Friday, November 24, 2017

You Cant Outgive God

You Can't Outgive God                                                    11-24-17

2 Samuel 12:13 (ESV) 13  David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die.

No, this is not a message on the giving of our substance. Although,that statement is true in that respect. Today it is all about grace. It is not about any of the descriptions that we humans have assigned to it.It is not about that popular and in my opinion derogatory term,Hyper Grace. It is not about sustainable grace. It is not about falling from grace.It is simply about grace. It is also about the notion that we as God's creation cannot give anything back to Him to warrant His grace. Not in material benefits,not in spiritual benefits,and certainly not in any righteous acts concerning our conduct,behavior and whatnot.As concerns grace we can't give ANYTHING back to merit God's bestowal of it. 

I was thinking about what I had written last week as it concerned the condition of MY heart on certain issuesWhile contemplating on this,I came across this verse. Now,I have read this story many times,but the last part of that verse (13) had never hit me. And herein lieth he lesson.

".........and Nathan said to David,"The Lord also has put away your sin;you shall not die." At first,it was hazy,but then it became more clear to me. I said to myself,"Did God just go against the requirements of the Mosaic Law,and more importantly His own Word?" How so Ronnie?

Leviticus 20:10 (ESV) 10  “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

Not to mention David's murder of Uriah. According to the Law, David's sin(s) REQUIRED that he be put to death.There was to be no mercy. The sin had to be paid for. Hmmmmm..there seems to be a problem here. So, I went and studied it out as best I could. Now,it gets pretty technical here and for this blog unimportant. But,know this. God in His SOVEREIGNTY did indeed bestow an act of Grace towards His servant David. Without getting  mired in the theology,two facts are important here.

First, GOD IS SOVEREIGN.He does what He wants to do and is accountable to NO ONE for what He does. That's powerful medicine when all the implications are considered. What if tomorrow,God decided to destroy and send His creation to eternal damnation.Who or what could stop Him? That's right ....NO ONE! HE IS SOVEREIGN.All,again ALL of His dealings with us,His creation,rest SOLELY on one aspect of His character,.... His Grace. Unmerited favor.

Secondly, and more specific to this situation,verse 13 is spoken of in the past tense.
I have sinned. The Lord has put away. Past tense.

David was not forthcoming with the facts of his sins. His sin would be exposed to the prophet Nathan before he would confess his guilt. No act of contrition. No turning away from his sin.No resolve to do better. All this would come later and not in his own strength but in the strength of the Holy Spirit.(see Psalm 51 and 32)

All David did was AGREE with God. He had indeed sinned. Nothing else. And then Nathan speaks some of,if not the most gracious words in the Old Testament.

"The Lord HAS put away your sin;you shall not die." Past tense.No mention of David offering a sacrifice here. He may have but that is not the point. His sin has been put away. Passed over. In the corridors of glory,the restitution has already been paid. The Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world is in view here. Jesus Christ, The Lord of Glory. Heady stuff indeed.

God,according to His Grace and His Grace ALONE. Apart from any righteous act before or after on David's part,put away,covered over, David's sin; which DEMANDED the death of the transgressor. David gave nothing on his part. No merit whatsoever. Just belief. Agreement. He agreed and indeed believed with God that he had sinned. All His righteous acts of contrition,turning away etc.,etc.,came AFTER God had dealt with his sin. AFTER God had put away or passed over his trangression. And ONLY with the power and help of the Holy Spirit. Yes the Holy Spirit was around in Old Testament times.Powerful,powerful medicine.

Psalm 51:11 (ESV) 11  Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

So, Ronnie what is your point in all of this? Well, as I said last week it is easy to develop a wrong attitude towards people. Listen to this.

Our standing with God is based on His work. His grace,UNMERITED favor is all that stands before us and destruction. We are saved from eternal damnation by His Grace and His Grace alone.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV) 8  For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
9  not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Not only that,but our salvation is MAINTAINED by God and God alone. It is a work of God. We can do nothing on our own accord to "stay saved." GOD ALONE DOES IT.

1 Peter 1:3-5 (ESV) 3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4  to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
5  who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

If God does all of this for us,IN SPITEof our continued failings, then why do we DEMAND FROM OTHERS what God does not demand of us? My question to myself is "why do I demand someone else live up to my notions of righteousness? How can I develop an attitude towards someone else based only on what I can see?Do I make judgment solely on what I see in other's conduct and behavior?

Every last ounce of my standing and relationship with God Almighty is initiated and maintained by Him! I do nothing! Except what HE leads and EMPOWERS me to do. I can and indeed WILL not do anything of my own accord;and I am in error if I demand it of others.Brothers and sisters,we don't have a sin problem. SIN HAS BEEN DEALT WITH. We have a belief problem. Our belief problem lay in he fact that we have to BELIEVE in Jesus and His complete snd finished atonement on Calvary. Nothing else can be done on His part or ours. Nothing else NEED be done on His part or ours.Secondly,we must believe that Jesus will do for OTHERS what He has done for us. IN SPITE of what we SEE in the lives and conduct of others.Undestanding that we are no different than they. 
Psalm 119:146 (ESV) 146  I call to you; save me, that I may observe your testimonies.

God Bless

Friday, November 10, 2017

Spiritual Correctness                                                        11-10-17

2 Timothy 3:14-15 (ESV) 14  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
15  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

More computer problems today. Seems my version of this software(wordsearch 10) is not compatible with the new upgrade from Apple on the computer. So,$35.00 later for new upgrade and voila! here I am.

Let me tell you something. There is no more ardent a supporter of study as it concerns the Scripture than me. I am on a mission to understand why I believe what I believe,for reasons that are personal to me. I just recently started a study of the Book Of Job. A serious study that will, I believe, take considerable time. I have,if memory serves, read the  book through only once in my entire life. It is a deep and profound book and I am only through the introduction. I am relying on a"teaching" commentary simply because Job is a difficult book  for me to understand.All the poetry and word structure are  hard for me.Also, I have a hard time "connecting" with Job. The plain reason being I have not approached in my life the depth or magnitude of suffering that Job experienced. And I have NO DESIRE to experience Job's reality. That being said,the commentator,in his commentary made this statement about Job.Speaking of Job,he said,"His friends talk ABOUT God.Job talks TO(caps mine)God. And this makes him the only authentic theologian in the book."

When I got saved on October 8th 1975,the first thing I did was go out that very evening and buy a Christian book. I will never forget it. The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsay. Great book.........but not the place for a new babe in Christ to begin his journey. It blew my mind as I read the whole book in one setting. When I arrived at work that night I found my Christian friends, Pastor Doug,who had led me to the Lord that morning, and Bill Fallon.Pastor Doug do you remember Bill?  Excited and scared,I told them about the book I had read.Well....I got a look. Not disapproving or stern. A look of maybe I needed something a little different to begin with. It was then that I received my first Christian"teaching." I was told that to begin with I needed to do two things.I needed to learn how to do two things. I remember it like it was yesterday. What were they Ronnie? What deep wisdom was imparted to you?

1) Read the Bible.


That was the extent of my teaching.Oh yeah, start in the Gospel of John. That was it.

Some forty odd years,unknown hours spent reading the Bible,countless seasons of prayer,hundreds of Christian books,thousands of preached sermons,hard times,good times,ups and downs those two truths still remain firm and steadfast.And herein lieth the lesson.

If you have read the the books of First and Second Timothy,you understand this is a "teaching"letter from a wise,seasoned Man of God to a younger,up and coming Pastor. I believe,and this is my opinion only,I believe it was Paul passing the baton to his child in the faith. In the midst of all his advice and instruction about the storms and all the other of life,Paul writes those words to Timothy. Look again.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 (ESV) 14  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it
15  and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.

"........continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed.....

I remember a few years back during a desperate and I mean desperate period in my life. I was driving a truck over the road and was literally on I40 at Cedar Bluff road. I was passing through Knoxville on my way to Chicago with tears rolling down my face. Something had happened and I was desperate to hear from God. As I rolled past the Lovell Rd.exit,theSpirit of the Lord spoke these words to my heart. "Go back to the place you left off,and do what you know to do." The Lord was speaking to me in areas of my life that I had become negligent.Truths that I had been taught in the past. Nothing new. No great revelation or teaching. The sun didn't start shining any no.It was a simple restating of some truths that I had learned eons ago and had allowed to become stagnant. A buddy of mine stated it precisely the other day when he said these words to the author, "I am not interested in any new teaching, I can't live what I know!"

Amen and Amen. 

Brothers and sisters,I suppose that this is my point today. If it was truth yesterday. If it was truth last week. If it was truth 50 years is truth today.Oh yes there are different doctrines. There are different theologies. There are different viewpoints and applications.I understand all of that and heartily agree. But,there isn't a different truth. And that is what set Job apart from his friends as far as I can tell so far. In Job's search for the truth about his suffering he didn't put forth any new theologies or new teachings. no no. He couldn't understand what he already knew to be true about God. However,what set him apart. What,in the end, curried God's favor toward him and by the same token God's anger toward Job's friends was one truth. Job didn't talk ABOUT God,he talked TO God.

1)Read the Bible


 Psalm 57:1 (ESV) 1
 Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.

God Bless

Friday, November 3, 2017

Entangled Or Entrusted 2

Entangled Or Entrusted? 2

Computer and Internet problems today. This is a reprint from a couple years ago. Hope it has some relevance.

4No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

I know, I know.....I hear you LOUD AND CLEAR! There aren't enough hours in the day are there? It's not as if they have you for eight, nine, ten or maybe more hours in the day. No, no that isn't enough. They feel it necessary to call you on the phone at home to ask about a problem at work. Just heard a story at my work about a man I know personally. His father died last Sunday night past, but his employer required him to be at a Monday morning7A.M. meeting or lose his job.
You and I may think "How cruel and heartless, I would tell them to take that job and.........." I hear ya. But maybe he's got a couple of small children who would enjoy having some corn flakes or bacon and eggs to eat tomorrow for breakfast.You see the above is easy for us to say but a little harder for him,.. he's got skin in the game.(sorry Mr. Montgomery it is a reprint,big smile) 
You see there's a difference between being entangled and entrusted. I hope I can make some sense here. Please take a look at  the previous verses in this passage.
2 Timothy 2:1-3 (ESV)You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, 
2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 
 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
Pay particular attention to vs. 2

".....what you have heard from me............ENTRUST  to FAITHFUL (caps mine) men who will be able to teach to others also."

When I was a young Christian I was led to attend a Saturday morning prayer meeting at the home of my friend Pastor Doug. If memory serves, we would meet in a concrete shed in his back yard every Saturday morning at 4A.M. and pray for a couple of hours. I don't remember the number of men, about five or six I think. The prayer meeting was based on 2 Timothy 2:2. Some of us drove 50 or more miles to attend this prayer meeting and over the course of a couple of years we had some mighty, mighty answers to prayer. Let me assure you that 4 A.M. came very early in the cold of winter; and, many times I would question my sanity while driving to that little prayer meeting. But, I was COMPELLED to attend. No, Pastor Doug didn't require my attendance. The Holy Spirit did. It was something on the inside of me that urged me on, many times IN SPITE of myself.

God had entrusted that prayer meeting to me,along with the other men who gathered on those Saturday mornings.He taught me something in that prayer meeting.

Sometimes,.. no ALL the time it was hard to roll out of bed that early. It was difficult just to get to that place of prayer, physically and spiritually,and my flesh wanted no part of it. It was easy to get puffed up and consider what a great "sacrifice" I was making. But as God showed me as only He can,it was not a sacrifice, but a PRIVILEGE to gather together and seek His face. Not only a privilege, but an OPPORTUNITY to be blessed mightily. And so I was. Had I been unfaithful to His prompting, I would have missed witnessing the many answers and outright miracles that God wrought in that gathering. And herein lieth the lesson.
 Has God entrusted something to your care? Just like my friend at work, the circumstances may be difficult. If God has given you a responsibility, if He has entrusted your faithfulness, then more than likely your flesh is going to war against it, and the enemy is going to attack it. It may get difficult and trying at times. But look at vs. 1 again. If God has entrusted and compelled you to do something, He's going to enable you to complete the task. 
2 Timothy 2:1 (ESV)  You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,
His grace will strengthen you inside and out.
So your world is a little haywire right now huh? It's a wee bit frantic and unsettling. You are tempted, like the pinball machine to flash TILT! I FEEL YA!!
Hang in there, whatever it is, it may seem like a great sacrifice now, it may seem absolutely off the chain, but,TRUST GOD, He will turn your faithfulness into a great opportunity for YOUR blessing.

Psalm 20:4 (ESV) 4 May he grant you your heart desire and fulfill all your plans!

God Bless