See the Mercy of God and Rejoice

All throughout scripture, we are encouraged to testify and rejoice for what God has done. We sing plenty of songs about it in church, and listen to others singing out it on radio and TV (some of the time!), but for many people it doesn’t really go any further beyond the weekly ritual of singing hymns or listening to Christian radio or TV. Think about it… when is the last time you actually rejoiced – even sang to God, personally for something He has done specifically for you? Not in a corporate church setting; not with a group… just you and God?

For most people, they can’t even remember that far back, and the question is, why is it so rare? For something that the scripture encourages us to do, why doesn’t it occur more often? Why do Christians spent more time complaining and depressed, instead of singing and rejoicing?

Personally, I believe they are not focused on the right thing. I believe that their vision is skewed and they are looking at themselves and their current circumstances instead of looking at Jesus and seeing the victory that He has already won – I know that I have lived that way for quite a long time, and I recognize the signs and symptoms of it very well. So today I want to share with you an encouraging study on seeing the mercy of Jesus, and how it causes you to overflow with genuine, real rejoicing.

God Has Spoken Through Jesus

Do you want God to speak to you? Have you been desperately searching for a word from God? Many people want to hear from God, but they are uncertain exactly how to know whether He has spoken to them or not. Often-times I hear people say, “well, I think He spoke”, and other times people want so desperately for Him to speak that they become deceived and start believing a lie, sometimes for years. I hear the frustration of people when they say, why can’t God just make it simple to hear His voice!

Well, God has made it simple. God has spoken. And what He has spoken is so profound and so vital for each and every person, that once heard and received will change your outlook and your entire life. Today we will be studying exactly how and what God has spoken to us, and by seeing this truth, we will not be uncertain any longer.

The Restoration of Your Image

Let me begin straight-away by telling you that I used to be a very fearful, introverted an angry person. I used to have all kinds of negative, thoughts, negative feelings and negative emotions. I used to let those things define me, define who I was, and define my future as well. However while I was too blind to see it back then all those years ago; none of that was true, that was not truly who I was, and my destiny in Christ was far greater than those petty things.

Since then, I have learned that my experiences are not all that unique. There are a lot of people still living by their thoughts, feelings and emotions, and allowing those things to direct and define their existence. However, I want to share with you today that just as myself, your destiny is far greater than those things. Your destiny is to have your image restored to the way that God intended. To be lifted out of whatever pit you may find yourself in and to be dusted off and cleaned-up – not through your own works or self-efforts, or painful suffering and endurance as all of the man-made religions of the world tend to portray… but by the glory of Christ and the power of His Spirit. This is what we will be studying today.

The Message of Jeremiah for Today

If you have read the book of Jeremiah before, or heard a sermon preached from it, the book probably seemed very legalistic. Such was the situation of the Old Covenant prophets – after all, they were still under the Old Covenant, and the Law of Moses was their life. Jeremiah’s message to the nation was to stop thinking that you are safe when you are committing so many terrible sins; he was warning the people of the coming judgment for not holding to their covenant obligations. A very serious and important message, and to be fair, he was actually doing the nation a favor, because that was their covenant, and by warning them to change he was giving them an opportunity to avoid punishment.

Sadly though, many believers today when they read the book of Jeremiah (or any Old Covenant prophet) and when such things are preached from pulpits, they are usually expounded upon as if the Old Covenant were still in-effect, striking the people with judgment and warnings to avoid committing sinful acts to avoid punishment, as if Jesus did not suffer punishment and finish His work on the cross. Jeremiah still carries a message for today, though it is a message that can only be seen in the light of the finished work of Jesus Christ; and this is what we will be studying today.

The LORD Destroys Your Pursuers

As we grow more and more in the truth of Grace and the reality of the finished work of Jesus Christ and what He has done, one of the things that happens is that we see more clearly what He has freed us from. We begin to see that many of the things which we have blindly accepted all of our lives without question and a lot of the things we put up with, simply need not be upon us. We have grown accustomed to many afflictions, hurts, pains, diseases and infirmities – we regard them simply as “facts of life” without giving them a second thought.

In this study today, we will be looking at the truth of what the scripture says regarding these things. As we see what Jesus has done for us, we will also realize that we need not suffer the things which we have accepted as natural, and how we are actually more free than we have even imagined.

Jesus Finished the Old Covenant

Last week we studied how Jesus Christ has ushered us into a new covenant with better promises. However even though this is absolutely true and a wonderful reality for us in Christ, there are still many believers who have an inward unrest within themselves – a doubt and a seed of confusion regarding whether they should still keep the Law of Moses. They know the scriptures, they know what we studied last week about not mixing the two covenants, but they still have some questions.

In the past when I have taught on the covenants, I always had questions arise about the Law, and indeed the same questions still come up today. So we will be addressing these same questions today in this study. Questions such as: Jesus said He didn’t abolish the Law, so does it still apply to believers? And also: Even in the New Covenant God says that He will put His laws in our minds and write them on our hearts, is this the Ten Commandments?

These questions have stumbled many believers over the years and kept alive this uncertainty and fear regarding the Old Covenant, and therefore they have not been able to fully embrace grace. So if this describes you, then the truth of Jesus in this study will set you free today.

Understanding Love in the New Covenant

One of the common misconceptions that I encounter in the discussions I have with believers, is that Jesus’ commandment to love one another is actually a reference to the Old Covenant Law of Moses. This tends to confuse people because they believe that Jesus is reinforcing the Mosaic Law, even though scripture is quite clear in many other places about us not being under Law but under Grace. So it seems very contradictory and it often confuses people.

We know however that God is not the author of confusion, and He doesn’t want His dearly beloved children to stumble over such fundamental things. That’s why today in this study, we will be looking at love through the lens of Grace; love in the finished work of Jesus Christ. By seeing this truth, we will be able to understand the differences between the Old and New Covenants in the area of love, and how indeed God is supplying us completely, even in the area of love.

Jesus Fulfilled the Law in You

I have had many talks with believers over the years, many of whom are at different places in their relationship with Christ. Even so, there is one issue that seems to be brought up again and again… and that is this inner-desire or perceived need to fulfill the Law. These people feel as though the Law somehow remains unmet or unsatisfied and that they are left to fulfill it themselves, and that to not do so, disappoints God or shows Him disrespect.

Another commonly held belief is that by attempting to keep or fulfill the Law, we are showing gratitude toward God for what He has done. However both of these ideas are simply avenues by which the Old Covenant is being reintroduced – placing new wine back into an old wineskin, which Jesus said cannot be done in Mark 2:22. This desire to fulfill the Law ourselves, is erroneous because it fails to recognize the finished work of Jesus Christ for you and in you. This is what we will be studying today.

Boldly Embrace the Gospel of Grace

One day I was speaking with a gentleman and proceeded to invite him to our weekly Bible study. His response to my invitation was unexpected. He replied “You’re not one of those fluffy grace guys are you? I don’t want any of that!”. He proceeded to tell me that in his opinion, what we all need is more fire and brimstone preaching against sin, and how all of these fluffy grace preachers are diluting things further.

This kind of thinking is actually fairly common. However, is this what the Bible actually teaches? I know that it is a commonly held belief that too much grace is a dangerous thing… but is that commonly held belief supported by what the scripture says? This is what we will be studying today. As we see the truth of what the scripture says, it will quench any doubt that we have have regarding the message of Grace.

The Greater Glory in the Ministry of the Spirit

One day someone asked me straight out “what is the ministry of the spirit?” – now this man was a believer, and as embarrassing as it may seem, I hadn’t actually considered that there were believers today which did not know what the Bible says about the ministry of the spirit, or even that there has been a change in ministry. So his question caught me a little bit off-guard. Since that time, I’ve come to realize that the majority of believers also have the same question, unaware that there has been a change in ministry due to Jesus Christ.

This is what we are going to be studying today, seeing the change that has occurred in our ministry. It’s important to see this truth for two reasons: first because as ambassadors for Christ, we should know what the message from our King is! And second, this will also help us to distinguish between truth and falsehood in ministry.