Growing in Grace Part 2

Grace and Works and Law

Grace: unmerited favor; the showing of godly love towards a person in the form of giving unearned and undeserved gifts.

In the last message:  In addition to forgiveness of sins and being saved by grace, we showed many of the other things that came by grace, such as: calling, belief, acceptability, redemption, justification, and etc

But it is still much more than that and it would be nearly impossible to encapsulate all the ways in which grace can be given or shown – because simply stated it is the way that God acts towards us and the way that we should act towards others!

Read moreGrowing in Grace Part 2

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God Part 2

WHO gets to be a part of the Kingdom of God?

As we mentioned before, the Kingdom of God is the Government of God (Isaiah 9:6-7) and this is a system that is led by spiritual beings. So to be a part of it we can no longer literally be flesh and blood.

It is conditional

Many do not like to hear this, but it is true and makes sense. A relationship cannot be one-sided – in this case it cannot be God doing everything right and us doing whatever we want. Does that make sense?

Read moreThe Gospel of the Kingdom of God Part 2

The Gospel of the Kingdom of God

We Have a Commission

Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

How does it go out to all the world if we stop it at any time?

How could we have this opportunity that we now have if it were not for the preaching of the gospel?

Read moreThe Gospel of the Kingdom of God

Changing the Heart From Hard to Soft

 

Part 2 but really a continuation of the message from last week

The carnal hardened heart of Pharaoh and then the Israelites and how even today it affects the world at large and can and will affect God’s people in the end time.

Segue:

Just after giving the 10 Commandments this what God said of the Israelites

Deuteronomy 5:29 Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever!

What is God saying about us today?

Define

In the Bible, the heart mostly has to do with our morality and the actions that come from it…it is our conscience in this respect.

There is a good example of this in:

1 Samuel 24:4 Then the men of David said to him, “This is the day of which the LORD said to you, ‘Behold, I will deliver your enemy into your hand, that you may do to him as it seems good to you.’ ” And David arose and secretly cut off a corner of Saul’s robe.
1 Samuel 24:5 Now it happened afterward that David’s heart troubled him because he had cut Saul’s robe.

David was a man after God’s own heart. He had a soft and receptive heart – and because he did something contrary to what he knew was right, his conscience got the better of him.

God wants and expects us to have that same kind of heart:

2 Corinthians 3:2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
2 Corinthians 3:3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.

The question then is, how do we move from a hard heart to a soft one?

God’s Part in Changing the Heart

First and foremost it is only by the power and plan of God that this can happen. Without Him acting first and giving us gifts that we could not obtain ourselves we can move from a stony heart to a fleshy one.

Jesus Christ

He gave His only Son as the first part of the process that everything may follow. One of the many things that came because of this was the fact that Jesus Christ might live in us.

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.

But notice where He makes His home

Ephesians 3:16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man,

Ephesians 3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith;….

This is where Jesus Christ wants to be…but it is contingent on our heart be a viable environment, one where Jesus Christ can do His work in us.

This is accomplished by one of the greatest gifts ever given:

Holy Spirit

This is the key difference between a hard hearted person and soft one.

1 Corinthians 2:9 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.”
1 Corinthians 2:10 But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.

No one can truly comprehend the word of God so that so we may write these things on our heart.

Example of writing notes today. What do we take in and write down – only the things that we understand. If it is good we will take it in, think about it, change accordingly – in other words let it enter our hearts.

Most of the world is not this way. They see what is written or hear the messages being spoken and they count it as rubbish. It does not go into their hearts as a moral guide in how they live their lives.

It CANNOT, because of the lack of the holy spirit.

Circumcision

Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh;
Romans 2:29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

This is what God had been admonishing them since Old Testament times and was continuing to do so here

Romans 2:5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart

Because of the condition of their heart they did not repent

God Gives Repentance

2 Timothy 2:25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth,
2 Timothy 2:26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

Purifies

Acts 15:8 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us,
Acts 15:9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.

Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Washes away the sin of the world

Titus 3:4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,
Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

1 John 2:2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Trials

1 Thessalonians 2:4 But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts.

Job

Us now – corrects whom He loves

Great tribulation in the future

Why Does God Allow Christians to Suffer

Our Part in Changing the Heart

Using the Holy Spirit

We are to be using the holy spirit that He gave us

It’s one thing to have it, but another thing to be actively using it.

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.

But, if we allow God’s Spirit to work in our minds and lives, God’s law—the same law written on the tablets of stone—becomes a permanent part of our lives as Christians. It manifests itself in thoughts, words, deeds and character that reflect God.

Romans 8:8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

This is how we use the holy spirit. We listen to God, write that in our hearts by the power of the holy spirit and then filter our thoughts, words and actions through it.

Purify

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.

Easiest way to be clean is to stay that way

Guard the Heart

Correlation between what is in the heart and how it colors our words and actions

Matthew 12:34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Matthew 12:35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.

If that is the case then we need to be careful what is written on our hearts. To do this we must recognize that the eyes and ears are the physical gateway to the heart

Proverbs 2:1 My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you,
Proverbs 2:2 So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;
Proverbs 2:3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding,

Must be weighed up whether to take on board or not

Proverbs 2:10 When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,

Guard what you take in

Psalms 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

The Eyes and Ears

Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?”
Matthew 13:11 He answered and said to them, “Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given.
Matthew 13:12 For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.
Matthew 13:13 Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
Matthew 13:14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘HEARING YOU WILL HEAR AND SHALL NOT UNDERSTAND, AND SEEING YOU WILL SEE AND NOT PERCEIVE;
Matthew 13:15 FOR THE HEARTS OF THIS PEOPLE HAVE GROWN DULL. THEIR EARS ARE HARD OF HEARING, AND THEIR EYES THEY HAVE CLOSED, LEST THEY SHOULD SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, LEST THEY SHOULD UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEARTS AND TURN, SO THAT I SHOULD HEAL THEM.’
Matthew 13:16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear;
Matthew 13:17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Proverbs 22:17 Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, And apply your heart to my knowledge;
Proverbs 22:18 For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; Let them all be fixed upon your lips,

Our Thoughts

Ephesians 6:11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

James 4:7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

1 Peter 5:9 Resist him, steadfast in the faith….

Fill our mind with:  Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things arelovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Purify

Not only does God give us a head start in this regard, but we are to continue to do it ourselves.

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.

Easiest way to be clean is to stay that way, BUT if we are not then we need to REPENT of our sins and wrong ways and seek God’s forgiveness that we may have a clean and pure heart.

Attitude of Humility

In one of the blessings and cursings chapters a correlation can be seen between our hearts and humility

Leviticus 26:40 ‘But if they confess their iniquity and the iniquity of their fathers, with their unfaithfulness in which they were unfaithful to Me, and that they also have walked contrary to Me,
Leviticus 26:41 and that I also have walked contrary to them and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if their uncircumcised hearts are humbled, and they accept their guilt—
Leviticus 26:42 then I will remember My covenant with Jacob, and My covenant with Isaac and My covenant with Abraham I will remember; I will remember the land.
Leviticus 26:43 The land also shall be left empty by them, and will enjoy its sabbaths while it lies desolate without them; they will accept their guilt, because they despised My judgments and because their soul abhorred My statutes.

Law

We have now come full circle. There is a connection between hearts and law.

In the beginning, the letter of God’s law was written on tablets of stone at Mount Sinai. It never became a part of them.

By God’s Holy Spirit today His law is written upon our hearts AND because we keep that law He gives us His holy spirit (Acts 5:32).

It is a self sustaining cycle

Psalms 40:8 I delight to do Your will, O my God, And Your law is within my heart.”

David was a man after God’s own heart because he had God’s character and nature, which is defined by the law, written in his heart. Not only that, but he lived by it.

This is the way that it was in the past with King David, it is the way that God wants to be with us now and it is the way that it will be in the future after Christ returns.

Time Coming in the Future

Ezekiel 36:26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Ezekiel 36:27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

God will leave no one out … all that have been hard hearted will have their chance … it’s just that our time is now … and we need to make the most of it.

The Gifts and Rewards of the Next Life

 

A follow on from last week’s message

What do we have to look forward to after this life?

Why are we doing what we are doing now?

We are proclaiming that we want to live this way of life forever…and with God

But it won’t be like it is now – but beyond imagination

1 Corinthians 2:9 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.”

Read moreThe Gifts and Rewards of the Next Life

How Sin Separates Us From God

Isaiah 59:2

Context of 57-58 (Sins of Israel)

Isaiah 58:1 “Cry aloud, spare not; Lift up your voice like a trumpet; Tell My people their transgression, And the house of Jacob their sins.
Isaiah 59:1 Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear.
Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.

Read moreHow Sin Separates Us From God