D.L. Moody: S.W.I.M. Deeper in Grace

August 23, 2019 at 8:47 am | Posted in II Corinthians, Quotes | 1 Comment
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There is plenty of grace. Many Christians, if they have grace enough to keep them from outward sin, seem to be perfectly satisfied; they do not press on to get fullness of grace, so as to be ready for God’s work. Many are satisfied to go into the stream of grace ankle deep, when God wants them to swim in it.

D.L. Moody, Soveregin Grace: Its Source, Its Nature, and Its Effects

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

II Corinthians 9:8

Charles H. Spurgeon Needed Grace to S.W.I.M.

September 29, 2015 at 12:46 pm | Posted in Quotes | 1 Comment
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Grace proceeds sovereignly according to the will of God, even as a river in all its windings follows its own sweet will; and wherever it comes it does not wait for life to come to it, but it creates life by its own quickening flow. Oh, that it would pour along our streets and flood our slums! Oh, that it would now come into my house and rise till every chamber were made to swim with it! Lord, let the living water flow to my family and my friends, and let it not pass me by. I hope I have drunk of it already; but I desire to bathe in it, yea, to swim in it. O my Savior, I need life more abundantly. Come to me, I pray Thee, till every part of my nature is vividly energetic and intensely active. Living God, I pray Thee, fill me with Thine own life.

Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Life-Giving Stream,” Faith’s Check Book, Daily Entry on Ezekiel 47:9

Catechism Question 21

April 20, 2015 at 9:52 am | Posted in Children's Bible Catechism, Salvation | 4 Comments
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Question 21: When did God forgive you for your sins and give you eternal life?
Answer: When I believed on Jesus and called on Him to save me.
Prove it.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Romans 10:13

Eternal salvation is completely, fully, and totally the work of the Lord. Even our decision to trust Christ and receive Him as Savior does not add any merit to the finished work of Jesus. However, since this salvation is by grace through faith, God graciously allows the application of this miraculous gift to occur when a person, having recognized his or her sinful condition and believed the Gospel, personally calls upon the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, in repentance and faith.

Other verses to consider:

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

John 20:31

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

I John 5:13

Dependent Freedom

August 20, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Posted in Galatians | 10 Comments
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The evidences of a flesh-driven life are works – dead things which produce nothing living.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

Galatians 5:19

The evidence of the Spirit-led life is fruit. Fruit does not come about by “working.”

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

Galatians 5:22

Fruit has life. It brings joy. It feeds others, not the plant that produces it. This is, practically, how to walk in the Spirit:

1. Admit that the flesh is stronger than your will power.
2. Go where the Spirit wants to go. The Spirit wants to go to church, to Sunday School, to the Bible, to prayer time, to go soul-winning, to visit the nursing home. The Spirit doesn’t want to go to the nightclub, the worldly party, the gossip session.
3. Don’t go easy on the flesh. Crucify it.

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

Galatians 5:24

Don’t try to beat the flesh on your own. You will only strengthen it even more. Do not go where the flesh wants to go – where it gets fed. Stay with the Spirit, having a grand time of joy. Starve the flesh. Make it weak. Remember, at the moment of salvation you were “baptized into Jesus Christ.” He died for you, and you died with Him. Your flesh was crucified, buried, and you were raised with Christ – to walk in newness of life. You became something fundamentally different: a new creature. You were rescued from hell.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking grace is insufficient. We can’t add to it with our show-offy, better-than-the-next-person rule-keeping or legalism. You weren’t saved by the Law; don’t act like you were. God will never be fooled into thinking you’re more holy than anyone else. Attempting to do so is just a form of self-worship.

Don’t fall into the other trap, either, though. Don’t “presume” upon grace as an excuse to sin. Grace brings freedom from sin, not freedom to sin. The freedom to act like an idiot and destroy myself, or to bring shame to the very thing that helped me to get free, is not the kind of “freedom” that grace delivers.

Ours is a paradoxical freedom of dependence (upon God), rather than independence. He’s the Master with free servants. He’s the Father who makes His servants His children.

The Great Rescuer

January 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm | Posted in Biblical Greats, Resurrection, Selected Psalms | 12 Comments
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Psalm 116 is about being thankful to the Lord after we have called on Him in a time of great danger and He has rescued us.

Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee.

Psalm 116:7

The psalmist had been at rest, but then trouble came.

I said in my haste, All men are liars.

Psalm 116:11

Men he trusted had lied about him.

The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul.

Psalm 116:3-4

They almost caused his death, but He called on the Lord, and the Lord rescued him.

I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

Psalm 116:1-2

This Psalm is probably from a testimony given in the Sanctuary. It contains parts of Psalm 56, other Psalms, and parts of Isaiah.

Let’s identify two of four main principles found in Psalm 116:

1. God answers the prayers of His children.

I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications.

Psalm 116:1

Whenever you find yourself in danger, call on the Lord. New, first-time parents will be keenly aware of this principle. Dad is at the far corner of his yard, perhaps on the top of a ladder, pruning a tree. Or mom is carrying a scalding hot pot of boiling water from the stove to the sink. Suddenly their new-born infant lets out a shriek of pain from his crib. Dad leaps from the ladder like a reckless school-boy! Mom instantly drops the pot of water! They race for the baby’s room without any regard for their own safety. Why? Because they love their child, and it sounds like the child is trouble. If wicked, sinful, intrinsically selfish, fallen mortals react this way when their child cries out in distress, how much more will our loving Heavenly Father (Who loves with a perfect love) come to the aid of His children when they – being in real danger – cry out for help?

Have you ever known of a situation where one child called on a parent for help, but the parent didn’t or couldn’t come help because he or she was already busy helping another child? This can’t happen with God. He is never “too busy” to hear or to come to the aid of one of His children. We should trust God in all types of troubles, and there are some troubles that are obviously hopeless unless we are rescued.

The Holy Spirit applied the plea of Psalm 116:3 to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ in Acts 2:24.

The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

Psalm 116:3

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Acts 2:24

2. God’s attributes tend toward rescue.

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.

Psalm 116:5

Grace is when God gives us what we do not deserve. Mercy is when God withholds from us what we do deserve. Any time we are in danger, we are experiencing what we deserve. Rescue is what we do not deserve. However, God delights in grace and mercy.

The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.

Psalm 116:6

We have a tendency to respond to God’s grace like spoiled children. First, we are amazed by grace. Then, we start to assume grace. Pretty soon, we are demanding grace. When is the last time you simply and uncritically just believed that God does what He says He will do because He is God?

Next time, we will take a look at two more principles from Psalm 116.

Not What We Deserve

October 15, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Posted in Jeremiah, Uncategorized | 10 Comments
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Recently a candidate for political office responded to his party’s nomination with an acceptance speech. A key theme of this speech was the idea of entitlement. Or, to put it another way, “getting what you deserve.” In this relatively short speech, the words “deserved” and “deserve” were used nine times.

-“hope and change…is what Americans deserved
-“You deserved it because you worked harder…”
-“You deserved it because… [you] put in longer hours”
-“You deserve it because your family depended on you.”
-“We deserve better.”
-“my children deserve better”
-“my family deserves better”
-“my country deserves better”
-“Our children deserve it [a better future].”

Now, I realize that not everyone who reads this will be a Christian, or even believe the Bible. But if you are truly a Christian nothing should horrify you more than the idea of “getting what you deserve.” Christians are supposed to understand that what each and every person born into this world “deserves” is the wrath of the holy God. I know we like to pretend that we’re basically good people, but we’re not. We are all sinners.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:10-12

When some politician stands up and starts telling you that you “deserve” hope, or change for the better, or a fair chance, or even a second chance, you had better reject that message as vain deceit.

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Ephesians 5:6

You do not “deserve” good things – no matter how hard, or how many hours, you work. Neither our families, nor our country, nor the children that God has entrusted to our care deserve any blessing whatsoever. Our culture, our government, our schools, our homes, and, sadly, even our churches are not “worthy” of any sort of a better future. We are corrupt, wicked, and wretchedly sinful. That is Bible theology 101 – whether we like it or not!

As a Christian, I want absolutely no part of what I “deserve.” What I want is grace and mercy. If you ever hear someone even hinting that God’s blessings, His love, and His mercy and grace are things that you deserve, flashing red lights and loud blaring warning sirens should immediately be exploding behind your eyeballs. Grace and mercy – by definition – happen when God gives us what we DO NOT deserve and withholds from us what we DO deserve.

The same speech referenced above contained this sentence: “You deserved it because you worked harder than ever before during these years.” How un- (if not anti-) Christian! Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, and all sorts of other denominations and false religions believe that you can “earn” your way into God’s favor, but Biblical Christianity deals in truth. We had better start proclaiming the truth of what is going to happen to those to whom God gives a “recompense” (what they deserve) rather than grace and mercy.

For mine eyes are upon all their ways: they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes. And first I will recompense their iniquity and their sin double; because they have defiled my land, they have filled mine inheritance with the carcases of their detestable and abominable things.

Jeremiah 16:17-18 (emphasis added)

Free FROM Sin, Not Free TO Sin

December 3, 2010 at 10:40 am | Posted in Romans | 20 Comments
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In Romans Chapter 6 the Holy Spirit is using the Apostle Paul to overcome objections. Christians are called to be witnesses of Jesus Christ. We are called to preach the Gospel. We are called to proclaim the Gospel. We are not salesmen, and the proclamation of the Gospel should not be a “sales pitch.” However, one of the valuable things I learned when I used to sell health club memberships is that it is good to be prepared to overcome objections when you are trying to convince someone to believe something. When we think about proclaiming the Gospel we need to be prepared to anticipate and overcome objections before they’re raised. When we do this, we’re not doing the work of the Holy Spirit, but we are preparing ourselves so we can be used by Him.

The Holy Spirit knew that some people would have an objection to the idea that grace does “much more abound,” and that many people would not really like that idea. This can be a little tricky. Why would anyone not want grace to abound? Grace is a free gift. Why wouldn’t someone want a free gift?

The answer is because those being addressed in Romans 6 had too much invested in the Law. Imagine if you spent 19 years of your life obtaining the education needed to be a criminal defense lawyer, and upon receiving your certificate to practice, all the criminal laws were repealed and all the criminals were reprieved! So these objectors said, “Well, if grace abounds much more than sin, then every time we sin, we get much more grace, so let’s get to sinning so that we can experience more grace.”

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

Romans 6:1-3

When we are saved we are “baptized into” Christ. So, like Jesus, we are dead “unto” sin, not just dead “because of” sins. Christ didn’t just die “for” sins – He died “unto” sin.

For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

Romans 6:10

Sin as a “power” was defeated by the power of the Resurrection.

Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Romans 6:8-9

That explains the doctrine and the truth of freedom from sin – “free from sin” (Romans 6:7), not “free to sin.” But what is the practical application in our lives? How do we practically “get the victory” over submitting to our old master?

We have been set free from a very cruel master: Satan. We don’t have to serve him any more. Therefore, we need to believe the facts. It doesn’t do a slave much good to be free if he doesn’t know he is free!

Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 6:11

Reckon” in this verse does not mean “to guess.” It is used here in the sense that it is used in the term “dead reckoning,” which is a nautical term. Dead reckoning is a procedure of observing landmarks in relation to time of departure, or it can be done by dropping an object in the water alongside a ship and watching it float by. “Dead reckoning” is short for “deduced reckoning” or what we might call “deduced reasoning.” Sailors use it when they can’t depend, for some reason, on a compass or the stars. Spiritually, we left our lost condition and became adopted into the family of God when we believed the Gospel, trusted Christ, and received Christ. Therefore, it does not matter what the compass or the charts or the stars of popular philosophy say. We may not know exactly where we are, but we’re not “lost” any more. We know where we were before the trip started and we know when we left. Our experience of salvation is not a slowly absorbed, amorphous feeling. It happens at a time and at a place.

Frightening Words

June 9, 2009 at 8:33 am | Posted in Biblical Violence, Exodus | 14 Comments
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The Old Testament law, given by God to His people, was first presented to them with a great show of power. The noise and sights it produced caused great fear of its Giver. In fact, there were those present who feared that the Word of God would kill them.

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die. And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

Exodus 20:18-20

Today, Christians are “under grace,” not “the law.” (Romans 6:14) However, the law itself was given for God’s glory, and the people’s good. It inspired a fear which was a healthy reminder of the seriousness of obedience to God. The real problem was not Old Testament law. The real problem was – and it remains today – man’s sinful condition which kept him from keeping the law, thus pointing the way to our need for a Savior Who could truly save from sin. We have that Savior today in the resurrected Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust Him today, and be eternally saved!


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