary of Gods abiding grace! His work reconciled grace and Justice, as is written, "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Ps. 85:10). He is the High Priest of all the saints sitting at the right hand of the Throne of grace making intercession for the saints. John Bunyan, blissfully lost in the contemplation of the matchless grace of the Son of God, cried out these words: 51

"O Thou Son of the Blessed! Grace stripped Thee of Thy glory; grace brought Thee down from heaven; grace made Thee bear such burdens of sin, such burdens of curse as are unspeakable; grace was in Thy heart; grace came bubbling from Thy bleeding side; grace was in Thy tears; grace was in Thy prayers; grace streamed from Thy thorncrowned brow! Grace came forth with the nails that pierced Thee, with the thorns that pricked Thee! Oh, here are unsearchable riches of grace! Grace to make sinners happy! Grace to make angels wonder! Grace to make devils astonished!" 3. The Holy Spirit is the ADMINISTRATOR of grace. The New Testament makes it clear that the whole service of the Spirit of truth is to anoint believers with the grace of God in Christ, "that we might know the deep things that are freely given to us of God." The Holy Spirit points us to the Son that we might abide above in Him. 1 Cor. 2:10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. 1 John 2:27 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. Most importantly are bestowed the good news gift of grace and the ministerial gifts, for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:12). Without the gracious operation of the Holy Spirit in conversion no LOST sinner would ever be FOUND and become a beneficiary of Mercy and grace. He quickens all the souls of the Father's choice, and calls to Christ all the sheep for whom the dear Shepherd laid down His life. (John 10:11). He conquers the stoutest hearts. He opens sin-blinded eyes and unstops sin-closed ears. The primary ministry of the Spirit of truth at present is to reveal to us the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit teaches us by grace to put off the OLD self (Rom. 6:8, Col. 3:9, Eph. 4:22) and put on the NEW life (Col. 3:10, Gal 3:27, Col. 3:3-4, and Eph 4:24). He takes of the things of Christ and gives them to the sinner. The blessed Holy Spirit reveals the Son (the mediator of grace) and applies the grace of the Father. Grace is the ministry of the Holy Spirit which sustains, anoints, and sanctifies each believer unto salvation. He that began a good work in you (by truth & grace) will be faithful to complete it (by grace and truth).

The Parables of Jesus; Living Stories of Grace


Jesus described the reason for His parables. He wanted to give pictures of grace. So that grace would be enabled at the cross by no greater love than laying down ones life for his friends. The resulting grace in the vine would flow to the branches and bring about His joy and His love to and through His friends! The Gospel of grace would bear fruit through the branches. Remember: The root of grace or charis in the Greek is traced to an action verb meaning I rejoice, I am glad. I am filled with joy (the ultimate result of grace). John 15:11-18 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another. Grace comes from being a friend of the King? (Proverbs 22:11)

"In Christ" the true vine - Grace flows to the branches bearing fruit
Consistent with the principle of position and the principle of regeneration, our risen Lord Jesus is the Vine. As such, He brings forth fruit after his kind. I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without me ye can do nothing (John 15:5 KJ).

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In the biological realm, the life that is already complete in the vine is increasingly supplied to the growing branches. The healthy condition of the branches is contingent upon their abiding in their position in the vine. The branch is not only a product and a living part of the vine, but that which is produced in the branch is also the fruit of the vine. Actually, the branch produces nothing, either for the vine, for others, or for itself. The vine, the positional source, has everything to do with the development and fruitfulness of all its branches. Through the vine flows living water to grow the branches and the fruit. The chief responsibility of the branch is to rest just where it was born, to abide in its living position in its living source.

That which flows from the vine (Christ) to the branches (believers) is living water (grace) to grow and produce fruit! Gods grace is what flows from Christ through the branches to bear much fruit! The chief responsibility of the branch is to rest just where it was born, to abide in its living position and in its living source by faith.
First read John 15:1-15, then study John 15:4-5 as follows: John 15:4-5 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. What a shock the John 15 declaration must have been to the disciples and the Jewish law based religious leaders! Branches in Gods national vine of many years standing, and now to be told that they were in the rejected one! And that the accepted vine, the true vine, is not a nation, but a person - even their Messiah! By the mighty hand of God Himself, their vine had been brought up out of Egypt! And was not Israel Gods son, as well as His vine? When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1). True, but had not Peter just been shown by that same God that this very man was His Son? We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God (John 6:69). This Son, also, had been brought up out of Egypt. When he (Joseph) arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet (Hosea), saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son (Matt. 2:14, 15). Having rejected both its King and its kingdom, God set aside that rebellious and fruitless vine (Israel) that would now have to await the second coming, and presented to the believing Israelites His Son, the True Vine. Full of grace and truth! Coupled with the shock concerning the True Vine is another: The Father is the True Vine Dresser of the branches abiding in that Vine! One reason for Israels fruitlessness was the corruption of her husbandmen and vinedressers. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so. For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely (Jer. 5:31; 6:13). Finally, the vinedressers cut down the True Vine! Likewise also the chief priests, mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him (Matt. 27:41, 42). Yet in the very act of cutting down the True Vine, these wicked husbandmen felled their own vine! And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down (Matt. 3:10). And down went Israel at the Cross! Which none of the princes of this age knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory (I Cor. 2:8). As if that were not enough, these same vinedressers sought to persecute and destroy every branch of the True Vine that they 53

could lay their hands upon - all the way from Stephen to Paul! Even so, the branches of the True Vine are lovingly tended by the Father, the True Vinedresser. The pruning of Stephen produced glory: When they (the wicked vine dressers) heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he (Stephen, the branch), being full of the Holy Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus the True Vine standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:54, 55). Later, the True Vine said to the branch, Paul, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. The abiding branch replied concerning his pruning, Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christs sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Cor. 12:9, 10). John 15:2 (KJ) Every Branch In Me That Beareth Not Fruit He Taketh Away The often-missed key to this statement of our Lord is the word in. A branch in the True Vine is there by union of eternal life, and cannot be removed. The Vine would first have to die, and that is impossible. Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.... Likewise, reckon ye also yourselves to be... alive unto God through (in) Jesus Christ (Rom. 6:9, 11). If for one reason or another - the Vinedresser alone can judge - a branch does not bear fruit, the Father may remove it from earth unto Himself; but certainly not out of the True Vine to be cast into the fire for burning. The Word says taketh away, not cast forth, as in verse 6 - something altogether different. The branch may be through with its bearing; it may be shelved for not bearing; it may be necessary to take it away as in 1 Corinthians 11:30 - but never cast forth out of the Vine. Pruning, as a vinedressers art, does not consist in cutting off branches, but of trimming away excess and misdirected growth. That may involve a branch being cut back, but it is not removed from the vine. John 15:2 (KJ) Every Branch That Beareth Fruit, He Purgeth It, That It May Bring Forth More Fruit. The purpose of the branch is to manifest the life and character of the vine. The fruit of the True Vine which is to grow in His branches is the fruit of the Spirit. And the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control (Gal. 5:22, 23). The actual fruit (Righteousness) of the Vine in the branch is a product of the Holy Spirit by means of spiritual growth. It is not service, nor the exercise of ones gifts. Good works there may be in abundance; but they are not based upon, nor are they a result of, the fruit of the Vine. Though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love (fruit), I am nothing (1 Cor. 13:2). As we abide in the True Vine our service will be carried by Christ, and it will be acceptable to God and beneficial to man. We are to Walk (and serve) worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Col. 1:10). John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. Even though a branch is fruitful, there is ever the tendency to produce the works of the flesh. Thus the Father prunes the branches, that they may bring forth more fruit of the Spirit, and less works of the flesh. His pruning, His purging, His chastening is by His hand of love - the application of the Cross in order that the fruit pleasing to Him, the life of His Beloved Son, may be manifested more abundantly in our lives. All of the Fathers vinedressing work is carried out in love, not anger. It is all purgative, not punitive. The pruning knife is in the nail-pierced hand; and, while no chastening (pruning) for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are exercised by it (Heb. 12:11). The Vinedresser is never so near as when He is pruning.

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Pruning enables the full grace of God to flow through Christ (the vine) to and through each grafted branch where it bears much fruit. Each branch is unique and fully graced. Each branch is enabled TO BE who God has called that branch to be and TO DO what God has called that branch to do, by God's faithfulness. Each branch in the vine is continually pruned (sanctified) by the vinedresser using the sword of the Spirit and the Word of truth, so that the full grace of God can flow to bear much fruit. Ponder this: Have you ever seen a branch grow apart from a vine? Growing in grace and truth allows a widening of the branch to allow more grace to flow through a life that has less resistance to the flow of grace, bearing much fruit! As the believer rests in his position, the life of the Vine (the fruit of the Spirit) is manifested in his conditionlove, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Gal. 5:22, 23, NASB). The life of the Vine is the life of the branch. The True Vine is established at the right hand of our Father in glory and is the source from which our Christian life flows. The indwelling Spirit of Christ is the living link between Him in heaven and our spirit here on earth. He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit (1 Cor. 6:17).

Experiencing Grace Producing Fruit


By grace through Obedience (the fruit of faith) to the DESIRED will of God, believers are empowered to produce the fruit of the Spirit. Ephes. 5:8-17 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, The fruit realized from being "In Christ." This is the Fruit of the Spirit that is visible out of an obedience to Gods will TO BE who God has called the believer TO BE (Being conformed to the image of the Son) is: Faithfulness (Proof of Faithfulness "in Christ" is its fruit, Obedience) - See Appendix 6 Longsuffering (associated with long sacrificing not the suffering in doing works) Righteousness (Sanctified Holiness) Truth (Spirit filled truth) Goodness

The fruit realized from the "Christ In You." The Fruit of the Spirit that is visible out of a believers stewardship to Gods will TO DO what God has called the believer TO DO is: Kindness Love (re-read Gods grace energizes love page 43) Joy and Peace are kingdom fruit derived from the measure of active grace bringing Glory to the Lord! The good news of the Gospel of grace is: Christ in you, the hope of glory. The "hope of glory" part of the Gospel of grace brings forth the fruit of Joy and Peace regardless of circumstance:

Peace comes from being who God wants you to be by His grace. Joy comes from doing what God wants you to do by His grace.
Jesus said of His peace: John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 55

Isaiah 32:17 The work of righteousness will be peace, And the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever. Jesus said of His joy: By serving the Master, Jesus Christ, we are empowered by the grace of "Christ in us", TO DO receiving JOY. We receive a Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into joy of your lord. Matthew 25:21 His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' Running the race TO BE Christ-like in righteousness by Gods grace is how we find His peace. We find peace at His cross where unrighteousness is crucified. Through the cross we daily carry we can crucify the old Adam self. It produces a quiet and confident peace regardless of circumstance. Relationship between joy, peace, grace & happiness Happiness is an externally empowered emotion, based on the worlds circumstance. It is usually associated with the medium of exchange and storehouse of value of the world: money. Unhappiness is usually associated with bad circumstance. Joy is an internally derived emotion that empowers, based on a gift of God. It is always associated with the medium of exchange and storehouse of value in the Kingdom of God; Gods grace. Joy is derived from experiencing the power (empowering presence) of the grace of God independent of worldly circumstance. Therefore the word for unjoy is graceless! Romans 12:12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; Remember that the root meaning of grace or charis in the Greek is traced to an action verb meaning I rejoice, I am glad! A Kings ransom was paid for this Joy to the world and Peace on earth good will toward men. Paul summarized the kingdom riches of joy and peace: Romans 14:17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 5:2-3 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; Grace is why Paul could write from a prison cell in Rome of his JOY, PEACE, and REJOICING (Read Philipians Joy/Rejoice is mentioned 14-times in 4 short Chapters!) Philip. 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Grace enables the Gospel to bear fruit and grows churches and individuals

What a difference a day makes!


Col. 1:5-6 because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth 56

of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; John 14:20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. Fruit production requires that the messenger knows the grace of God in Truth. Therefore: Churches and individual Christians stop bearing real fruit apart from hearing and understanding the truth about grace. The Gospel message together with the flow of grace can bear much fruit and love. Therefore who bears the fruit? Who should get the Glory? That is why Paul calls it the Gospel of the grace of God Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

Central Christian Focus: Staying Plugged into God's Grace In Christ


(Read Appendix 7 - The Throne of grace)

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Praying boldly implies FAITH In Christ and His shed blood, the necessary humble preparation for receiving mercy prior to receiving grace. Likewise, requests for grace can be bold prayed when they are within Gods DESIRED will and purpose. (Also, re-read the discussion of Gods DESIRED will on pages 34-41). Jim Cymbala, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle and author of the book "Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire" states it this way: "Hebrews 4:16 does not say, "Let us come to the sermon." We in America have made the sermon the centerpiece of the church, something God never intended. Preachers who are really doing their job get people to come to the throne of grace. That's the true source of mercy and grace that brings miracles." "To every preacher and every singer God will someday ask, "Did you bring people to where the action could be found. At the THRONE of grace? If you just entertain them, if you just tickle their ears and gave them a warm fuzzy moment, woe unto you. At the Throne of grace I could have changed their lives. Jim Cymbala, did you just dazzle people with your cleverness or did you make them hungry to come to me?" "If a meeting doesn't end with people touching God, what kind of meeting is it? We haven't really encountered God. We haven't met with the only One powerful and loving enough to change our lives." "I am well aware that we don't get everything we ask for; we have to ask according to God's will. But let us not use theological dodges to avoid the fact that we often go without things God wants us to have right now, today because we fail to ask." Many who are in the body of Christ are suffering from a complex; an inferiority complex. They do not feel worthy to come into the presence of God. They have a sinners mentality. They feel defeated by sin no matter what they do yet they only need the empowering grace of God to have the victory! "God has chosen prayer as the channel of His blessingbeing in Christ. And He has chosen the place of action, His Throne of grace!" "Am I the only one who gets embarrassed when religious leaders in America talk about having prayer in public "schools? We don't have even that much prayer in many churches! Out of humility, you would think we would keep quiet on that particular subject until we practice what we preach in our own congregations." "I am sure that the Roman emperors didn't have prayers to God in their schools. But then, the early Christians didn't seem to care what Caligula or Claudius or Nero did. How could an emperor stop God? How in fact, could the demons of 57

hell make headway when God's people prayed and called upon His name? Impossible! In the New Testament we don't see Peter or John wringing their hands and saying, "Oh, what are we going to do? Caligula's bisexual.he wants to appoint a horse to the Roman Senate what a terrible model of leadership! How are we going to respond to this outrage?" "Let's not play games with ourselves. Let's not divert attention away from the weak prayer life in our own churches. In Acts 4, when the apostles were unjustly arrested, imprisoned, and threatened, they didn't call for a protest; they didn't reach for some political leverage. Instead, they headed for the prayer meeting. Soon the place was vibrating with the power of the Holy Spirit." (vv. 23-31) "The apostles had this instinct: When in trouble, pray. persecuted, pray." When intimidated, pray. When challenged, pray. When

"The prayer of the early believers recorded in Acts 4 (vv. 29-30) highlights three fundamentals from which we are sliding away: "Enable your servants to speak your word.with great boldness.Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders." Dwight L. Moody once stated: "Does anyone really think that America today is lacking preachers, books, Bible translations, and neat doctrinal statements? What we really lack is the passion to call upon the Lord until He opens up the heavens and shows Himself powerful." Charles Spurgeon stated it this way relative to both the church and to individual believers: "The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we may judge of the amount of the divine working among a people. If God be near a church, it must pray. And if He be not there, one of the first tokens of His absence will be a slothfulness in prayer." Satan fears this Throne of grace because it controls and limits what he can do! Satan's main strategy with God's people has always been to whisper, "Don't call, don't ask, don't depend on faith in Jesus to do great things." "You'll get along fine if you just rely on your own cleverness, wisdom, and energy." "Preaching alone will not do it; classes aren't going to do it; more money for more programs won't do it. Only turning to God's Throne of grace with fervent prayer will reverse the power of evil so evident in the world today." Satan's goal is to get believers to opt to live getting their needs met by themselves. He wants believers to make their your plans vs. Gods plans (will). Thus, he offers believers Plan-B for getting their needs supplied - their "old ways." That's what sin is all about. It is independence from God! Do we need preparation before coming to the throne of grace in prayer? Yes! Hebrews 10:19-22 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 1 John 1:7-10 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. If we walk in the Light, we are continually being cleansed by humbly confessing our sins to our High Priest Jesus Christ. He claims us before the Father. Notice Mercy (washing of sins by the Blood) is a prerequisite to receiving grace. Only by being washed by Christs cleansing blood can we boldly approach the Throne of grace, 58

in faith, and find Amazing grace to help in time of need. Note: The application of grace, Gods power made perfect in our humble weakness. We are encouraged to come often to the Throne of grace to obtain Mercy! We are encouraged to come to the Throne of grace, and after receiving Mercy, then to receive grace to help in time of need/burden. Who gets the Glory for the power of grace resting on a believer? Who should boast? Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Christ our High Priest at the Throne of grace (Heb 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2). Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Romans 8:34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Hebrews 7:23-25 Also there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from continuing. But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 8:1 Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, Hidden grace for time of need intercession at the Throne of grace Prayer for empowerment when we do not know what we should pray. By the Spirit making intercession for us (Rom 8:26-27) By Christ, our High Priest, representing us (Heb 7:24-28; 9:24) (Rom 8:34) By Christians making intercession for others (saved and unsaved) Petitions within the DESIRED will of God (see pages 34-41) requested BOLDLY with great FAITH. Grace for enduring death and pain (Psalm 23) (Rom 8:35-39)

Romans 8:26-27 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. Prayer for grace to others this intercessory prayer should be continually prayed: Col. 1:9-12 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. since the day we heard it = Gospel of grace. Seeking His will is the beginning of receiving grace fruitful in every good work = Stewardship of grace and Truth (knowledge of God).

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His glorious power = Graces power (all Gods might) brings joy. give thanks = Includes Gods will for giving thanks in all things.

By God's Grace: A childlike faith in the "Christ in you" will bring your soul to heaven! A Great faith abiding "in Christ" will pray down heaven's miracles!
(Expanded paraphrase of C.H. Spurgeon)

Is Grace limited?
Yes if believers refuse to repent from rebellion and sin (2 Chron 7:14-22) (Psalm 27:8) Within Gods will, we receive grace to the limit of an infinite, unlimited, and eternal God. John 1:16-17 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. Ephes. 4:7-8 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift. Therefore He says: "When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive, And gave gifts to men." 1 John 5:14-15 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. Acts 14:3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. No grace outside Gods will and apart from being in Christ The Throne of grace must be approached clothed in the mercy and blood in Christ, boldly by faith in Him and with a heart filled desire to do His will. No grace for: Not being who God called us to BE in Christ. Not doing what God called us to DO by the Christ in us the hope of glory. Ever wonder why prayers are not answered? Could they have been outside Gods will? Could un-repented sin be a barrier to grace?

The full riches of Gods grace in Christ will not be fully understood until we receive Heavens glory and reward.

Can we get more grace? Yes!


God is lovingly awaiting on our requests to pour out abundant grace! Isaiah 30:18-19 Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you; And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him. For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; You shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; When He hears it, He will answer you. 1 Peter 5:7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. Romans 12:12 rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; 60

Get more grace by giving His grace away! Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

Can we ask for blessings beyond Gods will for us TO BE and TO DO?
Augustine made this famous statement, If you but love God you may do as you incline. If we are under Gods grace relative to being who God has called us to be and doing what God called us to do; then we can ask and it will be given unto us!!!! We can ask, by faith, whatever our heart desires! Note however, that our heart and its desires have become changed by grace in Christ. Matthew 7:7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you Mark 11:24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. John 15:16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. John 16:23 And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.

What is a believers role in Appropriating Gods Grace to His Glory


Be humble and be faithful, which grace requires. Go often to the Throne of grace to receive grace to help in time of need. Give thanks in all things. 1 Peter 5:5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." Abide in Christ We abide in Him by resting in the fact of where He is today. We are spiritually seated in Christ in heavenly places from the moment of new birth. As we come to realize this truth and to stand in our standing in Him, we begin to appropriate the daily benefits of our life as beloved children, hidden with Christ in God. Our attitude becomes, I see my position in the Lord Jesus, and I abide there; I rest in Him, not only as my Savior, but as my life. Faith in our position will bring growth in our condition. Paul prayed for believers, That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints(Eph. 1:17, 18). He also said, Blessed be God who hath blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3, ASV, italics mine). Our Father DESIRED will is for us to know and understand that He has already provided, in Christ, everything required for our Christian life. He is patiently teaching us to have no faith in the old man (self), and to exercise all of our faith in the new Man (Christ). We are told to do, in faith, what our Father has already done in fact. At the cross He freed us from the reign of sin and self; in the resurrection He united us to the risen Lord Jesus in life. By faith in the work of the cross, the old man is put off; by faith in our heavenly position in Christ, the new man is put on. Hence we are free to dwell within the very Source of every spiritual blessing with which our Father has blessed us. 61

By faith in the positional fact that our Father has placed us in His Son, we abide in Him, and we acknowledge our place in Him. By faith, we stand in the position He has already given us. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, (Eph. 6:14). Continually put off the OLD Eph. 4:22 (KJ) That ye put off concerning the former conversation (manner of life) the old man By grace, through faith, the "old Adam man" was nailed to the cross and buried in the tomb; by grace, through faith, the old Adam man will be kept there. The only lesson to be learned in the wilderness of lifeFAITH to trust in Him! By reckoning the old man to have been crucified at Calvary, he is put off daily (Rom. 6:11a). By reckoning ourselves as newly created in the risen Lord Jesus, we put on the new man (Rom. 6:11b). As we escape selfs reign of death under the law, we enter into Christs reign in life under grace. Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him (Rom. 6:6, ASV). seeing that ye have put off the old man (Col. 3:9). Positionally, we were separated from the old Adamic nature in our identification with Christ on the cross. By faith in our new, sanctified position, we turn from, and reckon ourselves as crucified on the cross, the principle of sin and self within. We count ourselves to be new creations by faith in Christ, having died to sin and self. That is our part in putting off the old man that God put off from us at the cross.

Continually put On the NEW Rom. 13:14 Put on the Lord Jesus Christ For as many of you as have been baptized [spiritually] into Christ have put on Christ And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him Col. 3:10 (Gal. 3:27). At our new birth we were recreated in Christ, and our Christian life is now hid with Him in God (Col. 3:3, 4)Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24). Be a faithful (trustworthy) servant and steward

Witnessing for Jesus Christ is not a matter of how the servant perceives one self; but rather how the person being led to Christ regards that witnessing. We have wonderful mysteries to share and demonstrate by our servant actions!

1 Cor 4:1-3 (RSV-amplified) This is how one should regard us <Christians>, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.
1. Servants of Christ Love-filled ministry of actions to an unsaved world enabled by the power of Gods grace! We are to be regarded as having with a servants heart to an unsaved world, servants of Christ, just as Jesus demonstrated by washing the feet of the disciples at the last supper. 1 Peter 4:11: If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' 2. Stewards (messengers} of the "MYSTERIES of God" 62

We are to be stewards of the many mysteries of God by understanding and telling the Good News secrets which bring joy to a graceless world. Note: no direct reference of stewardship to time, talent and money. Glorify the Name of Jesus Christ by being good stewards of the MYSTERIES of God of which godliness through the Gospel of grace is the great MYSTERY! 1 Tim. 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ for the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness Col. 1:26-27 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. `Ephes. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 3. Trustworthy accountable in the faith (qualified) to be given the power of the grace of God. Be accountable to other believers for being good stewards of His goods (grace) and in doing His business (His will) in our daily life and in our personal ministry. (1 Peter 5:5)

Speaking words which impart grace Col. 4:2-6 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Ephes. 4:29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Grace, Mercy and Peace were at the heart of Pauls ministry


Epistles to the churches (100+ references to grace) encouraging the ministry of grace: 2 Tim. 1:2 To Timothy, a beloved son: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. Note: grace precedes the word peace (shalom) since apart from Gods grace there is no peace. Ephes. 3:7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power. Philip. 1:7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace.

What Paul understood about grace he experienced!


Notice the stages of Paul maturing in the grace of God. Likewise, every Christian goes through these stages. Paul initially lacked the fullness of grace in Romans, A wretched, but saved Christian: Romans 7:19-24 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 63

I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Galatians 5:17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. Paul with the fullness of grace, a joyful Christian to the Philippians! (written from Rome in the spring of 62 A.D. along with the epistles Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon): Philip. 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 1 Cor. 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. What was the secret Paul learned about grace? He went through 2 Cor 12! The revelation of the MYSTERY of the riches of the Gospel of grace to Paul by the Lord occurred in a short 4-year period while Paul was in Arabia. By the way, 2 Corinthians was written between Romans (written in Corinth in the spring of 58 A.D.) and Philippians (written at Rome in 62 A.D.). The riches of grace were revealed and experienced by Paul under humbling circumstances in order to be fully understood! 2 Cor. 12:7-10 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 11:24-30 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness-- besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation? If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity. 2 Cor. 9:15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

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VIII. Biblical Examination The Grace Test for Believers Examine yourself!
2Cor. 13:4-6 For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified. Therefore, obedience to the Lords will is the fruit of faith necessary for receiving Gods powerful grace. The Gospel of grace is: Christ in you the hope of glory, and is the proof of salvation! One must have this evidence of salvation? One must not be disqualified! Certainly God does not supply the supernatural power of His grace to a believer outside His DESIRED will or to a rebellious believer and never to a non-believer. Pauls prayer for grace in individual believers a grace assessment tool for individuals. (See Appendix 8) Ephes. 3:14-21 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height-- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Examine yourself Are you a Spirit-filled/grace-filled Christian? Am I an obedient servant of Christ? The word "Christian" means little Christ? As a steward, do I understand the mysteries of God? As a steward, do I understand the great mystery of godliness Christ in you the hope of glory! How much is grace showing up in my practical daily life? How about my prayer life? When was the last time I imparted the Good News about the Gospel of grace to others? Romans 2:16 in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. Galatians 1:6-7 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. Col. 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. When Christ enters the human heart, he starts a revolution which destroy all lawlessness and gracelessness. How do you know for sure? Well you may say that so many years ago I made a decision, I walked the isle, I was baptized, I go to church, and I work hard in the church for the Lord. Lets examine this question more closely. The Bible never verifies anybodys salvation on the basis of past actions. A past profession of faith means nothing. Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. If one is really saved, there will be righteousness and holiness in daily living by the power of the grace of God operating and abiding in a Christian through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. One has to be in the faith (present tense) and under grace (present tense). The Bible refers only to evidence of present salvation. If one does not have the evidence (proof) of real salvation in ones daily living, there is a real possibility that one is not really a Christian at all. No matter what happened in the past. An in-depth personal examination can be further studied by reviewing Appendix 8 after completing this study. 65

It is in righteous living experienced daily by grace, through Faith that we are saved unto salvation! Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 2 Tim. 2:19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." Here is the standard for a Christian! The abiding presence of Christ and the power of His grace in you to overcome daily sin in your life making you qualified for every good work. Do not be disqualified for every good work! You are qualified by the Gospel of grace: Christ in you the hope of Glory!

Biblical Examination The Grace Test for Churches


Pauls prayer for grace in the church a grace assessment tool for churches 1 Cor. 1:4-9 I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Prayer of thanksgiving for the grace in the Church given to you by Christ Jesus! Enriched in everything by grace with the testimony of Christ being confirmed in you. Church with fullness of spiritual gifts, blameless at his day of coming. By Gods grace for which He is faithful to those called into the fellowship.

Grace-o-meter:

"You can tell how popular a church is by who comes on Sunday morning." "You can tell how popular a pastor is by who comes Sunday evening." "But you can tell how popular Jesus is by who comes to the prayer meeting."
Ministry in the early church is the model of powerful grace Acts 14:3 Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. Long time there = coming boldly before the Throne of grace Acts 14:26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed. Acts 15:40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. Acts 13:43-44 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles were giving witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all. Bearing witness to the working of the word of His grace is powerful!

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Note: When grace is released through us, Christ is Glorified, ultimately that we may receive future reward. Grace begets grace, grace begets Glory, Glory begets grace, Gods cycle of grace.

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IX. Can Churches and Believers fall from Grace? YES!


Believers can never fall from eternal salvation once sealed! The Greek word for falling from grace implies being outside the circle of grace, not falling from salvation! However, there are consequences and loss of eternal reward (Glory) for believers in sin or rebellion. God chastens (makes sorry) those in sin whom He loves! Galatians 5:4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. Col. 2:18-19 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Romans 6:15-16 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? Graces antithesis sin (Satan) attacks believers and non-believes. Satan (the snake) attacks with temptation. He attacks believers by deceiving the knowledge of Gods will and creating fleshly alternatives which block faith, the necessary ingredient for receiving Gods empowering grace TO BE and TO DO. Satan (the roaring lion) attacks with jaws of suffering. His attacking with suffering either creates brokenness (faithlessness) or drives us to prove our faith, a necessary ingredients for receiving Gods empowering grace TO BE and TO DO producing JOY from that suffering. But this fallen outside grace condition is temporary for salvations reign in Christ as a result of sorrow: 2 Cor. 7:9-11 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. A fallen believer, being outside the circle of Gods protection, experiences a life filled with bitterness, sorrow, regret, despair, and anger. Believers become chastened, wretched but still saved Christians fully exposed to sins torment. The solution: Go therefore to the Throne of grace often to repent and receive first mercy and then grace to help in time of need. Satan will flee for he has no power in the presence and within the circle of Gods amazing grace. Rejected grace as it appears to every non-believer brings a life filled with guilt and self-loathing; cowered in darkness and covered in rags, instead of living in light and clothed with righteousness. It is a life filled with words and acts of violence and hatred toward the self and toward others. Sin abounds in gracelessness. Grace denied brings painful love, no righteousness, no truth, no faithfulness, no patience, no kindness, no longsuffering forgiveness, no peace, and no joy. Even temporary human happiness is fleeting.

A Church fallen from Grace the Revelation Church at Ephesus


Rev. 2:4-5 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place--unless you repent. First love--the abiding presence of the Lord in the church bringing Gods graces enabling Agape love. Where you have fallen from? Grace! 68

Repentance, the act of humble obedience by renewed faith in Christ allowing the grace of God to flow. Remove your lampstand and anointing grace, necessary for experiencing Gods Glory.

Satan attacks Gods Grace in the Church through veiled apostasy


Do not be carried away by varied and strange teachings! Galatians 1:6-9 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. Letter to Hebrews indicates apostasy present: Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Hebrews 13:9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. Note: No opening salutation, unlike all other church letters (except Jude) - grace to you etc. Note: Typical closing does have grace be with you all Concern about saved missing the understanding of grace Concern over unsaved churchgoers missing grace completely

Letter to Jude, a most apostate Church Jude 1:4 For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. No opening salutation with grace to you etc. Closing without grace be with you all Saved in this church are without the truth about grace. False teachers are misrepresenting grace and denying the Lordship of Christ.

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X. Grace awakening (Revival)


Chuck Swindoll in his book The Grace Awakening refers to the chief grace killer called Legalism which attacks graces unity: Legalism illegitimate dominating control to establish security, requiring unanimity, not unity. Simply stated; grace and Legalism are mutually exclusive (Rom 11:6): Legalism implies that man does the spiritual work and gets the credit. Grace implies that God does the spiritual work and gets the credit (Glory) Legalisms Tools: a) b) c) Doctrinal Heresy which disturbs and distorts (Gal 1:6-10; 2:21) Wolves in sheeps clothing that spy out and enslave/control (Gal 2:1-7 & Gal 5:1-4) Hypocrisy Those who lie and deceive (Gal 2:11-14)

The Opposite of graces freedom, by faith, is Sins control, by doubt, each has its master

The second biggest grace killer is pride (The original sin replayed) The performance based graceless life comes from the malignant virus of sinful pride a pride that spurns a humbleness which is needed to receive grace. This applies to performance based Christian lives. There are prideful cultural barriers to Gods grace. Pride is especially prevalent in our culture today and is at the heart of the original sin: Self Reliance (Self Pride above God) - We can resolve our inter-personal relationship problems and world problems ourselves including pleasing God through our goodness and keeping the law, apart from the Word of truth and the Gospel of grace. There is pride in churchgoers who rejects the eternal security of grace, making sin bigger than the plan of God! There is pride in believers who falls apart during suffering by falsely accepting the pressures and adversities to be greater than Gods grace! Note: Grace is God Reliance! (Gal 2:21; 5:4) Individualism (Self Pride above others) - Rugged individualism is what made this country great! Recent Constitution conflicts have now emphasized individual freedoms that are out of balance with respect to the common good (e.g. One Nation, under God and unity)! Note: Christian individual needs are met by unity that brings grace In Christ and a love for all the saints. There are no Lone Ranger Christians, and the term saints is never in the singular. There is pride in emotional believers who thinks feelings and emotions are greater and more real than the Word of God or the grace of God! (Jam 4:6, Rom 2:13) Activism (Restless self-achievement) - Optimistic view of effort, that you can do/be/get anything you really want if you work hard enough. Said as a modern day Pharisee: We get our righteousness the old fashioned way - we earn it! Note: This is the opposite to grace by definition: grace is the empowering presence of God in you, enabling you to be who God has called you to be and do what God has called you to do, through Gods Faithfulness. It is also true that God will disable what He has not called you to be or do that is outside His will. There is pride in a believer who thinks their personal works can impress God! Grace is the antithesis of human arrogance. (Gal 5:13, Rom 11:6; 13:14, Jeremiah 2:13).

Grace brings healing to religious disillusionment


David A. Seamands in his book Healing Grace describes the need: Many truly reborn Christians are troubled emotionally and spiritually. Deeply committed to Christ, they read the Bible, pray, give, and witness to their faith. Some of them are involved in Christian service. Yet, when they are honest about their 70

feelings, they admit to being defeated and sometimes even disillusioned. I ought to, I should, I could, I try, but I never seem to be able to do enough. Thats the Avis button core of the curse, the horrible hub from which all the spokes emanate to hold the wheel of the treadmill in place. While there are varying degrees of performance concentration, the syndrome itself is a kind of disease, a malignant virus at the heart of every human being. It is the ultimate lie behind a myriad of ordinary lies, persuading us that every relationship in life is based on performance, that is, on what we do. After years of counseling such disheartened Christians, David Seamands is convinced that they are attempting to substitute performance for grace. They are restless achievers instead of resting believers. The only cure is grace the grace that brings forgiveness, sanctification, and wholeness. For Gods healing grace reaches into peoples thoughts, feelings, behavior, and above all, into their relationships, self-concepts, and their fellowship with the loving Heavenly Father. Eugene Peterson in his book Traveling Light describes legalisms threat to graces freedom: The word Christian means different things to different people. To one person it means a stiff, uptight, inflexible way of life, colorless and unbending. To another it means a risky, surprise-filled venture, lived tiptoed at the edge of expectation. Either of these pictures can be supported with evidence. There are numerous illustrations for either position in congregations all over the world. But if we restrict ourselves to biblical evidence, only the second image can be supported: the image of the person living zestfully, exploring every experience the pain and the joy, enigma and insight, fulfillment and frustration as a dimension of human freedom, searching through each for sense and grace. If we get our information from the biblical material, there is no doubt that the Christian life is a dancing, leaping, daring life. How then does this other picture get painted in so many imaginations? How does anyone get the life of faith associated with dullness, with caution, with inhibition, with stodginess? We might fairly support that a congregation of Christians, well stocked with freedom stories stories of Abraham, Moses, David, Samson, Deborah, Daniel would not for a moment countenance any teaching that would suppress freedom. We might reasonably expect that a group of people who from infancy have been told stories of Jesus setting people free and who keep this Jesus at the center of their attention in weekly worship, would be sensitive to any encroachment of their freedom. We might think that a people that has at the very heart of its common experience release from sins guilt into the Spirits freedom, a people who no longer live under the tyranny of emotion or public opinion or bad memories, but freely in hope and in faith and in love that these people would be critically alert to anyone or anything that would suppress their new found spontaneity. But in fact, the community of faith, the very place where we are most likely to experience the free life, is also the very place where we are in the most danger of losing it. There are people who do not want us to be free. They dont want us to be free before God, accepted just as we are by His grace. They dont want us to be free to express our faith originally and creatively in the world. They want to control us and want to use us for their own purpose. They themselves refuse to live arduously and openly in faith, but huddle together with a few others and try to get a sense of approval by insisting that all look alike, talk alike and act alike, thus validating one anothers worth. They try to enlarge their numbers only on the condition that new members act and talk and behave the way they do. These people infiltrate communities of faith to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus and not infrequently find ways to control, restrict and reduce the lives of free Christians. Without being aware of it, we become anxious about what others will say about us, obsessively concerned about what others think we should do. We no longer live the good news but anxiously try to memorize and recite the script that someone else has arranged for us. In such an event we may be secure, but we will not be free. We may survive as a religious community, but we will not experience what it means to be human, alive in love and faith, expansive in hope. Conforming and selfcongratulatory behavior is not free. But Paul did not yield in submission even for a moment, that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. Every free person who benefits from Pauls courage will continue vigilant in the resistance movement he formed.

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XI. Growing in Grace


It is to be remembered that graduation is but the commencement. Spiritual growing in grace really begins at the top, from our new position seated in the heavenlies "in Christ". At this time it would be helpful as homework to complete the reading of Appendix 6. Miles J. Stanford in his book "Abide Above" describes the heavenly perspective: "The proper perspective for spiritual growth therefore is to keep looking down." He further defines the three basic truths to be learned in spiritual progress: Bankruptcy of Self Our Riches "in Christ" in heavenly places The only truth to be learned in the wilderness: FAITH "in Christ"

It is the utter faithfulness of the Father that creates a passion to walk by faith in the Spirit who will guide and teach us to walk in the glory of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as we are seated in heavenly places. He will grow each believer in the grace and knowledge of our Lord. 2 Peter 3:18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Cor. 8:7 But as you abound in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us--see that you abound in this grace also The key to growing in grace: Christ's blood has secured a believer's eternal substitutional forgiveness by FAITH. However, a believer's new position "in Christ" is made up of two parts; death and life. Identification with Him in death by our spiritual crucifixion of our sin & pride on His cross ushers in the personal relationship in His resurrected life. Spiritual growth is the result of the old man abiding in death at the cross, and allowing the new creation to abide above in the risen life of Christ seated in the heavenlies. The way of the cross does not end at the cross! But only by making His cross, my cross, will I be delivered from sin and pride. The Holy spirit ever points to the cross to deliver us into the present tense joy and glory "in Christ," regardless of circumstance. Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. Let us begin anew by going back to the cross again, and again, and again! For the experience of the Throne of His grace and Glory in the presence of the Father is just beyond the experience of the cross. SUBSTITUTION AT THE CROSS BY FAITH = NEW BIRTH IDENTIFICATION IN THE CROSS BY FAITH = GROWTH IN GRACE & TRUTH Position Unknown? Blessing Missed? Or Blessing Apprehended! Although an individual Christian has been positioned above in the heavenlies "in Christ" at redemption, he/she may not understand the riches of this position, being saved eternally but lacking spiritual discernment. One must find Christ's last will and testament to find the riches of His inheritance. Jesus summarized it this way: Luke 9:23 Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.

The Perturbing Growth Pause ( From the Book "Position to Person" by Miles J. Stanford)

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At first it seems quite the opposite of faithfulness when the sovereign Father sets the hungry one's faith and feet upon the path of His purpose. That is because there is the negative side of death as well as the positive side of life in the working out of His purpose to UNITE ALL THINGS IN HEAVEN AND EARTH IN CHRIST to His glory. His will to achieve this purpose includes conforming each individual believer to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29). The negative comes first, when the Father begins to transmit His purpose through wilderness experiences. In the book of Roman's, note that nothing is said about growth until the problem of righteousness is completely settled. God recognizes that spiritual need is the key to spiritual growth in Christ. When the Father has us prepared by means of Romans 7, He will opens the liberating truth of Romans 8But not until we recognize: "Oh wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" This is a Christian talking! Nevertheless, in the midst of this impressive growth awakening, many believers are beginning to experience a spiritual slackening, a sort of vague vacuum. There appears to be a perplexing pause, an inexplicable lull, producing an intense hunger and need. Some feel that ever since they have entered upon the path of growth they are not as aware of the Lord's presence as formerly. Others suffer from an increased sense of isolation. Reckoning upon their judicial death unto sin that occurred at Calvary some 2000 years ago, and counting upon their position in the heavenlies, all seem to be so very long ago and far away. The effect of these feelings is a deepening sense of loneliness and depression in the mourning of the old man, a growing awareness of unaccountable but very real fear and apprehension. This unrest and inner turmoil is intensified by the tormenting surmise that the Lord is not doing anything about it, and that no one seems to understand or be of any real assistance. On the other hand, when the cost is counted, and our weakness known, the energy begotten of self-confidence being gone, we need a stimulating call on God's part, to get out of the persistent occupation with our weakness now, as with our strength before. You may be relieved and edified to know that your heavenly Father is the cause of the pause, which, coupled with present pressing problems, are meant to precipitate the all-important turning point in spiritual development. In order to teach each believer how important the one fellowship with the Father, Son , and Holy Spirit. God allows us to drift to the point of saying, "I am growing, but I miss His presence with me; I am growing but I am lonely and depressed; I am growing, but I am frightened; I am growing but I am no longer able to cope with problems within and without that would seem at times to virtually overwhelm me." It is here where the Holy Spirit will reveal the PURPOSE behind the PURPOSE of UNITING ALL THINGS IN HEAVEN AND EARTH IN CHRIST. Being united in the Son and conformed to His image has its primary purpose in God of desiring personal fellowship and unity with you both now and throughout eternity. Think of the fast embrace with which you find yourself held, right to the heart of the Father himself, when you discern your position in Christ. Christ is a heavenly Man, the last Adam head of a new kingdom; beginning of a new creation - and you and I who believe "in Him" are seen and accepted before the Father in the Beloved. Stay for a moment, dear friend. Rejoice in the truth of these early-Brethren statements, and rest in the Son in the very heart of your Father. Sit down where He has positioned you, Blood-bought; it is the only place you have, both now and throughout eternity. Growing in grace by trusting "in Christ" to provide the victory over pride Pride (sin) blocks grace outside the power of the cross. The Spirit's role is to point to the Son and our identification with Him on the cross. We must be daily crucified with Christ and be daily resurrected in order for God to dispense His grace. Better still, moment by moment walking In the Light, abiding "In Christ" in the heavenlies as He is in the light, under the empowering presence of the loving Father. Christ is our high priest mediator before the Father. He desires to give the best to those He loves. The Holy Spirit desires to build the believers personal abiding relationship with the Father through the Son. As we have seen, the greatest enemy of grace is human pride, the original reason for the fall of Man. It is the worst of the mental attitude sins because it amounts to blasphemy. "I will be my own God." Remember the times that Satan said "I will..." Grace opposes human pride in every way and is concerned with Gods purpose and will for those He loves. 73

There is great pressure toward arrogance in the United States. Our country has a successful, affluent society with many opportunities for achievement and rewards, from childhood on. Status and upward mobility are available to everyone, and it's easy to get the big head, to think that we have accomplished something, to have the "self made man/woman complex." Victory over this very subtle sin and devastating mental attitude requires a thorough understanding of the doctrine of grace. Here are the steps in overcoming pride and other related sin: 1. The first step in victory over pride (and growth in grace thinking) is to identify pride as part of the old Adam Sin Nature which has it's solution in grace. No one starts out thinking grace!! Therefore take every thought captive to the Lord! Confess (take captive) sinful pride when you recognize it in yourself. There are many symptoms of pride. Indignation at someone else's behavior, mistakes, shortcomings, lack of discipline, or failure to measure up is an indicator of self-righteousness, whose basis is pride. "Well, I never..." these are key pride words. Romans 2:13 commands that we should not judge others as if we ourselves had no areas of weakness. Self-promotion, and the demotion of other people is pride, it is the failure to think grace. Another symptom of pride is lack of forgiveness, the holding of grudges. Pride prevents a forgiving attitude. How many marriages break up because of this? How many people would be happy on the job instead of miserable if they could just forgive the boss or a fellow worker for doing something dumb? Everybody does dumb things, but failure to forgive is pride. Other indicators of pride are complaining, griping, maligning, gossiping. Most of the sins of the tongue have their roots in pride. 2. The second step is when we now recognize sinful pride in ourselves, go back to the cross and crucify the old man and become resurrected to the Throne of grace where you can obtain mercy and grace! If you see it in others, pray! THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP FOR overcoming pride - to go back to the power of the cross. 3. The third step results from our being crucified to self daily by FAITH. We are resurrected to the Throne of grace where the Lord administers His resurrection power to resist sin and pride. At the feet of our Lord is where we "grow in grace" by knowing Him. This is actually the first and last step toward maturity. Seeking alternatives in the wilderness (World) or by going back to our Egypt (Our bondage) always teaches one painful lesson .to TRUST Him who is seated in the heavenlies (go to Canaan-the promised home). Grace thinking overcomes pride, and the symptoms of sinful pride will start to disappear. A person who was at first totally filled with himself will find that as he/she grows in Christ, the power of the grace in your personal cross and resurrection will deal with the prideful symptoms of the old Adam man that shows up under extreme pressure. At the cross, the symptoms of pride will be recognized and dealt with immediately to minimize the ill effects on oneself and others. 2 Peter 1:1-4 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Growing in grace and Love by experiencing a Christ abiding GRACE ORIENTATION The first step in grace orientation is understanding the experiential grace of God, the purpose of this study. The second step is to appropriate the grace of God.

Abiding in Christ apart from lifes petty detail (In the world but not of the world!) We are all involved with details of life. Either we allow grace to master them, or they master us! If we are a slave to one or more details of life, our thoughts are devoted to them, and they drive us. They dominate our thinking, our conversation, our decisions. Slavery to the details of life leads to a search for happiness through the non-grace provision of the world and Satan. 74

Abide "in Christ." We are already seated in the heavenlies "In Christ"- this represents a believer coming into a personal relationship with Jesus and enjoying the resurrection power of God's grace. You say, "I don't feel like I am in heaven! Well rain on how you feel! God says that you are there, and if your feelers seem to tell you that you aren't, which is the liar, God or your feeler? Col. 3:1-4 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Ephes. 2:6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

Therefore: You are a new creation whose spirit is resting in heaven, while simultaneously here on earth, Christ is expressing His loving life through you.
Where is our real spiritual home bringing joy today, regardless of circumstance? Who gets to work "in you" when you spiritually choose TO BE at rest, at home "in Him?" Our happiness does not depend on people, circumstances or things. We have the peace of God that passes human understanding. We have learned to be content under any circumstances. We can wait for the Lord's timing in providing the details we need; we can enjoy them when we receive them; and we can stay happy when the Lord sees fit not to provide. The technique of pre-occupation with Christ in the heavenlies keeps our minds on grace because it gets our eyes off ourselves, our spouse, our children, our neighbors, and our friends. Instead, as we move through the day, we are thinking about the Lord Jesus, His will for our life, the Father's grace provision for each incident in our life, and His provision of wisdom and truth for each decision we must make. Occupation with Christ is a by-product of the faith rest Life. Disorientation to grace is a by-product of occupation with self, with life, and with its problems. Living Life by daily Faith Rest Faith Rest is the believing of the promises of God and then entering into the "rest" phase of Christian living by claiming and enjoying being seated in heavenly places "in Christ." Therefore, we must search the Scriptures daily to remind ourselves of our position in abiding "in Christ". Isaiah 40:31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, hey shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. We must know by personal experience who and what the Lord is so that we will not hesitate to believe that He can do what He has promised by grace to do. Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazereth, are a good study. Mary was content to just rest a Jesus' feet and listen to the Master. Martha had a focus on work and missed knowing Christ's abiding rest. Everything we learn intimately about Christ and his grace is found resting at His feet in the heavenlies. These experiences encourage and strengthen us because He enables the Fathers grace in your life. Appendix 6 to this study "Growing in Grace" deals with faith and the fruit of faith which is obedience. The Bible gives two pictures of the fullness of experiencing grace which can be summed up in one word "BELOVED." The story of Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, is the first picture. Miles Stanford describes it this way: "I find that the one who is set on usefulness (Martha) does not advance like the one set on personal love for and close fellowship with Him (Mary). The second picture is that of the disciple John (often called "John the BELOVED") who had a single desire to lay his head upon the masters at the Last Supper. Unlike all the other disciples, he did not care about who would be greatest in the kingdom of heaven but rather he desired Jesus himself, where He was. Home with the Savior is the position where the BELOVED learn to rest both for today and for eternity. 75

It is our present privilege and responsibility to rest in Him where He is, because that is where we are positioned. Abide above! At the same time He abides in us here below, by the Spirit. "Abide in Me and I in you." "Christ in you the hope of glory." (John 15:4; Col 1:27). Reciprocal union, the ultimate oneness! God's grand purpose to unite all things in heaven and earth "In Christ." And it is the ministry of the indwelling Spirit of Christ to make these priceless positional possessions progressively practical in our present pilgrimage. Today, the Lord gives us to be more personally attached to Himself where he is at the Throne of grace which can be our home of rest as we are seated with Him in heavenly places; then we shall be more useful according to His good pleasure down here. Often today we see Jesus as a refuge to escape the storms of life and to bask in the sunshine of His love. There is a vast difference between a refuge and a home. A refuge is a place to which we flee for a shelter in time of storm and difficulty. A home is where our affections find there rest. "Set your affections on things above." We all know the Lord Jesus as a refuge to whom we flee in our troubles, but how we need to know Him as the home of our affections where the BELOVED Mary and John rested. Energizing through grace - Go to the throne of grace often to obtain grace to help in time of need!

Peaceful energy comes from experiencing the Lord at the Throne of grace and on the throne of our life: Christ in you, the hope of glory! It is a peace that passes human understanding. It comes from observing grace at work in our life and bring fruit and glory to His name. Peace comes living the Word, going often to the Throne of grace, practicing the faith rest life, and being pre-occupied with Christ. Feeding on the Word By feeding on the Word daily we are constantly reminded of God's viewpoint, of His Purpose, of His Will, of His grace provision, or His awareness of our spirit of heaviness and what He want to accomplish in us with testing. Living in the Word gradually transplants us to a new sphere, a new environment for our life, in which there is victory through grace. Col. 3:16 let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Overflowing with actions of love - Maintaining the conduit of Gods grace to others God is love. Grace results in Godly Love being displayed in action under Gods divine power and strength bringing joy and peace. Grace is the activator and energizer of love. Grace makes love real, tangible, visible. Grace makes love happen. It is the power -- the spiritual Energizer battery that keeps going -- that gives energy to loving actions. Through love, God administers grace into our lives; and through our lives, conveys His grace to others. A grace-filled life is a life overflowing with love actions. A grace orientation gives us the ability to look at people and see them as God sees them. It is the ability to let them live their lives as unto the Lord, and trusting God to make His way clear to them. This technique lets people make mistakes without our judging them. It enables us to accept criticism without hurt or bitterness. It enables us to esteem other better than ourselves, to do nothing through strife or vain glory. We become conduits of Gods grace in Christ Jesus. Rejoicing in the Lord always and again I say Rejoice Joy comes from a pure heart. Joy is a state of rejoicing based on knowing that God is everything He claims to be and that He can and will do what He has promised. Joy because every provision for physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being is being made by God in the life of a Christian who is walking in daily fellowship with Him. 1 Tim. 1:5 Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith, 76

Philip. 4:4-7 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. By serving the Master, Jesus Christ, we are empowered by grace and receive JOY. We receive a Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Master. (Mat 25:21) Joy is that internally derived emotion that empowers, based on a Gift of God. It is always associated with the medium of exchange and storehouse of value in the Kingdom of God: Gods grace. Joy is derived from experiencing the power (empowering presence) of the grace of God independent of worldly circumstance. Therefore the word for un-joy is graceless!

Pauls final words on Grace A Legacy of Grace Acts 20:32 So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
Have you received the full inheritance of Gods amazing grace in your life? Does it bring joy regardless of circumstance? This same grace is all part of the gospel it is not the gospel plus! Christ in you, a born again believer, on the grounds of the redemption of the Cross this is the Gospel! To preach anything less than this must eventually produce Evan-jellyfish folk with no spiritual vertebrae, whose faith does not obey or behave! Our condition of joy in life comes from appropriating Gods grace through Christ in our Christian walk, in which we grow from infancy to maturity. Although our eternal saved position remains unchangeable, our condition of joy is variable. Through the exercise of faith in Christ, our eternal position empowers our daily condition with strength, but in no way does our condition affect our heavenly position. If [since] ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Col. 3:1). Therefore, Be strong in the Lordbe empowered through your union with Him; draw your strength from Him (Eph. 6:10, Amplified). Go therefore from Faith to Faith, receiving grace upon grace at His throne of grace. Be empowered by the resurrected life of Christ that can accomplish the abundant life that brings joy. All because a believer is ready and willing to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen (2 Pet. 3:18).

The Graceless Warning!


2 Tim 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

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XII. Completing the Picture of Gods Grace in Christ A Snapshot! Grace is Gods flagstaff upon which the flag of joy flies over the castle of the heart when Jesus the King is in residence. This bloodstained flagstaff is made from the wood of an old rugged cross that has pierced the throne room of a believers heart.
Remember the root of the word grace or charis in the Greek is traced to an action verb chairo meaning to rejoice, to be glad, to be joyful. A Kings ransom was paid for this Joy and Peace on earth good will toward men. Every newborn believer is eternally saved by the grace of God through faith as they become hidden in Christ at the cross. But each believer can only grow in grace by learning to abide above, becoming hidden in Christs resurrected life (Col. 3:1-4). Abiding above, we can rest by faith in Christ who enables Gods grace for daily living. For without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). And whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Rom. 14:23) -- everything else is counted dead loss to be consumed by fire like wood, hay and stubble! By abiding above, the Christ in you becomes visible to will and to do by the grace of God bringing eternal glory. Furthermore, as far as God is concerned; Christ is the preacher, Christ is the missionary, Christ is the Christian worker, and Christ is the witnessing Christian. To Him be the glory both now and forever! When a person knows Him and that through Him we appropriate God's exceeding riches then they can enters into a lifestyle where grace rules and Christ reigns in their heart. When grace reigns, by faith in Christ, heaven's miracles are prayed down! This is the essence of the secret of living the Christian life of freedom, Not I but Christ that lives within me! In that relationship is the abundant life of joy and heavenly rest. Jesus Christ, living His empowering life through another while they are seated and resting in heavenly places.

Is this Is He the love of your longings? If so, then the gospel of grace will make sense and you will embrace it. If not, call upon the name of the Lord so that he would open your eyes to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, the image of God. (2Corinthians 4:4)

The final words of the Bible:


Rev. 22:21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

(2 Cor. 9:15)

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Summary: What have we learned about Amazing Grace? Grace is the empowering presence of God in you, enabling you to be who God has called you to be and to do what God has called you to do, by Gods faithfulness.
The Great I am finds unity within the Trinity of grace: I am the vine, you are the branches. Gods grace is the living water that flows in and through the vine to the branches, bearing much fruit. Peace and joy are the kingdom riches from being empowered by His grace to be who God desires you to be and to do what God desires you to do,. Gods grace is the Bible basis for joyful living - not I, but Christ liveth in me (Gal. 2:20b). This divine grace empowering genius saves believers from a lifetime of futile self-effort works and religious hypocrisy. Jesus has not only reconciled a believer to God by His death, but He has saved and uniquely graced each believer for life by the power of Gods grace (Christ in You the Hope of Glory). Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things (grace) will be added unto you. My name is now Christian but my name at the first was graceless. Faith is the Master's key that unlocks the riches of God's grace! God gives grace only to the humble. Grace forsaken is freedom forfeited. Grace convinces believers that human accomplished righteousness is outside Gods plan. Grace is shown to unbelievers. Grace is not found In them for they are not in Christ. Grace is overcoming sin (present tense), bringing righteousness unto Salvation. The opposite of graces freedom, by faith, is sins control, by doubt, each has it s master. Mercy is unmerited favor and is the call of grace to follow Him. Likewise, we are called by grace to be merciful (sacrificing) thereby demonstrating Gods Mercy and love, bringing Glory to His Name. By grace We have been saved through faith, it is a gift of God. Grace is a gift from the Heart of God. Grace is not a Gift from God. Grace is the Gift of God Himself, provided by redemption and Mercy through the blood of Christ Jesus. Grace, The Gift of God Himself, comes in the person of the third member of the trinity God The Holy Spirit who dwells in and ministers grace to believers. Believers are Holy Temples of the Living God, each requiring regular cleansing by the blood of Christ Jesus, our High Priest. Grace is the Ministry of God the Holy Spirit in bringing Glory to the Name of Jesus Christ. From the day we hear and know the truth about grace, we enable the Gospel of grace to bear fruit around the world. (We become conduits of grace for grace). Grace is at the heart of all ministry. Ministry is the application of grace in our life enabling us to bear fruit to the Glory of the Lord. The power of grace enables the results for which Christs Name is glorified. Apart from the enabling power of Gods grace we cannot be who we were called to be and do
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what we were called to do! Apart from grace, at work in our daily lives, we will be miserable, wretched, broken Christians. The key to growing in grace and in knowledge (personal relationship) with the Lord is the power of the cross to daily crucify self by faith, believers can abide in His resurrected life and power by being seated in heavenly places as He abides in them to will and to do.

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Appendix 1

Application of Amazing Grace to Life


( Romans commentary by Newell)
Much has been written about God's grace and much misunderstanding exists. The following quotations are taken from the venerable William R. Newell's commentary ROMANS, Verse by Verse to give an overview of Amazing grace and it's impact on genuine Christianity. Note: the word "man" and masculine pronouns are used below in the universal sense of all mankind.

The Nature of Grace


Newell's Commentary

Comments

Grace is God acting freely, according to His own nature as Grace, therefore, is uncaused in the recipient: its cause lies Love; with no promises or obligations to fulfil; and acting of wholly in the GIVER, in GOD. course, righteously--in view of the Cross. Grace, also is sovereign. Not having debts to pay, or Grace cannot act where there is either deserve or ability: fulfilled conditions on man's part to wait for, it can act grace does not help-- it is absolute, it does all. toward whom, and how, it pleases. It can, and does often, place the worst deservers in the highest favors. There being no cause in the creature why grace should be The discovery by the creature that he is truly the object of shown, the creature must be brought off from trying to give Divine grace, works the utmost humility: for the receiver of cause to God for His grace. grace is brought to know his own absolute unworthiness, and his complete inability to attain worthiness: yet he finds himself blessed,-- on another principle, outside of himself! Therefore, flesh has no place in the plan of grace. This is the great reason why grace is hated by the proud, natural [often religious] mind of man. But for this very reason, the true believer rejoices! For he knows the "in him, that is, in his flesh, is no good thing"; and yet he finds God glad to bless him, just as he is!

The Place of Man under Grace


Newell's Commentary He has been accepted in Christ, who is his standing!

Comments
He is not "on probation."

As to his life past, it does not exist before God: he died at Grace, once bestowed, is not withdrawn: for God knew all the Cross, and Christ is his life. the human exigencies beforehand: His action was independent of them, not dependent upon them.

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The failure of devotion does not cause the withdrawal of bestowed grace (as it would under law). For example: the man in I Corinthians 5:1-5; and also those in chapter 11:3032, who did not "judge" themselves, and so were "judged by the Lord,--that they might not be condemned with the world"!

The Proper Attitude of Man under Grace


Newell's Commentary

Comments

To "hope to be better" is to fail to see yourself in Christ To be disappointed with yourself, is to have believed in only. yourself. To be discouraged is unbelief,--as to God's purpose and To be proud, is to be blind! For we have no standing before plan of blessing for you. God, in ourselves. The lack of Divine blessing, therefore, comes from Real devotion to God arises, not from man's will to show it; unbelief, and not from failure of devotion. but from the discovery that blessing has been received from God while we were yet unworthy and undevoted. To preach devotion first, and blessing second, is to reverse God's order, and preach law, not grace. The Law made man's blessing depend on devotion; Grace confers undeserved, unconditional blessing: our devotion may follow, but does not always do so,--in proper measure.

Things Which Gracious Souls Discover


Newell's Commentary

Comments

To believe, and to consent to be loved while unworthy, is To refuse to make "resolutions" and "vows"; for that is to trust the great secret. in the flesh. To expect to be blessed, though realizing more and more To testify to God's goodness, at all times. lack of worth. To be certain of God's future favor; yet to be ever more To rely on God's chastening hand as a mark of His kindness. tender in conscience toward Him. A man under grace, if like Paul, has no burdens regarding himself; but many about others.

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Blessed is he who Receives Grace and Glory" - Psalm 84


Grace and glory are inseparable gifts of God (v. 11) to his elect. Indeed, they are the same things, given in different degrees. Grace is glory in the seed. Glory is grace in full bloom. Glory begins with grace. And grace is completed with Glory. Both are free gifts of God. Neither grace nor Glory can be earned, merited, or purchased by man. God cannot be obliged to bestow either grace or Glory. He freely gives both to his elect in Christ.

"The Lord will give Grace"


How we love that word, "grace." Grace begins with the Mercy (unmerited favor) of God to sinners who deserve his wrath. To whom will the Lord give grace? He will give grace to all his elect (Rom. 9:15-16), to all who have been redeemed by Christ (II Cor. 5:21), to every sinner who believes on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9-13). What is this grace that God desires to give? Grace is the empowering presence of God in you that enables you to be who God has called you to be and to do what God has called you to do, by Gods faithfulness. Stated another way by David Gray: Grace is the power God gives us to fulfill the DESIRED will of God in our lives. Articles XXV and XXVI of the 1644 London Baptist Confession state: . that the same power that converts to faith in Christ, the same power carries on the soul still through all duties, temptations, conflicts, sufferings, and continually that ever a Christian is, he is by grace, and by a constant renewed operation from God, without which he cannot perform any duty to God, or undergo any temptation from Satan, the world, or men. It is regenerating grace (Eph. 2:1-5), convincing, convicting, converting grace (John 16:7-11), justifying grace (Rom. 3:24), sanctifying grace (Heb. 10:10-14), preserving grace (Phil.1:6), instructing grace (John 16:13), directing grace (Prov. 3:5-6), comforting grace (John 14:18), reviving grace (Isa. 57:15), and sufficient grace (2 Cor. 12:9). Treasuring all that God is is a work of grace in my heart. I would not treasure God without a mighty work of grace in my life (Acts 18:27; Philip 1:29; Eph 2.8f; 2Tim 2:25). Loving all whom he loves is a work of grace in my heart (1 Thes 3:12;4:9; Philip 1:9; gal 5:22). Praying for His purposes and will is a work of grace in my heart (Philip 2:13) (Heb 13:21). Meditating on all His Word is a work of grace (Psa 119:36) How does God give grace? Grace is the ministry (administration) of God the Holy Spirit! He gives grace to sinners mediatorially through Christ (Eph. 1:3) by seeking and saving (finding) the lost and by the use of his appointed means (Jer. 29:10-14), by prayer, the ministry of the Word, and the ordinances of public worship. And God gives grace through faith. No one can believe unless he has grace. None can have grace unless he believes. Read the promise as broadly as your needs require. It is addressed to every child of God. "The Lord will give grace" to serve him, to walk with him, to suffer for him, to live for him, and to die in him. Why has God set it up this way? Because the giver gets the Glory! God has established the universe in such a way that it magnifies the Glory of His selfsufficiency. You can see this clearly in 1Peter 4:11 as follows: 1 Peter 4:11: If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. Note: the strength God provides = grace God, the all-sufficient and inexhaustible Giver gives the grace. Therefore, He should receive the Glory!

"The Lord will give Glory"


If we have grace we shall have glory too. God will not give one without the other. Grace is the bud. Glory is the flower. Grace is the fountain. Glory is the overflowing river. Grace is the first fruit. Glory is the full harvest. The Lord will give his elect all the fullness of glory freely, all the glory of heaven and eternity, all the glory of perfect holiness, the glory of total victory, the glory of complete conformity to Christ, yea, all the glory of Christ himself, with whom we are one! 83

(John 17:22; Rom. 8:17) (John 14:13, 1Cor 9:25, Phi 4:1, 1Thess 2:19; 4:13-17, 2Tim 4:8, Jam 1:12, 1Pet 1:3-4; 5:12, 2Pet 3:13, Rev 21:4) Behold the Rapture and Bema (blessing) seat of Christ Behold the Throne of His Glory! Matthew 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. Behold The Great White Throne of Judgment Heavens theme songs rejoice in the Glory of the Lord. (Rev 4:11; 5:9-14) Behold a new heaven and earth and the Throne of God and of the Lamb!

Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

When weve been there 10,000 years, bright shining as the sun a river of life flowing from the Throne of God and of the Lamb!

Revelation 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.

GLORY! GOD WILL AGAIN BE ALL IN ALL!

Appendix 2

Application of Grace for Starting a Personal Ministry


By grace (that was full in Christ Jesus), through faith we have been saved (born again) and sealed unto salvation:
2 Cor. 1:22 who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.

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By grace (Christ abiding in us) through faith we are being saved and made righteous (sanctified) for salvation:
2 Thes. 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, Hebrews 7:25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come; Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, And grace will lead me home.

By grace (our abiding "in Christ") through faith we are able Ministers:
2 Cor. 3:6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The Picture of A Personal Grace Ministry


Step in Ministry
Humbly come before the Throne of grace Seek the heart of God and His Word Pray for Gods specific will & grace (Col 1:9-12) Share your unique gifts building up the Body Volunteer for ministry, plant seeds - step out in faith Recognize people in needy circumstances Serve those in need love/pray/instruct Give them the Son proclaim faith Invite those in need to Church - encourage faith Pray they receive grace through faith in Christ Step back, wait, watch Finish the ministry Give Christ the Glory! Share the Experience With Others Humbly Come Before the Throne of grace

Painting the picture


Paint a rugged cross on a hill, give thanks Paint the heavens Paint the background Paint A Church of grace Paint the fertile ground Paint a field, ripe for harvest Paint the dark clouds, a rainbow Paint a stream of living water Paint a road to the Church Paint the bright Sun light Let the Master painter finish the mosaic Frame The painting Put Jesus Christs glorified Name on the painting Display the painting from your hearts gallery Give thanks

Ministry provisions - Light and Salt (Major W. Ian Thomas)


We have begun to see that victorious Christian living is not a method or technique; it is entirely different and very much a mystery. It is the revolutionary principle of life. It is the principle of the exchanged life - not I, but Christ liveth in me (Gal. 2:20b). He has not only reconciled a believer to God by His death, but He has saved you from that moment onward by His resurrected life (Christ in You the Hope of Glory). This is all part of the gospel it is not the gospel plus! Christ in 85

you, a born again believer, on the grounds of the redemption of the Cross this is the Gospel of grace! To preach anything less than this must eventually produce Evan-jellyfish folk with no spiritual vertebrae, whose faith does not obey or behave! John 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. Light This light depends on the life! Once the life was removed <fall of sin>, the light went out, for the one was the consequence of the other, and man was plunged into the abysmal darkness of his own spiritual bankruptcy! To use a simple illustration: No man has seen electricity at any time, yet an electric light bulb is so designed that whenever it receives the invisible electric current, expression is given to the invisible in terms of light. It would not be true to say that the bulb is giving light, for it has no power to do so apart from the current which it receives; its behavior as a light-giver is the direct and exclusive consequence of the activity of the electricity in it and through it. The current is the cause; the light is the effect. And though you can see the effect, you still cannot see the cause, though both represent the same source of energy! You can enjoy the light, but you still cannot say that you have seen electricity! You can only say that you have seen a pure expression of it. In the same way, your behavior was intended by God to be a pure expression of His divine nature, though He remains unseen, and you can no more produce the effect of yourself, than a bulb can produce light of itself! Try, and you will soon be exhausted, and at best you will only produce a shabby imitation of the real thing. It may impress you, but it certainly will not impress anyone else! Therefore, it is only the Spirit of God acting within you, who can ever enable you to behave as God intended you to behave! According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:3). His divine presence and power is all that it takes to be godly but it takes nothing less! Without a cause there was no effect, and the attributes of godliness gives way to the anarchy of godlessness! Psalm 53:2-3 God looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one. Romans 3:10-18 As it is written: "There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one." "Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips"; "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; Destruction and misery are in their ways; And the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes." Philip. 3:8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ, Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. The degree to which by deliberate, voluntary attitude of faith you are reckoning yourself to be dead with Christ, to all that you were in Adam and alive to God in all that you are in Christ is the degree to which the redemptive purpose of God has been wrought out in your life and this is the only valid estimate of your worth! Everything else is dead loss! Salt 86

What does the SALT of the Gospel represent? Salt speaks of the risen life of our glorified Savior, imparted by the indwelling Holy Spirit bringing the indwelling power of GRACE to the redeemed sinner. It was the Cross for bitterness (lawlessness/gracelessness) but it was the SALT for barrenness and preserving. As you have been reconciled to God by His death, so you are to be constantly to be saved by His life. The lesson here has its example in the Old Testament: Leviticus 2:13 And every offering of your grain offering you shall season with salt; you shall not allow the salt of the covenant of your God to be lacking from your grain offering. With all your offerings you shall offer salt. Without the SALT the offerings would not be acceptable, no matter how sincerely brought, no matter at how great the cost, no matter how lofty the motive, no matter how noble the ideal; without the SALT it is unacceptable to God. All other offerings are barren and like dirty filthy rags! This is the curse of Christendom! This is the paralysis in the church of Jesus Christ on earth today! In defiance of Gods Word, Gods Mind, Gods Will, Gods grace, and Gods judgment, men everywhere are prepared to dedicate an offering to God which God condemns the energy of the human flesh. Without the SALT (the Godliness of Christ bringing grace in and through you) it will not be acceptable! So who gets the Glory? It is only the life of the Lord Jesus His activity, clothed with you and displayed through you, that ultimately will find the approval of God! Only what the Lord does in you and through you merits His approval, and God can, and will, accept nothing less! As far as God is concerned; Christ is the preacher, Christ is the missionary, Christ is the Christian worker, Christ is the witnessing Christian. Only what He is and what He does is released through you only by your unrelenting attitude of humble dependence. This is called FAITH and whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Rom 14:23c). This is the work of God, that you believe and maintain unrelenting, total dependence upon the One which God hath sent to fill you with Himself. He is the true salt and light, through which you become like him unto all the world. Likewise Jesus said: Matthew 5:13-15 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

What next? - Go paint the world for Jesus


Spill Jesus on the World
Discipleship, says Clifford Williams, simply means the life that springs from grace 1 Peter 4:10-11 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. Note: Manifold grace is a picture of a multicolored thing that makes one cheerful, a rainbow, a painting, a Technicolor raincoat, a parade.

Ministry of Grace: Spiritual dynamite, firecracker, or spiritual dud?


Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, 87

and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Note: The word power has the same root meaning in Greek as the word dynamite and we recognize it as the result of Gods empowering grace.

Newfound Grace in the Christmas song Joy to the World! 1. Joy to the world! The Lord is Come; 2. Joy to the Earth! The Savior reigns 3. No more let sins and sorrows grow
4. He rules the world with truth and grace

Joy is the result of grace - remember that the root meaning of grace or charis in the Greek is traced to an action verb meaning I rejoice, I am glad. Pure Joy!

Appendix 3 Grace Stories

Stewardship of Grace (The Parable of the Talents)


We are accountable in the Kingdom of Heaven to the Master for being good stewards of His goods (i.e. His Goods = grace = talents in the parable) and for doing His Business (His will) in our life and personal ministry. Matthew 25:14-30 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. <goods = grace> And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 88

But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord's money. After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them. So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.' His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' He also who had received two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.' His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Parable of the talents discussion:


In this Parable, the Kingdom of Heaven is represented by all the servants being called by the Master. When He issues the call to everyone, He makes his Goods (grace) appear visibly to each to carry out their part in His business (His will). His grace is visibly shown to all but some takes no action but chose to hide from the sight of His grace which is represented by the talent in the parable. Other servants received the free gift of His grace, understanding its value, and trade it and multiply the grace (Multiplying grace to others, grace for grace). Amazing grace how sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see. The person in the parable who did not accept the Masters grace by faith, hid the Masters talent (grace), in fear, not knowing the Master Heart. He represents an Unredeemed person who is blind (living in darkness and fear). When grace appeared it was not accepted, by faith, but rather hid from sight (buried) in fear. Darkness was preferred over light. The Parable of the Talents illustrates how Gods grace appears to all men for the purpose of salvation. The servant that buried the talent (grace) had rejected Gods grace. Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,

Consequences of rejecting Gods Grace:


It is eternally important what we do with God's grace in Christ once it has appeared to each individual. God takes away the 89

grace that appears to all men when they do not accept grace through faith (The unfaithful steward did not possess the grace freely given, rather out of faithlessness, he buried it) Note: For to everyone that has, more will be given, and he will have abundance: One servant (representing the graceless) clearly rejects Gods grace out of fear that resulting from a false understanding of who the Master really is, which caused him to lose faith; hence, he remained unsaved by not accepting grace through faith: Then he who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.' But his lord answered and said to him, 'You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

Consequences of Accepting Gods Grace


The grace filled servants each receiving different amounts of grace (talents) in the parable but each utilized the Masters goods (grace) to multiply and bring glory to the master. Grace released, always glorifies the Master Name so that more will call upon His Name in faith. (grace for grace, from Glory to Glory) To the good stewards of grace who multiplied the gift of grace, the Master gives JOY: 'Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.' John 1:16 And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. JOY in the Masters Kingdom comes from a ministry of grace and Truth that Glorifies the Name of Jesus Christ. That same grace and Truth was full in Christ Jesus. He exchanged His grace for our sin at the cross. This is the picture of redemption. He redeemed our sin in exchange for His grace and His Truth that He received in fullness from the Father! Through redemption, we have become sealed and hidden In Christ by God the Holy Spirit who dwells in us and whose ministry is grace and Truth. Because of grace, we can behold Gods Glory!

Will Adam & Eve be in Heaven by Gods Grace?


Before sin in Eden, Adam and Eve enjoyed the total abiding presence of God and the fullness of His grace. gracelessness began in Eden as a consequence of mans disobedient act of pride in leaving God out by doubting His word and His will due to faithlessness. Mankind became separated from God. The power and strength of Gods grace was immediately cut off as a consequence of sin. It was as if the divine power cord (representing Gods grace) was severed as the source of power to light the way of man. Mans heart became graceless (lacking spiritual power) and void of truth (light); henceforth, darkness entered in. How could Adam and ever again enjoy Gods grace but for God's Mercy. The grace of God would appear during the balance of their lives but would not remain with them. Their bondage to sin would remain and would be passed on to all future generations because of the absence of Gods continual presence and grace. Fearing and reverencing Gods character is the beginning of wisdom; however, there are always consequences of the wrong view of God. There were many for mankind. Immediately Adam and Eve began to fear God but they responded to Gods voice call to them after initially hiding from Him in the garden because of sin: Genesis 3:7-10 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden. And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. 90

Note the fear similar to the wayward steward in the Parable of the Talents who hid his talent. Adam and Eve felt the void in their hearts from God absence and they immediately began working on restoring their godliness using fig leaves, the first recorded failure of man to solve the sin problem. It is a pattern for many religions today that will doom their followers eternally. (Note: In the Mormon Church today, the priest of the Mormon tabernacle wears a robe covered with pictures of fig leaves).

Genesis 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. Adam and Eve responded in obedience to Gods call. They accepted, by faith, the skins of first shed blood of an animal providing Mercy and the future promise of restored grace through the true atoning blood of Jesus Christ that would be shed at Calvarys cross. Once Jesus Christ died on the cross with the sinless spilled blood of God himself, the power of grace would be restored by grace through Faith In Christ.

The Bible does not delineate the type of animal God chose to provide the coat of skins. This is for certain: It was the first death recorded in Genesis and an animals blood was shed. Maybe the skins came from an unblemished lamb chosen by God Himself. SUDDENLY EVERY BIBLE STORY BECOMES A STORY OF GODS MERCY AND GRACE!!!

Journey Aboard the HMS Salvation


(A grace story about a sister ship of the Titanic) Years ago a devout man boarded a ship bound for America. His concern over the recent sinking of the Titanic had caused him to plan his trip wisely. After all, there were many souls at the bottom of the ocean because there were not enough lifeboats to save them. He had selected a ship whose name was HMS Salvation. He prepared for his voyage extensively, studying all that there was to know about this specific ship. He even studied a little about the life history of its Captain and hoped to meet him during the trip. He was proud that he had selected this wonderfully designed ship that had all the latest life saving features that he had personally checked out. Before leaving, he stocked his suitcase with cheese and crackers, since he elected not to go first class but chose standard class. For breakfast he ate herring, cheese and crackers. For lunch he ate the same thing. For supper, you guessed it he ate herring, cheese and crackers. The tantalizing smell of good food from the dining room and the kitchen, which happened to be just down the hall from his room, caused him to long for a meal like the others were enjoying. Just as the ship was nearing New York harbor, the half-starved man went to the ships purser and asked, What would one, good meal in the banquet room cost me? Let me see your ticket, the purser responded? Why, man! he exclaimed, your ticket includes all the meals you can eat during your voyage! Oh well, the disappointed man humbly said to himself, at least the ship arrived safely.

THE MEANING OF THE STORY:


Many Christians are like this traveler. God has saved us, we are free and we are on a secure journey to heaven. Because we do not understand God and His grace provisions, we live unknowingly like paupers. When we discover the truth about the amazing grace of the King, we realize that He desires to provided us with everything we need for life and godliness (see 2Pet 1:2). Gods grace gives us His power and His strength to help us live for Him. His grace is far beyond what we could ever ask for. He may not give us what we want, but He give us every good blessing we need to accomplish His will during the journey.

WARNING: DO YOU WANT TO GO BACK TO EGYPT?


Remember that Exodus crowd and their hard and rebellious hearts (Heb 3:7-10). The wilderness generation experienced the grace of God visibly manifested. By grace, God led them out of Egypt with signs and wonders of which the blood of the Passover provided their final freedom. By grace, God led them through the Red Sea. By grace, God gave them a cloud by 91

day and a pillar of fire by night. By grace, He fed them. By grace, God protected His people. What was the result? They indicated their gratitude to God by insulting His goodness with another verse of the hymn: We Wanna Go Back to Egypt. They voted for Egypt (Law) over Canaan (grace). How could this be? Here is the big clue .They did not know Gods ways (Heb 3:10b). The majority of the followers of Moses had a head knowledge of God, but not a heart knowledge of God. They knew Gods Law but they did not comprehend Gods grace. Today, in our personal lives, in our homes, in our churches, we need a fresh experience of grace (Jesus). Hear us God, fill us to overflowing with Your grace in Christ Jesus! As a consequence of not knowing Gods grace, notice what else was trueThey did not know Gods rest (Heb 3:11). Because they did not know Gods ways it was impossible for them to enter into Gods rest - the promised land. The same is true for us. If we do not understand who we are in Christ, we will not be able to know the spiritual rest which God offers to His children. The Hebrews in the wilderness remained there and did not enter into Canaans rest because of their unbelief. Note that many Christians today are satisfied with the familiarity of Law and playing church and are blinded to entering into Gods grace. Like the Hebrews of old they are satisfied to gaze across the Jordan into Canaan rather than plunge into the flow of Gods grace and be carried into the joy of resting in Him. Leon Morris best defines spiritual rest as "a place of blessing where there is no more striving, only relaxation in the presence of God." Beloved, abide above where there is perfect rest in Christ (our Canaan).

Living in the Power of Gods Grace


(A story about leaving the lights on.) Ponder the story about a lady who had a small house on the seashore of Ireland at the turn of the century. Electric lighting had just been discovered by Edison. This wise lady of significant wealth frugality decided to be the fist to use electricity and electric lighting in her home. The people in her local community were shocked and curious by her actions. They all came around to see this new invention demonstrated. Several weeks after the installation, a meter reader appeared at her door. He asked if her electricity was working, and she assured him that it was. Im wondering if you can explain something to me. He said. Your meter shows scarcely any usage. Are you using your power? Certainly, she answered. Each evening when the sun sets, I turn on my lights just long enough to light my candles; then I turn them off.

THE MEANING OF THE STORY


The woman in this story had tapped into the power but did not use it. Her house is connected but not altered. Likewise, we occasionally flip on the power of grace but most of the time we settle for the shadows. Why would one do this when we are blessed to be able to walk in the light? Strange that one who believes in the works of Jesus and has accepted His work at the cross could miss Gods best. Said another way: The rich young ruler wanted the medicine while the disciples wanted to follow the physician. The basis for belief in Jesus (either works or grace) makes all the difference as Jesus stated there are two ways to believe either in his works (the religious view) or by the indwelling grace (relationship): John 14:11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

The solemn WARNING!


Note: Having a form of godliness (religious) but denying its power (grace)! 2 Tim. 3:1-5 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 92

There is a similar story of Gods powerful staff of grace given to Moses to free and empower Gods people: Exodus 4:17 (NIV) But take this staff in your hand so you can perform miraculous signs with it." Exodus 17:9-12 (NIV) Moses said to Joshua, "Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands." So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up--one on one side, one on the other--so that his hands remained steady till sunset. Do you remember the flag-staff of the flag of joy, grace?. the cornerstone, Jesus? What was the consequence of Moses later striking the stone vs. speaking to the stone?

He Still Moves Stones


(Story from He Still Moves Stones by Max Lucado from John 21)

PETER HAD TURNED HIS BACK on the sea to follow the Messiah. He'd left his boats thinking hed never return. But now he's back. Full circle. Same sea. Maybe even the same spot. But this isnt the same Peter. Three years of living with the Messiah have changed him. Hes seen too much. Too many walking crippled, vacated graves, too many hours hearing his words. Hes not the same Peter. It's the same Galilee, but a different fisherman. Why did he return? What brought him back to Galilee after the crucifixion? Despair? Some think soI don't. Hope dies hard for a man who has known Jesus. I think that's what Peter has. That's what brought him back. Hope. A bizarre hope that on the sea where he knew him first, he would know him again. So Peter is in the boat, on the lake. Once again hes fished all night. Once again, the sea has surrendered nothing. His thoughts are interrupted by a shout from the shore. "Catch any fish?" Peter and John look up. Probably a villager. "No," they yell. "Try the other side," the voice yells back. John looks at Peter. What harm? So out sails the net. Peter wraps the rope around his wrist to wait. But there is no wait. The rope pulls taut and the net catches. Peter sets his weight against the side of the boat and begins to bring in the net, reaching down, pulling up, reaching down, pulling up. He's so intense with the task, he misses the message. John doesnt. The moment is deja vu. This has happened before. The long night. The empty net. The call to cast again. Fish flapping on the floor of the boat. Wait a minute. He lifts his eyes to the man on the shore. "It's him," he whispers. Then louder, "It's Jesus." Then shouting, "It's the Lord, Peter. It's the Lord!" Peter turns and looks. Jesus has come. Not just Jesus the teacher, but Jesus the death-defeater, Jesus the king . . . Jesus the victor over darkness. Jesus the God of heaven and earth is on the shore . . . and hes building a fire. Peter plunges into the water, swims to the shore, and stumbles out wet and shivering and stands in front of the friend he betrayed. Jesus has prepared a bed of coals. Both are aware of the last time Peter had stood near a fire. Peter had failed God, but God had come to him. 93

For one of the few times in his life, Peter is silent. What words would suffice? The moment is too holy for words. God is offering breakfast to the friend who betrayed him. And Peter is once again finding grace at Galilee. What would you say at a moment like this? What would you say at a moment like this? It's just you and God. You and God both know what you did. And neither one is proud of it. What do you do? You might consider doing what Peter did. Stand in God's presence. Stand in his sight. Stand still and wait. Sometimes that's all a soul can do. Too repentant to speak, but too hopeful to leavewe just stand. Stand amazed. He has come back. He invites you to try again. This time with him.

He Watches After Me
(Story from Last Chapter of In the Grip of Grace by Max Lucado )

Good, Im glad youre sitting by me. Sometimes I throw up. Not exactly what you like to hear from the airline passenger in the next seat. Before I had time to store my bag in the overhead compartment, I knew his name, age, and itinerary. Im Billy. Im fourteen, and I am going home to see my daddy. I started to tell him my name, but he spoke first. I need someone to look after me. I get confused a lot. He told me about the special school he attended and the medication he took for his unique illness. Can you remind me to take my pill in a few minutes. Before we buckled up he stopped the airline attendant. Dont forget about me, he told her. I get confused. Once we were airborne, Billy ordered a soft drink and dipped his pretzel in it. He kept glancing at me as I drank and asked if he could drink what I didnt. He spilled some of his soda and apologized. No problem, I said, wiping it up. Billy showed me his cassette player and asked if Id like to listen to one of his tapes. I brought my favorite, he smiled, handing me the sound tracks from The Little Mermaids, Aladdin, and The Lion King. When he started playing with his Nintendo Game Boy, I tried to doze off. Thats when he started making noises with his mouth, imitating a trumpet. I can sound like an ocean, too, he bragged, swishing spit back and forth in his cheeks. (Didnt sound like the ocean but I didnt tell him) Billy was a little boy in a big body. Can clouds hit the ground. he asked me. I started to answer, but he looked back out the window like hed never asked. Unashamed of his needs, he didnt let the flight attendant pass without a reminder: Dont forget to look after me. I honestly cant think of one time Billy didnt remind the crew that he needed attention. The rest of us didnt. We never asked for help. We were grownups. Sophisticated. Self-reliant. Seasoned travelers in this world. Most of us didnt even listen to the emergency handling instructions or read the warnings on the card in the seat pocket. (Billy asked me to explain them to him.) One last thought. Billy spent the final hour of the flight with his head on my shoulder, his hands folded between his knees. Just when I thought he was asleep, his head popped up and he said, My dad is going to meet me at the airport, I cant wait to see him because he watches after me. Paul the apostle would have liked Billy. He wrote a letter so that more would be like Billy, called Romans. 94

Were it Not for Grace


by David Hamilton, Phill McHugh as sung by Larnell Harris

Time measured out my days Life carried me along In my soul I yearned to follow God But knew Id never be so strong I looked hard at this world To learn how heaven could be gained Just to end where I began Where human effort is all in vain [chorus] Were it not for grace I can tell you where Id be Wandering down some pointless road to nowhere With my salvation up to me I know how that would go The battles I would face Forever running but losing the race Were it not for grace So here is all my praise Expressed with all my heart Offered to a Friend who took my place And ran a course I could not start And when He saw in full Just how much His love would cost He still went the final mile between me and heaven So I would not be lost [repeat chorus] Forever running but losing the race Were it not for grace
95

Hebrews 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. <Note: for the joy = remember the Greek word for joy is the root word for grace. > 2 Tim. 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

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Appendix 4

THE GREAT MYSTERY (Part I)


by Ray C. Stedman Peninsula Bible Church December 17,1972 http//www.pbc.org Scripture: Ephesians 3:1-6

The first paragraph in Ephesians Chapter 3 is, in many ways, the key to this great letter of Paul to the Ephesian Christians. Here he begins to describe in full detail the great mystery which he had devoted his life to propagating around the world. We all love mysteries. There is something about human beings which causes us to be fascinated by something hidden, secret, by cryptic truth which needs to be discovered and revealed. God understands us so thoroughly that he has hidden mystery in everything in life. We do not know anything fully. There is always an element we don't understand. Even terms we commonly use, such as "love" and "joy" and "life" itself, are basically mysterious to us. We know they are absolutely essential to our existence, but we don't know what they are. We struggle constantly trying to understand what are the great realities they represent. This is true in every area of our lives. Even physicists tell us that, hidden away in every physical manifestation of the world and universe around us, is mystery. The quantum theory, upon which much of modern physics is based, and which has unleashed the whole realm of nuclear fission, has at its heart, say the physicists, a principle of indeterminism, a hidden principle. It states that we never can discover fully the truth about anything; there is an element of hidden information about every subject we go into. We are ever confronted with mystery. It is mystery which makes life entrancing, fascinating. And God understands this. It is why the Scriptures say, "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; but the glory of kings is to search it out," {cf, Prov 25:2 RSV}. God knows that we all want to be kings, that we are made to reign. And the glory of kings is to discover that which has been hidden. The Apostle Paul describes the greatest mystery of life to the Ephesians in these words: For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles -- assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. {Eph 3:1-6 RSV} There, in very brief form, is his statement of the mystery which lies at the heart of all life. As we will see, this is the greatest secret ever presented to the minds of men. It is not new to us -- we have been discussing and discovering aspects of it all along in this letter. But now we come to the full statement of what it is. The paragraph falls very simply into two divisions. Paul is concerned first about his role as a teacher of this mystery, and then about the mystery itself, about what it is he teaches. Sometimes it is difficult for those who do not read Greek to see how Paul builds his letters. This is particularly true of this passage, because Paul begins "For this reason ..." -- but he doesn't give the reason toward which he is moving until Verse 13! This is the way the apostle's mind worked. He starts out to say one thing but then is captured by the truth of something else he is going to say. So he begins to bring it in ahead of time. Then he is carried along from one truth to another until finally he gets back to what he started to say in the beginning. If you read it this way: "For this reason..." then skip down to Verse 13: "... I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory," you will understand what he is trying to say in the intervening sentences. 97

The apostle was concerned that the Christians to whom he was writing at this time in his life, the Ephesians, Philippians, and others, would understand why he was going through the struggles he was. If you and I had been in Rome with Paul as he wrote this letter, and could have stood in the room of the hired house where he was living, chained day and night to a Roman soldier, and watched as he dictated to his amanuensis, his secretary, watched him as he paced the floor, perhaps, with the soldier having to walk along with him, stopping now and then to make corrections, we would have understood something of Paul's concern for the recipients of this letter. They could not understand why the mighty apostle had to be a prisoner -limited, unable to come to them in their need as a growing young church -- and why all communication with him had to be by correspondence. So he was writing to settle their fears and to show them what it was all about. His first statement is this: "I am a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles -- ." That is the first thing he wants them to know. It is striking that nowhere does Paul ever refer to himself as a prisoner of Caesar. He was Caesar's prisoner. He had been arrested because he was charged by the Jews with sedition, or treason, against the emperor. Therefore, eventually, he was remanded to the care of the palace guard, the personal bodyguard of the emperor. So here he was in Rome, a prisoner of Caesar, awaiting trial before Nero. But never once does he say that he is a prisoner of Caesar; it is always "a prisoner of Christ Jesus." The reason is obvious when you read his letters. He saw that Caesar was not the one who had the final say about him; Jesus did. The duration of his confinement was not determined by Caesar, but by the Lord Jesus. As Paul came to understand the One whom he served, he knew that Jesus is in control of history. He saw him as John did in the book of Revelation -- as sitting on his throne, holding the reins of government in his hands. He is the One who opens, and no man shuts, who shuts, and no man opens, who orders, and his will is carried out. Paul knew, therefore, that anytime the Lord Jesus decided Paul's imprisonment would be of no further value, he would be set free, that when the Lord Jesus spoke, Caesar acted. Therefore, he never saw himself as being the prisoner of Caesar. This is a tremendous lesson to us, who sometimes become worried and anxious about what the political powers-that-be are doing in the world today. Would that we had the faith of this mighty apostle who understood so clearly that Caesar was not in control; Jesus is. Paul cites some reasons for his imprisonment. The first is that he was a prisoner on behalf of the Gentiles. This refers not only to the fact that his arrest had come about because he was preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, but also to the fact that it benefited the Gentiles. Do not forget that the reason Paul was charged by the Jews with sedition against the emperor was because they were so angry that he would carry any message from God to the Gentiles. Jewish scruples and prejudices were terribly offended by the fact that Paul had the nerve, the effrontery, to say to the Jews that the Gentiles were received by God equally as they, that the Gentiles could have equal standing before him. When Paul spoke to the Jewish mob in his own defense, after he was arrested in the temple courts, the thing which triggered their renewed ire was the word "Gentile" in his message. They had been listening carefully to him as he spoke of his conversion, of how he had been called by God, until he stated that he had been sent out unto the Gentiles. Then all hell broke loose again. They mobbed him and would have lynched him on the spot had it not been for the intervention of the Roman guard. So it was because of this great message that he was a prisoner. Furthermore, he wants these Ephesians to know that they were benefiting by his arrest. I think this is a hint that he recognized that if it were not for the fact he had been made a prisoner, he would never have had time to write these letters which have changed the course of history. His concern for these people was such that he would have gone to them had he been free. He would have preached to them and taught them directly from the Word, but never would have had time to write it down. So perhaps the reason the Lord Jesus kept him a prisoner was that he might have time to write. He may have to do that with some of us, too. Some of you have learned truth you ought to write down and pass along. And I wonder if sometime the Lord isn't going to lock me up to give me a chance to write some of the things he has laid on my heart. I hope I'll learn from the lesson of Paul in this respect. Writing these letters is the greatest thing the apostle ever did, for it is these which have changed our lives. And he recognizes that they were written on behalf of the Gentiles.

The second thing Paul says about himself, so that they might understand what he was going through, is that he was a 98

steward of God's grace. God had committed a certain responsibility to him. I'm glad the Revised Standard Version translates this word "stewardship" instead of "dispensation," for "dispensation" is often misunderstood in our day. But if we see it as a stewardship we will understand it. A steward was a servant to whom a certain responsibility was committed, certain goods were given, that he might "dispense" them, might give them out to other people. This is the biblical idea behind the word dispensation. It is not a period of time at all; it is a responsibility to dispense something, a stewardship. This is what Paul said was given to him. He was a responsible steward. This is exactly in line with what he had written to the Corinthians much earlier. In First Corinthians 4 he says, This is how one should regard us [apostles], as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. {1 Cor 4:1 RSV} The "mysteries" are the sacred secrets that God knows about life, which men desperately need to know. Think of this! This is what Paul says we Christians are -- beginning with apostles, and including everyone who names the name of Christ -- we are servants of Christ, and stewards, responsible servants, given the responsibility of dispensing the mysteries of God, of helping people understand these great secrets which explain life and make it possible to solve the difficulties and problems of our human affairs. To us is committed this responsibility. This is how Paul sees himself -- as a steward of the mysteries of God. And, more than this, he was taught this personally by none other than the Lord Jesus himself. "It was made known to me by revelation." This is where we get our understanding of the authority of this great apostle. There are those who tell us that the Apostle Paul learned his gospel from the other apostles, who in turn had heard it from Jesus, and that, therefore, Paul's apostleship is somewhat less than theirs. But Paul says this is not true. He tells us very plainly in his letter to the Galatians that when he was converted on that Damascus road, "I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ," {Gal 1:12 RSV}. He didn't talk with the apostles; in fact, it was three years before he ever went back to Jerusalem after his conversion. And then he saw only James, the Lord's brother, and they didn't talk about doctrine. It wasn't until fourteen years later that he ever had an opportunity to sit down and compare notes with all the other apostles. And, he says, they added nothing to him. He understood everything they did, knew everything Jesus had taught them in the days of his flesh. A striking example of this is found in First Corinthians 11, where he writes about the Lord's supper. He says, "For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, 'This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me,'" {1 Cor 11:23-24 RSV}. In other words, Jesus himself had appeared to Paul and had told him all that went on in the Upper Room. So when Peter and James and John and the other apostles began to compare notes with Paul, they were astonished that this apostle, this man who had been the persecutor of the church and the chief murderer of the saints in Jerusalem, understood not only the doctrine they had been taught, but also the very events they had gone through. Thus they had to acknowledge that he was an apostle on equal terms with them. This is what gives Paul his authority. Every now and then we run across someone who says, usually in defense of Women's Liberation, that Paul was a crusty old bachelor whom no one can really trust, and that we must understand that he was conditioned by the culture of his time, and that therefore one must pick and choose among his writings. Paul himself, and all the other apostles, would deny this. Here was a man who spoke with direct authority, commissioned by the Lord Jesus himself. The third element of his stewardship, Paul says, is that it has given him great insight: "... the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly." Scholars are not exactly sure what he meant by that. Some feel that he had written another letter before this, which had explained much of this mystery. But personally I think it is a reference to what he has written previously in this letter. In Chapter 1, Verses 9-10, he says, For he [God the Father] has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. {Eph 1:9-10 RSV} 99

That is the brief statement he had written to these Ephesian Christians, and to which he refers. He says, "When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ." That is, "You can understand that I have great grasp and understanding of what this mystery is, that it is really the secret of all things, touching everything in life. It is at the heart of all human existence. It is the mystery of the goal toward which God is moving in human affairs; therefore, it encompasses space, time, matter -- all of life." And he sums it up in these words: "the mystery of Christ" -- Jesus Christ, at the heart of all things. None of us can help but be aware that this is an extremely troubled time in which we are living:

We do not know how to solve the problems which are overwhelming us. We are being swamped by our own inventions. We continue to make automobiles even after they have filled the highways and poisoned the air. We don't know how to break loose from this syndrome. We don't know what to do with the millions of people who have been shoved off into ghettos, areas of our cities where economic pressures force them to live, and prevent them from having available to them the resources of life that many of us enjoy. We don't know how to balance this. We don't know how to feed the world. We are unable to stem the tide of broken marriages, and so our divorce rate is higher than that of any other nation in the world.
We don't know what to do about these things. Why? Many writers -- thoughtful, perceptive men -- are sitting down and trying to analyze where we have gone wrong, and why cannot we understand what to do. Some propose one solution and some another; some are partially right, and some are almost totally wrong. But the reason they cannot grasp the answer is that they have never dealt with the heart of the problem, the great secret to all things. The key mystery is Christ, says the apostle. If you read that as merely theological language, you have missed the import of what he is saying -- that every bit of life finds its final solution in the person and being of the Lord Jesus himself. God has set his Son at the heart of all things. Therefore the understanding of this great mystery is the key to the ultimate solutions for which men are seeking today. If we begin to understand what Christ is, who he is, what he does, how we can lay hold of him -- we will begin to see the solutions of these problems unfold, as they are indeed unfolding in many of our lives. Solutions are coming into being as we grasp what Christ has made available to us. I know that sometimes we are so blinded by familiarity with these terms that we miss the impact of this. But I pray that God will open the eyes of your understanding, that you will see how fantastic is this great mystery, and how important it is to understand it thoroughly, and to enter into it. When Einstein discovered his theory of relativity, very few people grasped it or understood it. But when people began to operate on its basis, even though they didn't fully understand it, they began to change the world. Our whole modern era was brought about by the discovery of a secret which was hidden in nature until the time when Einstein stumbled upon a few hints of it. And there is much yet to be learned, even in this realm. But how much more are there great riches in store for us who will give some time and thought and effort to grasping this great secret which Paul sets forth before us here --

the ultimate

secret behind all things: the mystery of Christ!

In this next sentence he gives us a brief summary of this great mystery: When you read this you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of 100

men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. {Eph 3:4-6 RSV} There is the mystery: The first thing he says about it is that it has been hidden in the past. That is, great men of God in the Old Testament did not understand this mystery. As Paul looks back upon these great men of the past -- Moses, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others -- he says that though they understood much, though they looked into the future far beyond our own day and God showed them what the end of all things would be, nevertheless they did not understand this mystery. The secret was hidden to men of past ages. When did it begin to open up? The answer is, in Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus himself began to unfold the mystery. I refer you to Matthew 13, where you have it recorded that our Lord spoke these amazing words. In Verse 34, Matthew tells us this: All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: "I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world." {Matt 13:34 RSV} Our Lord, then, began to unfold this mystery, to tell us things that were hidden from the very foundation of the world. So it is obvious, from what the apostle says here in Ephesians, that God needed to prepare human beings for the unfolding of this secret. He had to get them ready for it. This he did with the rituals and symbols in the Old Testament -- the giving of the Law and the sacrifices, which helped us to understand that we human beings have something inherently wrong with us, which cannot be cured by our making a few good resolutions. Rather, it is something that is drastically and terribly and deeply wrong. The only thing that can cure it is death itself. God had to prepare this race to be able to grasp that fact and to be ready to believe it. And even then he had not fully revealed this mystery. A little was revealed in the past, but the great secret was kept hidden. But it has now been revealed, Paul says, "to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit." There is a line of teaching called 'ultradispensationalism," in which certain teachers (who are genuine believers in Christ) teach that only the Apostle Paul knew this secret, that to him was given the privilege of unveiling it for the first time to human minds and hearts. But, as we have already seen, it was the Lord Jesus who began to unveil it. And, as Paul himself says here, it was made known to all the apostles and prophets, i.e., the writers of the Scriptures, such as Luke and James and others who were not apostles, but who were prophets. In the closing verses of Romans 16 there is a very clear statement on the unveiling of this mystery: Now to him who is able to strengthen you, according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings [i.e., the Scriptures] is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith -- to the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. {Rom 16:2527 RSV} Now we come to the actual mystery itself. It consists of this great truth: That the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and joint partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Here Paul does something that he does frequently (and only the Apostle Paul does this) -- he coins words. He runs out of language, is unable to put what he wants to say into the words at his disposal. So he invents new ones. He puts words together. And here he makes up three words which you find nowhere else in the Greek New Testament. They are, literally: 1. Joint-heirs 2. Joint-bodies, and 3. Joint-partakers. 101

When they come to Christ, Jews and Gentiles together are joint heirs, joint members of one body, and joint partakers of the promise. What is he talking about? Well, in those three terms you have the answers to the greatest struggles with which we humans are engaged today: "Joint-heirs" has to do with possessions. Here he is touching the whole problem of man and his universe, man living in a natural world, the dominion (or lack of it) of man over that world, and the reason why we cannot solve our ecological riddles. The answer, as is detailed in other places in Scripture, is that the old creation which has existed since the beginning of time is gripped by an unbreakable law, which Paul calls "the law of decay" in Romans 8. It is The Second Law of Thermodynamics, if you want the scientific term for it, the law of entropy. This law states that energy is becoming less available, everything is running down, deteriorating. And we cannot break this law. This is why the ecological problems of today are unsolvable. There is no way we can break through this law. But Paul says that in Christ the breakthrough has occurred. In Christ, God is beginning a new creation, one that lives by a wholly different principle and is not subject to this law. And this creation has already begun! You see, the thing which was not taught in the Old Testament was the resurrection of Jesus, and the effects of it in our lives right now. In the Old Testament there is very little reference to the resurrection of the body. There are a few references -- just enough to teach the truth, so that the Old Testament believers knew there was life beyond death. But they didn't know what kind of life, what it would be like. This was hidden from them. They died in hope, but that hope was not very well defined. And the one thing they did not know at all was that the life beyond death, resurrection life, could be made available to us while we are still living. This is what they never understood. You will never find that taught in the Old Testament in those terms. But this is what the apostles were teaching -- that God has already broken through the old creation, and, right in the midst of the old, he is creating a new. Men and women today can live on the basis of this new creation. We can learn how to handle our environment, even, on the basis of this new creation yet today. Christians have the answer to the ecological crisis. This is why Dr. Francis Schaeffer has written a book called Pollution and the Death of Man, and related this subject to the Christian answer. This is the only way these problems can be worked out. What we are to inherit from God, ultimately, is the world. Paul tells us, "All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours;" {1 Cor 3:21b-22 RSV}. And the book of Hebrews tells us that we do not yet see all things subject to Christ, but we do see Jesus, the One who has been made heir of all things, and in him we share that heirship, so that one day all things subject to this new law will be ours. One day there will be a reversal of the law of decay, and all things will begin to pick up energy again and be renewed, revitalized, in tremendously increasing degree. In the realm of performance this is already true. This is the struggle of humanity which is answered by our becoming "jointmembers of one body." Why can't we get along with one another? Why do we fight each other? Why are there so many family breakups? Why is there so much hatred and resentment and bitterness and malice? Because when we are still living in the old creation those things are inevitable. If you fulfill the flesh, there is no way by which you can keep from living in disharmony with people around you. Ah, but in the realm of the Spirit the breakthrough has already occurred. When we begin to "walk in the Spirit," as we understand what that phrase really means, then we can love, forgive, begin to reach out to others. The whole experience of life is transformed, right now. Finally, the apostle touches the matter of power: "partakers of the promise." The promise was of the giving of the Holy Spirit -that God's Spirit himself would live in us, and empower us to do everything God wants us to do. Any time we know there is something we ought to do, something we should do, something it would be right for us to do, but which we don't want to do -if we then cast ourselves in helplessness upon the Lord Jesus and trust his word, we can assume the power of the Spirit to do that thing. And the power of the Spirit will always come flowing through right at that point, to enable us to do what otherwise we could never do. This is Paul's explanation of the great mystery. It is a breakthrough, a new and marvelous way of life which has already begun in our experience, and which, ultimately, will solve all the problems facing humanity. The remarkable thing about it is that you can experience it right now. In Colossians Paul puts it this way: "Christ in you, the hope of glory," {Col 1:27b}. It is the 102

only hope you will ever have of living according to the glory God designed for man when he created him in the beginning. Put in these terms, this means that the present "civilization" we are living in secular life, with its politics, its education, its legislative system, its reportage of news events can be likened to a cocoon, clinging lifelessly to the branch of history. But inside that cocoon, God is working a metamorphosis; a transformation is taking place. And one of these days that cocoon will open, in the Springtime of the world, and a new being will step out -- a being which is being created at this time right within the cocoon. This is a great parable that God teaches us in nature. Did you ever wonder why caterpillars crawl on the ground? Why don't they run around on four legs? Because God is teaching us things in nature, if we could only see. This is a picture of life in the flesh, the natural human life. Everything that lies in a caterpillar's path is a horrible obstacle over which it must painfully crawl. It cannot see very far, and doesn't know which turn to take. This is an apt description of the way we live our lives as natural human beings. But God has a program for a caterpillar. He has a wonderful plan for its life. I don't know if anyone has told the Four Spiritual Laws to a caterpillar, but it would be interesting to do so, because the first point would be, "God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." What is it? "That you'll die, that you'll come to the end, that somehow all your old life as a caterpillar will decay and you will be left lifeless and dead, in a cocoon of your own spinning, hanging on a limb, and apparently it will all be over." But it isn't over. Right in the midst of that cocoon something happens. We don't really know what it is. Nobody has yet ever found out what goes on inside a cocoon that transforms a caterpillar into a butterfly. But we know that one of these days, when the sun begins to shine, all these dead-looking cocoons will begin to break open, and there will emerge a beautiful creature, designed no longer for life on the lower level, crawling along over every obstacle, but able to rise above them, able to spread its wings and fly as an expression of beauty and joy throughout the world and nature. This is God's lesson regarding what he is doing now. The cocoon is the old creation, and in the midst of it the new is taking shape. And we can live in that new creation right now. This is the great mystery. This may seem like old stuff to you, for unfortunately these words have come so frequently to our ears that we've lost the impact of them. But I hope you can go back, perhaps during this Christmas season, and think again of the breathless wonder of this great mystery which Paul declares to us -- how in Jesus Christ we can step out of the old, already, into the new creation. And the effects of it can be felt in our relationships with others, in our attitudes within, in our treatment of the environment around, in our enjoyment of the world of nature which is already present around us, and ultimately, in the power of the Holy Spirit imparted to us to make us live as we ought to live, in the fullness of joy and peace and life and glory and rejoicing before God. One of these days, Springtime is going to come to the world, and when it comes, what God as already been preparing will then become manifest. Now, you can't wait till that time to get on the bandwagon; it has already started. This is the great mystery. It has already begun. And you are either a part of the new creation, or you are a part of the old; one or the other, but never both.

You may live your life as a member of the new creation in the midst of the old, but not part of it anymore no longer strangers, no longer foreigners, says the apostle. You have broken with all that. Therefore live as members of a new race," is his exhortation. "Stop going on in the old way. Don't go on any longer subject to all the heartache and misery and malice and hatred and resentment and oppression which comes from the old creation. Rather, break loose and be free in Jesus Christ." When you do, you will understand the practical import of this fantastic mystery which is at the heart of all life, and which God will begin to unfold to us more and more as we go on, until it simply "blows our minds" with the wonder of what is waiting for us. 103

This is what Christmas is all about. This is what began at Bethlehem. The first breakthrough was on Christmas Day, when in the darkness of the world -- sunk in apathy and misery, in superstition and blindness, and in death -- a light broke through. "A people who sat in darkness saw a great light," {c.f., Isa 9:2 RSV}. And that light has been reaching out to the world ever since, bringing men out of the old into the new. I don't know how you think of yourself, but I know that it helps greatly to personalize these great truths, to remember that this is where God wants the application finally to be made -- right home into your hearts, into your lives, into your families. You are a new creation in Jesus Christ. You are no longer part of the old but part of that new program which, looking into the future, is waiting for the dawn of a new world, a new life, and a new day, when all God's people shall be one over all the earth, and no harm or heartache will occur in all the world. This is the mystery, as Paul describes it to us, and as God wants us to understand it. May God help us to make it personal in our own lives.

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Appendix 5

THE GREAT MYSTERY (Part 2)


by Ray C. Stedman Peninsula Bible Church December 28,1986 You have all seen the television commercial for the Armed Forces that says---to a musical accompaniment---"Be all that you can be." It implies that if you join the Army, the Navy, the Air Force or the Marines, then you can be all that you can be. I don't believe that! Does anybody? But a word like that has strong appeal. Everybody wants to be all that he can be. I have never met anyone who doesn't want to be all that he feels himself capable of being. We all hunger for that. No matter how degraded, downcast or frustrated, everyone longs for fulfillment. And yet, as we observe the bewildering tragedy of human life, we are left shaking our heads at the seeming impossibility of that. I have been listening to stories all week from relatives, friends, and on the media, describing endless shame, hurt, pain, murder, divorce, cruelty, abuse and personal failure. Is there any real possibility of reversing this in someone's life? Can the downward slide be arrested? The good news of the gospel answers with a resounding Yes! It can be done! In fact, that is what the apostle Paul is saying here in his letter to the Colossians. This is what I would call a first century description of how a life can be changed: "Once you alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation--- if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel." (Colossians 1:21-23) What a marvelous thing to find hope like that in this dark world of ours! And how wonderful that God himself undertakes to make this change! I read this morning a statement from a man who felt he heard God saying to him one day, "I wish you would leave all this reconciling of things to me, since you are so hopelessly unequipped for it, and that you would use whatever influence you have with your fellow fussers and worriers to do likewise. I know what I am doing and I will go over it with you when you get home." That is a good word for us to remember. God is at work. He is sovereign. And he can and does reconcile people to himself and make a change in their lives. This passage, from verse 21 on through the end of the chapter, is a tremendous description of the process of change in a human being. It traces it in three stages, and I propose that we consider them this morning. First, there is a beginning that involves an inner reversal of attitude. A total change of outlook occurs when you come into contact personally with the Savior himself. As Paul states here, there was a time when all of us who are now Christians were "alienated from God." We did not have any use for God. We did not take him into our reckoning. We did not consider him important. We started and ended each day without a thought of him. We went about our own plans, lived for ourselves, and did what we felt like doing, never giving a thought to God. Or if we did think of him, we regarded him as merely a remote Being on the horizon of life, but we never expected anything from him. Because we cut him out of our thinking---even though he was sustaining our very life---we ended up, as Paul describes, "enemies in our minds," hostile toward God. We did not want anything to do with him. You remember how that felt, don't you? We avoided God. We thought he would interfere with our plans; that he was a cosmic killjoy out to make us live uneventful and unhappy lives. We were not open to him in any degree whatsoever. We were enemies of God, and as a result we expressed that enmity in evil behavior. That is really what this text says. The translation, "because of your evil behavior," is a very poor one. That sounds as though evil behavior is the cause of inner alienation and hostility toward God. But it is quite the other way around. It is inner alienation, estrangement from God and hostility toward him, that causes evil behavior. That is what the Greek text clearly declares here. "But now," Paul says, "we are reconciled to God." Something has happened within us. It occurred when we saw that the 105

death of Jesus was for us, that somehow he had done something to set aside our estrangement, our brokenness and hurt, and that if we came to him in faith he would deliver us. So we came. Something happened then to our inner attitude. We were changed in the way we thought. We no longer saw God as an enemy and a Judge, but as a loving Father. We recognized that the cross was not a symbol of failure in the life of a religious fanatic, but it was a moment when the great enemies all men face were conquered; when death was overcome and all the evil powers against mankind were set at naught. Thus our whole life was changed. Just this past week I received a letter from a man describing the change that occurred in his life. Here is an excerpt from it: I visited your office about four and one-half years ago at the request of my wife. When I met with you I was away from my wife and planning to divorce. After meeting with you I listened to many of your tapes and read several of your books and through this and other Christian materials I developed at least a vague sense of the personal nature of God and that he does, in fact, hate divorce. Out of a guilty conscience I moved back into my home, with my wife. I truly did not believe I could ever love my wife again and that my life would be forever miserable, but the guilt of leaving was so great I had to stay. After I had been home for about six months, during which time my wife encouraged me to attend church and Bible study, the Lord saved me and demonstrated his love for me. In a moment of surrender he freed me from drugs and alcohol. I had been drinking a quart of whiskey per day for years, and my health clearly revealed it. Since that time my love relationship with Jesus has continually grown. As the world views it, my life has totally fallen apart. I have lost my business and everything our family has ever owned in the last three years. The world does not know what I and my family know. Our riches are no longer in things (the created). Our riches are in the Creator. He is our Rock. He is faithful and he will deliver us and we only desire that our will be in conformity to his will. He has given us a wonderful peace of heart, joy in our spirits and the strength to bear up under whatever circumstances he allows to mold us into conformity to his character. I have found in my wife everything I had ever hoped to have in a wife, and the Holy Spirit has encouraged me for some time to share with you this wonderful miracle worked by God through you his servant and others like you. That clear testimony confirms what the apostle says to the Colossians. God is in the business of changing lives. That is what this good news is about. If you need your life changed, that is where you start. The process of change begins, as we have seen, with opening the heart to Christ, and receiving him as Lord. But it is a process that is headed for a specific goal, which, according to the apostle, is "to present you holy [whole, complete, well balanced in spirit, soul and body] in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation." That is God's goal, and he fully intends to accomplish it. The sign that it is happening---don't miss this---is, "if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel." It is continuing that is the proof of reality. Many people start out the Christian life, filled with joy because they have found a new sensation. But it does not last. Somewhere along the line it fades. Finally, they set it all aside and go back to the way they once were. That is a sign there was never real faith at the beginning. It is continuance that proves reality. Someone has well said, "If your faith fizzles before you finish, it is because it was faulty from the first!" You get an "F" for that performance! That does not mean that faith cannot waver and wobble at times. It does with all of us. Sometimes faith grows dim, but true faith never ceases. We never give up the realization that God has changed us. There is a new attitude, a new life imparted, and that is the sign that we cannot give up being a Christian. I received a phone call from a young man one day who said, "I'm going to quit being a Christian. It's too hard. I don't want to pay the price." I said to him, "I think that is what you ought to do." There was a long silence for a moment, then he said, "You know I can't do that." I knew he could not, and he did not, for it is continuing that is the proof of reality.

The second step is the realization of the part others play in this process of change. Listen to these words: "This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the 106

commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness..." One of the remarkable things that Christians learn is that others have had a part in bringing the gospel to them. Oftentimes that part was played long before we ever came to Christ, but when we learn of it we are greatly moved. I will never forget the Methodist evangelist who preached to me when I was a boy ten years old. I remember to this day the text he preached from because when I heard the gospel from him I came to Christ. I do not know where that man is or what has happened to him, but his name and the memory of that occasion are still fresh in my mind. Some may wonder what is meant by the statement, "the gospel...that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven." How could that be, we ask? When Paul wrote this he had preached in a few cities of the Roman Empire, which was but a small part of the planet on which we live. Then, they did not even know about North and South America. How could this statement be true? We find the answer in chapter 10 of Paul's letter to the Romans. There he argues that there must be preachers who must be sent, etc., in order for people to hear. Nevertheless, he asks, "Have they not heard?" Then he quotes from Psalm 19, "Their voice has gone out to all the earth, their words to the ends of the world." The psalm states, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows his handiwork." Nature is the first preacher of the gospel. There is order in the universe. There is clearly intelligence behind it all. Hebrews says, "He that comes to God must believe that he is [that is what nature tells us] and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him." If anyone, anywhere, responds to the facts that nature presents about the existence of a God of power and glory, and begins to seek him, then God himself assumes the responsibility to bring him to hear of the Redeemer, the Savior. It is still true that "there is no other name, under heaven, given among men whereby we must be saved." God will bring the seeking soul to Jesus. The second thing Paul states is that the character of those who truly preach the gospel is that they are servants. They count it a delight and joy to be used of God. This is a major distinguishing mark by which you can tell whether a preacher is true or false. If you listen to the television evangelists today, as I frequently have done, you can hardly escape the feeling that Christianity is a matter of trying to get something from God---to get God to work for us. We humans are the ultimate reason for all that happens in life. But the truth is, we Christians are given the high privilege of serving the Living God, of God using us in our weakness, failure, folly and faultiness to proclaim this truth to others. The realization that the God of Glory is willing to do that should create in us a deep sense of gratitude that we can be his servants. That is the difference between the false and true witnesses. The false think God works for them; the true delight in the fact that God is using them, and they do not regard it as an intrusion or a burden, but the highest honor that could ever be given. But, says Paul, such service involves much pain and sacrifice: "I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ's afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church." What does he mean, that something is lacking in the afflictions of Christ? Clearly, he does not mean that something was lacking in the atoning work of Jesus; that the suffering of the cross was not sufficient to settle the question of sin. The fact is, the word "afflictions" is never used in the scriptures to describe the death of Jesus. Afflictions are what Jesus went through before the cross from the opposition of the enemy, the devil, and from our Lord's willingness to make himself a servant to others and to minister to human needs. That was when he endured "afflictions." But there is nothing lacking in what he did on the cross. Scripture says, "He is able to save to the uttermost all those who come unto God through him." John adds, "He is the propitiation for our sin, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world." There is nothing lacking there!

But when we are engaged in fighting against the opposition of the devil and his angels, when we are opposed by the lusts of the flesh and face the subtle lies and deceptions of the world around us, then we find we are engaged in a combat, and combat is always costly! Someone must pay a price in order that others might come to Christ. Have you ever asked yourself, how many prayers and tears, how much heartache and disappointment has someone gone through for you in order that you might come to Christ? I never read the Scriptures without a momentary thought, at least, of what it cost others for me to have this Bible in my hand: the blood of martyrs, the fears and tears of persecuted people 107

throughout centuries, the sweat and labor of translators, and the effort of teachers to make it plain and clear. We should never read the Scriptures without remembering that someone has died to make it possible. When we come to Christ we are to take up this battle and suffer on behalf of others. It not only benefits others but it benefits us as well. That is why Paul says, "I rejoice in my sufferings on your behalf." "It does something for me," he says. "It keeps me usable. I am reminded constantly that it is out of weakness that I am made strong." That is what suffering for others will do for us: it will keep us humble and useful. But it also has great effect upon others: it shows them that we are deeply concerned. We pray for them, we long for them, we grieve over them, we hurt when they hurt. That is the process by which others come to Christ. Finally, this process requires, as Paul goes on to say, an understanding of a truly great mystery: "...the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him [not simply Christ, but "Christ in you"] counseling and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ [that is the goal which in v. 22 he says God is aiming at]. To this end I labor, struggling with all the energy he so powerfully works in me." There is the great mystery. It is the greatest truth taught in the Bible, and yet it is the most seriously missing element in many churches today. Most Christians in our churches understand that Christ died for the forgiveness of their sins---they believed that and came to Christ because of that---but that is where most of them stop. Relatively few, it seems, ever go on to grasp the fact that Jesus died for them that he might live in them. It is his life in them that is the source of power, change and deliverance, and the ability to resist temptation. That is how loneliness is met and Companionship provided. It is not enough to know that Christ died in order that we might go to heaven. We are also to know, understand, and practice Christ actually living in us now! That is surely the most astounding truth in the Bible. As Paul declares here, it is a mystery that "has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to his saints." Think of that! Nowhere in the Old Testament will you ever find a single verse that describes the process by which God is going to help his people. There are great promises in the Old Testament, such as Isaiah's word at the end of chapter 40, "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." That is true. Old Testament saints understood and believed that promise, and they actually experienced it: they waited on the Lord, and they were strengthened; they were lifted up, comforted and helped. All that is clear as you read the Old Testament. But what was never told them was the means by which God would do this. It was not until Jesus came and taught his disciples that we learn at last what means God would employ. In Matthew 13, that amazing chapter of the parables of Jesus, our Lord took these words on his own lips, quoting one of the Old Testament prophets, "I will open my mouth in parables. I will utter things hidden since the creation of the world." Gradually he sought to impart to the disciples this amazing truth: through his death and resurrection, and through the coming of the Holy Spirit, they would be indwelt by Jesus himself. In the Upper Room, just before the cross, he uttered these words, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching and my Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home in him." Dr. Robert Munger's great little booklet, "My Heart, Christ's Home," is a magnificent development of this statement. It is the mystery hidden from the foundation of the world, but now made known to his saints. Paul himself lived this way. That is what he is telling us in the last verse of this chapter: "To this end I labor, striving with all the energy he [Jesus] so powerfully works in me." There is a new power at work. When you understand that you possess the Lord Jesus---that he is in you---you have a totally new source of power. You also have a new desire, a new motive: you long to see change take place and you are motivated to take the steps that will bring it into being---to obey, to read, to study, to learn, to grow. You have a new Companion along the way. The problem of loneliness is ended because you are never alone when Jesus is present in your life. What a mighty truth this is! It is what delivers people. It is more than the fact that Jesus died on a cross. He died that he might live in us! This is the highest truth of all, a truth that God labors for us to understand and apply. When it happens, things begin to change in any human life. 108

Our long-time friend, Major lan Thomas, used to put it very succinctly. He is a former British Army officer, and has made it his lifelong ministry to travel all over the world and teach this wonderful truth of "Christ in you, the hope of glory." He puts it this way: He had to be what he was, in order to do what he did! We have been seeing that in Colossians. Jesus had to be both God and man in order to die in our place, be raised again, ascend into the heavens, and send the Holy Spirit, and thus come into our life. Second, He had to do what he did, in order that we might have what he is. We could never have this new power, this new source of energy, this new comfort and strength in our life, if Jesus had not done what he did. It is on the basis of his death and resurrection that we have what he is. Third, we must have what he is, in order to be what he was. That is what this great text is saying. God wants to present us "holy, without blemish, and free from accusation," just as his Son was. We are being conformed to the image of his Son. He is "bringing many sons to glory." We must have what he is in order to be what he was. That is why it is important to understand this great mystery, "Christ in you, the hope of glory." The world knows nothing of this mystery. You will never find it mentioned by the media, except by Christians. You will never learn about it in the great universities of the world. In all secular wisdom and knowledge there is no recognition of this incomparable source of change in a human life. It is found only in the gospel of Jesus Christ. That is why this message is such a powerful, world transforming, revolutionary statement, and why we ought to give ourselves to understanding it more than any other thing in life. Let me summarize this passage, in closing. The apostle points out three stages of change. First, the new birth begins a process which is intended to perfect us, spirit, soul and body. To advance that process requires pain and commitment on the part of others on our behalf; and when we come to Christ we are to undertake that same pain and commitment on behalf of others. Finally, all progress occurs only by coming to understand and to practice the mystery of "Christ in you, the hope of glory." That is how to stop the terrible downward slide of any human life! There may be some who have come to this service and have never yet begun that process. If so, I want you to know that this transaction can take place between you and God alone right here. In a moment of quietness, as we close this service, you can say, "Lord Jesus, here I am. Come into my heart. Receive me. Begin to change me." He will respond, as he promises to do, to those who in true faith invite him into their lives.

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Appendix 6.1
Growing in Grace (Part 1)

By His Grace, For His Name, Through the Obedience of Faith


by John Piper, Pastor May 10, 1998 Bethlehem Baptist Church http://www.desiringgod.org (Romans 1:1-5) Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake. This morning we are going to focus on verse 5, and in particular the three phrases: "grace and apostleship," "obedience of faith," and "for his names sake." We will try to see the nature of grace as a free and undeserved enabling for ministry, the effect of grace in the obedience of faith, and the ultimate goal of grace in the glorifying of Christs name among all the peoples. Grace at the Heart Grace is a very precious reality. I hope I can show you from the book of Romans what it is and why it is so precious. The word is used 155 times in the New Testament over 100 of them in the writings of Paul, and almost a fourth of those in Romans (24 times). You cannot comprehend this book if you dont comprehend grace. We will see it again and again. It is at the heart of the book and the heart of the gospel and the heart of God. But I dont assume the word communicates now the precious Biblical reality it was meant to. Today, I would guess that the average person would say grace is the beautiful movement of an ice skater. Then they might say grace is a short prayer before meals. And finally, they might say grace is undeserved kindness. But what is the Biblical reality of grace? Lets look at Romans 1:5 and its connections. Notice that in verse one Paul began to introduce himself and speak of his being a bond-servant of Christ and of his calling as an apostle and his consecration for the gospel of God. Then in verses 2-4, he talks about what the gospel of God is: its planned long before it happens; its about Gods Son; its about the fulfillment of Old Testament hopes and the arrival of the Messiah, the Son of David; and it is about the risen Christ who came forth triumphant from the dead as reigning Son of God in power. With that picture of a great, triumphant, reigning Messiah and Lord before us, Paul can now talk about grace on its proper basis. He says in verse 5, "through whom we have received grace." In other words, Gods grace has come to Paul through the Lord Jesus Christ who was born as a son of David and was raised as Son of God in power. We may say from what Paul writes later that grace was obtained for us through the obedience and death of the incarnate Messiah (Romans 3:24-25; 5:18-21); and grace is poured out through the risen and reigning Son of God in power. There is no grace toward sinners apart from the life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Verse 5 says plainly that God gives grace "through him," referring to "Jesus Christ our Lord" at the end of verse 4. So grace is a reality that comes from God; and comes through Jesus and his work for us. It is not something we have a right to. Jesus obtained it for us. We get it freely because of the obedience and death of another.

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What is Grace? But what is it? Well, in this verse it is connected with Pauls ministry, his apostleship. "Through [Christ] we have received grace and apostleship." I take this to mean that his calling as an apostle was a gift of grace and that he fulfils that ministry by the power of this grace. So that grace is not just Gods clemency toward Pauls sin, but is also a power to enable Paul to do his calling as an apostle. I base this on what Paul says about the relation between grace and ministry in chapters 12 and 15. For example, in 12:6 Paul says, "We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us." And in 12:3 he says, "Through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you . . ." In other words, grace is Gods enabling for various ministries through gifts he gives, and Pauls gift includes speaking as an apostle. Similarly in 15:15b-16 Paul says, "grace was given me from God, to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles." So I conclude that when he says in 1:5, "Through whom we have received grace and apostleship, " he means that God not only saved him from his sin, but he also gave him grace to be an authoritative spokesman for the risen Son of God in power. How Do We Get Grace? And how does that mean he gave it to him? Does it mean that he gave it in response to good works? No. Paul said that he was set apart for the gospel before he was born (Galatians 1:15; Romans 1:1). Grace is not Gods response to our deserving or meriting. Grace is Gods free gift before we do anything good, and his enabling of us to do anything good. For example, in Romans 4:4 Paul says, "Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited according to grace, but according to debt" (my translation). In other words, grace is not what you get when you work for somebody: thats what he owes you. Grace is never owed. It is always a free bonus from the overflow of goodness. Therefore grace is always received through faith, not earned by works. You can only receive grace as a gift and acknowledge that it comes to you freely; you cant work for it or earn it. Romans 11:6 states the principle: "If it [election] is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace." Grace would not be grace if you earned it by your works. We receive it through faith. By simply welcoming it as a gift and relying on it. This is why Romans 4:16 says, "For this reason it [= being an heir of the promise] is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace." This is Pauls way of saying that grace is absolutely free and cannot be deserved or merited. When grace comes to you it is through faith or not at all. Grace has its own power. You dont work it up. It is, in fact, part of the power referred to in verse 4, where Paul says that Jesus "was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead." Grace is not just forgiveness of our sin and mercy on our misery, it is also a divine power that comes to us through Jesus absolutely freely for the sake of ministry. Paul says in Romans 5:21, "As sin reigned in death, even so grace reigns through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (my translation). Grace is the power of a king: it "reigns" and leads mightily to eternal life through Christ. So we have seen that grace is a power from God for ministry (like Pauls apostleship). It is free and cannot be earned or deserved. It is received as a gift by faith, not merited by works. The Effect of Grace Now ponder the implications of this for a moment for Paul and for you. I mentioned one of them last week. When Paul calls himself, in verse 1, a "bond-servant of Christ Jesus" and an "apostle," he means that he serves the risen Christ as an apostle. But now, from verse 5, we know something utterly crucial about that service: it is given and enabled by grace. He says in Romans 15:18, "I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me [thats the power of grace], resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles" which is the same aim as 1:5. Paul serves Christ by the grace with which Christ serves Paul. I linger over this because if you get it early, the book of Romans will open to you like a flower. And if you dont get it, the book will not make sense. And I linger over it because this is the essence of how God means for you to live your life. God wants 111

you to read verse 5 and in the end put your calling in the place of the word "apostleship." "Apostleship" is Pauls not mine and not yours. You might put, "Through Christ I have received grace and the teaching role." Or: grace and singing. Or: grace and studentship. Or: grace and singleness. Or: grace and widowhood. Or: grace and motherhood. And what you should mean is: God has freely given me forgiveness and the power to do a calling, and fulfill a role which I accept by faith. There is not a role in life that can be lived the way God wants it lived apart from enabling grace. Being a godly mother or being an apostle is impossible without the power of grace. So when Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 15:10, that all his apostolic labor is by grace, you insert your own calling: "By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me." The decisive, enabling power for all ministry and all service is Gods grace. Paul is tremendously jealous to exalt grace in his life and in yours. We should join him in this. Why this is becomes clearer as we look at the next two phrases in Romans 1:5. "The Obedience of Faith" "Through [the living Son of God risen in power] we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith." So grace is not just received by faith, it aims at faith. God gives gifts of grace so that we will be his instruments in bringing about "the obedience of faith. This is what I called the effect of grace. Now what does the phrase "obedience of faith" mean? The two main choices are: "the obedience that comes from faith" (NIV), or the obedience which is faith, because faith is what the gospel demands." As you might say: "acts of courage" acts which come from courage. Or you might say, "Block of wood" the block is wood. Both of these goals (faith and obedience that comes from faith) are really Pauls goals in ministry. And it is very difficult to decide which he means to focus on right here. But I am moved by Leon Morriss question: If Paul only means "faith, " why use two words to say it (The Epistle to the Romans [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1988], p. 50)? In other words, if Paul only means, "We received grace and apostleship to bring about faith among all the gentiles," then why complicate matters and say, "the obedience of faith"? I think the answer is that he really does want us to think not only of the obedience which faith is, but also the obedience of love which faith produces (1 Timothy 1:5). We will see in chapter six that Paul cares a great deal about Christian obedience. And we will see in Romans 9:32 that obedience is "by faith and not as though it were by works." And we will see in 14:23 that "whatever is not from faith is sin." In other words, in Pauls mind, all true obedience is the fruit of faith. Now why is this? Why does all true obedience come from faith? I hope you can see the answer if you compare what I have said so far about grace and faith. God gives grace as the power and the enabling for service, which means that grace is the power and enabling of obedience. So all true obedience is done in the power of grace, not our own power. But how do we receive and rely on grace? The answer is "by faith." So you can see why all true obedience is the fruit of faith. Its the fruit of faith because Gods grace is given to enable obedience, and faith is the way we rely on that grace, and so obedience is the fruit of that faith. So what we have seen so far is that God wants to be the Giver in this relationship. God wants to be gracious. God wants to be the fountain and the source of our service and our obedience and our ministry whether apostleship, or pastor, or student, or mother, or any other calling. God intends to be the source of enabling, empowering, sustaining grace. Our job is to trust him and act in reliance on him. This is the essence of the Christian life. Why Is Everything Dependent on Grace, through Faith? And the final question is, Why? Why does God set it up this way with everything dependent on His grace through our faith? And the last phrase in Romans 1:5 gives the answer: "Through [Christ] we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles [= peoples] for His name's sake." The ultimate goal of all Gods dealings is that his name (or the name of Christ, who is his image) would be known and admired and cherished and praised above all 112

other realities. Romans 9:17 puts it like this: "For the scripture says to Pharaoh, I have raised you up for the very purpose of showing my power in you, so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth." Gods aim in history and in all that happens is that his name be known and worshipped. Verse 5 says that the aim of Pauls apostleship is "for the sake of the name" that the name of Jesus (which stands for his character) might be known and loved and treasured and exalted and glorified. Now this is why God makes all our salvation and all our ministry and all our obedience dependent on His grace and makes all our salvation and ministry and obedience the fruit of faith in grace because the giver gets the glory. If our ministry and all our obedience is by grace through faith, then God gets the glory and we get the help. If Paul relied on himself to serve as an apostle, and if the effect of his ministry was to bring about the obedience of works, not the obedience of faith among the gentiles, then the name of Christ would not be praised, Paul would be. The giver of the power, the enabler of the obedience, gets the glory. Heres the way 1 Peter 4:11 puts it: "Whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." You see how clearly Peter makes the connection: God gets the glory for our service if God gives the grace for our service, and if we serve by faith in that grace, in the strength of that grace and not our own. If God Aims for His Own Exultation, Is He Loving? The final question that people often ask about this Biblical teaching is whether a God who aims at the exaltation of his own name is a loving God. The book of Romans gives two answers to that question. First, in Romans 10:13 Paul says, "Every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." So yes, it is loving for God to push his own name and his own glory, because everyone who calls on that name will be saved. For him not to spread and exalt his name as our only hope would be un-loving of God. And the second answer is given in Romans 5:2b, where Paul says that while we stand in grace by faith "we exult in hope of the glory of God." In other words, the glory of God is our hope and our salvation and our exultation our joy. We dont just call on the name of the Lord to get something else. We call on the name of the Lord so that everything that separates us from the Lord will be overcome by the grace of God and we will have access to the Lord himself. "We exult in hope of the glory of God." Therefore it is loving for God to make the name of God that is, the glory of God the goal of all his grace, because this is the goal of all our longings.

Is this is he the goal of your longings? If so, then the gospel of grace will make sense and you will embrace it. If not, call upon the name of the Lord so that he would open your eyes to see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, the image of God. (2Corinthians 4:4)
Appendix 6.2

Growing In Grace (Part 2)


by Miles Stanford (Excerpts)

In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel,
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the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The external call (which is made to all without distinction) can be, and often is, rejected; whereas the internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected: it always results in conversion. By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by mans will, nor is He dependent upon mans cooperation for success. The spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ. Gods grace therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.

Grace
Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in the hope of, the glory of God (Rom. 5:1, 2). There is nothing so hard for our hearts as to abide in the sense of grace, to continue practically conscious that we are not under law, but under grace. It is by grace that the heart is established; but then there is nothing more difficult for us really to comprehend than the fullness of grace that grace of God wherein we stand, and to walk in the power and consciousness of it. It is only in the presence of our Father that we can truly know grace, and there it is our privilege to be. The moment we get away from His presence (not in fact), there will always be certain workings of our own thoughts within us; and our own thoughts can never reach up to His thoughts about us, to the grace of God. Even after we have tasted that the Lord is gracious, it is all too natural for our own thoughts to work as soon as we leave the presence of the Father; and the moment we do so, whether it be about our sins, or about His grace, or anything else that we are occupied with, we lose the sense of grace, and we no longer reckon upon it. This getting out of our Fathers presence is the source of all our weakness as saints, for in His strength we can do anything: if God be for us, who can be against us? The consciousness of our being in His presence makes us more than conquerors. Then, whether our thoughts be about ourselves, or about circumstances around us, everything becomes easy. But it is alone, when in fellowship with the Father and the Son, that we are able thus to measure everything according to grace. Are our thoughts about ourselves? When in our Fathers presence we rest in His grace, and nothing can trouble us. Who shall lay anything to the charge of Gods elect? Who is he that condemneth? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? But when we get out of our Fathers presence, we cannot any longer rest in His grace as when in fellowship with Him. Lack of peace may be caused by either of two things; my never having been fully brought to trust in grace, or my having through carelessness (or worse) lost the sense of grace, which is easily
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done. The grace of God is so unlimited, so full, so perfect, that, if we get out of our Fathers presence, we cannot have the true consciousness of grace we have no strength to apprehend it; and if we attempt to know it out of His presence, we shall only turn it into licentiousness. If we look at the simple fact of what grace is, it has no limit, no bounds. Be we what we may (and we cannot be worse than we are), in spite of all that, what our Father is towards us is love. Neither our joy nor our peace is dependent on what we are to God, but on what He is to us, and this is grace. Grace supposes all the sin and evil that is in us, and is the blessed revelation that through our Lord Jesus all this sin and evil have been put away. A single sin is more horrible to God than a thousand sins nay, than all the sins in the world are to us; and yet, with the fullest consciousness of what we are in ourselves, all that God is pleased to be towards us is love! It is vain to look at any extent of evil: a person may be (speaking after the manner of man) a great sinner, or a little sinner; but this is not the question at all: Grace has reference to what God is, and not to what we are; except indeed that the very greatness of our sins does but magnify the extent of the grace of our Father. At the same time, we must remember that the object and necessary effect of grace is to bring our souls to know Him and to love Him. Therefore the knowledge of grace is the true source of growth. How am I to know what is my Fathers mind towards me? Is it from judging of it from what I find in myself? Surely not! Supposing that I even found some good in myself, if I expected the Father to look at me on that account, would that be grace? There may be a measure of truth in this kind of reasoning; for, if there be life in my soul, fruit will be apparent; but this is not to give me peace any more than the evil that is in me is to hinder my having peace. Grace first makes us children of God, and then gives us the knowledge of it, and that we are heirs of God. But what is the extent of this grace towards us? It has given us the same position that the Lord Jesus has. We are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ. It is not only certain that grace has visited us, has found us when we were in our sins, but it is also certain that it has set us where the Lord Jesus Christ is; that we are identified with Him in all but His essential glory as God. The soul is placed thus in the consciousness of the Fathers perfect love. I have got off the ground of grace if I have the slightest doubt or hesitation about my Fathers love for me. I shall then be saying, I am unhappy, because I am not what I should like to be. But, dear friend, this is not the question: the real question is, whether the Father is what we should like Him to be, whether the Lord Jesus is all we could ever wish. If the consciousness of what we are, of what we find in ourselves, has any other effect than, while it humbles us, to increase our adoration of what our Father is, we are off the ground of grace. The immediate effect of such consciousness should be to make our hearts reach out to our Father and to His grace as abounding over all. Sometimes perhaps the looking at our evil may be a partial instrument in teaching us it; but still even this is not all that is needed. In looking upon the risen Lord Jesus it is our privilege to forget
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ourselves. True humility does not so much consist in thinking badly of ourselves as in not thinking of ourselves at all. I am too bad to be worth thinking about. What I want is, to forget myself and to look at the Lord Jesus Christ who is indeed worthy of all my thoughts. If we can say that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing, we have thought quite long enough about ourselves. Let us then think about our Father, who thought about us with thoughts of good and not of evil long before we had thought of ourselves at all. Let us see what His thoughts of grace about us are, and take up the words of faith, If God be for us, who can be against us? When the heart is made full with the rich blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ, it will not turn back to gnaw upon itself. J.N. Darby

Grace Crown
"The God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect (mature), establish, strengthen, settle you (1 Pet. 5:10). At first, the old nature hides from us. Then, we try to hide from it. But when we begin to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus, we are able to face up to the awful facts concerning the old man and his condemnation at the Cross. As the Holy Spirit reveals the old man (Col. 3:9), we count upon death; as He reveals the new man (Col. 3:10), we count upon life (Rom. 6:11). The believer, at the opening of his course, never knows his own heart; indeed, he could not bear the full knowledge of it; he would be overwhelmed thereby. The Lord leads us not by the way of the Philistines lest we should see war, and so be plunged into despair. But He graciously leads us by a circuitous route, in order that our apprehension of His grace may keep pace with our growing self-knowledge. - C.H.M. It was not for nothing that God let Satan loose upon His dear servant, Job. God loved Job with a perfect love; a love that could take account of everything, and, looking below the surface, could see the deep moral roots in the heart of His servantroots which Job had never seen, and, therefore, never judged. What a mercy to have to do with such a God! to be in the hands of One who will spare no pains in order to subdue everything in us which is contrary to Himself, and to bring out in us His own blessed image! "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you (1 Pet. 5:6, 7).

Stand Where You Are!


Stand fast in the Lord (Phil. 4:7). "God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love with which He loved us . . . hath made us alive together with Christ . . . and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly
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places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:46). Believers are not occupying their position! At best, most are trying to attain a victorious position by means of prayer, Bible study, commitment, reconsecration, surrender, and so forth. But the answer is simply to abide where we have already been placedin our risen Lord Jesus Christ. Abide above, and keep looking down! Our Father has taken us over Jordan and placed us in Canaan, but the reality of it is never known until by faith we accept the fact on the basis of having died with Christ, and that therefore heaven is our place, and we know it to be our place now; and that this side is not our place, and we know that it is not. The more we abide in the Lord on the other side, the less disappointed we will be here, for when we are there we import new joys and new hopes into this old world, from an entirely new one, and we therefore in every way surpass the inhabitants of this lost world. - J.B.S. You must abide in Christ in heaven before you can descend with heavenly ability to act for Him down here. The great secret of all blessing is to come from the Lord. Most Christians go to Him. Christian experience is our measure of apprehension of that which is already true of us in the Lord Jesus Christ. - A.J. Growth in Grace It is not salvation merely that we have received; but we are set here as saved ones to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus, in mind and ways of Him by whom we live. Hence there are little children, young men, and fathers (1 John 2), showing the grades, not of salvation, but of growth in the divine life. The New Testament makes it clear that the whole service of the Holy Spirit to saints now is to instruct them in the things of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God (1 Cor. 2:12). And to this end are bestowed the ministerial gifts, for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ (Eph. 4:12). The Lord tells Peter to feed His lambs. Paul tells the elders of Ephesus to feed the flock of God. Pasture is the knowledge of the Son of God by which we grow up in Him in all things. The great delay to souls is the slowness of heart and dullness of faith to see ourselves on resurrection ground in the risen Lord Jesus, and then from this point growing in Him, who is our -life, and the source and spring of everything. But now ministry in the Word, for the most part, is but urging on souls how they are accepted in Christ, and how happy they ought to be. Even this, indeed, is in advance of the general order and scope of evangelical teaching, which is simply presenting Christ on the Cross, suffering for sins. Take up what deeper life book you may, even the best, and you will find that for the most part it treats of the way in which rest for the soul may be found, instead of starting the soul from peace, and leading it into those higher delights which a knowledge of the Lord Jesus imparts. No one
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can walk in the path of righteousness until he is in untroubled rest before the Father, and the uncertainty of the walk of many is in consequence of unsettled peace in the presence of the Father. Does growth teaching today in general aim at leading souls on in Christ, or does it only aim at leading them up to Him for safety and rest from Him? Now it is as complete in Him that I am to commence my growth and walk (Col. 2). If you do not start me from my new position, how can, you advance me in my condition? I am not speaking of attainment here. I am merely insisting on the state of soul preparatory to growth. If not settled in our position, we are like the Corinthians, but babes, carnal (1 Cor. 3); or like the Galatians we need that Christ be formed in us - we are not prepared for growth (Gal. 4:19); or like the Hebrews, we have need of milk and not meat; we are babes, unskillful in the word of righteousness (Heb. 5:1214). On the other hand, the little child of 1 John 2:1320 is prepared for growth. He is in Christ, knows the Father, and has an unction from the Holy One. As Peter writes, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2). Growth is the natural result of nourishment, where there is life and health; but if there be not life and health, there is no appropriation of the nourishment, the pasture. If there be a healthy desire for growth, there will always be a seeking for truth to grow thereby. And the Lord never fails to provide pasture for His hungry sheep. J.B. Stoney.

The Ground Of Grace


There are vast numbers who think that the Lord Jesus, besides bringing pardon, is simply a means to strengthen them to keep the law. But this is sad and fundamental ignorance of Christianity. Is a believer then at liberty to break the law? God forbid! It is one thing to be a debtor to do the whole law, and another that God can make light of any breach of the law. Is there nothing possible between these two conditions- -debt to the law and freedom to break it? Neither consists with a Christian. He who is free to do his own will is a lawless, wicked man. He who is under the law to do it, describes the proper condition of the Jew and nobody else. The Christian stands on entirely new ground. He is saved by grace and is called to walk in grace. The character of righteousness that God looks for in him is of another sort altogether; as it is said in Philippians, being filled with the fruits of righteousness not which are by the law, but by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God (Phil. 1:11) by the Lord Jesus under grace and not under law. And this is not a question solely of justification. This has to do with the responsibility of the believer to do the will of God; and the Lord Jesus, not the law, is the measure and source of the Christian life and walk, which makes all the difference possible. It may be asked, Was not Christ under the law? Yes, assuredly, but He died unto it and is now above it. The Christian, the Gentile, never was under it; and being positioned in the Lord Jesus risen, now that he believes, he stands on heavenly ground, to which the law does not apply. For
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this reason every Christian is regarded by God as alive from the dead, to bring forth fruit unto God (Rom. 7:4). The law only deals with a man as long as he lives; never after he has died. But ye have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). And this is not at all what is said of us after a second blessing, extreme unction, or any other step of true or imaginary perfection. The Christian life begins in Christ in heaven! We are identified with the Lord Jesus dead and risen, seated together at the right hand of the Father. It is no longer the law dealing with me to try if it can get any good out of me. I have relinquished all by receiving the Lord Jesus, and I take my stand in Him dead and risen again and as one alive from the dead in Him, I yield myself unto the Father. This is the foundation truth of Christianity that God has done with mere dealing with the flesh. He has another man, even a new man, the Lord Jesus risen from the dead; and the believer has received Him, and is received in Him. A young Christian may be cast down after receiving the Savior, through the sense of evil he finds in himself. He wonders how this can be. He knows how the Lord Jesus deserves to be served, and is conscious how little he serves Him as he ought; he is filled with sorrow about himself, and perhaps begins to doubt whether he be a Christian at all. He has not yet learned his lesson. He has not mastered what his baptism set forth, the value of having a Savior who is dead and risen. He is occupied still with something of the old man; he looks at it and expects to get better, hoping that his heart will not have so many bad thoughts, etc., as he used to have; whereas, the only strength of the believer is being occupied with the Lord Jesus, and all that is lovely before the Father. The saint, in proportion as he enjoys the Lord Jesus in glory, lives above himself. When he becomes engrossed with what takes place within him, he is cast down. How many go on months and years, expecting some good to come out! It is not that they are. not born of God; but they are so under the effect of old thoughts and notions, acquired from catechisms, religious books, sermons, disciplers, etc., that they do not enter into the full liberty wherewith the Lord Jesus makes free. Wm. Kelly.

The Process Of Growth


Many have an erroneous idea of what that word chastening means. We think, perhaps, that it represents God as having a big stick in His hand and knocking us about all the time. You have only to make a mistake and down comes the big stick! That, of course, is a wrong conception of our Father, and is not what the word means at all. The word chastening just simply means child training. It is not a sign of love for your child if you never train him. While training does, of course, mean correction, and sometimes using a stick, the idea is to do everything necessary to make that child a responsible man or woman. It is a poor kind of adult who can never take any responsibility, whom you can never be sure of, who is not reliable and who always has to be told what to do and what not to do. The idea of sonship in the Fathers mind is to have people who are absolutely
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reliable and responsible, who know in their own hearts what is right and what is wrong, and do not have to be constantly told. Chastening, or child-training, has to do with sonship. We should always look at our difficulties in the light of this! It often seems that the life of the believer is more trying than any other life, and more troubles come to us than to others. Our Father does not excuse His children from troubles, but, whether we recognize it or not, and whether we like it or not, these difficulties and troubles which come to us are to train us for something and to develop in us the spirit of sonship; that is, to develop our spiritual intelligence and ability. Christ in you is unto our being conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). It is to work in us that which has been perfected by Him. It is the whole realm of our being made Christ-like; having all the faculties and features of the Lord Jesus, which are resident in the new life received at new birth, brought to maturity. Every spiritual virtue will be nurtured and developed; love, meekness, goodness, gentleness, intelligence, etc., so that we are not just theoretical Christians, but real ones, spiritually responsible and accountable. This, however, necessitates much discipline; what is called chastening. This discipline, or childtraining, employs many forms of adversity and trial, has the effect of bringing to light what we really are in ourselves, and it is an ugly picture. Our own features do not improve as we go on. We know ever more what poor, wretched, and deplorable creatures we are, and but for the grace of God hopeless. But something is being done deep down which will show itself in due time to the glory of our Father. We are born of God, and are sons in the Son by right of our birth from above; but how true it is that the course of our spiritual experience seems to be deeper and, ever deeper baptisms of death His death in order that, more and more of the power of His resurrection may be known by us and manifested in us. There seem to be cycles, or tides, of death and life, and while each cycle or tide seems to compass our end more completely or to leave us at lower ebb than ever, there comes with ever-increasing fullness an uprising of spiritual life and knowledge. Thus while the death overpowers the old man, we live increasingly by that life, the new man, upon which and upon which alone the seal of God rests. T. Austin-Sparks

Time to Grow
It seems that most believers have difficulty in realizing and facing up to the inexorable fact that God does not hurry in His development of our Christian life. He is working from and for eternity! So many feel they are not making progress unless they are. swiftly and constantly forging ahead. Now it is true that the new convert often begins and continues for some time at a fast rate. But this will not continue if there is to be healthy growth and ultimate maturity. God Himself will modify the pace. This is important to see, since in most instances when seeming declension begins to set in, it is not, as so many think, a matter of backsliding. John Darby makes it plain that it is Gods way to set people aside after their first start, that self120

confidence may die down. Thus Moses was forty years. On his first start he had to run away. Paul was three years also, after his first testimony. Not that God did not approve the first earnest testimony. We must get to know ourselves and that we have no strength. Thus we must learn, and then leaning on the Lord we can with more maturity, and more experientially, deal with souls. Since the Christian life matures and becomes fruitful by the principle of growth (see II Pet. 3:18) rather than by struggle and experiences, much time is involved. Unless we see and acquiesce to this, there is bound to be constant frustration, to say nothing of resistance to our Fathers development processes for us. Dr. A. H. Strong illustrates for us: A student asked the President of his school whether he could not take a shorter course than the one prescribed. Oh yes, replied the President, but then it depends upon what you want to be. When God wants to make an oak, He takes a hundred years, but when He wants to make a squash, He takes six months. Strong also wisely points out to us that growth is not a uniform thing in the tree or in the Christian. In some single months there is more growth than in all the year besides. During the rest of the year, however, there is solidification, without which the green timber would be useless. The period of rapid growth, when woody fibre is actually deposited between the bark and the trunk, occupies but four to six weeks in May, June and July. Lets settle it once and for allthere are no shortcuts to reality! A meteor is on a shortcut as it proceeds to burn out, but not a star, with its steady light so often depended on by navigators. Unless the time factor is acknowledged from the heart, there is always danger of turning to the false enticement of a shortcut via the means of experiences and blessings, where one becomes pathetically enmeshed in the vortex of ever-changing feelings, adrift from the moorings of scriptural facts. In regard to this subject George Goodman writes: Some have been betrayed into professing perfection or full deliverance, because at the time they speak they are happy and confident in the Lord. They forget that it is not a present experience that ensures fruit unto maturity, but a patient continuance in well doing. To taste of the grace of God is one thing; to be established in it and manifest it in character, habit, and regular life, is another. Experiences and blessings, though real gracious visitations from the Lord, are not sufficient to rest upon, nor should they lead us to glory in ourselves, as if we had a store of grace for time to come, or were yet at the end of the conflict. No. Fruit ripens slowly; days of sunshine and days of storm each add their share. Blessing will succeed blessing, and storm follow storm before the fruit is full grown or comes to maturity. In that the Husbandmans method for true spiritual growth involves pain as well as joy, suffering as well as happiness, failure as well as success, inactivity as well as service, death as well as life, the temptation to shortcut is especially strong unless we see the value of, and submit to, the necessity of the time element. In simple trust we must rest in His hands, being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6). And it will take that long! But since God is working for eternity, why should we be concerned about the time involved? Graham Scroggie affirmed, Spiritual renewal is a gradual process. All growth is progressive, and
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the finer the organism, the longer the process. It is from measure to measure: thirty fold, sixty fold, an hundredfold. It is from stage to stage: first the blade, then the ear, and after that, the full corn in the ear. And it is from day to day. How varied these are! There are great days, days of decisive battles, days of crises in spiritual history, days of triumph in Christian service, days of the right hand of God upon us. But there are also idle days, days apparently useless, when even prayer and holy service seem a burden. Are we, in any sense, renewed in these days? Yes, for any experience which makes us more aware of our need of God must contribute to spiritual progress, unless we deny the Lord who bought us. We might consider some familiar names of believers whom God obviously brought to maturity and used for His glorysuch as Pierson, Chapman, Tauler, Moody, Goforth, Mueller, Taylor, Watt, Trumbull, Meyer, Murray, Havergal, Guyon, Mabie, Gordon, Hyde, Mantle, McCheyne, McConkey, Deck, Paxson, Stoney, Saphir, Carmichael and Hopkins. The average for these was 15 years after they entered their life work before they began to know the Lord Jesus as their Life and ceased trying to work for Him and began allowing Him to be their All in all and do His work through them. This is not to discourage us in any way but to help us to settle down with our sights on eternity, by faith apprehend[ing] that for which also [we are] apprehended of Christ Jesus Press[ing] toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil. 3:12, 14). Certainly this is not to discount a Spirit-fostered experience, blessing, or even a crisis; but it is to be remembered that these simply contribute to the overall, and all-important, process. It takes time to get to know ourselves; it takes time and eternity to get to know our infinite Lord Jesus Christ. Today is the day to put our hand to the plow and to irrevocably set our heart on His goal for usthat we may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death (v. 10). So often in the battle, says Austin-Sparks, we go to the Lord, and pray, and plead, and appeal for victory, for ascendancy, for mastery over the forces of evil and death, and our thought is that in some way the Lord is going to come in with a mighty exercise of power and put us into a place of victory and spiritual ascendancy as in an act. We must have this mentality corrected. What the Lord does is to enlarge us to possess. He puts us through some exercise, through some experience, takes us by some way which means our spiritual expansion, and exercise of spirituality so we occupy the larger place spontaneously. I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out before thee, until thou be increased (Ex. 23:29, 30). One day in the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Disraeli made a brilliant speech on the spur of the moment. That night a friend said to him, I must tell you how much I enjoyed your extemporaneous talk. Its been on my mind all day. Madam, confessed Disraeli, that extemporaneous talk has been on my mind for twenty years! There are two questions that every believer must settle as soon as possible. The one is, Does God fully accept me? and the second, If so, upon what basis does He do so? This is crucial. What devastation often permeates the life of one, young or old, rich or poor, saved or unsaved,
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who is not sure of being accepted, even on the human level. Yet so many believers, whether strugglers or vegetators, move through life without this precious fact to rest and build on: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:5, 6). Every believer is accepted by the Father, in Christ. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:1). The peace is Gods toward us, through His beloved Sonon this our peace is to be based. God is able to be at peace with us through our Lord Jesus Christ, having made peace through the blood of his cross (Col. 1:20). And we must never forget that His peace is founded solely on the work of the cross, totally apart from anything whatsoever in or from us, since God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). Our faith becomes a fixed attitude once it begins to rest in this wonderful fact. Then it can be, if necessary, disallowed [rejected] indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious (I Pet. 2:4). This is the steadying influence most believers are in need of today. A century ago J.B. Stoney wrote: The blessed God never alters nor diverges from the acceptance in which He has received us because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Alas! we diverge from the state in which God can ever be toward us as recorded in Romans 5:111. Many suppose that because they are conscious of sins, hence they must renew their acceptance with God. The truth is that God has not altered. His eye rests on the work accomplished by Christ for the believer. When you are not walking in the Spirit you are in the flesh: you have turned to the old man which was crucified on the cross (Rom. 6:6). You have to be restored to fellowship, and when you are, you find your acceptance with God unchanged and unchangeable. When sins are introduced there is a fear that God has changed. He has not changed, but you have. You are not walking in the Spirit but in the flesh. You have to judge yourself in order to be restored. For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins (Matt. 26:28). But if your sins are not met there, where can they be met? Now where remission of [sin] is, there is no more offering for sin (Heb. 10:18). God has effected the reconciliation; He always remains true to it. Alas! We diverge from it; and the tendency is to suppose that the blessed God has altered toward us. He certainly will judge the flesh if we do not, but He never departs from the love which He has expressed to the prodigal, and we find that when the cloud, which walking in the flesh produced, has passed away, His love, blessed be His Name, had never changed. Gods basis must be our basis for acceptance. There is no other. We are accepted in the beloved (Eph. 1:6) Our Father is fully satisfied with His beloved Son on our behalf, and there is no reason for us not to be. Our satisfaction can only spring from and rest in His satisfaction. It is from God to us, not from us to God. J. N. Darby was very clear on this: When the Holy Spirit reasons with man, He does not reason from what man is for God, but from what God is to man. Souls reason from what they are in themselves as to whether God can accept them. He cannot accept you thus; you are looking for righteousness in yourself as a ground of acceptance with
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Him. You cannot get peace whilst reasoning in that way. The Holy Spirit always reasons down from what God is, and this produces a total change in my soul. It is not that I abhor my sins; indeed I may have been walking very well; but it is I abhor myself. This is how the Holy Spirit reasons; He shows us what we are, and that is one reason why He often seems to be very hard and does not give peace to the soul, as we are not relieved until we experientially, from our hearts, acknowledge what we are. Until the soul comes to that point He does not give it peaceHe could not; it would be healing the wound slightly. The soul has to go on until it finds there is nothing to rest on but the abstract goodness of God; and then, If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31). Sadly today, most believers actually reason just the oppositefrom themselves to God. When all is going well and God seems to be blessing, then it is that they feel He loves and accepts them. But when they are stumbling and everything seems dry and hard, then they feel that He does not love and accept them. How can this be? There is nothing about us to commend us to God, our acceptance being in Christ, plus the fact that most of our true spiritual development comes through the dry and hard times. Thank God, He has accepted us in His Son, and upon this fact we must rest our faith. As in justification, our acceptance is by grace alone. In his classic, Romans, Verse by Verse, Wm. R. Newell presents some penetrating thoughts regarding this grace. (pp. 245-47). There being no cause in the creature why grace should be shown, the creature must be brought off from trying to give cause to God for His grace He has been accepted in Christ, who is his standing! He is not on probation. As to his life past, it does not exist before God: he died at the cross, and Christ is his Life. Grace, once bestowed, is not withdrawn: for God knew all the human exigencies beforehand: His action was independent of them, not dependent upon them The Proper Attitude of Man Under Grace: To believe, and to consent to be loved while unworthy, is the great secret. To refuse to make resolutions and vows; for that is to trust in the flesh. To expect to be blessed, though realizing more and more lack of worth To rely on Gods chastening [child training] hand as a mark of His kindness Things Which Gracious Souls Discover: To hope to be better [hence acceptable] is to fail to see yourself in Christ only. To be disappointed with yourself, is to have believed in yourself. To be discouraged is unbelief,as to Gods purpose and plan of blessing for you. To be proud, is to be blind! For we have no standing before God, in ourselves. The lack of Divine blessing, therefore, comes from unbelief, and not from failure of devotion To preach devotion first, and blessing second, is to reverse Gods order, and preach law, not grace. The Law made mans blessing depend on devotion; grace
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confers undeserved, unconditional blessing: our devotion may follow, but does not always do so,in proper measure. Have we been afraid to really believe God? Have some even been afraid to allow others to really believe Him? We must never forget that Gods ways are not always mans ways. To some men constant peril is the only spur to action, and many religions and psychologies are dependent on fear to keep their disciples in line. Fear, too, has a place in Christianity, but God has higher and more effective motivations than fear, and one of these is love. Often fear after a while produces only numbness, but love thrives on love. To promise a man the certainty of his destiny may seem, on the human level, like playing with fire; but this leaves God out of the picture. Those who have the deepest appreciation of grace do not continue in sin. Moreover, fear produces the obedience of slaves; love engenders the obedience of sons (J. W. Sanderson, Jr.). For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? (I Cor. 14:8). Until the Christian is absolutely and scripturally sure of his standing, he is not going to do much standing. Stand therefore (Eph. 6:14). Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work (II Thess. 2:16, 17).

Trial By Grace
And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for My strength is made perfect in weakness.... Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christs sake; for when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Cor. 12:9, 10). "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:19). If and when the trial comes, you will find Him waiting there. We should always be prepared for circumstances that will arise, and for blessings that are to come, without foreseeing what these circumstances and blessings will be. This preparation consists in attention to present responsibility, and acceptance of present discipline. If day by day we first seek divine direction, and then follow it, we shall be ready, when new circumstances arise, for the new blessings which will be offered. Today should be preparation for tomorrow. The only proof that we shall be equal to tomorrows test is that we are meeting todays test believingly and courageously. The only evidence that we shall be willing for Gods will tomorrow is that we are subject to His will today. -W.G.S.
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Our Lord has special reserves of grace for special needs. If ever you feel that you could not go through a certain trial, that if you had to face that, you just could not go through with it, you are taking on something that you have no right to take on. "If the Lord calls you to go through fire or water, He has a special reserve of grace for you in that. And that grace will be from the throne of grace. It is the throne above, mediating grace for need and suffering as it is required. -T. A-S. The thorn in the flesh was a heavy trial for Paul. It was not sent because of personal failure, but because of the abundance of revelation given to him it was a preventative. There was danger lest the flesh should boast, and God gives him a thorn. Paul prayed thrice for its removal. The Father tells him that His grace is sufficient, there is no need to remove it, and moreover his infirmity was but an occasion for the power of Christ to rest upon him. Then he glories in that which he has prayed to be taken away. The Lord Jesus was exalted and Paul was content. Here is the moral fruit, the Fathers object in sending the thorn: no failure and needed chastening here, but a lesson of grace to an honored servant of Christ. The trials of saints, as they come from the Father, are generally if not always intimately connected with the position grace gives. The Father in His sovereignty calls His saints to fill various places of service, some to rule and authority, some to teaching or preaching, others may only know the place of suffering and weeping. Nevertheless all are for the carrying out of one great purpose, the accomplishment of one will, a whole in which each saint however humble has his part. The Father has a niche in His temple for each, a place assigned by grace. It is there each is tested. But if grace appoints the place, it is always there to maintain saints in it. Often the trial is allowed through our want of faith to hide the grace, and then we complain and murmur. But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it (1 Cor. 10:13). He always provides the necessary grace. There are other trials which have their root in unfaithfulness. The Father permits such, but does not directly send them, and surely controls and guides to a gracious result, for His mercy endureth forever. Such trials become rods in His child-training hand. But when He sends trials to a faithful saint it is for the purpose of proving faith, which is more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, and of giving lessons in the school of faith. The fruitful branch is purged that it may bring forth more fruit. More and better fruit is the Fathers object. Hidden things may be in the heart of the faithful unknown and therefore unjudged. The trial is sent to disclose the hidden thing that it may be purged away. Not all trials are chastenings. We should gravely err if we judged every suffering saint to be under discipline through failure. Where there is faithfulness we often see what appears to be heaviest trials j but in truth it is for the display of the sustaining power of grace that others may see and learn. R. Beacon1

Unto Full Growth


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By the Lord Jesus and to Him where He sits at the Fathers right hand in glory we are called. Old things, not evil things only, are passed away. We are by faith associated with the glorified Lord Jesus we have a heavenly calling. The danger of the Christian therefore, and especially for the Hebrew Christian, was a lapse into earthly things; which was more easily done as the Old Testament was no less divinely inspired than the New, and hence might plausibly be pleaded to justify such a return. Those that are Christs are cleansed once for all, not only sanctified through the offering of the Saviour, but perfected forever as Hebrews Ten tells us unhesitatingly. The Holy Spirit, instead of keeping our guilt continually before us, testifies that through the Lord Jesus work the Father will remember our sins and iniquities no more. Thus for the believer, with full remission, there is no more offering for sins; and hence he has boldness to enter into the Holiest by the Blood of the Lord Jesus. By faith in Him Who died and rose we receive the adoption of sons, and through His Spirit cry, Abba, Father. So we draw nigh. It was here the Hebrew Christians were slow to hear and learn of the Father. They did not doubt that Jesus was the Christ; but they were dull to own both the full glory of His person and the present eternal efficacy of His work on the Cross. This failure in faith kept them babes, and for this they were blamed; for God could not reveal more distinctly the dignity of His Son, nor could Father, Son, and Holy Spirit add to the fullness of what the Cross is to God as well as to the believer. It is really going back from heavenly glory and mature growth on the part of all who refused to go forward into the full privileges of the Gospel, content to know no more than what the disciples had before the Cross. All they had then did not give them peace with God, for it did not cleanse their consciences. There was no access for them into the Holiest, nor had they the Spirit of adoption. Neither the sting of death was gone, nor the power of sin annulled. Full growth implies on the contrary all this blessedness, and more; and to this the Hebrew Christians were exhorted to go on. It is not attainment, but simply faith in the Word of truth, the Gospel of our salvation in a word, Christianity. Alas, how many who call themselves Christians, as sincere believers as the Hebrews, are no less than they looking behind, instead of moving on to the enjoyment of faith in the ascended Lord Jesus Christ, and of their nearness to His God and Father and our God and Father. Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection from the dead, and of eternal judgment (Heb. 6:1, 2). To limit the soul to this, perfect as it was in its season and in. itself, is to do without that blessed heavenly position which the Holy Spirit inspired the apostles to preach and teach, and which we have permanently in the apostolic writings. The Lord Jesus Cross totally changed the standing of the believer. To ignore this is in fact to stop short of full and proper Christianity, to remain infants, where the Lord would have His own to reach their majority, their sonship. Thou art no more a servant, but a son (Gal. 4:7).
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Wherefore, leaving the word of the beginning of the Christ, let us pass on unto full growth. The new status of the saint depends on the Lord Jesus dead, risen, and glorified at the Fathers right hand. The infinite sacrifice is already offered and accepted; and only so has He taken His seat on the right hand of the Majesty on high. We cannot therefore go to elements before the Cross for that which forms and fashions the Christian. We need the corn of the land, now that it is no longer a question of raining manna in the wilderness. Wm. Kelly.

Grace Beyond Our Need


Grace is the first ray of comfort to the soul; and though it is the subject first known and most cherished, yet its measure, according to Gods revelation of it, is little known. Grace, according to popular teaching, is the undeserved favor of God in saving anyone who believes in the Saviour. The souls need defines the measure of the grace. If grace did not secure to me justification and everlasting happiness, it would not meet my need. But it is much more. While it has rescued me from everlasting misery, and saved me from all the consequences of my sins - far beyond that, it has placed me in nearness to my Father. Having sinned, I could not restore myself to the position of innocence that Adam held. I could be a forgiven sinner, forgiven up to the last moment of my life here, and thus be happy in heaven. Escape from judgment, and an assurance of everlasting happiness, is for the most part the idea which the word grace conveys to most Christians. Hence what meets the known need is always presented to the sinner first, though in the mind of the Father there is no break in its blessed endless stream. The great fact is gradually disclosed that not only is the sinner to be forgiven, but that he is to be made meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light (Col. 1:12). If grace were to stop at simply having met the measure of mans need, Gods share and delight in the saved one would be overlooked. The Father in His love delights that you, once a sinner, on believing on Him, should not only be justified, but fitted to be in His own presence for His own pleasure, which is infinitely greater than your own. The tendency is to regard grace only as it affects the sinner, and to omit the satisfaction it is to the Father to have us as His children with Him; the excellent, in whom is all my delight (Ps. 16:3). My Father desires to have me for Himself, to be a companion, the very Bride of the Lord Jesus Christ, and a member of His Body. Hence His grace super-abounds over the sin. If I have lost anything by sin which was a glory to a man, that is not restored to me in grace. Grace gives me something infinitely better; not to suit the man that was, but to suit me as a new creation as brought to the. Father. The grace of God does not reinstate me in the paradise lost by sin, but positions me in a much greater one - from the earthly, to the heavenly. I am forgiven, like the prodigal, for all I have done, but nothing that I have squandered is restored to me. I receive everything new; and I am made, as he was in figure, quite new, and fitted for the immense exaltation to which I am raised by grace. The prodigal was not restored to the land, as a Jew would have expected, but he was received into the fathers house with a favor and distinction never accorded to any one before; and this was all simply of grace. True, he had to be reconciled
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and kissed before he could be prepared for this immense excess of grace, that is, the measure of grace beyond his need. Surely Paul was well qualified to tell us that we are made to sit in the heavenlies in Christ, and, seeing that so much grace has been shown us, that in us might be displayed, in the coming ages, the surpassing riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:7). And thus only we arrive at the measure of the grace of which we are to be the expositors, not only now, but in the ages to come. J.B. Stoney.

Superior Grace
As believers we should know the wonderful blessing, and portion of light and joy we are brought into; instead of going through the world trying to overcome this and that, and saying, I must give up this thing and the other. It is not a question of giving up at all; but I have something better, greater, brighter - and I let it drop. Now, it is not necessarily deliverance from trial, but superiority to it that the Lord Jesus gives us. The old way was to put people in the furnace and they were not burnt; they were put into the lions den and they were not touched; but now they go into the furnace and are burnt to a cinder, the lions eat them up, and they never give in. It is not power for them now, but power in them. I come to a wall and I say I would like to have a door here. The Lord says, If I were simply for you I would make one, but I am in you and you must go over the wall. That power is the Holy Spirit who dwells in you. When sorrow, or trial, or weakness comes, the thing is to look for grace to be above it. If trial is impending, it is better to be quiet. I have association and fellowship with the Lord Jesus where He is, and I have the power of my Lord where He is not. If you want to be effective, to have practical power while walking down here, it must be by abiding above, by fellowship with the Lord Jesus where He is. A person may be converted, and may be very genuine, and still not be looking for the Lord Jesus where He is. He may, like Jonathan, see Goliath on the ground, but not be quite happy and at rest; but when he sees the head of Goliath in Davids hand, what now? He says, as it were, I am going to give up all my thoughts to David. And that is what we get in John One. When those two disciples followed our Lord, when they followed Him as the Lamb of God, their first question was, Where dwellest Thou? Have you ever put that question to Him? Where dwellest Thou? Do you remember His answer - Come and see And do you not think He would say that to you if you asked? You will never get occupied with the Lord Jesus till you learn that He has so perfectly cleared the ground for you, that now you can turn around and delight yourself in Him. A man may have a beautiful estate, and yet not be able to enjoy it, because he has poor health. That is how it is with many saints; they have not spiritual health to enjoy their possessions. The difference between the old and the new order is, the old, -was to change your circumstances, and to give you ease and relief. The new order is: As the sufferings of Christ abound, so also the
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consolations of Christ abound (2 Cor. 1:5). As the sufferings increase, so also does the capacity to suffer increase. You are not taken out of the trial, but you are made superior to it. Do not look for a change in your circumstances, but keep your mind and heart on the Lord Jesus above, that while by the power of the Holy Spirit you have association with Him where He is, you will manifest His life and power where He is not. What really hinders souls is this: they are looking for easy circumstances, looking for God to take away the difficulties, instead of looking to Him for grace to be superior to them. For when I am weak, then am I strong (2 Cor. 12:10). J.B. Stoney.

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Appendix 7

The Throne of Grace


by Charles Spurgeon (Hebrews 4:16) THESE WORDS are found embedded in that gracious verse, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" and are a gem in a golden setting. True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God. It is not the utterance of words, nor is it alone the feeling of desires, but it is the advance of the desires to God, the spiritual approach of our nature towards the Lord our God. True prayer is not a mere mental exercise, nor a vocal performance, but it is deeper far than that-it is spiritual communion with the Creator of heaven and earth. God is a Spirit unseen of mortal eye and only to be perceived by the inner man; our spirit within us, begotten by the Holy Ghost at our regeneration. Prayer is a spiritual business from beginning to end, and its aim and object end not with man, but reach to God Himself. True Prayer For such prayer the work of the Holy Ghost Himself is needed. If prayer were of the lips alone, we should only need breath in our nostrils to pray. If prayer were of the desires alone, many excellent desires are easily felt, even by natural men. But when it is the spiritual desire, and the spiritual fellowship of the human spirit with the Great Spirit, then the Holy Ghost Himself must be present all through it to help infirmity and give life and power, or else true prayer will never be presented. The thing offered to God will wear the name and have the form, but the inner life of prayer will be far from it. Moreover, it is clear from the connection of our text that the interposition of the Lord Jesus Christ is essential to acceptable prayer. As prayer will not be truly of love, let your face shine with sacred delight. If your sorrows are heavy, tell them unto Him, for He can assuage them; if your sins are multiplied, confess them, for He can forgive them. O courtiers in the halls of such a Monarch, be exceedingly glad and mingle praises with your prayers.

The Need for Prayerful Submission


It is a throne, and therefore, in the third place, whenever it is approached, it should be with complete submission. We do not pray to God to instruct Him as to what He ought to do; neither for a moment must we presume to dictate the line of the divine procedure. We are permitted to say to God, "Thus and thus would we have it," but we must always add, "but, seeing that we are ignorant and may be mistaken-seeing that we are still in the flesh, and, therefore, may be actuated by carnal motives-not as we will but as Thou wilt." Who shall dictate to the throne? No loyal child of God will for a moment imagine that he is to occupy the place of the King, but he bows before Him who has a right to be Lord of all. Therefore, though he utters his desire earnestly, vehemently, and very urgently, and pleads and pleads again, yet it is always with this needful reservation: "Thy will be done, my Lord, and, if I ask anything that is not in accordance with Thy will, my inmost will is that Thou wouldst be good enough to deny thy servant; I will take it as a true answer if Thou refuse me, if I ask that which seemeth not good in Thy sight." Therefore will I speak with the deepest submission to Thy divine decrees."

The Need for Enlarged Expectations


But, in the fourth place, if it be a throne, it ought to be approached with enlarged expectations. Well does our hymn put it: Thou art coming to a king, large petitions with thee bring We do not come, as it were, in prayer only to God's benevolence fund where He dispenses His favors to the poor, nor do we come to the back door of the house of mercy to receive the broken scraps, though that is more than we deserve; to eat the crumbs that fall from the Master's table is more than we could claim. But when we pray, we are standing in the palace, on the glittering floor of the great King's own reception room, and thus we are placed upon a vantage ground. In prayer we stand where angels bow with veiled faces; there, even there, the cherubim and seraphim adore, before that same throne to which our prayers ascend. And shall we come there with stunted 131

requests and narrow and contracted faith? No, it does not become a king to be giving away pennies and nickels; he distributes large pieces of gold. Beware of imagining that God's thoughts are as your thoughts and that His ways as your ways. Do not bring before God stinted petitions and narrow desires by saying, "Lord, do according to these," but, remember, as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are His ways above your ways and His thoughts above your thoughts. Ask, therefore, in a God-like way for great things, for you are before a great throne. Oh, that we always felt this way when we came before the throne of grace, for then He would do for us exceeding abundantly above what we ask or even think.

The Need for Full Confidence


And, beloved, I may add, in the fifth place, that the right spirit in which to approach the throne of grace is that of unstaggering confidence. Who shall doubt the King? Who dares impugn the Imperial word? It was well said that if integrity were banished from the hearts of all mankind besides, it ought still to dwell in the hearts of kings. Shame on a king if he can lie. The lowliest beggar in the streets is dishonored by a broken promise, but what shall we say of a king if his word cannot be depended upon? Oh, shame upon us if we are unbelieving before the throne of the King of heaven and earth. With our God before us in all His glory sitting on the throne of grace, will our hearts dare to say we mistrust Him? Such blasphemous thoughts should be banished, and if they must come, let them come upon us when we are somewhere in the outskirts of His dominions, if such a place there be, but not in prayer when we are in His immediate presence and behold Him in all the glory of His throne of grace. There, surely is the place for the child to trust its Father, for the loyal subject to trust his monarch; therefore, far from it should be all wavering or suspicion. Unstaggering faith should be predominant before the mercy seat.

The Need for Genuineness in Prayer


We offer only one other remark upon this point, that if prayer is a coming before the throne of God, it ought always to be conducted with deepest sincerity, and in the spirit which makes everything real. If you are disloyal enough to despise the King, at least, for your own sake, do not mock Him to His face and when He is upon His throne. If anywhere you dare repeat holy words without heart, let it not be in Jehovah's palace. If a person should ask for audience with royalty and then should say, "I hardly know why I have come, I do not know that I have anything very particular to ask; I have no very urgent request," would he not be guilty both of folly and baseness? As for our great King, when we venture into His presence, let us have an errand there. Let us beware of playing at praying. It is insolence towards God. If I am called upon to pray in public, I must not dare to use words that are intended to please the ears of my fellow-worshipers, but I must realize that I am speaking to God Himself and that I have business to transact with the great Lord. And in my private prayer, if when I rise from my bed in the morning, I bow my knee and repeat certain words, or when I retire to rest at night and go through the same regular form, I rather sin than do anything that is good unless my very soul speaks unto the Most High. Do you think that the King of heaven is delighted to hear you pronounce words with a frivolous tongue and a thoughtless mind? You do not know Him. He is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. From all the spirits that behold the face of our Father who is in heaven, even now, I hear a voice which says, "Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand" (Psalm 95:6-7). "O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth" (Psalm 96:9).

Prayer in the Presence of God's Grace


So that the glow and brilliance of the word throne should not be too much for mortal vision, our text now presents us with the soft, gentle radiance of that delightful word -grace. We are called to the throne of grace, not to the throne of law. Rocky Sinai once was the throne of law when God came to Paran with ten thousand of His holy ones. Who desired to draw near to that throne? Even Israel might not. Bounds were set about the mount, and if but a beast touched the mount, it was stoned or thrust through with a sword. O you self-righteous ones who hope that you can obey the law and think that you can be saved 132

by it, look to the flames that Moses saw and shrink and tremble and despair. To that throne we do not come now, for through Jesus the case is changed. And, blessed be God, we are not now speaking of the throne of ultimate justice. Before that we shall come, and as many of us as have believed will find it to be a throne of grace as well as of justice; for He who sits upon that throne shall pronounce no sentence of condemnation against the man who is justified by faith. But I do not have to call you now to the place from which the resurrection-trumpet shall ring out so shrill and clear. We are still on praying ground and pleading terms with God, and the throne to which we are bidden to come, and of which we speak at this time, is the throne of grace. It is a throne set up on purpose for the dispensation of grace, a throne from which every utterance is an utterance of grace; the scepter that is stretched out from it is the silver scepter of grace; the decrees proclaimed from it are purposes of grace; the gifts that are scattered down its golden steps are gifts of grace; and He that sits upon the throne is grace itself. It is the throne of grace to which we approach when we pray, and let us for a moment or two think this over, by way of consolatory encouragement to those who are beginning to pray; indeed, this truth comes to all of us who are praying men and women.

Grace for Imperfect Prayers


If in prayer I come before a throne of grace, then the faults of my prayer will be overlooked. In beginning to pray, dear friends, you feel as if you did not pray. The groanings of your spirit when you rise from your knees are such that you think there is nothing in them. What a blotted, blurred, smeared prayer is it. Never mind; you have not come to the throne of justice. Otherwise, when God perceived the fault in the prayer He would spurn it your broken words, your gasping, and your stammering are before a throne of grace. Our condescending King does not maintain a stately etiquette in his court like that which has been observed by princes among men, where a little mistake or a flaw would secure the petitioner's being dismissed with disgrace. Oh, no, the faulty cries of His children are not severely criticized by Him. The Lord High Chamberlain of the palace above, our Lord Jesus Christ, takes care to alter and amend every prayer before He presents it, and He makes the prayer perfect with His perfection and prevalent with His own merits. God looks upon the prayer as presented through Christ and forgives all its own inherent faultiness. How this ought to encourage any of us who feel ourselves to be feeble, wandering, and unskillful in prayer. If you cannot plead with God as sometimes you did in years gone by, if you feel as if somehow or other you had grown rusty in the work of supplication, never give up, but come still, yes and come oftener, for it is not a throne of severe criticism, but to a throne of grace you come. Grace for Praying Sinners Then, further, inasmuch as it is a throne of grace, the faults of the petitioner himself shall not prevent the success of his prayer. Oh, what faults there are in us! To come before a throne how unfit we are-we that are all defiled with sin within and without! Do any of you dare think of praying if it were not that God's throne is a throne of grace? If you could, I confess I could not. An absolute God, infinitely holy and just, could not in consistency with His divine nature answer any prayer from such a sinner as I am if it were not that He has arranged a plan by which my prayer comes up no longer to a throne of absolute justice, but to a throne which is also the mercy seat, the propitiation, the place where God meets sinners through Jesus Christ. Ah, I could not say to you, "Pray," not even to you saints, unless it were a throne of grace, much less could I talk of prayer to you sinners. But now I will say this to every sinner here, though he should think himself to be the worst sinner that ever lived, cry unto the Lord and seek Him while He may be found. A throne of grace is a place fitted for you to go to your knees and by simple faith go to your Savior, for He it is who is the throne of grace. It is in Him that God is able to dispense grace unto the most guilty of mankind. Blessed be God, neither the faults of the prayer nor yet of the suppliant shall shut out our petitions from God who 133

delights in broken and contrite hearts.

God's Gracious Help in Prayer


If it is a throne of grace, then the desires of the pleader will be interpreted. If I cannot find words in which to utter my desires, God in His grace will read my desires without the words. He takes the meaning of His saints, the meaning of their groans. A throne that was not gracious would not trouble itself to make out our petitions, but God, the infinitely gracious one, will dive into the soul of our desires and will read there what we cannot speak with the tongue. Have you never seen a parent when his child is trying to say something to him, and he knows very well what it is the little one has got to say, help him over the words and utter the syllables for him? If the little one has half-forgotten what he would say, you have heard the father suggest the word. Similarly, the ever-blessed Spirit, from the throne of grace, will help us and teach us words and even write in our hearts the desires themselves. The Spirit will direct your desires to the things for which you ought to seek; He will teach you your wants, though as yet you know them not; He will suggest to you His promises that you may be able to plead them; He will, in fact, be Alpha and Omega to your prayer, just as He is to your salvation. For as salvation is from first to last of grace, so the sinner's approach to the throne of grace is of grace from first to last. What comfort this is. Will we not, my dear friends, with the greater oldness draw near to this throne, as we learn the sweet meaning of His precious words, "the throne of grace"?

God's Provision by Grace


If it be a throne of grace, then all the needs of those who come to it will be supplied. The King from such a throne will not say, "Thou must bring to me gifts, thou must offer to me sacrifices." It is not a throne for receiving tribute; it is a throne for dispensing gifts. Come, then, you who are poor as poverty itself; come you that have no merits and are destitute of virtues; come you that are reduced to a beggarly bankruptcy by Adam's fall and by your own transgressions. This is not the throne of majesty which supports itself by the taxation of its subjects, but a throne which glorifies itself by streaming forth like a fountain with floods of good things. Come now, and receive the wine and milk which are freely given; yes, come buy wine and milk without money and without price. All the petitioner's needs will be supplied because it is a throne of grace.

God's Compassion for Those Who Pray


And as a result, God will show compassion for all the petitioner's miseries. Suppose I come to the throne of grace with the burden of my sins; there is one on the throne who felt the burden of sin in ages long gone by and has not forgotten its weight. Suppose I come loaded with sorrow; there is one who knows all the sorrows to which humanity can be subjected. Am I depressed and distressed? Do I fear that God himself has forsaken me? There is one upon the throne who said, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" It is a throne from which grace delights to look upon the miseries of mankind with tender eye to consider them and to relieve them. "The throne of grace." The phrase grows as I turn it over in my mind, and to me it is a most delightful reflection that if I come to the throne of God in prayer, I may feel a thousand defects, but yet there is hope. I usually feel more dissatisfied with my prayers than with anything else I do. I do not believe that it is an easy thing to pray in public so as to conduct the devotions of a large congregation aright. We sometimes hear persons commended for preaching well, but if any shall be enabled to pray well, there will be an equal gift and a higher grace in it. But suppose in our prayers there should be defects of knowledge; it is a throne of grace, and our Father knows defects of faith; He sees our little faith and still does not reject it, small as it is. He does not in every case measure out His gifts by the degree of our faith, but by the sincerity and trueness of faith. And if there should be grave defects in our spirit and failures in the fervency or in the humility of the prayer, though these should not be there and are much to be deplored, grace overlooks and forgives all this, and still its merciful hand is stretched out to enrich us according to our needs. Surely this ought to induce many to pray who have not prayed and should make us who have been long accustomed to use the consecrated art of prayer to draw near with greater boldness than ever to the 134

throne.

God's Grace on the Throne


But, now regarding our text as a whole, it conveys to us the idea of grace enthroned. It is a throne, and who sits on it? It is grace personified that is here installed in dignity. And, truly, today grace is on a throne. In the gospel of Jesus Christ grace is the most predominant attribute of God. How comes it to be so exalted? We reply that grace has a throne by conquest. Grace came down to earth in the form of the Well-beloved, and it met with sin. Long and sharp was the struggle, and grace appeared to be trampled under foot of sin. But grace at last seized sin, threw it on its own shoulders; and, though all but crushed beneath the burden, grace carried sin up to the cross and nailed it there, slew it there, put it to death for ever, and triumphed gloriously. Grace, moreover, sits on the throne because it has established itself by right. There is no injustice in the grace of God. God is as just when He forgives a believer as when He casts a sinner into hell. I believe in my own soul that there is as much and as pure a justice in the acceptance of a soul that believes in Christ as there will be in the rejection of those souls who die impenitent and are banished from Jehovah's presence. The sacrifice of Christ has enabled God to be just, and yet the justifier of him that believeth. He who knows the word substitution and can understand its meaning aright will see that there is nothing due to punitive justice from any believer since Jesus Christ has paid all the believer's debts. Grace is enthroned this day because Christ has finished His work and gone into the heavens. It is enthroned in power. Sinner, saint, oh, when grace sits on the throne, I beseech you close in with it at once. It can be no higher, it can be no greater, for it is written "God is love," which is an alias for grace. Oh, come and bow before it; come and adore the infinite mercy and grace of God. I say, then, that grace is enthroned by conquest, by right, and by power, and, I will add, it is enthroned in glory, for God glorifies His grace. It is one of His objects now to make His grace illustrious. He delights to pardon penitents and so to show His pardoning grace; He delights to look upon wanderers and restore them, to show His reclaiming grace; He delights to look upon the broken-hearted and comfort them so that He may show His consoling grace. Believe this, you can come at once and glorify grace by becoming instances of its power.

God's Gracious Covenant and Our Prayers


On the throne of grace, sovereignty has placed itself under bonds of love. God will do as He wills; but on the mercyseat He is under bonds-bonds of His own making-for He has entered into covenant with Christ, and thus into covenant with His chosen. Though God is and ever must be a sovereign, He never will break His covenant nor alter the word that is gone out of His mouth. He cannot be false to a covenant of His own making. Moreover, on the throne of grace, God is again bound to us by His promises. The covenant contains in it many gracious promises, exceedingly great and precious. "Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matthew 7:7). Until God had said that word or a word to that effect, it was at His own option to hear prayer or not, but it is not so now; for now, if it is true prayer offered through Jesus Christ, His truth binds Him to hear it. And it is the sweetest thought of all that every covenant promise has been endorsed and sealed with blood, and far be it from the everlasting God to pour scorn upon the blood of His dear Son. When a king has given a charter to a city, he may have previously been absolute, and there may have been nothing to check his prerogatives, but when the city has its charter, then it pleads its rights before the king. It is not possible that we can plead in vain with God when we plead the blood-sealed covenant, ordered in all things and sure. Heaven and earth shall pass away but the power of the blood of Jesus with God can never fail. It speaks when we are silent, and it prevails when we are defeated. Christian, let us come boldly, for we bear the promise in our hearts. May God the Holy Spirit help us to use aright from this 135

time forward "the throne of grace. AMEN.

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Appendix 8

The Abiding Presence- Or Absence?


Putting off the old, putting on the new
By reckoning the old man to have been crucified at Calvary, he is put off daily (Rom. 6:11a). By reckoning ourselves as newly created in the risen Lord Jesus, we put on the new man (Rom. 6:11b). As we escape selfs reign of death under the law, we enter into Christs reign of life under grace. Put off the OLD, by His grace ("Christ in you the hope of Glory")

1. Fact
Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him (Rom. 6:6, ASV). seeing that ye have put off the old man (Col. 3:9). Positionally, we were separated from the old Adamic nature in our identification with Christ on the cross.

2. Faith
Eph. 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation (manner of life) the old man

By faith in our new, sanctified position, we turn from, we reckon as crucified, the principle of sin and self within. We count ourselves to be new creations in Christ, having died to sin and self. That is our part in putting off the old man that God put off from us at the cross.
Put On the NEW, by His grace ("You in Christ")

1. Fact
For as many of you as have been baptized [spiritually] into Christ have put on Christ And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him Col. 3:10 (Gal. 3:27). At our new birth we were recreated in Christ, and our Christian life is now hid with Him in God (Col. 3:3, 4).

2. Faith
Put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 13:14). Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness (Eph. 4:24).

By faith in the positional fact that our Father has placed us in His Son, we abide in Him, we acknowledge our place in Him. By faith, we stand in the position He has already given us. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth (Eph. 6:14).

2 Cor. 13:5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? -- unless indeed you are disqualified.
When Christ enters the human heart, he starts a revolution which destroy all lawlessness and gracelessness: Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 2 Tim. 2:19 Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity." 137

1 John 3:5-9 And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. That is the Good News. John puts it bluntly and plainly, "No one who abides in him sins." interchangeable term for sin which he has just given us, "No one who abides in him lives lawlessly." Now, wait a minute! Isn't this a contradiction? Didnt John say: 1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. And now he says, 'No one who abides in him [Christ] sins.' How is this be? And isn't it even more positively put in Verse 9 of Chapter 3, 'No one born of God commits sin; for God's nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. Surely this is a bit of a problem. In Verse 6 he says a Christian does not sin; in Verse 9 he says he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Yet, again in Chapter 1, he says, "if we say we do not sin, we are liars"; and in Chapter 2, Verse 1, "if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." Admittedly, this is a very difficult sequence of scripture. However, it is a very important, and there is no contradiction. John does not say on one page something that contradicts himself on another page. He is an inspired apostle, and writes with wisdom, intelligence, and understanding. The problem does not lie in the text; the problem, if anywhere, lies with the reader. Therefore, it is importance to understand the working of the mystery of evil in human life, and, likewise, the mystery of righteousness which counteracts it. The problem is really settled by the tense of the verb the apostle employs here, "No one who abides in him sins." He uses the present continuous tense for the word sins to mean "no one who abides in him keeps on sinning" or lives in lawlessness. If John had wanted to refer to a single act of sin there is a Greek tense that would have made it very clear. He could have stated, "No one who abides in him can commit even one single act of sin." But he did not say that. He used instead this continuous tense. This helps us a great deal in understanding the passage. So he is saying, "Any one who abides in Christ does not go on living in sin." He cannot live lawlessly, he does not keep on sinning. The question is: How do you avoid living lawlessly? How does one come to this place of not living sinful? It must be in this that one word: abides. "No one who abides in him sins." Remember that he had said in 1 John 2:28, "And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears he may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming," The key is abiding. We have already seen that the relationship of a believer to Jesus Christ, involves him in two aspects. Abiding in Christ is an advance on simply being "in Christ." It involves turning our lives piece by piece over in obedience to the Lordship of Christ. Our Lord himself spoke of these two aspects of a disciple's relationship to him. He described them by these words, "you in me, and I in you," (John 14:20b). Note that those two aspects are uniquely different: 1. You in me" is to be in Christ. It is to believe, to receive Jesus Christ. It is to be joined in a union with him that results in new birth, the impartation of his life and the gift of grace to us, by an act of faith. It is to receive him, to act upon his invitation to come into your life. When you do, you are "in Christ." You are in union with him. "You in me," that is the first union. But that is not the aspect John is describing here. That union does not necessarily result in being freed from the bondage of sin. Oh, it makes freedom possible, it is all potentially there, but in itself it does not result in deliverance. That is why, as we have seen, it is quite possible to be "in Christ" and go on living for a time in sin, lawlessly. 138 Or, to use the

2. But it is the second relationship, "I in you," Christ in us, experienced by an attitude of faith, in which he makes his home in our hearts, that frees us from sin's reign. We allow him to live through us, we expect him to do so, in every moment of our experience. It is this that is called abiding, and it is this that results in freeing us from the bondage and the power of sin, so that we can live godly, God-like lives. You may now discover certain things that are produced by this abiding relationship. In the great 15th chapter of John's gospel, Jesus said these words: "He who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit." (John 15:5b RSV). So abounding fruit comes from this relationship of abiding. Abiding is fruit. The fruit? This is of course, the fruit of the Spirit -- love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control. These are the marks of One who abides. Later on in that same chapter, Verse 7, he says, "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you," (John 15:7). Here effectual prayer is a result, not just being "in Christ," but of "abiding in Christ." Are your prayers being answered? Are you seeing God at work in your experience? Are the things you ask for that are clearly in line with Gods will coming to pass in the lives of individuals for whom you pray? This is the promise, "If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will [within that relationship], and it shall be done for you." Now John says, "No one who abides in him sins," i.e., lives lawlessly. He is able to live Godlike. Therefore, this relationship of abiding is very important. "Well," you say, "just what is it? I've heard all these great promises before -- and God knows I want them -- but it eludes me. What is this abiding, anyway?" Well, let us ask the Lord again for clarification on this. Once again in the 15th chapter of John's Gospel, Jesus says these words, "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love," (John 15:10a). That is putting it plainly, is it not? If you obey me, you will abide in me. "And he that abides in me ... bears much fruit," (John 15:5). "He that abides in me can ask whatever he will and it will be done," {cf, John 15:7}. "He that abides in me will not sin," (c.f., 1 John 3:6a). "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love," (John 15:10). Of course, that obedience is by faith; i.e., this is not an exhortation to give ourselves to a groveling, dogged obedience, saying, "Here's a rule and I've got to do it." No, no. It is an expectant obedience, an obedience that acts expecting him to come through to make it a joy. That is the whole secret. It is by faith. How does this work in practice? Since Christ is in you, if you are a believer, you are in him and he is in you, then you need but set yourself to do what he says, expecting him to act, and the minute you start doing it, the power to carry it through will be there, to make you able to do it and to make it a joy. It is like those Israelites in the Old Testament who were told to cross first the Red Sea and later the river Jordan. Here was a body of water before them, but the command of God has to go through the water. It looked like suicide, utter foolishness. The worst thing they could do would be to plunge headlong into the depths of the waters. But, on each occasion, as the children of Israel stepped down and their feet touched the water, the waters parted and they went on through. It was when they acted on what they were told to do, despite any appearance that anything was happening, that it happened. Of course, this was not simply a thoughtless, spectacular miracle. It was a parable, designed to teach us how God acts. When we hear his command to us, whether we feel like it will work or not, the whole idea is to obey. Act on it! Do what he says! When we do, we discover that the minute we begin to act, the power of God acts also. What we are hoping to accomplish will be accomplished. It works out as God said. We discover that God is at work within us. That is what Jesus means, "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love," (John 15:10a).

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This is also what Paul is saying to the Philippians. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure -- the thing that pleases him," (Phil 2:12). Do you find it difficult to love some, for instance? This is one of the most nagging, persistent problems of life. Someone treats us cruelly, or indifferently, and our natural reaction, stemming from our tie with Adam, is immediately to strike back, to avenge ourselves, to cut them off, don't speak to them, or to say something caustic. We wish to avenge ourselves. But that is not the command of the Lord. His word is crystal clear. "Vengeance is mine, says the Lord," {Rom 12:19}. Do not avenge yourself. He says, "Love your enemies... Do good to those who hate you and despitefully use you. Pray for your enemies," {Mat 5:44). "Love one another," (John 13:34, 15:12, 15:17, et al). But you do not feel like doing that; in fact, that is the last thing you feel like doing. You are like those priests who did not feel like putting their feet in that cold, dirty water of the Jordan River, either. But God had said to do it. And when the soles of their feet touched the water, they parted, and the people went on through. So, when you set yourself to act toward this individual whom you are finding it difficult to love as love would act; if you do something that love would do to that individual; if you respond to him as those who love him would respond; if you obey God, in other words, you will find that if you are expecting him to act, he will. The feeling of love will follow your act instead of preceding it, and you will discover that your whole relationship, your whole attitude, to the individual is different. You will see him no longer as an obstacle standing across your pathway, opposing what you want to do, but you will see him as a person with a problem -- a problem like the problems you have had -- who needs understanding and acceptance. Then the problem will clear up, as your problems have cleared up. Are you tempted to lust? Are you tempted, in this sex-saturated society, to give way to lusts and desires of the flesh that you know are wrong? Well, there is plenty of it around today and in respectable circles, too. But the word of God is, "Flee youthful lusts, because they war against the soul," (c.f., 2 Tim 2:22). It is not that sex is wrong. Sex is wonderful. Sex is what God made it to be; it is his gift to humanity. But the improper use of it is wrong. So God says, flee youthful lusts because they will destroy you, they war against you. Well then, obey them! Turn from them and turn to him in expectant faith and you will find there is an immediate sense of release, a flood of cleansing, purifying, love from him that makes your renunciation not an act of dogged, dismal determination, but an act of delight, of gladness and freedom. What a difference! Even an unregenerate man, a non-Christian, if he wants to for one reason or another, can set his will against doing something that is harmful or wrong or evil, and can stop it. Certainly he can. But he will not have any particular joy in doing so. He will be acting from a grim, dismal determination to walk in this way, with no compensating light or gladness. But the difference for a Christian is that when he so acts, Christ is there. We obey him, and thus we abide in his love. Every act of renunciation against these forces that would destroy us results in an accompanying sense of glorification, of joy, causing us to rejoice in God's grace. If you have him, you can do these things. If you cannot do them, it is because you do not have him. That is why John goes on to add here, "no one who sins has either seen him or known him." That is, so strong is our link with him, and so powerful are the cleansing tides of his life in us, that if we say we have Christ in us and do not show some evidence of it, in increasing degree, then we have been deceiving ourselves. We do not have him at all. We have never seen him or known him. If you can live content with evil, without a struggle, deliberately doing what the Word of God declares is not right; if you can go on thus, and it does not particularly bother you, you have no struggle with it, then you have no right to name yourself a Christian. That is what John is saying. You have not seen him, you have not known him. Jesus Christ came into the world, and into your life, to destroy lawlessness. That is his goal. That is the revolution he is set on bringing to pass. If this is not happening, then you do not have him, for he will not change his purpose. He is moving to this end. This is what he came for, and this is what he will do. You are only kidding yourself if you think you have him because you know many Bible verses or you can recite certain creeds, you have been attending church all your life, or your whole family is Christian. You are deceiving yourself. No, one who lives lawlessly has either seen him or known him. 140

So he concludes in Verse 7, 1 John 3:7a Little children, let no one deceive you. Oh, they will try. There is much attempt today to put on a pious front and make it look real, but do not let them kid you. The true sign is this: "He who does right is righteous." Remember, righteousness is love behaving rightly. He who acts that way (and that kind of love always involves self-sacrifice), it is because he is linked to the Righteous One. There is no other way to act righteously than that: 1 John 3:7b He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous. Note that the original language here the pronoun he is literally, "that one." It appears also in Verse 5. "You know that 'that one' appeared to take away sins." And Verse 7, "Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as 'that one' is righteous." It is almost as though John is seeing Christ standing there. So close is he to him, it is as though he were standing right there, and John refers to him as "that one." He who does right is righteous because that one is righteous, and he is living in him. Because he is living in him, there must be righteousness breaking out from time to time in that individual's life. It has got to be there. When a person discovers this and learns to abide in him, all the time expecting that one to be working in him, then he soon learns he cannot do anything without him. But he discovers that with him, he can do anything he asks. That is why Paul says, "I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me," (c.f., Phil 4:13).

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Appendix 9

Suggested Grace Filled Books & Websites


Suggested BOOKS Cymbala, Jim, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire , Zondervan,1997, ISBN# 0-310-21188-3 George, Bob, Growing in Grace, Harvest House, 1991, ISBN# 1-56507-697-4 McVey, Steve, Grace Rules, Harvest House, 1998, ISNB# 1-56507-897-7 Gillham, Bill, Lifetime Guarantee, Harvest House,1993, ISBN# 1-56507-075-5 Gillham, Bill, What God Wishes Christians Knew About Christianity, Harvest House, 1998, ISBN# 1-56507-557-9 McVey, Steve, Grace Walk, Harvest House, 1995, ISBN# 1-56507-3215 Thomas, W. Ian, The Mystery of Godliness, Tourchbearer,1964, ISBN# 0-907478-03-4 Suggested WEB SITES Peninsula Bible Church - Ray Stedman - http://www.pbc.org/dp/stedman/ Charles Spurgeon - http://www.biblebb.com/spura-i.htm Biblical Studies Foundation - http://aconline.org/ Niles Stanford - http://www.ezlink.com/~trbranch/milesj.htm Lifetime Guarantee Ministries - Bill Gillham - https://www.fastlane.net/~lifetime/resources/order.htm Grace Walk Ministries - Steve McVey - http://www.gracewalk.org/ People to People Ministries - Bob George - http://www.ptpministries.org/home.html Tourchbearers, Major Ian Thomas - http://www.gospelcom.net/tb/non-java/index.html Watchman Nee (Collective Works) - http://www.hightruth.com/watchmannee/watchmannee.html

In Touch Ministries -Charles Stanley - http://www.intouch.org/ John Piper - http://www.mdc.net/~ic/piper.htm Theology Assessments - http://www.ezlink.com/~trbranch/articles.htm Freedom in Christ Ministries - Neil Anderson - http://www.ficm.org/ GraceLife Internet Ministries - http://www.mindspring.com/~mamcgee/gracelife.html Mark McGee Homepage - http://www.mindspring.com/%7Emamcgee/mcgee.home.html Search: Throne of Grace - http://www.google.com/search?query=Throne+of+grace&num=10 Free Grace Notes - Warren Dodd - http://www.atoll.com/vmi/GN.htm Redemption Community Church - http://www.teleport.com/~rcchurch/grace.htm

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Loving Grace Ministries - http://www.lovinggrace.org/excerpts.htm

Appendix 10

Suggested Videotapes
(For use with Bible Study on grace)

Suggested Video tapes to be used in Grace Bible Study (In order of significance): Notes: (Videos May be purchase through the web sites shown or contact me - I have these Videos) (web site* denotes that this web site has online REAL audio archives for listening to these studies

1. "Grace to Overcome" by James Ryle (http://www.lifetoday.org/) - Video + 3 audio cassettes 2. "Where to Go in time of Need" (VMH046) by Charles Stanley (see web site*) 3. "The Source of My Hope" (VMD277) by Charles Stanley (see web site*) 4. "The Power Within Us" (VML315) by Charles Stanley (see web site*) 5. "Empowering Emotion of Joy" (VMC228) by Charles Stanley (see web site*) 6. "Living Life at it's Best" - 2 part series by Charles Stanley (see web site*) 7. Our Unmet Needs - by Charles Stanley (see web site*) 8. Grace vs. "That Hopeless Feeling" (VMD207) by Charles Stanley (see web site*) 9. "Water to Wine" by John Hagee (see web site)

Recommended Books and Videos for the Unsaved who demand evidence: 1. Strobel, Lee, The Case for Christ, Zondervan, ISBN: 0310226465 (The Very Best!) 2. Bierle, Don, Surprised by Faith, Y W A M Pub, ISBN: 1883002338 (Excellent but less factual!) 3. Video: "The Theology of the Titanic" by John Hagee. (see web site)

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