Your Part to Play in Salvation

One of the most common questions that I receive in relation to the Gospel of Grace, is “so you’re saying that I have nothing to do; no part to play?” – and I understand that reaction. The Gospel of Grace in Christ is completely opposite to the typical message of religion, which says that we must constantly work hard, struggle and strive to earn redemption, please God, serve Him, and even work to love Him! Whereas the Gospel of Grace testifies that Jesus has done the work, made the final sacrifice, and we simply receive what He has done as a free gift.

Having said that, I do want to address this question and clear up any confusion, because you do have a part to play… though it might not be what you expect. So join me today as we examine what your part in the Gospel of Grace in Christ, actually is.

The Backwards Mentality of Religion

I had a conversation with a gentlemen once who asked me what I did [for a job] – and I told him that I was a Gospel minister – to which he paused awkwardly, and then said “Oh, I’m not religious”. So I chuckled and said, “That’s okay neither am I!” – after that we each went our separate ways.

It wasn’t until three days later, that we met again and he said to me in a puzzled voice: “What did you mean, when you said that you weren’t religious?!”.

You see, religion is not at all the same thing, as having a relationship, a union with Christ. And sometimes I think that we use the words and say these phrases, but haven’t really stopped to consider what they mean, or what the implications of them are.

It may also surprise you to hear that a great number of Christians also do not understand these differences. And so we are going to explore this today, and look at how the mentality of religion, is actually quite backwards to the truth of the Gospel of Christ taught in the scripture. And right-away I need to mention that when I say “backwards mentality” – I am not using that term as slang for stupid or unintelligent; not at all…

What I am saying, is that there is a religious mentality among many Christians, that is actually 180 degrees opposite to what the scriptures actually teach, and what the Gospel of Christ actually says. And this is what we will be exploring (and exposing) in today’s study.

Which Mountain Have You Come To?

There’s an interesting allegory within the books of Galatians and Hebrews, which speaks of two different “mountains”.

One mountain is Sinai, which represents the Old Covenant; the Law of Moses, with it’s many rules and regulations.
The other mountain is Zion, and represents the New Covenant; the Grace of Christ.

The question in the title of today’s study, is meant to be one of self-reflection and examination: which mountain have you come to? And as we look at these mountains today, we will see that only one of these two mountains is where God can be found today… and only one of these two mountains leads to life.

Join me today, as we examine this important topic.

One Word From God Is Enough

Are you waiting for God to do something? Perhaps you have a promise from God, and now you are just biding your time until He actually fulfills it? I’ve talked with a number of people over the years who have expressed this kind of thought to me. They know that God is dependable, and they may even know that He has promised something to them – now they are just waiting for Him to actually follow-through and do it.

Perhaps that sounds familiar, or even describes what you are experiencing right now… however I want to share with you a different perspective; that as the title of this study suggests one word from God is enough. And as we explore this today, you will be able to move from “waiting for God” to truly “receiving from Him”, what has already been given to you.

Righteousness, Apart From the Law

We all want to improve. It’s natural to want to be better, do better, achieve greater things. This natural desire drive us to constantly strive farther, higher, to reach beyond perceived limits. It has fueled the creation of new inventions and discoveries, and caused us to explore new ground and even beyond our planet.

There is one area though, where this natural desire can get us into trouble… and that is the area of our spiritual identity. Because we tend to judge our standing and our progress by our performance; by the things that we achieve, or how good we are doing presently. And when we seem to have failed, our natural reaction is to become depressed, discouraged, even angry, and then clench our fist even tighter and declare “This time I’ll do better!” – and we get ourselves into a vicious cycle of determination, failing, guilt, and then back to determination. And it repeats over and over again.

What I want to share with you today, is how to break that cycle. Many people are deceived into thinking that if they just try hard enough, or focus more, they can get out of it themselves… but that is actually part of the trap. The way out doesn’t come by your strength, effort or force of will, but through knowing the truth of Jesus Christ that makes you free. As you see this truth, you will finally be able to break out of this performance-driven cycle, and be free to live and love, through the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Give Thanks In All Things

At one time or another, most of us have probably heard at least one sermon preached on the famous verse of 1st Thessalonians 5:18. This well-known verse says that we are supposed to “give thanks in all things.” It’s a tough pill to swallow for many people – not because the instruction itself is difficult, but rather because our interpretation of it makes it harder than it actually is.

You see, what I was taught long ago, and what many people still believe today, is that this famous verse says that we must “give thanks for all things”, when in-fact it doesn’t say that at all. And what I want to share with you today, is what this verse actually is saying, and why this in itself is a testament to Jesus Christ and your relationship with Him.

Living in Truth and Love

It’s no secret that the body of Christ is divided today. There are all manner of sects, churches and ministries to fit any particular tribe, taste or temperament that exists. There are even entire ministries dedicated to specific topics and categories. Personally I think that there should only be one category: Christ and His Finished Work – and from that, everything else will flow and every problem solved. Now, not surprisingly, when I mention this, some people get put-off and offended… they think that it is narrow-minded to say that the finished work of Christ can solve every problem, and when they tell me that, I typically respond by telling them that they have a very limited view of what He accomplished.

Sometimes that statement makes them curious and they want to know more; and sometimes it offends them even deeper – especially if they have been a believer for many years. Yet regardless of how long someone has been a believer, that doesn’t change the fact that there are countless people who have not been properly shown what the finished work of Christ actually accomplished, and so they have a dim view of what Jesus has really done for them.

Jesus Loves You (Even When You Don’t Feel It)

The phrase “Jesus Loves You” is powerful. Never has there been three simple words that have the ability to break bondages and transform lives like this one phrase. I have been in situations where this one simple phrase has totally delivered people, broken down emotional walls and set captive hearts free. And I have also been in situations where the phrase has been mocked, snickered at and downplayed to be less than what it is. The sad reality is that much of the latter, has actually happened by church-goers.

In many Christian-circles, we have reduced the powerful phrase “Jesus Loves You”, and we see it is something less, because our own vision and understanding of it has been lessened. I have talked to believers who respond to the phrase “Jesus Loves You”, with a “Yeah but…” – I know He loves me, but I still need more, kind of mentality. We fail to see the vastness of His love, and all that it includes. Today we will be looking at the wonder and majesty that is the love of God, demonstrated in Jesus Christ, and by seeing the truth, we can receive it for all that it is.

Understanding Strongholds and Freedom

As believers, when we hear the phrase “stronghold” most of us think of demons, evil powers and maybe even demonic possession. The term stronghold has come to be used in our language as an almost blanket term for the things I just mentioned, and many times people use the word almost as a default for when they cannot label a bondage to be something else. This practice has led to a lot of confusion, frustration and even fear over the years as people begin wondering if they have a stronghold, and if so, are they demon possessed, or oppressed.

I have actually had people ask me flat-out if they had a demon (either through possession or oppression). The very fact that they would ask such a question, is an indicator that these subjects are not being talked about or clearly taught well enough. So today we will be studying the topic of strongholds, to see what the Bible actually says about them, and how to be free from them through Jesus Christ.

Be Yourself! A New Creation in Christ

Sometime in the past you have probably heard the famous advice that everyone likes to give: “Just be yourself!”. This advice is usually given when someone is nervous or apprehensive about meeting new people or standing before a crowd. Just relax! Be yourself! This phrase also implies the negative, don’t be someone or something that you are not. Stay true to the truth.

Spiritually speaking, this advice is very Biblical… both regarding ourselves personally and in judging others, in both cases we should always stay in the truth and be ourselves. This has some surprising benefits for us as believers, and a vast majority of Christians today do not even realize that this advice is in their Bible. So we will be taking a look at this today, and seeing the glorious benefits of being ourselves in Christ.