Grace has been the theme for me today! (June 28, 2019) First, Amazing Grace was played at my sister-in-law’s funeral this morning. On my way home I heard Dr. Charles Stanley’s sermon: “Walking Worthy of Your Calling” https://www.marshillnetwork.org/shows/charles-stanley/ the first of two sermons about”Our God of Grace”. Just now, I got an email from Billy Graham Evangelistic Society that was ALSO about grace; the hymn Amazing Grace in particular, ending with video of ‘Bagpiper plays “Amazing Grace” at Billy Graham’s funeral in March 2018. THEN I checked out a video post on GODINTEREST https://godinterest.com/2019/05/13/its-not-gay-to-straight-its-lost-to-saved-one-lesbians-journey-to-salvation/
You’ve probably heard “grace” described as God’s unmerited favor. This common definition is accurate, but a deeper study into the word reveals grace as a gift that embodies the entire relationship between God and man.
[excerpt from Summer Soul Refresher: Amazing Grace BGEC June 27, 2019]
The entire relationship between God and man? What thoughts come to mind when you see someone that’s a professing homosexual, witch, druggie, prisoner, etc.? Do you immediately see their blatant sin and turn away? Castigate them? See them as an evangelistic project/target? Make a point to tell them the Bible calls that lifestyle sin? WELL, the sin is just a symptom of their lost-ness which we’ve ALL had in our own lives to differing degrees. By the way- these are all “noticeable” sins. In The Lord’s Prayer we recite: Forgive us our sins/trespasses as we forgive those who sin/trespass against us. We MUST choose to forgive and we MUST choose to be forgiven. We must realize what grace and mercy we’ve found at the foot of the cross and extend that grace to others. Let’s look at the end of Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving servant found in Matthew chapter 18:21-35
Matthew 32 Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
Speaking of grace, I’m not referring to the “cheap grace” that’s a popular Christian theme these days: “His grace is sufficient! Sin all you want! Jesus will forgive you no matter what!” In the book of Romans the Apostle Paul does a full discourse on why this is a wrong view of the doctrine of grace. What stuck out for me in the GODINTEREST post is the woman pointing out she wasn’t saved by church people touting Bible verses about sin; she wasn’t saved out of lesbianism, she went from lost to found by Jesus because of the compassionate, loving actions of women who invited her to a Bible study and showed her what true love is. We are coming into a time where conviction is falling on people and we’re coming into contact with them. They are quite messy for the most part; looking for love in all the wrong places and wondering how to get out from under their sins. Have I mentioned I was recently reconnected with a cousin who’s been practicing Reiki for 30 years and met a niece at the funeral who’s been taken under a witch’s tutelage as a daughter to pass her witch wisdom on to? I have a friend who’s been connected with a Jehovah’s Witness who’s questioning and trying to figure out the trinity? These people are all around us and we don’t need to look too hard to find them. They don’t want to be told blatant truths and have their sins exposed; they probably are already feeling their burden of sin. They are searching for what we have in Jesus Christ by grabbing hold of whatever supernatural avenue they can stumble onto, no matter how false the hope and power are. We need to be guided by Holy Spirit and filled with the love of God in Christ and use wisdom to minister to these broken spirits. It is not natural for us to love people unconditionally while we hate the sin, but as we live and grow in the fruits of the Spirit by living in Christ’s love, we will become more like Christ. He showed all of these fruits by walking in the Spirit and doing the will of the Father; He did nothing outside of that.
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth)[Ephesians 5:9]
I leave you in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, learning to walk in Him – in Whom we live and move and have our being. Treat others – those in the faith and those not yet in the faith- as we’re instructed in Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
Remember we’re ending the second week of the 90 days of summer prayer for our nation (Hank and Brenda Kunneman’s 4th of July prophecy on YouTube) Lift up our nation in prayer and proclamation! May God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen!