Following Jesus – Grace Part 2

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Following Jesus

“But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” Matthew 5:20 Without the grace of God, our righteousness will never be enough to enter heaven. We are all sinners, saved by grace. “But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.” (1 Timothy 1:16) This is what grace is; it is God’s great patience with us. I can tell you that without God’s patience, I don’t know where I would be today. But by the grace of God, I can have fellowship with Him. I can share in His love and feel His love in my life each and every day. Grace is the love of God shown to the unlovely, the peace of God given to the restless, the unmerited favor of God. Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues. (John Stott) Grace is God reaching downward to people who are in rebellion against Him. (Jerry Bridges) Grace is most needed and best understood in the midst of sin, suffering, and brokenness. We live in a world of earning, deserving, and merit, and these result in judgement. This is why everyone wants and needs grace. Judgement kills. Only grace makes alive. We followers of Jesus Christ live every day by the grace of God. We receive forgiveness according to the riches of God’s grace. Paul tells us, “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.” (Titus 2:11) Spiritual growth doesn’t happen overnight, “May God give you more and more grace and […]

Following Jesus – Grace

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Following Jesus

“But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” Matthew 5:20 We cannot have righteousness without grace. Grace is the very center of the whole Bible. The entire Bible is telling us about God’s grace. We see the grace and love of God in Genesis “Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9) God knew what Adam and Eve has done, yet He went to the Garden calling them. Just as He is calling us today. We see the grace of God in Exodus. When God called Moses to lead His people out of Egypt. “Then the Lord told him, “I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering.” (Exodus 3:7) We see the grace of God in Judges. “Then the Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” (Judges 6:14) We see God’s grace in Nehemiah. “But in your great mercy, you did not destroy them completely or abandon them forever. What a gracious and merciful God you are!” (Nehemiah 9:31) We see His grace in the prophets as God tells the people that they should return to Him. “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be […]

Following Jesus – Righteousness – Part 2

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Following Jesus

“But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” Matthew 5:20 We need to look a little deeper into the righteousness of the Pharisees. If we are not very careful, we can find ourselves in the place of these people that Jesus Christ condemned. “How many people are radically and permanently repelled from The Way by Christians who are unfeeling, stiff, unapproachable, lifeless, obsessive, and dissatisfied? Yet such Christians are everywhere, and what they are missing is the wholesome liveliness springing from a balanced vitality with the freedom of God’s loving rule…Spirituality wrongly understood or pursued is a major source of human misery and rebellion again God.” (Dallas Willard) This is the righteousness of the Pharisees. When we come to the point in our walk with God where we feel that we understand everything about God, we are on a downward trend. When we are filled with pride about what we know and who we are, pride is a potential problem for anyone who takes spiritual growth seriously. As soon as we start to pursue virtue, we begin to wonder why others aren’t as virtuous as we are. This is when our pride gets in the way. Are we weary of our pursuit of righteousness? If so, we may be becoming like the Pharisees. This type of righteous is our righteousness not God’s righteousness. “For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17) Our righteousness is a gift from God because of His […]

Following Jesus – Righteousness

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Following Jesus

“But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!” Matthew 5:20 The Pharisees were the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. They were in church every time the doors were open. They could pray the most beautiful prayers. They appeared to be the most religious people of their day. The problem being it was all a show. The only people that Jesus judged was the Pharisees. The Pharisees wanted nothing but the power and fame that came from being a religious leader. They felt that their righteousness would get them to heaven. We see much of this today. We see many religious leaders that feel they do not have to answer to anyone. What righteousness was Jesus talking about that we needed in our lives? We need the righteousness of God in our lives. This righteousness is only given by God by our faith in Jesus Christ. We are made righteous by our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The righteousness that Jesus is talking about here is that we must have, is not outward but inward. It is not about show, it is about our inward life. If our inward life is right with God, our outward life will show that righteousness. “I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank […]

Following Jesus

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Following Jesus

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 My walk with God has been a walk with many ups and downs. Many turns and twists, but it has been an adventure that I would not have missed. You would think that after more than thirty years I would have some understanding of how God works or at least know more than I feel that I know. Walking with God is a new adventure every day. Paul tells us in Romans, “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” (Romans 11:33) I believe that my understanding of God is my fault. I think more in the flesh than in the Spirit. I forget that earth is not our home and that our lives here are just a journey to our home in heaven with Jesus. This scripture in John tells us that God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for our sins. Not only to die for our sins but to know how we can have life and life more abundant. Following Jesus means that we love Him and He loves us. That we have a personal relationship with Jesus. He is a friend that is closer than any friend that we have ever had. Jesus tells us, “If you love Me, obey My commandments.” (John 14:15) In following Jesus, we must obey His commandments. I want to understand these commandments so that I can follow Jesus. In the […]