Four Ways to Get Involved

Last night in CG a question was asked regarding the doctrine of election. I thought the answer might be helpful to others as well. (A caveat: brilliant men have been debating this topic for centuries and have not come to an agreement and thousands of books have been written on this topic. I understand the following is a simple answer for, what appears to be, a complex issue. I reason that God’s ways are much higher than ours and although we strive to gain complete understanding, as we should, we will never have that until we, without the fog of the flesh, see Him. Until then grace prevail.) As we look at the doctrine of election we must also keep in mind that the Gospel is about glorifying God and not man’s ego.

If God chooses us and we don’t have a choice, aren’t we like robots?

In the garden, our original parents had it all: A perfect relationship with their creator and with each other. As evidence, the Bible says they were naked and were not ashamed. There was no shame because there was no sin. Their eyes were perfectly fixed on their creator and on each other, NOT themselves. They had the freedom to roam, to work, to eat, to love. They loved each other and they loved God. God gave them an opportunity to demonstrate that love through obedience. He told them not to eat from one tree; He placed no other restrictions upon them. Each time they passed that tree in obedience they declared their love for God (John 14:15; 1 John 5:2). One day they did not love God more than themselves and they disobeyed, they sinned. Through their disobedience, sin entered mankind.

Sin was passed down to all men (Romans 5:12). The Bible tells us that we all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and are slaves to sin. We do not have an option, we will sin (Romans 6:16-23). But God chose us (Ephesians 1:4). He opened our eyes, gave us understanding to see our need, understanding of who He is and what He has done (1 Peter 1:3). Like Saul, when the scales fell from his eyes, he rose and was baptized (Acts 9). We choose Him because He chose us. We are believers because we are born again, regenerated in an instant (1 John 5:1). We also love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). In responding to God’s effective call in our lives He then sets us free from sin. That is the power of the cross: We are no longer bound by sin. We have the freedom to obey (Romans 6:1-4). We do not always obey (Romans 6-7). We all sin, so we are not robots, but as our time with Jesus grows we sin less. That is the process of sanctification, becoming more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18).

So effectively by God choosing us we have more freedom, not less. We are freed from sin to obedience. Apart from Jesus we would not have this freedom. Our obedience to Him is a demonstration of our love and His great grace.

Remember the study of doctrine should increase our devotion and desire for Jesus. It is not a quest for more knowledge but a pursuit to know Him who is worthy of our full attention and affection. He has called us to Himself. He has brought us from darkness to light, He loved us when we were His enemies. We may not fully understand today but our hearts should burst with gratitude and our mouths be filled with His praise.

 

 

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Acts 18:24-28

Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.

John Wesley
John Wesley was the founder of the Methodist movement. In the early 1700s, John was raised in the home of a minister. He attended Charterhouse and Oxford and he was subsequently ordained into clergy of the Church of England. While he was at Oxford he helped to form what was called “the holy club.” Finally he accepted an invitation from the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to become a missionary to the American Indians in Georgia, where he failed miserably.

Forced to return to England he wrote, “I went to America to convert the Indians; but, oh, who shall convert me?” Upon His return to England John met with an old friend from a group called the Moravians who led him into an understanding of faith and grace. Prior to that experience, he knew more theology and was more dedicated than most believers, but he was powerless. Much like Apollos, he was filled with knowledge but his understanding of the Gospel was incomplete, like many in our city and our churches today.

Apollos
Apollos was Jewish-raised with an understanding of the law and ceremonies, and the coming Messiah. He was a native of Alexandria and highly educated (the Alexandrian library held 700K books). He was eloquent and competent in the Scriptures and understood the Bible – he may have worked on the interpretation of the Hebrew OT to Greek. He was instructed in the way of the Lord and had been exposed to some things of Jesus/Messiah. What he knew of Jesus, he taught accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. John the Baptizer preached repentance and the coming Messiah; his call was to prepare the way for the Messiah. Apollos’ message was not incorrect or insincere, just incomplete – he did not know the full story. How much did he know? Apparently not the death, resurrection and the Spirit of God who comes onto all who believe.

Like many of us today, we understand only half or part of what the Gospel has for us. We hear it preached that we are saved by grace and from that point there seems to be two paths: an over-realized position of grace or an under-realized position of grace.

Over-realized position
New creation – Forgiven with no more sin, this group over-emphasizes positional sanctification, but neglects the process of being sanctified. There is no working out of salvation or demonstration of love through obedience. This group does not understand the holiness of God and lives under a powerless life.

Under-realized position
New Creation – Forgiven and justified, this group emphasizes the process of becoming sanctified, but lacks the positional sanctification in Christ. This group is always working and never rests; and therefore lives under condemnation, failure and a powerless life.

The first position lessens the need to appropriate grace and the call to holiness. The second position gives us no standing for grace and makes the call to holiness impossible. Both positions negate the need for grace and faith, believing grace is solely for the past (salvation). The Gospel, the Good News that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and raised from the dead, that He called us from darkness to life, is not only the key to salvation but our walk with Him in this world. God’s grace is just as important for our living out the Gospel as it is for our salvation, justification and sanctification. We are justified in Christ, positionally set apart and made holy, but we are also to work out our salvation, to run the race, to continue on.

1 Peter 2:5

You yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

James 1:4

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Hebrews 10:10-14

And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

We are sanctified and we are being sanctified – this should be no surprise as the Kingdom is here but not fully here; we see through a glass dimly so we see but not fully.

How does a proper understanding of grace and faith affect the way we handle sin?

Understand that by faith in Christ, positionally we are holy, set apart, and righteous – there is no condemnation for past, present, or future sin. We give thanks for the grace we have experienced, we rely on grace for victory in the present and we hope in the grace that is ours in the future. His victory is ours (1 John 5:4) and we have a new nature (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15) BUT also realize that we are being made holy through our walk. We are being transformed from one degree of glory to the next (2 Corinthians 3:18) and conformed in the image of Christ (Romans 8:29); as we walk in the Spirit, we have victory over our flesh (Galatians 5:16-17).

We are moved by our love for God. Our love for Him is demonstrated as we act in faith through obedience to the Father (1 John 5:2; 1 John 2:1-3). As our love for God grows, our obedience grows and He becomes our treasure and our great delight because we fix our eyes on Him (Psalm 119:11).

John 17:17 – Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
Psalm 119

Saturate yourself in the Word of God and let Him do the work – let Him identify the strongholds, the idols, and the weakness of your flesh. Idols are powerless in the presence of God (1 Samuel 5 – The Philistines captured the ark of God and set it next to Dagon, god of the Philistines. During the night, Dagon fell face down before the ark with its hands and head cut off – the ark represents the power and presence of God).

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Intro
Who Jesus is (Theological), What He did (Missional-incarnation), Why (Relational-Restoration)
Isaiah 9:6 (700-740 years before Jesus)
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
The incredible miracle amongst many miracles in the birth of Christ, that is the human and the divine coming together in Jesus. For to Us a child is born, the human side of the coming of Jesus, His humanity, His vulnerability, His sacrifice, what we celebrate, the nativity
To us a Son is given, the divine side, the only begotten Son of God appearing, Immanuel, God with us! (1 John 4:9 God manifest His love by giving His only begotten son; John 3:16)
This Child, this Son, is the seed of woman that will bruise the head of the serpent that was promised in Genesis 3:15
This Child, this Son is the seed that was promised to Abraham to a blessing to “all nations” Genesis 22:18
This Child, this Son is the Son promised to David that would establish his throne forever, 2 Samuel 7:16
This Child, This Son was the One who was to be born of a virgin Isaiah 7:14
This Child this Son is the One the writer of Hebrews spoke, “Let all the angels worship Him” Hebrews 1:6
This Child, this Son was the One who’s birth was heralded by angels to poor shepherds Luke 2:9
This Child, this Son was declared to be the Savior, Christ, Messiah Lord Luke 2:11
Martin Luther once remarked that the Incarnation consisted of three miracles: “The first, that God became man; the second, that virgin was a mother, and the third, that the heart of man should believe it.”
Mark 9 demon possessed boy the “If you can..” Jesus “If I can…all things are possible for those who believe” Father I believe help my unbelief
And the Government shall be upon His shoulders…
We will get to this third week (restoration) but just want to touch on it this am
He will establish His earthly rule and reign forever and ever. He will bear the weight of His people
Isaiah 9:7
Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
His kingdom is here within us but not fully here. Some day He will rule and reign over a new heaven and new earth.
“He will be called Wonderful Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6).
The word “wonderful” means ” to excite wonder or admiration; exciting surprise; strange; astonishing.” In the OT is was used to describe things that man could not understand. Like:
Psalm 139:6
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.
Jesus Christ, in every area of His life from birth, to death and resurrection was wonderful. Beyond our understanding –
Charles Spurgeon
“His name shall be called Wonderful.” And first I shall notice that Jesus Christ deserveth to be called Wonderful for what he was in the past; secondly, that he is called Wonderful by all his people for what he is in the present; and in the third place, that he shall be called Wonderful, for what he shall be in the future.

What was Jesus in the past?
Col 1:15-17
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Creator – Exact image of God = God, Firstborn=preeminent, sustainer of life ruler over all,

John 1:1-4; 14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Was God, always been, pre existent, creator, life, light – He is wonderful
What is He in present?
God, Savior King, Light, Life, Our Redeemer, Our Advocate, Lord, Prince of Peace, Reconciler, Our Friend, Our Brother, The Great High Priest, Son of God, our Sustainer, our Way, the Truth. The Great Shepherd, The Holy One, The Alpha and the Omega, The First and the Last, the Hope of Glory. The Image of the Invisible God, the Resurrection and the Life, The Great I AM, and the list goes on.. He is wonderful
What is He in the future?
Returning King, Powerful with great glory. Raiser of the dead, to be feared, Lord forever, father of eternity, Almighty Judge, Ruler, the Holy One, His glory will light new heavens and earth, He will return
Revelation 19:11-16
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
He is wonderful, wonderful Counselor. The word counselor means “advisor or ruler” He speaks only truth and rules perfectly. He revealed the mind and heart of God. He leads us into the presence of God the Father.
“and His name shall be called . . . Mighty God”
It is first of all a statement of deity. The baby born in the manger is not just the Son of God, he is also God the Son. All the fullness of God dwells in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is “very God of very God.”
Colossians 2:9
For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

The word translated “mighty” means “strong one” or “powerful, valiant warrior.” Thus the term “mighty God” is actually a military title. He is the God who fights for his people! He destroyed the works of the enemy

At the Incarnation, God took the form of human flesh. That’s why one of his names is Immanuel-
And His name shall be called…Everlasting Father
A king, could be called a Father, we use the term Father of our nation. Abraham was father of nations (Genesis 17:5) Father could refer to an ownership. All these apply to Jesus. The King, the creator, the owner of the everlasting. The father of the world to come, the Father of the Gospel. But Jesus also said “if you have seen me you have seen the Father” I and the Father are one” Jesus revealed the Father.
And His name shall be called… Prince of Peace

As King He preserves peace, commands peace and creates peace He is our peace, and it is his peace that both keeps the hearts of his people and rules in them. He is not only a peaceable prince, and his reign peaceable, but he is the author and giver of all good, all that peace which is the present and future bliss of his subjects. Luke 2:14 and Ephesians 2:14 We have peace with God and the peace of God Colossians 3:16; Philippians 4:7 Peace with God we are no longer under His wrath in Jesus. Peace of God comes from the presence and power of the HS in our lives as He leads and strengthens us.

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 hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Jesus, who is He? This Child? This Son? This baby in a manger that we sit atop a coffee table or fireplace hearth? He IS THE Wonderful Counselor, THE Mighty God, THE everlasting Father, THE Prince of Peace – Worthy of ALL our devotion and passion

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Jesus on mission.  We will be looking at Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well.

John 4:5-42
4:6;30 – Jesus sets up the meeting God directs the mission and the method of  mission
4:5-9 engages woman without biased diversity to gender, ethnicity or sin, rejected by others -God’s love is displayed in diversity of mission
4:10 – If you knew who I was – Jesus is the Mission
4:16 – Go call you husband – Jesus moving discussion away from physical to spiritual need/sin – God empowers the mission there is a supernatural element to mission
4:19 – woman tries to move it to a religious issue – away from personal, your people, my people
4:21-24 – God the Father is wanting people to know Him and worship Him – Purpose of mission
4:26 – I am the Christ – JESUS IS THE MISSION – He is the Word of God John 1
4:28 – The woman goes back and tells everyone about Jesus (expose and explain the person and work of Jesus  Is this the Christ (person) He told me all… (work) God directs mission, God Determines the method, God produces fruit in mission, God gives purpose
4:32 –  V34 food to eat – doing will of my Father – Accomplishing mission, God satisfies in Mission, 4:39 – many believed from Samaria – they experienced Jesus-not just because of woman.  God produces fruit in Mission
We see eight characteristics of Mission:
God directs the mission
God determines the method of the mission
God empowers the mission-it is supernatural
God’s love displayed in diversity of mission
God satisfies in mission
God produces fruit in mission
Jesus is the mission
God gives purpose to the mission

The recording of that historical event in John 4 gives us a clear picture of Jesus’ mission. Acts is a record of Jesus’ on going mission through the church by the power of the HS  That’s us
Our stated purpose  and mission here at Remedy –
Our Purpose:We were created and exist to be  worshipers of God
Our Mission:To expose and explain the person and work of Christ to those near and far both geographically and culturally
Our Method:We pray and gather in large and small groups for the equipping of the saints through study of scriptures, worship, prayer and biblical community.  We scatter to take Jesus into the world, near and far as we live our lives out in families, neighborhoods, schools, work and play.
Our Desire:To see all men and women, young to old, rich to poor, no matter race, education, religious background, political affiliation live out their created purpose through relationship with Jesus by grace through faith in Him and Him alone

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