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Rock Report by Pastor Paul

This is a blog that comes from my personal devotions each day. It will also include sermons as I have to delete them from the audio section of the website. This blog will also keep you up to date with what is happening at the Rock in Strathroy Ontario 

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  • Apr4Tue

    Day 35: “Amazing Grace”

    April 4, 2017
                Grace is one of the most misunderstood subjects in the church today. For example, I was humored by a site talking about cheap grace. In the first article they quoted a German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer who defined “cheap grace” as “the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.” Notice what is emphasized in Bonhoeffer’s definition of cheap grace and what is de-emphasized. The emphasis is on the benefits of Christianity without the costs involved; hence, the adjective cheap to describe it.” That sounds good and it is a good definition, which basically states cheap grace means you are not a Christian. Then they talked about “the idea of carnal christianity that essentially teaches that as long as one makes a profession of faith in Christ, he or she is saved, even if there is no immediate obedience to the commands of Jesus and the apostles to live a life of holiness. It is the idea that we can have Jesus as Savior, but not necessarily as Lord.” Here is where truth starts to slide and evolves into doctrinal distinctives. They start making a distinction between Saviour and Lord, thus entering the realm of eternal security. In this article they are against this and they should be but here is where cheap grace moves into a different issue. Cheap grace then also becomes once save always saved. “Clearly, these passages, and others, teach that the one who believes in Jesus Christ “has eternal life” and “will be saved.” There is no disputing this. However, what people were objecting to is not that salvation and eternal life are free gifts of God’s grace, but rather the teaching that the call to salvation does not also include a call to repentance and holy living.” “The point Jesus is making is that discipleship has a cost. Furthermore, discipleship requires repentance and obedience.” They then conclude this article by saying “cheap grace seeks to claim that as long as we make a profession of faith, we are saved. God’s grace covers all our sins. Again, that is a wonderful truth!” Salvation by grace alone through faith alone is so much more than simply mouthing the words “Jesus is Lord.” We are not saved by a profession of faith. We are not saved by praying the Sinner’s Prayer. We are not saved by signing a card or walking an aisle. We are saved by a living and active faith.” Then I asked what if you don’t live a living and active faith according to the word of God.
                The reason I am talking about this is to show the confusion that arises from false teaching about grace. Yes the above article shows that they do not support the notion of cheap grace and that there must be repentance and not only that there must be obedience to God’s word. You can’t just say you're a Christian because you prayed a prayer. In the above article they were against carnal christianity. In another article they taught about Lordship salvation as opposed to easy-believism. They defined it as “The gospel call to faith presupposes that sinners must repent of their sin and yield to Christ’s authority.” “The gospel requires more than making an intellectual decision or mouthing a prayer; the gospel message is a call to discipleship.” Yes this also sounds good but I can’t stop there as another article shows that they are back to cheap grace again. My example is and it may sound familiar but with a different outcome. So now you have a man who repents, make the confession that Jesus is Lord, grows in discipleship, does everything that is required and even quotes James 2:18 “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” He was a man of God in the community. He has lived a life to the glory of God until one day God says to satan have you considered my servant…… and then his children die, he looses his business, financially ruined and he gets really sick, to the point of death. Then his wife says enough; curse God and die. He does and turns his back on God.  Another article on this website then gets back to the dangers of cheap grace. That is the grace that says you cannot loose your salvation. In this next article they say, “The Bible teaches that everyone who is born again by the power of the Holy Spirit is saved forever. The child of God—the believer in Jesus Christ—is eternally secure in his salvation. However, the Bible also contains some strong warnings against apostasy. These warnings have led some to doubt the doctrine of eternal security.” And they should!! They then pick out a few verses to describe apostasy but leave out the ones that don’t work. This is the part that makes me smile every time I hear this nonsense. “Those who apostatize are simply demonstrating that they are not true believers, and they never were. In any church there are those who truly know Christ and those who are going through the motions. God warns the pretender who sits in the pew and hears the gospel Sunday after Sunday that he is playing with fire. Eventually, a pretender will apostatize—he will “fall away” from the faith he once professed—if he does not repent. Like the tares among the wheat, his true nature will be manifest.” So the man in the above example was never really saved??? So I ask how can someone fall away from something they never were? But as always the bible gives us the truth. Hebrews 6:4 “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age 6 and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. 7 Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. 8 But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.”
                This whole teaching of they were never really saved in the first place is anti-biblical as there are many examples of those who like Saul who turned their backs on God and rebelled against him. Peter tells us clearly to watch out for this kind of teaching, as it has been detrimental to the church, hence the name false teaching. 2 Peter 3:17 “Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.” Joshua 7:12 “That is why the Israelites cannot stand against their enemies; they turn their backs and run because they have been made liable to destruction. I will not be with you anymore unless you destroy whatever among you is devoted to destruction.” So if you believed the above mentioned, then you would have to ignore this verse, thus you would be prey to the enemy’s power. Nehemiah 9:26 “But they were disobedient and rebelled against you; they turned their backs on your law. They killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you; they committed awful blasphemies.” Jesus warns us not to be lukewarm for a reason. You can’t say they were never saved in the first place. You can’t say they were never Israel in the first place. You can’t say the Promised Land was not promised because they lost it.
                My intent today is not to dismantle bad theology and doctrines but to show you that cheap grace comes in many forms. It can be in the form of a simple prayer and expecting to be eternally secure. It can be in the form of being a regular church attender with no accountability or submission. It can in the form of following another gospel, thinking all is well. Yes we can make the bible say whatever we want but we had better be teaching the whole bible not just the parts that apply to our distinctives. Paul said in Acts 20:26 “Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 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. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” He also said, Galatians 1:6 “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel.” This has been happening for over two thousand years.
                Grace is not Jesus died, Jesus lives, you are saved. The above doctrine behind the articles as stated in another article do not even believe that the power of the Holy Spirit is available today as it was in the New Testament. When talking about grace, power is part of it, thus when talking about grace without the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 12-14) you are talking about cheap grace and not the grace of the gospel and not Christianity. Romans 16:20 “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.” Acts 4:33 “With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all.” Acts 14:3 “So “Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders.” Hebrews 2:4 “God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.” This is the promise of the gospel to all who believe. The gospel is power. Mark 16:20 “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
                This teaching has turned the amazing grace available to us into cheap grace. No wonder they teach there are no longer apostles and prophets among us because if that is the case, then there would not be any false apostles and prophets either. Matthew 7:15 [True and False Prophets ] “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” Matthew 24:24 “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” 2 Corinthians 11:13 “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” So of course they do not believe in them, as they themselves would be found out for what they are. If they teach there are no apostles and prophets anymore then they have to teach there are no false ones either. There is also an article on this. (By the way this site I refer to is a horrendous site. If you got questions don’t ask them there) There is no need to counterfeit something that isn’t real. It is pretty hard to use a twenty-two dollar bill. Prophets and Apostles are people who proclaim the truth of God’s word to a people who refuse to listen to it and at times at great cost. They do not add to or subtract from God’s word as these men do who write these articles. They simply speak the truth of his word over and over again whether the church listens or not. Unlike the true Prophet or Apostle, these men have not only cheapened God’s grace they have perverted it. Hebrews 10:29 “How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” Jude 4 “For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.”
                This is not the amazing grace the bible talks about. The bottom line is we do not deserve anything we have from God. We do not even deserve to be alive. But as we saw with Noah, 1 Peter 3:20 “when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.” God’s is full of grace but He is also a God of wrath. John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Romans 1:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” Romans 5:6 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. 20 The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
                During the last few days we have talked about Israel and Judah being taken captive and land lying desolate. We saw that God 2 Chronicles 36:20 “carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power.” Remember only a remnant of people survived. Grace is also God not completely destroying us and leaving us a remnant. Ezra 9:8 “But now, for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant and giving us a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage.” That is amazing grace. We do not deserve the gift of grace in Christ Jesus but in the great compassion of God he provides away. Right at the end of 2 Chronicles we see this in action. They had completely turned their backs on God and had rejected his word but in his grace he provided a way out. Yes Jesus was prophesied about in the future, but the remnant was also give passage back to their own land. 2 Chronicles 36:20 “He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. 21 The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah. 22 In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and also to put it in writing: 23 “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Any of his people among you may go up, and may the Lord their God be with them.” Now that is amazing grace.
                So we have great hope in God’s true grace. Don’t be those who turn away and follow cheap grace. Hebrews 10:39 “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” Jude continues to talk about those who pervert grace. He says in Jude 5 “Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”
                So as we continue this journey back to the cross, the empty tomb and Pentecost, Paul says to Timothy, 2 Timothy 1:6 “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 8 So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. 9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, 10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. 12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. 13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” Revelation 22:21 “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.”