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.

Blessings in the Kingdom of God (part 2)

Welcome back to part 2 of our series on blessings in the Kingdom of God. Last week we saw how much God cares for us, which can be a sticking-point for people who see God as more of a judge than a loving Father.

We also saw how the Kingdom of God is not something that we strive toward or reach for, but in-fact the Kingdom comes to us, through Jesus Christ. If you haven’t yet watched the previous study, I would encourage you to see that study first as we will be continuing upon that foundation today.

In this study, we will be looking at blessings and how they come to us, and also in what measure they come to us – the reality is greater than what we often think.

How You Prosper in Christ (part 2)

Welcome back to our study on prosperity. We saw last week that prosperity is not a dirty word. In that study, we examined how scripture lists prosperity as a covenant blessing based on our relationship with God in Christ, and also that His prosperity has a purpose: to share His generosity and blessing with those around us.

Now today, we are going to discuss how this happens, and how to receive the blessing of prosperity into your life, because just as with every other aspect of grace, people tend to inject a layer of works over what God gives as a gift in Christ

Join me today, as we discover how to prosper in Christ.

God’s Mercy and Grace (part 1)

Mercy and grace, two wonderful gifts that Jesus has given to us. His mercy and grace are always available to us, and they are always active; never dormant or stale. Yet oftentimes we find ourselves feeling as though God’s mercy has somehow left us. Sometimes we think that His grace has abandoned us in the midst of a crisis. I understand those thoughts and feelings, and I’ve felt them myself many times before. I know that it can be very disconcerting, frightening and even depressing; again I have experienced all of that.

But is it actually true that God’s mercy has left us? Is it true that God’s grace has abandoned us? It can be difficult to even confront that thought, because on the one hand, we are uncomfortable even contemplating it. Yet even so, no problem of any significance is ever solved by ignoring it. We can and should approach the problem directly, and we shouldn’t be fearful about it. For if we do indeed believe as we proclaim that “God is good all the time”, then whatever answer we find, we can be certain that it will be good and beneficial for us.

So today I’d like to have a discussion about the mercy and grace of God, and perhaps tackle some of the more palpable aspects of it, both negative and positive.

The Amazing Blessing of Communion (part 4)

Welcome to the fourth and final part of our series, taking a look at the amazing blessing of communion. Far beyond the ritual, into the reality of our union with Jesus Christ. What a fantastic journey this has been!

We’ve seen how communion is not merely a corporate ritual, but a very personal time. A time not to reflect on your sin, but to reflect Christ’s finished work personally for you.  A time to see how His finished work has changed your spiritual identity.

We also saw in last week’s study how the cup of the New Covenant, goes much more in-depth on a personal level, than what we typically hear about in most communion services. The fact that Jesus Christ took your sin upon Himself and paid the penalty in your place should be life-changing, but we often don’t give it the weight or attention that such an accomplishment deserves.

Today we will fit all these puzzle pieces together to see a fantastic picture of Christ’s finished work. Let’s get started!

The Amazing Blessing of Communion (part 3)

Welcome back to part three of our series looking at the amazing blessing of communion. In part one, we began by examining the personal aspect of the body and blood of Christ. How communion is not merely a corporate ritual, but a personal gift representing our individual union with Jesus Christ.

We also began to see how the body and blood of Christ each represent a distinct gift which Jesus has made available to us through His sacrifice.

Then in part two, we saw what it means to judge ourselves rightly in Christ as we receive and partake of His sacrifice for us. And how the rightly judging ourselves in Christ is a fantastic blessing in Him.

Now today in part three we are going to be examining the cup, which Jesus says represents the New Covenant in His blood. As we look at the cup of the new covenant today, we will see even more aspects of the amazing blessing of communion.

Tempting God versus Trusting Him

The idea of “tempting God” has always been an interesting one for me. Growing up in a religious setting, hearing traditional teaching, I was always told that tempting (or testing) God was a bad idea, and it was a sure way to get yourself hurt.

Of-course being a younger child (physically and spiritually), this made me apprehensive about asking God for anything or trusting Him. After all, how could I truly be certain that I wasn’t testing Him with my request? No-one ever really explained it. And as I grew-up in these same religious environment, any time I tried to reach out in faith and trust God for things, someone would come along and say “Now brother, don’t go testing God!” – and it would reignite that fear all over again.

But what does it actually mean to “test” or “tempt” God? Does it mean we can never believe Him? Does it mean we can never rely on or trust Him? We’re going to talk about this today. Let’s get started!

Did Jesus Really Finish the Work? (Being Secure in Christ)

One of the biggest areas that I struggled with in the past, was the idea that I was waging a constant battle to “improve myself”.

– Improve my performance – to commit less sinful actions

– To look more like Jesus, meaning basically the same thing, to commit less sinful actions

– To never be comfortable, but always in this constant war to try and become what God wanted me to be.

This feeling was spurned on by the Christians around me who said things like: If you’re comfortable in your Christianity, you’re doing it wrong. A phrase which always struck me as a bit of a dangling-carrot. Did Jesus die to subject us to further futility? Is the work complete or isn’t it? Did Jesus only perform a half-redemption?

I have since come to realize that I am not alone in these questions. And millions of Christians around the globe are on a mental and spiritual treadmill. Constantly running to try and reach an unreachable goal. Never being satisfied, and never feeling any comfort – because if they dared to, they would be a “lukewarm Christian” in their view.

Well, today we are going to examine this, as we have a discussion about being secure in Christ.

How to Be Righteous

Righteousness – it’s one of the main focuses of the Christian life, and many people are constantly striving towards the goal of being righteous; or being more righteous. There are entire books, study guides and conferences all centered around living righteously, and learning how to be more righteous.

There are countless numbers of Christians today who are on a quest to “better themselves”, to be more righteous, and be more like God and please Him. I used to be one of those people, as well. I know exactly how it feels, and it seems right; it seems like a very good thing. You may even be asking right now “why wouldn’t that be a good thing?! We need more righteous people, who want to please God!”

And I do agree that it is a very good thing for people to be righteous, and of course to please God – we all want that. However, the question isn’t really whether that’s a good thing or not; but rather how do we accomplish it?

You see, no-one is questioning the importance of being righteous, but rather where we diverge is how to be righteous. Because when you ask this question, most people immediately jump to their own works and performance, and what they need to do for God.

So today, we will be examining what the scriptures actually say about how to be righteous; and the answer may surprise you!

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.