The Foundation of Salvation (Works or Grace?)

Works versus grace has been a long-held debate among people inside the walls of church buildings. Such a discussion is supremely important, because it strikes at the heart of our union and relationship with God. Are we saved by works which we perform, or is salvation purely an act of God’s grace? Or is salvation some kind of synergy between our God’s grace mixed with our works?

Your response to this question will change absolutely everything about your relationship with God, how you interact with Him, and what you can expect from Him.

Today we will be exploring the most important aspect of our relationship with God, salvation, to answer the question of whether salvation is earned by our works, or is received as a gift from God.

Pictures of Jesus in the Beatitudes (part 3)

Welcome back to the third part of our series of studies focusing on seeing Jesus and pictures of Him and His finished work, right there in the first part of His sermon on the mount, known as the Beatitudes.

So far we have just begun to scratch the surface as we began looking at the first three of the Beatitudes; and already we have seen some amazing pictures of Jesus.
Today we will obviously continue with more of the Beatitudes as we see more pictures of Jesus

As Moses Lifted Up the Serpent…

A very interesting and enlightening statement that Jesus said as we was talking to Nicodemus, is found in John 3:14. It is there that Jesus, describing His sacrifice, says that “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”

This one phrase is often skimmed over and overlooked in favor of the much more popular verse of John 3:16. However verse 14 is actually extremely significant, and the key to receiving anything from God at all (including eternal life). It’s unfortunate that so many people have missed the incredible meaning of this verse and they key that it holds.

I too, missed this verse for many years – never really grasping the real meaning behind it and what Jesus was really saying. So today in this study we will be exploring this statement made by Jesus, and the real meaning behind it – and by seeing this, we will also discover the key to receiving salvation from Jesus, and everything along with Him.

The Essence of the Gospel and Love

At first, the title of today’s study might seem a bit disjointed, the essence of the Gospel and love. You might wonder if it wouldn’t be better to split these into two separate studies. Well, I thought about it, but the more that I explored each, I came to realize that the two cannot truly be separated; they are integral to one another. Without Love, there is no Gospel, and without the Gospel there is no Love. A surprising number of people today do not understand the basic foundation, the basic central core and essence of the Gospel message… all they really know, is that this guy Jesus, at some place and some time, died by crucifixion, and that for some reason He did it for them. (They may also include that He died for their sins).

What I have found is that for most people, these have become empty statements, lacking substance, lacking the essence of God’s Love and their personal identity in Christ. It’s one thing to say with your mouth that Jesus died for your sins – but it’s quite another to apply that reality to your life and to live from that place every single day. To take the fact that Christ has made you a completely new creation, and to apply it personally, and to make that identity completely yours, is the true essence of the Gospel. A fact that has been largely watered-down and even lost in many Christian circles today.

The Gift of God’s Love

One question that seems to come up over and over is the question of activity. People have said to me that they want to “do things for God”, they want to be useful and they aren’t sure what He wants them to do. I’ve heard the frustration and confusion and uncertainty in the voice of people when they tell me how they feel like they are stagnating and they are searching all around for some way that they can be “used by God” and that thought and that drive consumes them, and they feel as though their life and time is being wasted doing nothing.

Let me tell you today that while I certainly understand the heart behind those feelings and the desire to do something, I must also tell you today that the answer I give to each person who expresses those feelings to me is the same… and it is a word from God that catches a lot of people off-guard.. maybe God wants you to not do anything right now, but receive His love. You see, most people are so busy looking for something to do for God, they have forgotten the real reason why they were created in the first place – to be filled with the Spirit and the fullness of God and receive His love. This is what we will be studying today.

Jesus Has Freed You From Sin-Consciousness

How aware are you of your sins? You may have been taught in the past that to be more humble you must maintain a constant awareness of your own sins and shortcomings; and that to do otherwise would be a sign of arrogance and pride. I had been taught that before, and that teaching led me down a very dark road of pain and despair, as I would constantly remind myself of how bad I was and all of the ways that I was not measuring-up to God’s perfect standard – all the while thinking that by me doing this, I was pleasing God by staying humble, when in-fact I was actually practicing false-humility.

Today in this study, we are going to be examining this common misconception and wrong belief of remaining sin-conscious, and how Jesus Christ has actually set us free from this bondage; free to be truly humble by exalting Christ instead of our own efforts.