Revealing the SIMPLICITY that’s in Christ

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"Inspired to grow by God's grace"

The way God has designed us to grow is by inspiration, not by our perspiration (our hard work). Doing such things like prayer and Bible study are tremendous helps to growing up spiritually, but without God’s inspiration in those things, it’s a fruitless waste of time, see 2 Tim 3:16-17. We saw last time that a paramount inspiration for us to grow up effectively is in understanding God’s forgiveness of our sins; it’s not a partial or progressive kind of forgiveness, but it is His complete and total forgiveness of our past, present, and future sins. To the natural mind, this kind of thinking sounds scary and dangerous, because one thinks that we’re free to set world records for sin. But seeing through the lens of Christ’s finished work, we understand that we have reborn spirits and new hearts, and we don’t really want to sin; for we are slaves of Righteousness (meaning that we can’t get away from Righteousness, because that’s who we actually are, and sin is no longer enjoyable, but rather, it makes us feel miserable and uncomfortable). So then, instead of God’s forgiveness being something dangerous and scary, it is His inner inspiration causing us to rest in the finished work of Christ, and the real freedom to express who we are in Christ!

Next, we want to talk about another topic that seems to be scary and dangerous to the natural mind, and that is the message of grace. From the get-go, let’s get the proper understanding of grace, so we can understand its power and effectiveness in our lives. Grace is interchangeable with the words “gift” and “giving”, because it describes what God has done or is doing in us as we believe. I like to see God’s grace by these 4 words: His PROVISIONS, ABILITY, WILLINGNESS and FAITHFULNESS. These 4 words seem to cover the spectrum of grace and what it means for our lives. When you drive down the road, for example, and see a sign that reads, “Men at work”, you know that a construction site is ahead and men are working. Grace has is a sign that reads, “God at work”, because it describes His inner “construction site”. Once we start seeing that grace is God working as we put rest in Christ, then we’ll start seeing verses differently that talk about God’s grace. 

Look at this verse in 2 Tim 3:16-17, and we’ll see how grace and inspiration are connected in helping us grow up in Christ — “16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17  that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The third word of v.16, “is”, is not in the Greek language but was later added by the translator. It literally reads this way, “All Scripture given by inspiration of God… is profitable”. The emphasis of this verse is not on our Bibles as much as it’s on what God does with them as we read them. This makes more sense when we remember that Paul said that the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life, see 2 Cor 3:6. Only the Scriptures that God inspires to us in the light of Jesus’s finished work (Redemption) are profitable to us. Looking at v.17, we see the effectiveness of God’s inspiration in making us complete (skilled) and thoroughly equipping us for every good work. These actions are God’s grace working in our lives through His inspiration. I want to give you 4 ways that the inspiration of God’s grace causes us to grow up into Christ.

1) God’s grace inspires our fruit and service to Him. Look at what we read in Rom 7:4-6 — “4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. 5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. 6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. I want you to know several things here about the law (Understanding that the law is any standard we may have that promotes self-effort). 1) the law is fruitless, v.4; 2) the law arouses sinful desires (not helps us to get rid of them), v.5; 3) the law is the old way to serve God, v.6. Being married to Jesus is what we are through God’s grace, and because of that, we are freedom to bear fruit to Him and serve Him in a brand-new way — the newness of the Spirit. Christians are the only people who are free to be themselves and to express Christ at the same time! 

2) God’s grace inspires our godly living. Look at Titus 2:11-14 — “11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” It’s the grace of God that teaches us to live godly lives. Living godly lives is the mark of our maturity in Christ. Look at the word GODLY. You can’t say godly without saying “God” first, right? Therefore, one can’t live a godly life without God helping him to do it, and that is what grace is — God at work. Godliness is God expressing Himself through our lives. Pay attention to v.14, because it’s the reason we can live godly, “(Jesus) gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works”. Redeem us from every lawless deed — past, present and future — is His forgiveness, and being zealous for every good work is His grace. Grace is the power of that zeal inside us, causing us to let God be God in our lives, and it all starts from being instructed by Him (inspiration)!

3) God’s grace inspires our victory. Look at what we read in 1 Cor 15:56-58 — “56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” We must understand that living by the law, or what inspires self-effort, there cannot be lasting victory. For instance, if we try to “implement” Scriptures, victory may result, but it won’t last (The way that we implement the promises of God is by faith — we don’t work the Word, we let it work us by faith). That’s because the strength of sin results when we try to get or obtain it. Only God’s grace inspires victory in our lives, because it causes us to walk by faith and not by sight. This is why in v.58, Paul instructed us to be steadfast, immovable, and always abounding in the work (Jesus’s finished work). Because this is the place where our labor comes from; not before our faith-stand but resulting from it. Our labor should come from our stand in Jesus’s work — for this is our place of victory. Look how Paul testified to this reality earlier in this chapter — “by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. God’s grace — Him doing the work in us to express it through us — inspires victory — as our self-effort promotes failure and shortcomings.

4) God's grace inspires our stability. This is much like what we just looked at. Look at what we read in Heb 13:8-9 — “8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.” What does, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever”, really mean? This statement about Jesus is referring to His Redemptive work seen in His death, burial and resurrection — this is the gospel of Jesus Christ, the gospel of grace. It’s this simple truth about Jesus that doesn’t change; people can’t change it because of their unbelief of it, Rom 3:3-4, nor can situations around us change its power, 2 Cor 4:16-18. But because people believe other things than this simple reality about Jesus, they have come up with “strange and various teachings”. He goes on and says in v.9, “For it is good that the heart be established by grace”. If someone is established in his profession, then he is stable in it. This is our instruction, that we become established, or stable by God’s grace in our hearts (in our “believer” and our “knower”, see 2 Tim 1:12). God’s grace flows from the reality that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. His grace works by faith. So when our faith is rock-solid in the Redemptive work of Christ, grace continues to work in our lives, and we become stable Christians, see Eph 4:13-15.     -    13120 Three Rivers Road Apt 3004  

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