FACEBOOK THEOLOGIANS

Rom.6:15 – What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be!

I have come to the conclusion that social media is the judgement of God on this generation. You might wonder why on earth I would say something like that. It’s really quite simple. Social media is the great equalizer. Anyone can have the mic and say whatever pops into their head. I am shocked at all the live preaching services that have erupted in the last couple of years on social media. The theology being preached would be quite humorous if it wasn’t so dangerous. One of the favorites is the “grace message”. You know, just like what Paul referred to in today’s verse. “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?” Sounds shockingly familiar. Grace has been dragged through the mud to allow for Christians to live like all of the others in our godless society.

What is this grace that Paul was so adamant about? Didn’t Paul say that Christ justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5)? Absolutely. Everything we have ever done is absolutely done away with by the death of Christ. But this grace never stops there. We are not only forgiven we are changed. We have been born again. Yes, there is more than forgiveness purchased by the cross. The cross leads to the resurrection that brings us into a whole new way of life.

It’s amazing to me that the proponents of this new so called grace message actually think it is new. Paul was obviously dealing with it in his day, Augustine wrote volumes about it in the 400’s, Luther even gave it a name. He called it antinomianism. The preachers of this new grace message have actually just fallen into an age old cesspool. Just another reason to let your flesh take over.

Now let’s get to the good news. Grace is much more powerful than sin. The sinful tendencies that reign in the hearts of the lost and try to creep back into a believer’s life are no match for God’s grace. God’s grace is the luring pull upon our hearts to become captured and overcome by the love of God. The love of God is so much sweeter than the foolish pleasures of sin. When you fall prey to the Master’s love, leaving behind the old vices are not that hard. Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? To those that have drunk from the cup of grace the question doesn’t even make sense. Drink from the cesspool or from the bubbling springs of living water? What a choice!!!

ATTENDING YOUR OWN FUNERAL

For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. (Romans 6:4 NLT)

When I was a child, I loved to read about the adventures of Tom Sawyer. One of the stories that stood out to me was the time a funeral was held for Tom, he had been missing and assumed dead. The funny thing about the story was that Tom was not really dead, and he attended his own funeral. That day ended with a combination of being loved and being punished, no one knew quite how to respond when they found out Tom was not dead after all. I was recently thinking about my own funeral, the one that I attended myself, back in the summer of 1973. I had recently given my life to Christ. It had taken place after being witnessed to by some “Jesus freaks” out on the lakefront of Lake Ponchartrain in New Orleans. Shortly after that “Jesus freak” encounter, I found myself back at the lakefront, this time I was coming to be buried.
You see, baptism is a burial service, not much different from other funerals you may have attended. People gather together and sing some songs to the Lord, the preacher reads some scripture, prayers and comments about the deceased are made, and then you proceed to the graveside. The only real difference is that the dead person at a baptism is still breathing. I’ll never forget the evening I was baptized. My new Christian friends gathered to pay their last respects and the gathering crowd of mocking party animals assembled hoping to have a good time at my expense. I wasn’t aware of very much, I was caught up in the moment. You see, I was leaving behind my old life, I really had died. My life of foolish, sensual pleasure was over, a new life was about to start. You see, there was another guest, an invisible guest, at my funeral that night. Jesus was there, watching the proceedings. He was rejoicing with the angels at my new life, He was speaking to me about things to come. As I was dunked into the dark waters of Lake Ponchartrain that night, I knew my life would never be the same. I had some sense of the past events of my life passing through my mind, like a video on super fast forward. Everything I used to be was gone, all things had become new. The Christians on the bank rejoiced, the party animals shouted profanities, and Jesus and the angels shouted for joy. As I climbed the steps at the edge of the Lake, I was beginning my new life. I had left one party and joined another, but this new one will never end.
I kind of know how Tom felt that day. People act different when you are walking around after your funeral. Your earthly friends want to keep their distance, but your spiritual friends begin to embrace you. They know what you are going through, after all, they attended their funerals too.

“We have been given a new identity”

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MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS

Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified WITH Christ”

Most of us grow up self-conscious. People point out our speech patterns and try to locate where we are from. Classmates at school pick out any so called irregularities in us. I still remember one of my children coming home saying they had small teeth! I had never heard of such of thing. Even at the office we feel we wore the wrong outfit, said the wrong thing and can’t seem to get our game on. Without us even knowing it we all seem to be self-conscious. But thanks be unto God, Christ has given us a new identify.

“What does identification mean?” It means our complete union with Him in his substitutionary Sacrifice. The Apostle Paul preached that Christ makes all things new and his own life was but dung! We have been given a new identity but walking in it is our struggle. Today try to meditate on these truths.

I died with Christ

I was buried in Christ.

I was made alive in Christ.

Now I am seated in heavenly places in Christ.

Christ became sin so that I became Righteousness.

He became one with me in death, that I might be one with Him in life.

He became as I am, so that I might become as He is.

He died to make me live.

He became weak to make me strong.

He suffered shame to give me glory.

He was condemned in order to justify me.

He was made sick in order that healing might be mine.

Rom 6:6 “Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin.” You see our past has been eradicated, done away with, never to be exhumed up from the grave again. Stop digging around the graveyard! Christ went through a whole lot of work NOT to have us re-digging the old wells of pain, sorrow and sin that got us in the predicament we are in. The great gavel of redemption, redeemed, bought with a price rang through the halls of justice that day you became a new creature! We have been given a new identify. You are not the same person! The old is gone and the new has come! Why are you acting as if this hasn’t happened!

When we recognize this, we will no longer struggle for faith, for righteousness and holiness, because we will know that we were nailed to the Cross and died with Him, were buried with Him, suffered with Him, were made alive with Him, were justified with Him, conquered the devil with Him, were raised with Him and finally were seated with Him. All these things are ours now. What a great day to shout this MONDAY! Glory to God!

DEAD OR ALIVE?

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Present yourself unto God, as alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Rom. 6:13
You can never present your old life to Christ, He has no use for it. You must see yourself as dead to sin, crucified with Christ, and alive in Him before we have anything to offer to the Lord. Our new life is precious to the Lord. When we offer ourselves to Him as living sacrifices it is like a soothing, fragrant aroma. He sees the glory of His Son in us. He sees the glory of His Son in the shedding of His blood because we have been made whiter than snow. He sees the glory of the death of His Son because our old life is dead and buried. Finally, He sees the glory of the resurrected Christ in us. This is what He is after, this is why He sent His only begotten Son to die in our place. Here are some thoughts from Watchman Nee on today’s verse.

“Many have taken this word “present” (in today’s verse) to imply consecration without looking carefully into its content. Of course that is what it does mean but not in the sense in which we are inclined to understand it. It is not the consecration of our “old man” with his instincts and resources, his natural wisdom, strength and other gifts, to the Lord God for Him to use. This will be clear at once from the little clause “as alive from the dead.” It defines for us the point at which consecration begins. For what is to be consecrated is not what belongs to the old creation but only what has passed through death to resurrection. The “presenting” spoken of is the outcome of my knowing my old man to be crucified and my reckoning myself alive unto God in Christ Jesus. Knowing, reckoning, presenting ourselves to Him: that is the divine order.”

Not only is the Father satisfied by seeing the glory of His Son in us, the world is attracted to Christ through us. It is in the redeemed of the Lord that the lost see the glory of Christ. Your family may ignore or even mock you, but if Christ reigns in your heart His glory is inescapable. Your fellow workers at your place of employment will sense that “something different about you”; of course, it is the glory of the Son. So present your new life to Christ, yield yourself to Him. You too will shine in this dark world with the glory of Christ.

DEAD TO SIN

Rom. 6:1,2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

Paul not only taught about being justified from our sins by faith alone, he also spoke about being dead to sin. Most everyone who calls themselves a Christian knows the basic function of the cross, the cleansing of all of our sins. More often than not it is this next part of God’s work on the cross that trips people up, I have been crucified with Christ. That person I used to be is not just forgiven, he is obliterated. I have received a new nature now, that other guy is gone. This is the basis of our ability to live a different kind of life than we used to live. Our old nature has been executed, we have received a new nature in Christ. Believing this will change everything. We are no longer a part of the sinful culture of this world.

Living in NOLA makes this exceedingly important. Our culture is know for its debauchery. Lester Sumrall used to say “the people of the world have come to New Orleans and left their sins here”, now that is terrifying. Thankfully His grace is sufficient, not only for justification but also to sanctify us completely: spirit, soul, and body. Here are some thoughts from Adam Clarke about being dead to sin.
“Let it not be; by no means; far from it; let not such a thing be mentioned!—Any of these is the meaning of the Greek phrase, which is a strong expression of surprise and disapprobation: How shall we, that are dead to sin. The phraseology of this verse is common among Hebrews, Greeks, and Latins. To die to a thing or person, is to have nothing to do with it or him; to be totally separated from them: and to live to a thing or person is to be wholly given up to them; to have the most intimate connection with them. “The Tapyrians are such lovers of wine, that they live in wine; and the principal part of their life is devoted to it.” They live to wine; they are insatiable drunkards.”
So maybe you still like to dabble with your old favorite sins; let me tell you that it’s not worth it. Listen to what Paul taught us, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord”. You are a dead man, the sooner you get that, the happier you will be.

ARE CHRISTIANS GIVEN A PASS ?

Rom. 6:1,2 ¶ What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

It’s funny, as much as things change everything always remains the same. This scripture makes that totally clear. Paul’s basic message was that all mankind could have access to God and eternal life by the grace of the Lord Jesus through faith in Him. Being acceptable to God had nothing to do with our deeds, it was totally by grace through faith. Obviously, as we read this verse in Romans, Paul is dealing with the fallout and misapplication of this teaching. Some were saying that if we are covered by grace God understands and overlooks my continued lifestyle of sin because He knows how weak I am and after all, He made me that way. Doesn’t this all sound way too familiar? In every generation Christians have to address this persistent doctrinal error. In Augustine’s day he called it pelagianism. Martin Luther dealt with the same error and called it antinomianism. Today, we have the same repackaged error, it is called the “grace message”.

The disturbing thing about this is that people who embrace it are given a pass to continue in whatever their carnal desires dictate. It come in the form of fornication (sex outside of marriage), adultery (the violation of marriage vows), drunkenness (I know you drink because you like the taste), substance abuse, homosexual behavior; the list is endless. The good news is that Christ not only forgave us but absolutely delivers us from habitual sin. Here is how Adam Clarke described it in the 1700’s.

“And we need not wonder that a Gentile, just emerging from the deepest darkness, might entertain such thoughts as these; when we find that eighteen centuries after this, persons have appeared in the most Christian countries of Europe, not merely asking such a question, but defending the doctrine with all their might; and asserting in the most unqualified manner, “that believers were under no obligation to keep the moral law of God; that Christ had kept it for them; that his keeping it was imputed to them; and that God, who had exacted it from Him, who was their surety and representative, would not exact it from them, forasmuch as it would be injustice to require two payments for one debt.” These are the Antinomians who once flourished in this land, and whose race is not yet utterly extinct.”
So there you have it. Don’t settle for a cheap cover up for sinful behavior. Step into life! Living free from habitual sin is not only possible, it is a much more enjoyable life.

DEAD MEN WALKING

Now if we died with Christ,
we believe that we will also live with him.

Rom. 6:8
Nobody wants to die. Paul didn’t want to die; but die he did. The day he died started like most of the others. Paul was headed to Damascus and was determined to stop the growth of those heretics called the Way. He hated Christians and everything related to Christianity. Paul had to die. It was either him or them; he died that day with an unexpected encounter. His old life was gone when he met Christ on the Damascus Road. The Lord had others plans for this new Paul. He was called to be an apostle to the Gentiles, unthinkable. That Pharisee had to die for that to ever happen, there was no way he would want to bring life to the Gentiles. From this day forward Paul was crucified with Christ, you could say he had become a dead man walking. Here are some thoughts from Andrew Murray on today’s verse.
“The reason why God’s children so seldom live in the power of the resurrection is that they have so little insight into dying with Christ. This becomes clear with Paul’s words: “If we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.… The death he died, he died to sin once for all. Therefore, says Paul, we must remember that we are dead to sin and alive for God in Christ Jesus. These words give us God’s assurance of who and what we are in Christ. It is a truth that we cannot master with our minds or call our own, but which the Holy Spirit must reveal to us. Through His power, we must experience the death of the cross as the power for our daily lives. Then together with Paul, we can also declare that we will not place any part of our bodies in the service of sin or as an instrument in the pursuit of godlessness . Every part of our bodies will be given to the service of God, for a holy life.”
So maybe you need to die. None of us want to but after it happens you could never go back to that old you. There are places the Lord wants to take you and things He has planned for you to do that you would never consider; at least you wouldn’t consider them until you too experience this untimely death. Yep; you too will join the forces of dead men walking.

SMELLING LIKE A ROSE – YIELDING

MERRY MONDAY BY PARRIS

“Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Rom.6:13
Throughout most of my life as a Christian I have had plenty of opportunities to walk in offense. I’ve also seen a lot of Christians lose their way when they refuse to let go of their offenses. It’s easy to tell when we are all offended, for our minds are consumed with an ongoing argument of “our rights and their wrongs”. It can be downright exhausting. No matter how right we think we are; we end up being very wrong. We need to drink of the river of the love of God. Losing another day to anger is just not worth it.
McLaren says; “Yielding yourselves to God is the talismanic secret of all righteousness. I hallow my heart if its love twines round His heart. I hallow my thoughts if I take His truth for my guide, and ever seek to be led thereby in practice and in belief. I hallow my will when it bows and says, ‘Speak, Lord! Thy servant heareth!’ I hallow my senses when I use them as from Him, with recognition of Him and for Him. In fact, there are two ways of living in the world; and, narrow as it sounds, I venture to say there are only two. Either God is my centre, and that is holiness; or self is my centre, in more or less subtle forms, and that is sin.”
Christ comes to us to take over. Period. It matters not what your neighbor, boss, best friend or spouse just did, said or didn’t do. People are fallible and will be fallible all of their lives and we remain fallible ourselves. It’s in these situations we grow when we learn to yield.
McLaren again says, “My yielding of myself to Him can only be the echo of His giving of Himself to me. He must be the first to love. You cannot argue a man into loving God, any more than you can hammer a rosebud open. If you do you spoil its petals. But He can love us into loving Him, and the sunshine, falling on the closed flower, will expand it, and it will grow by its reception of the light, and grow sunlike in its measure and according to its nature.”
So where do you find yourself this Monday morning? Let it all go in the name of Jesus! Whatever happened it just isn’t worth the hassle. Allow the Son-shine to fall on the closed up flower (you!) and you just might come out “smelling like a rose”! Praise Him!

WHY THE FIGHT ABOUT GRACE ?

Rom. 6:1,2 ¶ What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

As wise old Solomon said, “there is nothing new under the sun”. It’s funny how people hear a repackaged message with hip, modern trappings and suddenly they think they are part of something that has never been seen or done before. We are living in one of those moments right now. Large mega-type churches focusing on relevancy to modern culture have largely bought into what they are calling the “grace message”. Focusing on a Santa Claus type of God (minus the switches and coal), the Lord is seen as the dispenser of mega blessings and overlooking all the requirements to clean up our act. Actually this message is as old as the church. From Paul contending for grace that delivers from sin to Augustine clamoring with Pelagius and his focus on man’s ability to improve his own life all the way to the champion of grace Martin Luther. Luther refused to back down on his message of grace even though many were using his teaching for an excuse to continue to live a worldly lifestyle. Luther even coined a name for it, antinomianism. Here is a quote from John Piper describing Augustine’s dealing with this dangerous error.

“But there was a deeper reason for his long engagement in the Pelagian controversy. When he was asked by his friend Paulinus why he kept on investing so much energy in this dispute with Pelagius, even as a man in his seventies, he answered, “First and foremost because no subject [but grace] gives me greater pleasure. For what ought to be more attractive to us sick men, than grace, grace by which we are healed; for us lazy men, than grace, grace by which we are stirred up; for us men longing to act, than grace, by which we are helped? This answer has all the more power when you keep in mind that all the healing, stirring, helping, enabling grace that Augustine revels in is the giving of a compelling, triumphant joy. Grace governs life by giving a supreme joy in the supremacy of God.”

Augustine nailed it. It’s not grace that gives us license to continue in sin, on the contrary. It is the pleasure found in God’s grace that liberates us from the prison of sin. So before you buy into the sugar coated ‘grace message’, dig a little deeper. Return to the ancient wells rather than the cesspool of modernism, drink from the fountain of liberty found in the crimson stream of calvary.

NO LONGER A SLAVE

Rom. 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Mankind was brought into slavery in a garden. We became slaves of sin that first day we turned our backs on God. You may say, “I never did that”. The truth is, we all did. We were in Adam and Eve that fateful day that they ate from the tree, that day, we all died. We died to freedom and were slaves to our own sinfulness until another fateful day in a garden. The day was the day the prison that man had been kept in for thousands of years suddenly burst open. Here is how Charles Spurgeon describes that day.

Matt. 28:2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.

“Death was being upheaved, and all the bars of the sepulcher were beginning to burst. When the King awoke from the sleep of death, he shook the world; the bed chamber in which he rested for a little while trembled as the heavenly Hero arose from his couch: Behold, there was a great earthquake. Nor was the King unattended in his rising: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven. It was not merely one of the angelic host, but some mighty presence angel, ‘the angel of the Lord’, who came to minister to him on that resurrection morn. Jesus was put in the prison of the tomb as a hostage for his people; therefore he will not break out by himself, but the angelic sheriff’s officer must bring the warrant for his deliverance, and set the captive at liberty. When the angel had rolled back the stone from the door, he sat upon it, as if to defy earth and hell ever to roll it back again. That great stone seems to represent the sin of all Christ’s people, which shut them up in prison; it can never be laid again over the mouth of the sepulcher of any child of God. Christ has risen, all his saints must rise, too.”

This is the greatest news of all time. I am no longer a prisoner, I can never be a prisoner again. The prison door has been blown off, I will never be ensnared again.