Posts Tagged ‘Grace’


Christ reveals the Light and Love of God as Grace and Truth

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

John revealed in his Gospel the “grace and truth” of Jesus Christ. The true light entered the world…

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. (John 1:9)

This light was revealed to men as “grace and truth.”

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. (John 1:14)

Why is this? Because light in God, when brought to men, becomes truth; love in God, when brought to men, becomes grace. Truth and grace are here on earth, light and love back there with God. This is how John reveals Christ in his Epistles. Jesus is revealed as being with His Father as light and love.

What is truth in the Gospel is light in the Epistles. What is grace in the Gospel is love in the Epistles.

Grace & Truth will bring us into the Light & Love of God

The grace and truth of Jesus Christ will always bring believer’s into the light and love of God. Grace and truth will always develop the justice and righteousness in your life that God loves. His grace and truth is never bestowed lightly or in a whimsical manner. God’s grace and truth must be received by a heart willing to embrace the light and love of God. His light will always bring you to repentance and his love will always develop righteousness in you!

The problem we have is that anything that touches man can be corrupted by man. Man can misuse grace and corrupt truth for his own selfish purposes. This is why we must always preach Jesus Christ coupled with the light and love of God. Man cannot climb up to heaven and corrupt God. He is beyond mishandling. John takes us back to the throne to behold the Son with the Father. Such a vision of the light and love of God will always purify us and produce His righteousness. We can only recover the grace and truth of Jesus as we behold the light and love of the Almighty and Holy God. If, in our walk, we separate the grace of Jesus from the Holy light of God, our life will fall short of God’s Glory and we will become mired in false truth and false religion.

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:4-6)

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 “How to Make God’s Word Attractive”

And now the shift from the protection of sound doctrine to the practice of sound doctrine.

This connection between belief & behavior must be grasped by all Christians if we’re to be in the world but not of the world! Christians are called to engage the culture around them. We are to be culture changers, and that requires credible lives that have been transformed to the point that they are engaging and inviting. Christians will never impact the culture around them through distance and withdrawal. (JT)

Making God’s word Attractive! & Living differently in the Power of Grace!

Titus 2:1-3 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good,

Verse one in other translations:„

  • Phillips – Titus 2:1 Now you must tell them the sort of character which should spring from sound teaching.
  • KJV Teach that which becomes sound doctrine…
  • „ NASB Teach that which is fitting with sound doctrine…

Accords or fitting is the Greek word “prépō” – To be eminent, distinguished, to excel. In the NT usually in the impersonal form prépei, it means becoming, proper.[1]

Paul describes “sound doctrine” as becoming, fitting, excellent, distinguished and I might add “elegant.” He wants Titus to teach and practice that which expresses the elegance and beauty of sound doctrine.

So Chapter two has some insights in how we are to make the Word of God Attractive to the culture around us.

I. Top down elegance (1-3)

(1)  The Older men and women set the mark for elegance of the Word.
    • Whether young or old, married or single, we are all needed in the local church.
    • Older believers are especially important
(2) Your Influence is greater than you think!
(3) The churches impact on the culture depends upon the beauty of the Older believers!

 Regardless of age, gender, occupation, or any other classification, God calls us to live differently in whatever environment we find ourselves! “All true believers are expected to have faith reflected in their conduct & to have their conduct affirm their faith!” (Kent Hughes)

A. Older Men!

(2 – Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness.)

(1)  Older Men should be distinguished with the beauty of the Gospel
      • Zechariah (80) and Paul (50’s) were called ‘old man’ in Scriptures
      • This is Top down Body Life
      • Top Down Body Life is sustainable and produces Godly Impact.
(2) Sober – abstain from wine or at least from its immoderate use (always clear –headed)

“Sober” is nēphalios, “abstaining from wine, either entirely or at least from its immoderate use.”Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 190.

(3) Dignified – noble, respected and admired. They have majestic and awe-inspiring qualities that do not repel but attract people. The presence of Christ is seen.

“Grave” is semnos, “august noble, venerable, reverent.” Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies – Volume 2: Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1973), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 190. Semnós represents not only earthly dignity, but that which is derived from a higher citizenship, a heavenly one, which is the possession of all believers. There lies something of majestic and awe-inspiring qualities in semnós which does not repel but rather invites and attracts Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “σεμνός”.

(4) Self-controlled-self-restrained, his passions and desires are all under the cross.

self-disciplined in one’s freedom, self-restrained in all passions and desires. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “σώφρων”.

(5) Sound (Vitality) in Faith (personal relationship w/God); (You know He sees God in every circumstance)
(6) Sound in Love (relationship w/others);
(7) Sound in Steadfastness (bear up well under the stress, endurance as to things or circumstances) –Go to guy when your world is falling apart.

Q: Where are the older men? Step up to the plate!

„ The Older Men establish the benchmark for everyone in the church to attain to.

„ God always works TOP DOWN when He wants to impact the church and the community!

B. Older Women! (3)

Titus 2:3-5 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

(1)  Reverent in behavior – Becoming for they act like sacred people.
(2)  Avoiding the ugliness of gossip & drunkenness.
(3)  Teachers of Good (Phillips-examples of the good life)-training and schooling the younger (neo) mom’s and wives.
      • They should channel their energy into mentoring the new wives and mom’s.
      • Train the new moms and wives by bringing them to their right minds and
      • To know the way to love their husbands and children.
(4) Pure – not defiled
(5) Caring for the home
(6) To be under the leadership of their husbands.
(7) So that people will not treat the Word of God with irreverence or regard it as nothing of God.

1 Peter 3:1-6 Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.

Q: Where are the older Women?

  • „ Older women get involved in discipling younger women.
  • „ Discipling young moms in matters of family & Christian lifestyle.
  • „ Focus on their responsibilities to live out the Word of God toward their husband and their children, and bringing the power of the Word of God into their home.
  • „ You have a command to be “Titus Two-ing!”

Where have we gone wrong in the 21st century church? The same way they went wrong in the 1st century church. When each one became self-focused instead of body-focused, the church declined in spiritual power, families broke up and churches became divided. The culture looks at the church as says, “you have nothing for me.” Your families are messed up, your children are just like mine, your full of strife and worry and stress, just like me.

Church becomes a show, a form of godliness, a feel-good assembly, but there is no community, no power to build Godly marriages  and families.

So discipleship and community and mentorship become foreign phrases, and we focus on the speaker of the music or the facilities or the children’s ministries. Church becomes a convenience that we fit into our busy, hectic, stressful lives.

For a church to be set in order and effective according to Paul, there must be leadership from men and women who pour their lives into the young people who will follow them. There should be a personal investment in regular fellowship, disciplined worship, & church community life! The Older Christians are to make the Word of God ATTRACTIVE through inviting lives! (Not judgmental lives)

 C. THE YOUNGER SAINTS! (4-8)

(1) Younger Women! (4,5) (READ)

a.  They should learn how to love their families & live godly lives.

b.  Paul says to young wives make family your highest priority!

(2)  Younger Men! (6-8)

Titus 2:6-8 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.

URGE is Parakaleo – come alongside them and work with them on being sound-minded, in touch with the realities of life, the importance of family. Life is not about money!

a.  They should display sensibility.

Sober-minded – sound-minded, to exercise self-control, to have one’s total life under control of the mind.

b.    They should be a positive role model! People are watching their lives

One pagan said after receiving a gospel tract from a zealous missionary, “Thank you for this tract, now I will watch your tracks and decide about becoming a Christian.”

Years ago the communist government in China commissioned an author to write a biography of Hudson Taylor with the purpose of distorting the facts and presenting him in a bad light. They wanted to discredit the name of this consecrated missionary of the gospel. As the author was doing his research, he was increasingly impressed by Taylor’s saintly character and godly life, and he found it extremely difficult to carry out his assigned task with a clear conscience. Eventually, at the risk of losing his life, he laid aside his pen, renounced his atheism, and received Jesus as his personal Savior.

c.   Teaching must be with integrity (not for gain or position, but with genuine concern)

d.  Demonstrate dignity

e.  Sound Speech (that cannot be condemned)

f.    No one opposed to the Gospel can say anything evil about you.

D. All four groups have this same word – self-control!

(1) Freedom in Christ doesn’t give believers the liberty to cast off all moral restraint.
(2) Nor does it call for a withdrawal from life & its temptations.
(3) It calls for a self-disciplined life following Christ’s example of being in the world but not of the world.
(4) It calls for Christians to live sensibly & reasonably!

a.   The Christian Church effects the community only as it functions as a caring, discipling community of growth into the reality of the Life of Jesus Christ

b.  Our actions must be considered in light of their effects upon others!

c.   Seek the others good!

E. THE BONDSERVANT SAINTS! (9-10) (EMPLOYEES)

Titus 2:9-10 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

(1)  Slaves were to be examples
      • They should not revolt but submit to their masters, work hard to please them, avoid arguing with them, resist stealing from them(“I deserve this since he isn’t paying me enough!”)
(2) They adorn the Gospel through their behavior
      • They must work in good faith so that, “so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive”(NIV).

It was a custom among the Greeks as well as the Jews not only to erect, but also to repair and adorn the monuments of those who had merited them or who had suffered an undeserved death[2]  – ADORN THE CRUCIFIED CHRIST WITH YOUR LIFE

Q: Do you adorn the doctrine of God our Savior? (i.e. make it attractive with your life?)

(3) (vs 10) Not pilfering – thieving, to embezzle.
(4) What happens here? – Paul doesn’t tell them to rebel??? No, but he does remind them now that they have salvation & their Master doesn’t…
      • they are master of their superiors future!
      • This is how lowly slaves can impact their culture!

F. (5,8,10) “That”

Each occurrence begins a clause that expresses the goal or purpose of the behavior that is encouraged.

(1) Vs 5 – (that the Word) Proper Christian behavior has a significant impact on pagan attitudes toward Christianity!
(2) Vs 8 – (That as opponents) It silences its opponents by correct Christian teaching.
(3) Vs 10 – (so that you may adorn) It attracts a lost world to Christianity.

Poor Testimony – During the Spanish conquest of Mexico under Hernando Cortez in the early 1500s, a resistance leader named Hatney was captured after a fierce battle and sentenced to be burned alive. After tying him to the stake, his captors urged him to become a Christian so that at his death his soul might be given an entrance into heaven. He asked his tormentors if they expected to go to this place. On being told that they did, he cried out, “Then I will not be a Christian, for I would not again go to a place where I would find men so cruel!” – H.V.L. Our Daily Bread, June 18

  • How we live either blasphemes the word (vs 5) or beatifies it!
  • Adorn = your life is decoration and tribute to the crucified Son of God. You can be an enticement to folks sick of the culture.

Back in 1985 a 40’, 45-ton, Humpback whale made a wrong turn during his migration along the California coast. Well-wishing friends affectionately named the humpback whale Humphrey. The wayward mammal became a national celebrity when he turned into San Francisco Bay, swam under the Golden Gate Bridge, and managed to navigate 70 miles up river. For more than 3 weeks, Humphrey defied all efforts to get him back to salt water. Finally, marine biologists tried to lure him with the recorded sounds of feeding humpbacks. It worked. Humphrey responded to the “happy humpbacks” and followed “them” back to the Pacific.

  • Everyone has the role of making God real to someone else!

II. LIVING DIFFERENTLY, IN THE POWER OF GRACE! (11-15)

A. The Grace of God not only saves us but also teaches us how to live the Christian life.

Jesus saved us not only so we’d belong to Him, but also so we would live like we belong to Him!

(1) Vs.11 & 14 show what God has done for us!
(2) Vs.12 & 13 show what we should do for God!
      • We should live for Him & look for him!
(3) The Grace appeared in Jesus so that we can bring His Grace to our friends and neighbors.

B. Why We Are Different? – (PAST!-11) – because Grace has Appeared

Rom.5:10 “For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

“Only as we grasp the significance of God’s grace can we eagerly do what is pleasing to Him!”[3]

C. Our PRESENT is different (12)

Q: What reasons does Paul give on why a Christian should live differently?

  1. What he should give up
  2. How he should now live.
(1) Say NO to ungodliness!
(2) Say YES to setting God before you in everything!
  • We are surrounded by a world that doesn’t say “no” to anything!
  • In fact, this world says yes to everything

A story is told of a young girl who accepted Christ as her Savior and applied for membership in a local church. “Were you a sinner before you received the Lord Jesus into your life?” inquired an old deacon. “Yes, sir,” she replied. “Well, are you still a sinner?” “To tell you the truth, I feel I’m a greater sinner than ever.” “Then what real change have you experienced?” “I don’t quite know how to explain it,” she said, “except I used to be a sinner running AFTER sin, but now that I am saved I’m a sinner running FROM sin!”

  • „ Godlessness – Ignoring God’s authority over your life and decisions.

So what will ultimately make us holy?…not willpower, not guilt, not an inspiring message, but deep apprehension of the mercy of God in Christ.

The Puritans taught this truth w/the image of the live oak, a variety of trees whose leaves – though dead – stuck to their branches through the winter. What eventually forced the leaves from the tree was not the abuse of the cold or the beating of the wind, but the new life of springtime welling up w/in the branches & forcing out what was dead.

We are the same!

Our evil affections are replaced by Jesus Christ and all that He is. We don’t just talk about Him, we live with Him, through Him and because of Him. Just as the Ark of Testimony was not simply talked about, but was carried with you. It was at the center of the community. As the Grace of Christ works in your life it will bring Christ into your life.

D. LOOK AT OUR FUTURE! (13)

  • What begins with grace will always lead to glory!

The return of Christ for His people is more than a blessed hope…

  • „ it is a joyful hope(Rom.5:2);
  • „ it is a unifying hope(Ep.4:4);
  • „ it is a living hope(1 Pet.1:3);
  • „ it is a stabilizing hope(Heb.6:19);
  • „ it is a purifying hope(1 Jn.3:3).[4]

Glorious appearing – to appear suddenly upon the scene.

A tourist who visited an exquisite garden on a lovely estate in Italy spoke to the caretaker: “How long have you been here?” he asked. “25 years.”
“And how often has the owner been to see the estate?” “4 times.”
“When did he come last?” “12 years ago.”
“Who comes then to look after things?” “I am left pretty much alone.”
“Yet you keep the garden so beautiful and spotless that one would think you were expecting the owner tomorrow.”
“Today, sir, today! replied the caretaker.”

E. THE REDEEMED! (14,15)

The highest & purest motivation for Christian behavior is not based on what we can do for God, but upon what God has done for us…& will yet do!
(15) Again Paul tells Titus to declare these things, to exhort and rebuke.

Let no one disregard you, “think around” you, act as if what you are saying is not important.

In all your ways make Christ known, and you will never be ignored or though past.

With Jesus Christ as your life, you are not one whom people can disregard.

SAMSON

Samson made a mess of his life. He took His eyes off God and so God took his eyes. But Samson once again set God before him and impacted the culture.

Judges 16:28 Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.”

They could not ignore the power within Samson through God! You must not allow people to disregard the Power of Christ living in you!


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “prepo”.

[2]. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “kosméō.”

[3] Ibid; pg.77

[4] Warren Wiersbe; With the Word; pg. 807,808.


Consider the Importance of Clothes

Exodus 28:1-2 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. And thou shalt make holy[1] garments for Aaron thy brother for glory[2] and for beauty[3].

God wanted to establish a relationship with His chosen people. That relationship was governed by God’s holiness and righteousness. God could not relate to His people without a representative, someone who would reflect God’s nature to His people.

God designed the office of Priest to enable this relationship. Aaron, the brother of Moses, was designated the priest, along with his sons.

Priests were nothing new to the Israelites. Melchizedek was a priest in Abraham’s day (Genesis 14:8). Joseph’s sons Manasseh and Ephraim were from his wife Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On. Even Moses father-in-law, Jethro, was the priest of Midian.

With the beginning of the Nation of Israel in view, God directed Moses to begin God’s priestly order, founded upon the Commandments which God delivered to Moses. With the earthly Priest Hood, God always had His Son, Jesus Christ in view. Everything about the priesthood, the Tabernacle, the offerings and sacrifices were a shadow of the Heavenly reality (Hebrews 8:5). It was important that the priests reflect God, and in view of the future, the nature of His Son. For Jesus Christ was the substance of all they did.

Colossians 2:17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

While the priests were seen as the “go between” for the Jews with God, this was never His intention. Always in His heart, He wanted an intimate relationship with all of His children. From the beginning God revealed His intention:

Exodus 19:5-6 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.

God desired His people to realize they could be a kingdom of priests, each possessing that special relationship with God. The link between God and His priests has always been two-fold: believe in God, and obey His Word. The priests were to be living personifications of the reality of Jehovah God, and the power of His Word. As the priests reflected this power to the Jewish people, the words of Malachi would come to pass:

Malachi 2:7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the LORD of hosts.”

This is why Exodus 28:1-2 is significant. The garments of the priest are important only as far as the priests follow their intention-for the garments were designed to set the priest apart from that which was common.

What made the priesthood “weighty” to the people, was the perception that they were set apart unto God. The priests had restrictions upon land ownership, because the Lord was their inheritance. The priests were not to be entangled in the business affairs of the world. They were to depend upon the Lord for their sustenance and provisions. The people went to the priests to enquire of the Lord God, for the priests were set apart unto Him. This is what the garments represented, for they were sacred garments, and set the wearer apart from that which was common. The priestly garments were never used for washing the dishes, or cutting wood. The priests were always to respect the Holiness of Jehovah as they administered their office.

This is the reason for God’s scourging of the priesthood in Malachi. They had accepted “common” sacrifices, blind animals, unclean animals, and in so doing had profaned the name of Jehovah before the people. They had “polluted” God by despising the table of the Lord (Malachi 1:6-8). Instead of setting God apart before the people, the priesthood had brought God down to where man could regard Him as nothing special. Honoring Jehovah required nothing special. No real sacrifice was involved. God had become “comfortable” to the people. The priesthood had lost the touch of God by accepting that which was common. The priests had despised the name of God!

Their garments looked glorious and beautiful like normal, but there was no power behind them. God withdraws His power when our worship and service becomes man-centered. As 2nd Timothy 3:5 states, they have a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof. When you fail to follow the design of God, you reveal your heart, a heart that despises God’s authority over your life.

Our lives are to reflect a heart that has been set apart unto God. A heart that loves God completely. As we walk in love, we are clothed in glory and beauty. The priesthood was to present that reality to God’s children, just as contemporary ministers are to their flock.

Ministers, pastors, preachers and associates are to be set apart unto God. They must spend time before the throne. They must believe in His power. They must long for His Word. No part of their life must be kept from obedience to His Word. Disobedience, no matter how small, reflects a heart that despises the name of God.

Those who serve the Living God do so with an obligation to guard the deposit of God’s Word given to them.

2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.

Disobedience and/or neglect of God’s Word reveals an unbelieving heart. You are snorting, “What a weariness this is!” (Malachi 1:14). God’s name will be exalted throughout the nations, regardless of your obedience or belief.

The cry to everyone who seeks the Lord is found in Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Remember, God desired a nation of priests. He wanted all of His chosen ones to enjoy Him. This became reality through Jesus Christ, whose eternal sacrifice on the cross tore open the veil which stood between sinful man and Holy God. Through faith in the work of Christ, His righteousness and justification are imputed to us, enabling us to have relations with Abba Father.

However, the visual image of Aaron’s priestly garments reveals several insights into our relationship with Holy God.

1. There is no relationship unless we agree to be set apart unto Him.

This is the wisdom of the Cross, whereby all those who humble themselves before the cross find salvation and righteousness in Christ. Our relationship with God begins at the cross of Christ. Jesus is the way!

Any attempt to come to God by bringing Him down to our level will be wasted. If our coming to God is man-centered and polluted by our pride, the way to God will be closed to us. The intimacy of Abba, Father will be impossible due to our flesh (Romans 8:8).

2. Our relationship with God is always on the basis of His Glory and Beauty.

We have no glory or beauty of our own. There is nothing intrinsic within us that makes us attractive and winsome to God. The priest stood before the people clothed in the special garments to reflect God’s glory and beauty, not his own. There were no TV personalities on display. God’s glory and beauty took center stage.

A. The Imagery of the Priestly Garments

1. The garments were to set apart the priests from that which was common to that which was sacred.

The Priests were the connection between man and God.

  • Ministers of God are always set apart for God’s use. They are not to be “common” in the true sense of the word. They are always living with the presence of God! God in us makes us sacred!
  • The garments were masculine and feminine in nature. Ministers reflect all of God upon all of God’s people

2.  They were to reflect the ‘weighty’ glory of God which Moses desired to see.

The word “glory” is derived from a Hebrew root that may mean “heavy,” “weighty,” or “numerous, severe” in a physical sense[4]

  • God bestows His glory on man- Psalm 8:5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
  • Glory is a weighty term-refers to wealth, possessions, honor, prestige.
  • Joseph told his brothers to tell Jacob of all his “glory”
  • The Glory of God brings substance, wealth, purpose, pre-eminence and “weight”.
  • The glory of God is never taken lightly; neither should the minister of God.

Exodus 16:7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD…

  • God told the complaining Israelites they would see His glory in the morning. When they awoke, they saw the manna falling from heaven, lying on the ground.
  • The manna is a picture of God’s bread of life-the Word of God. In the Word there is glory as we minister it!

Psalm 57:11 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth.

Isaiah 42:8 I am the Lord; that is My name! And My glory I will not give to another, nor My praise to graven images.

The Bible places emphasis on glory in the present and future tenses based upon the possibility of a relationship with the God of glory.

 The priests were to minister on the basis of glory because they enjoyed a “heavy” relationship with God, whereby His glory became their glory through the ministry of the Word!

John 1:14 And the Word (Christ) became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled (fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile) among us; and we [actually] saw His glory (His honor, His majesty), such glory as an only begotten son receives from his father, full of grace (favor, loving-kindness) and truth.

Jesus is the Glory of God!

Jesus in your life opens the Glory of God upon your life!

3.  They were to reflect the beauty bestowed upon man and upon objects that elevate them to the presence of the divine.

Isaiah 55:5 Behold, you shall call a nation that you do not know, and a nation that did not know you shall run to you, because of the LORD your God, and of the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.

God has beautified you. His Glory is revealed in our beauty (that He bestows upon us in Christ)!

God bestows His beauty upon His people, upon their sanctuary, upon those things dedicated to Him!

The basic meaning of pāʾar in the Piel is “to beautify/glorify.” In the six instances of this, the subject of the verb is always God. The recipient is his child(ren), for example, Isaiah 55:5; Psalm 149:4, or his sanctuary (Ezra 7:27; Isaiah 60:7, 13). This thought is carried into the use of pāʾar in the Hithpael (Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 49:3; Isaiah 60:21; Isaiah 61:3). An additional meaning in this stem is “to boast” as seen in Judges 7:2; Isaiah 10:15. Exodus 8:5,[5]

God is our crown of glory and diadem of beauty!

Isaiah 28:5 In that day the LORD of hosts will be a crown of glory, and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people,

We are to boast only in His beauty upon us.

Psalm 96:6 Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

The danger comes in thinking the beauty is ours.

Isaiah 20:5 And they shall be dismayed and confounded because of Ethiopia their hope and expectation and Egypt their glory and boast (same word for beauty).

B.  Jesus Christ is our Beauty and Glory

2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

Jude 1:25 to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

1. We are to put on Christ!

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

He is our beauty!

      • He is the Rose of Sharon, the lily of the valley, the bright and morning star!
      • John 17:22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,
      • John 17:10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.

His Word is our Glory

      • His Word set us apart!
      • John 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

His Word in us brings Glory to God

      • John 15:7-8 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

2. The Word of God makes us beautiful and crowns us with His Glory!

Isaiah 62:2-3 The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give. You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

Zechariah saw a vision of a priest named Joshua in Zechariah 3. Joshua was clothed in filthy rags, and Satan was at his side, accusing him before Holy God. Joshua was not wearing the garments of glory and beauty. He was not fit to serve according to Satan. And Satan was right, but next we see the grace of God. An angel commands those around Joshua to remove the filthy garments, and clothe him in the holy priestly garments of glory and beauty. His iniquity has been removed by the grace of God. In addition, he is given a holy diadem or turban to wear upon his head. The significance of this turban is revealed in chapter 14, verse 20, for on the turban is symbolic of the priest being “Holiness unto the Lord,” for in that day even the horses will be holiness unto the Lord. Exodus 28:36 records that a gold plate inscribed with “Holiness unto the Lord” was placed upon the turban which the priest wore.

So God’s Grace restores the standing of the priest through cleansing and the right clothing. But God’s grace does not end there. Zechariah has another vision in chapter 4, and now he sees the power and provision of God for the rebuilding of the Temple. The Holy Spirit is poured out upon the priesthood, so that “not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts!” The Grace of God enables those who once were covered in filthiness to have an intimate relationship with their Creator God, and to be clothed in power from on high, such that they are to build the very dwelling place of God on the earth, His Temple! Verse seven presents a beautiful picture of the mountains (obstacles) becoming a plain such that Zerubbabel is able to hoist the final headstone of the Temple and cry out “Grace Grace!”

We live and breathe and build in the Grace of God! One day we will rejoice in heaven and cry Grace, Grace, for we will praise Christ “who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1:5-6)

 

 

 

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[1] qōdeš: A masculine noun meaning a holy thing, holiness, and sacredness. The word indicates something consecrated and set aside for sacred use only; it was not to be put into common use, for if it was, it became profaned and common (ḥôl), not holy. Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[2] kābôd, ‏כָּבֹד‎ kābōd: A masculine singular noun meaning honor, glory, majesty, wealth. This term is commonly used of God (Ex. 33:18; Ps. 72:19; Isa. 3:8; Ezek. 1:28); humans (Gen. 45:13; Job 19:9; Ps. 8:5[6]; 21:5[6]); and objects (1 Sam. 2:8; Esth. 1:4; Isa. 10:18), particularly of the ark of the covenant (1 Sam. 4:21, 22).Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[3] tiphʾārāh: A feminine noun meaning beauty, glory. Isaiah used the word to denote the so-called beauty of finery that would be snatched away by the Lord (Isa. 3:18). The word was used in a similar manner in Ezekiel to denote that which the people trusted in other than God, in addition to what would be stripped away (Ezek. 16:17; 23:26). The making of priestly garments and other apparel brought glory to Aaron and his sons, giving them dignity and honor (Ex. 28:2, 40). Wisdom was portrayed as giving a garland of grace and a crown of splendor in Proverbs (Prov. 4:9); Zion was told that it will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand (Isa. 62:3); and in the book of Jeremiah, the king and queen were told that the crowns would fall from their heads (Jer. 13:18). The word was used in Deuteronomy to describe how God would recognize His people (Deut. 26:19). In Lamentations, it was used in an opposite manner to describe the splendor of Israel that was thrown down from heaven to earth in the Lord’s anger (Lam. 2:1). Deborah used the word to describe the honor or glory of a warrior which would not be Barak’s because he handled the situation wrongly (Judg. 4:9).Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2003), WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[4] Carpenter Eugene E. and Comfort Philip W., Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words: 200 Greek and 200 Hebrew Words Defined and Explained, (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2000), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 72.

[5] R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, ed., “1726: ‏פָּאַר‎,” in Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1980), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 713.


GraceLife is about Living Life in Jesus Christ, through Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ.

It is not fairy dust sprinkled on you that turns you into a super-Christian. In fact GraceLife becomes the most powerful when we become broken vessels in the potters hand. GraceLife is all about taking human vessels and making them vessels of honor for the Glory of God.

As Steve McVey illustrates, GraceLife takes all of us and unites us with the Power of Jesus Christ. As Christ directs our life, the Holy Spirit must do some pruning, and God must do some disciplining. Life and circumstances happen, exposing cracks in our flesh. Don’t try to cover them up or dress them up, for God can use those weaknesses through the power of His grace!

Grace is the Power of God that continually transforms our lives as long as our hearts remain soft (humble) toward Him. Grace through Jesus Christ gives the New Covenant the Power that was missing in the Old Covenant. Hebrews 8:8 indicates the problem with the Old Covenant was the Jewish people themselves. Their hearts were of stone, and the Old Covenant provided no power to change those stony hearts. So the Law had no power to free the Jews from slavery to sin and fleshly desires.

Hebrews 8:7-10 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second. For he finds fault with them when he says: “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. For they did not continue in my covenant, and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

The New Covenant is empowered by Grace, Grace given at the Cross of Jesus Christ, Grace that gives us new hearts, soft hearts, upon which is written the Word of God, empowering us to live a life pleasing to God. GraceLife is applied to soft hearts and empowers us to live life in union with the Rule-Maker. In fact, Jesus unites with our soft hearts to live this life in His righteousness and power!

  • Is your heart soft toward Jesus Christ and His Word?
  • Are you having trouble believing that God can use your vessel for His glory?
Do you think your cracks are too wide or too deep?

Jesus loves our cracks, for they give Him an opportunity to work in our lives and show the power of His grace.

Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted (charitoo) [to pursue with grace, compass with favor; to honor with blessings].[1]in the beloved.

In charitóō there is not only the impartation of God’s grace, but also the adoption into God’s family in imparting special favor , to give grace, to remit, forgive. [2]

Jesus Christ pursues you with His grace, encompassing you with His favor and honoring you with His blessings, all because you are His brother/sister, adopted into God’s glorious family of saints.

Regardless of how ugly you think your life is, in Jesus Christ you are beautiful, you are handsome, you are a vessel of honor in His hands. It is time you open your heart and eyes in faith and see the power of Grace that is upon your life!

Don’t let your sin and failures keep you from realizing who you are to Jesus Christ.

Consider the testimony of Christian broadcasting and television personality, Greg Hennis. His show, Second Chances, can be heard on LiftFM 98.5 in New Jersey. He thought he had to hide his cracks until he discovered that Jesus can use them for His glory:

In the beginning of 2010 business was great. My business was doing well. God even opened a door to get my church on TV every Thursday night in prime time in over 2 million homes in the Philadelphia market with many people being saved and set free. But life was about to throw me another curve. In May, my largest customer began to bounce large checks and fall behind. Soon he owed us thousands. Next thing I know the state closed down his business. Then my former employer attempted to bring a personal law suit against me. What else could happen? Things were tough! My business was in debt and I had an angry ex employer trying to bring me down anyway he could for things that weren’t true. Finally, after weighing my options, I realized the only way to get myself out of this financial mess and was to declare personal bankruptcy.

It was a hard thing to decide. I had a great credit score and never had a late payment on my credit report. But I knew what had to be done. In early 2011 it became public knowledge that it was filed. My former employer learned there’d be no suit due to the bankruptcy and he was angry. He began notifying broadcast outlets who did business with me, customers, and anyone who would listen that I had personally filed. He always gave the impression it was his business to try to hurt me.

Not only did I have all this stress, but I had to start calling all my customers and business contacts and tell them myself. Very Humbling. After the first few it got easier and then in February, I was doing an interview on my Christian radio show, “Second Chances”, and the guest said something that made it all seem worthwhile. She said the things in life that we try to hide are the things that God wants us to share to be a blessing and help to others. Since then I haven’t stopped encouraging people by sharing what I just shared with you. They all say the same thing, “WOW, God Is Good.”

And I say to that, “Yes he is.”

What my ex employer doesn’t know is that because of God’s love for us, he gives us the strength to forgive. I have forgiven him and even feel pity for him dealing with the bitterness he has. I hope God’s love will one day heal him. (More is at this link)

GraceLife brings Honor to your vessel. You become a quality vessel not because you look good on the outside, not because you appear to be holy and righteous, but because Jesus is  inside your vessel, multiplying His grace in your life.

We are not talking about how “good” you appear on the outside. We are not talking about how many titles or positions you hold at church. We are talking about whether the Grace of God is actively working in your broken vessel or not. Grace is never passive, but actively pursues us for the pleasure of God.

It is not up to us to prove ourselves worthy of His grace. In fact, there is nothing we can do in our flesh to be more “worthy” of anything. As Hanna Dagenhart writes in “Geckos Are Ceremonially Unclean…It’s Biblical”:

Don’t ever believe that you must try to change yourself to somehow be more worthy of Christ.  For one, He’s seen worse – Paul was the worst of all sinners (1 Tim. 1:15).  Secondly, you can’t do it.  Even God’s chosen people rebelled and fell away on countless occasions.  Look at Israel in Isaiah… “Jerusalem staggers, Judah is falling; their words and deeds are against the Lord, defying his glorious presence.  The look on their faces testifies against them; they parade their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it” (Isa. 3:8-9).  These were the people God had called out for His own; they were the ones who were filthy and unclean, lost in their sin.  Later the Lord tells them,In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it” (Isa. 30:15) Still, he pursues them!  “Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.  For the Lord is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him!” (Isa. 30:18).

Are you surrendered to the Potter’s hand? Or are you standing proud in your own self-confidence and resistant to His work in your life? Are you bearing up under the circumstances He has you in, or are you running away to an easier place. Is your heart still soft toward Him, or have you allowed it to harden because of the way you have responded to His touch on your life?

Are you zealous for God and His Word, or are you apathetic and uninterested? Are you praying for the lost around you, open to the hurting around you, or are you content with your own needs being met?

If you are apathetic, ignorant, content, self-centered and unconcerned, you are a vessel that is of no use to the potter, so you are a vessel unto dishonor. You have resisted God’s grace, and your heart has become hard. Your heart has been given over to bitterness, resentment, wrong values, lusts, and even worldly desires. These all harden your heart and block the power of God’s grace.

Vessels unto honor have soft hearts, broken hearts, sensitive to the Word and the Holy Spirit. Vessels unto honor realize their own brokenness, so they don’t judge others or condemn others, but administer Grace to all those around them. Vessels unto honor are there for the lost and hurting around them. God never makes a vessel for self-service. We are to benefit each other. Just as Greg Hennis realized.

Profile of GRACELIFE
How can GraceLife produce vessels of honor from broken vessels? How can GraceLife produce a church of honor, from a church that is broken?

Let’s begin to build a profile of GraceLife. This morning we will look at the “what” of Grace. What does it do for us, and so how will a GraceLife Church appear to an outside observer?

Understand first of all that Grace is not some passive gift that occasionally impacts your life. Grace is not a beautiful sunset, or a peaceful walk on a beautiful cool morning.  Nor is it a force that suddenly falls upon you as you sit in your easy chair and contemplate life! Grace is an active force that never, never leaves you the same! Grace is the very hand of God nudging you to do His good pleasure.

Paul Defines Grace as God’s Active Pursuit of us through which God does Three Things:

Phil 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

  1. Grace works in us the DESIRE for God’s Will
  2. Grace works in us the ability to DO God’s Will
  3. Grace works to ACCOMPLISH God’s pleasure.

“We cannot of ourselves embrace the Gospel of grace:” [2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God]

“The will” comes solely of God’s gift to whom He will [John 6:65 And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father”]; so also the power “to do” (rather, “to work effectually, energizing”)

Our will does nothing thereunto without grace; but grace is inactive without our will” [ST. BERNARD]. Man is, in different senses, entirely active, and entirely passive: God producing all, and we acting all. What He produced is our own acts. It is not that God does some, and we the rest. God does all, and we do all. “FOR His good pleasure”; in order to carry out His sovereign gracious purpose towards you Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,.[3]

What Does Grace Do?

Since Grace works to accomplish the pleasure of God, we should know what God delights in. Jeremiah offers three things that God works at because He delights in them:

Jeremiah 9:24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.

Since Grace accomplishes the pleasure of God, and the pleasure of God is in working loving-kindness, justice and righteousness, we can rest assured that God’s Grace works in our lives to accomplish what God takes pleasure in. So let’s build a profile of GraceLife, and see where we individually and corporately might be resisting God’s Grace.

Grace Accomplishes God’s Mercy and Steadfast Love (Hesed)

חֶסֶד‎ HESED

Hesed is the active force of God whereby he actively seeks to come to the aid of those with whom He has established a relationship. He displays His strength in showing mercy and loving kindness in a steadfast way. His love and mercy never fail because it is impossible for God to be weakened to the point of failure. (Unfailing Love)  

This word is used 240 times in the Old Testament, and is especially frequent in the Psalms. Is that any surprise since the Psalms were written by a man after God’s Heart.

Hesed has three components working together: “strength”, “steadfastness”, and “love”. Take one away and His hesed is not complete. Any understanding of the word that fails to suggest all three inevitably loses some of its richness.

Ḥesed implies personal involvement and commitment in a relationship beyond the rule of law.

Marital love is often related to hesed. The prophet Hosea applies the analogy to Yahweh’s hesed to Israel within the covenant (e.g., Hosea 2:21). Hence, “devotion” is sometimes the single English word best capable of capturing the nuance of the original. The RSV attempts to bring this out by its translation, “steadfast love”.[4]

However, ḥesed is not only a matter of obligation; it is also of generosity. It is not only a matter of loyalty, but also of mercy. Hesed describes God’s devotion to those He has a relationship with. It is an active, seeking love that is based upon strength and resolve. It is devotion of the heart. Hesed comes from the very heart of God! It is His desire for His people!

Hesed is the Active force of God whereby he actively seeks to come to the aid of those whom He has established a relationship. He displays His strength in showing mercy and loving-kindness in a steadfast way. His love and mercy never fail because it is impossible for God to be weakened to the point of failure. (Jim Tompkins)

  • Brings Men to repentance

Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

  • Imparts Faith to Believe

Acts 18:27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:

  • Brings Salvation to Sinful Man

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

WE ARE SAINTS (63 tines this is declared in the New Testament)

  • Gives us all Christ’s riches and full acceptance.

2 Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Ephesians 1:6-7 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

  • Gives Good Things

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

  • Increases Thanksgiving

2 Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

  • Brings Abundance of faith and love

1 Timothy 1:14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

Grace Accomplishes God’s Design of His Justice in our Lives (mishpat).

‏מִשְׁפָּט‎ mishpāṭ

Mishpat is God’s Kingdom design in place within man through the reign of Christ in our hearts. His Kingdom design must grow to encompass our life, our family, our church –  our ‘House’. (Justice)

Mishpat begins in the external and transforms the internal (Describes the design and function of the Tabernacle)

God has a Kingdom in His heart, a kingdom of justice, of order, a kingdom that is at work in heaven and his desire is for it to be so on earth.

The Tabernacle was an earthly type of the Justice that God seeks on the earth. (Exodus 26:30; 1 Kings 6:38; and Ezekiel 42:11 this word is used in reference to the design of the tabernacle, the temple of Solomon, and the future temple prophesied by Ezekiel, respectively. Significantly, in all these passages it refers to the design or arrangement of God’s dwelling place.)

When His Son came to earth, He did what was necessary to empower this justice on earth. One day He will claim this inheritance and establish God’s Justice on earth. Until that day, we as His children, have an earthly tabernacle in which the Holy Spirit dwells. God can establish His justice in our lives. His Son can reign in our hearts and everywhere our foot trods. Mishpāṭ, as justice, i.e. rightness rooted in God’s character, ought to be an attribute of man in general and of judicial process among them (Psalm 106:37).

Mishpat expresses the nature of God and the demands of God. He desires His mishpat to reign on earth, and to reign in the hearts of mankind. His mishpat is what condemns us; His mishpat is what Jesus Christ satisfied upon the Cross. When God’s mishpat reigns in your heart through faith in Jesus Christ, you stand before God uncondemned. You have standing before God. You have the very ear of God because you delight in the mishpat of Jesus Christ!

The Grace of Jesus Christ works to accomplish God’s Justice in your life, no matter how cracked your vessel may be. Here is how Grace accomplishes God’s justice in our lives:

  • Made a Partaker of Christ

1 Corinthians 10:30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?

1 Corinthians 1:30-31 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

  • Justified

Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

We are declared Holy! God re-members our sins no more. He doesn’t take them up again and allow them to hurt Him. They are in a bag slung behind Him and dropped in the deepest part of the ocean where they lay as far as the East is from the West. This is true not only at our ‘new birth’, but true the rest of our earthly life with Jesus Christ. Our sins past, present and future were forgiven at the Cross. Our daily cleansing only thanks Christ for our forgiveness and reestablishes our dependence upon Him for our life.

  • Overcome Sin

Romans 5:20-21 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Gives strength and growth

2 Timothy 2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Acts 20:32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

Luke 2:40 And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

  • Help in times of need

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

  • Provides Stability

Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

  • Inspires Singing and Songs in our Hearts

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

A young lady started attending the church I pastored in Edgerton, KS. It wasn’t long before I learned she was in a bitter divorce and custody battle with her estranged husband. He had succeeded in turning her former pastor and congregation against her. She shared how she sang on the praise team. I encouraged her to sing at our church, but I could see that she had lost her “song” for the Lord because of the struggles she was facing. I told her she was welcome at our church, even though her ex-pastor told me I should not let her worship at our church. Together we looked at the Scriptures, and God’s Word opened up God’s wonderful grace to her broken life. Within eight months she came to me and said she felt like singing. Oh what a wonderful voice she had. Her songs were powerful and life-giving, because they came from a broken vessel transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ.

Have you really messed up? Is your vessel pretty broken up and useless? Do not despair, do not be cast down. Jesus can take the broken pieces of your life and make them honorable, useful and beautiful. He will give you a Song in your heart, the song of the matchless grace of Jesus!


[1] J. H. Thayer, trans., Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1889), s.v. “,” WORDsearch CROSS e-book

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, 1471.

[3] Jamieson, Robert, Fausset A.R. and Brown, David; 1871,The Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible.


Hebrews 13:8-10 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, tomorrow… the way He works in the heart of man today is the same way He worked 2000 years ago. I want to talk about your heart this morning…

  • Hebrews 13:8 says “it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace…”

The KJV translates bebaióō as ‘established’, but a better way might be ‘strengthened’ like the NASB and ESV do. For the Greek word actually means:

To make firm or reliable so as to warrant security and inspire confidence, to strengthen, make true[1]

1.    How is Your Heart today?

Not the organ but your heart of hearts, your vitality, that which gives you passion for living.

Sometimes we can get beat down. We feel like we’ve been run over by a bus. Sometimes family does a number on us, or maybe a close friend. We start to lose heart, we start to feel overwhelmed. It can even affect our health. The Bible (Luke 21:26) says that in the last days, things will get so bad, that many men will have heart attacks because of the fear of what will happen. Ever heard someone say “You scared me to death”?

Things can get bad. They can get so bad that you do stupid things, like give up, take your own life. I’ve known people who have taken their own life. They lost hope, they lost heart.

God never wants us to lose heart. In fact, He has something much better:

Ephesians 3:16-17 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

Now, just because you are a Christian doesn’t mean you won’t ever lose heart and give up. What happens is that you think your problems are greater than God. But God wants us to realize that it is a good thing that our heart can be strengthened by Grace.

2. Strengthened by Grace, not Food.

For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

This world tries to tell you that your heart health is influenced by what you eat. Healthy food is a healthy heart. I won’t deny that. What I will say is that if you think food is the answer to your depression, your discouragement, your loss of love for life, you are badly mistaken. What strengthens your heart is not food, but Grace!

Some of you are thinking, man, what have I gotten into. They are going to bring out an empty plate and tell me they are serving Grace, and that it is better for me. Cheap people!

No, we will serve you some great food! A full stomach may help you to feel better, but it will not help with problems of depression and discouragement, broken families, lack of employment, bills…No, you need something supernatural, something available only from God, and that is Grace!

3. How do you eat Grace?

We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

We need to see that there is a special altar. This is not the altar in the Temple of the Old Testament. That altar the Priests and the needy could eat from. The fat and select portions of meat were given to the priests for food. Other was set aside for the hungry and poor. But that is not the altar we have in view. There is another altar we must see, an altar where Grace flowed down, an altar where we can feast on Grace, an altar where our hearts can be strengthened.

  • Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
  • Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God;

This is the altar where Jesus the Son of God gave Himself as the perfect sacrifice. There, outside the gates, He offered Himself once and for all.

There on the altar He prepared a forever breakfast for us to feast on every day, a forever breakfast of Grace. Don’t they say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Well so is the breakfast of Grace if you want a strong heart to face the trials of this life.

4. Breakfast of Grace

Once a year the High Priest would offer a sacrifice on the Day of Atonement. This was a very solemn day. The people were forbidden to work. The High Priest did not where his normal robe, but appeared as a common man, with dull linen garments. There were special sacrifices, offered in a specific order. The sacrifices were to be totally consumed by the fire. There was to be nothing left over to eat. The Day of Atonement was all for God. Man was not to work or assume any office of importance. Everything was in God’s hands.

The result of the waiting people was that their sins of the past year were forgiven, and now they began the New Year with the Hope of God’s blessing and favor.

“For it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you shall be clean from all your sins before the LORD” (Lev. 16:30).

5. We Feast at the Altar of Grace

We have great news from our Creator God. It is written in this Bible, it was put on display for the entire world to see when His only begotten son died on the upraised cross of cursing. Jesus became the cursed goat, the cursed man, the curse for us, when He took our sins upon Himself. There He satisfied the righteous demands of God, and split the veil in two, so that you and I can experience the love and Grace of our Righteous and Holy God. With the Blood of Jesus, mercy and grace came flowing down the Cross and saturated this whole earth.

At the altar of the Cross we have something greater than food to feast on. It is Grace, grace that means that no matter how badly we have messed up our lives, no matter how bad a day you had yesterday, every morning you can wake up to a breakfast of grace and tender mercies. Every day you can know that your sins, your ugly mistakes are wiped clean and forgiven, and instead of despair, depression and discouragement, you can feast on the Hope of Jesus Christ.

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

What good is grace and peace when I’ve lost everything? When I’m so deep in debt that I can’t see bottom? I can’t answer that for you. I can only testify that I have been that deep in debt. I can testify that things looked so bad that my thoughts were constantly on running away, and even taking my life. But God kept reminding me that I had given my life to Him, that I was His. He challenged me to trust Him with my needs. He challenged me to give Him my desires. He challenged me with Hebrews 13:5

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

I listed everything that I needed, and something’s I desired. I drew a circle, a circle of trust & hope, and gave the entire list to Him. Then I hoped and waited upon Him.

Psalm 147:11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

It takes a lot of faith to come to the altar and feed on grace. No matter how badly you have failed, the altar is for you. There forgiveness flows from Calvary. There is the hope that we have in our risen Savior. That hope says that no matter how bad this life is, if your trust in Christ as your Savior, He will make all things good, even if it isn’t until heaven.

My prayer for you echoes Paul’s prayer in 2 Thess 3:5

2 Thessalonians 3:5 And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

We yearn so much for physical comforts that we miss out on that which really strengthens us, really gives us a strong heart. We miss out on the Grace that Jesus can give us.

May you listen as the Lord directs your heart unto the Love of God, the Love that Calvary revealed. May He then direct you into the patient waiting for Christ.


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament, (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 1993), WORDsearch CROSS e-book, Under: “bebaióō”.