Saturday, 17 October 2015

Grace. ~ Rabqa

Grace teaches us that The spirit of grace instructs us from the inside. Let the holy spirit of God council you and teach you how to live in this
present world.

Zechariah 12:10
And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a first born.

The outpouring of the Sprite of Grace & supplication results in conviction & repentance (Jn 16:8-11). Both grace & supplication have the same Hebrew root, meaning to come amenable to someone. The Holy Spirit breaks through any hostility to the Messiah, making the inhabitants of Jerusalem receptive to Him.

The Hebrew word for grace is chen which means favour, grace, graciousness, kindness, beauty, pleasantness, charm, attractiveness, lovingness, & affectionate regard. The root word chanan means to act graciously or mercifully towards someone; to be compassionate, to be favourably inclined. God's grace poured out upon Jerusalem enables them to look longingly & beseechingly toward their pierced King. God's grace will result in Israel’s seeing Jesus as someone of infinite beauty. His goodness enables them to repent. The Holy Spirit is called "The Spirit of Grace" in Heb 10:29, a title no doubt inspired by this reference in Zechariah.

If you listen to the voice of the world, you will be worldly minded, or carnally minded, which is but death but, if you tune into the voice of the Spirit of grace you can become quite spiritually minded; and according to the Word, that is alive and at peace. So, when the spirit of God speaks to you through the still small voice inside your heart, listen and obey Him. His way works! Trust him and remember that he's got your well-being
in mind.

Maybe He's asking you to eliminate some activity that's consuming too much of your time and attention. Or maybe He's prompting you to get up a little earlier and spend more time in the Word and in prayer. Whatever he is telling you to do, if you'll do it you'll be stronger in the grace of God and consequently in the blessings of God don't hesitate another moment do it! If you want to make a change. 1Corinthians 3: 8- 9.
Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building

This shows that we are God's field, agriculture shows the essential qualities, but stresses they have nothing to boast about since God gives the increase.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.

This teaches us to, deny ungodliness & worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, & godly, in this present world.

We must stand strongly in grace. SAY "No" to ungodliness & worldliness. Be self-controlled in your practice of godly behaviour BE EAGER to do what is good.

Depending on God's grace (that is godliness is impossible any other way, the godly person exemplifies self control say NO to ungodly & worldly attitudes & behaviour & say YES to righteous & godly living. This involves submissive obedience to governing authorities. A key part of Godly living is an eager readiness to do good works! Godly speech is humble, peaceable, & never slanderous or argumentative.

A covenant of grace. That's what you and I have with almighty God. If we could truly grasp the significance of that, we'd never be the same again.

What exactly is the covenant of grace? It's a relationship of favour that gives you access to someone else's power. An illustration of the Covenant of grace is the covenant of the old Sicilian "family," members with the godfather of the family as the head. In that group a weak person might come in and ask the Don for a favour & the Don would say, I will grant this favour & I will ask a favour of you,& when that time comes I will collect it.

Once that was said the weak person would become excited. Suddenly he knew he no longer would have this problem because anyone who tried to rough him up would now have to face the godfather, the one with the power. Suddenly, that guy's attitude would change he would leave the presence of the head of the family in the full assurance at that he didn't have a thing to worry about. He was no longer small and powerless
in his own mind. He had gained favour (grace) with the powerful.

He'd, walk out thinking, "Everything is handled. All I have to do now is what ever the Don asks me to do -and the Don knows that I don't have have anything, so whatever he asked me to do, he'll provide the wherewithal to do it".

That's grace. God's willingness to enter into a blood covenant with you and give you everything He has in exchange for everything you have. He took your sin to give you his righteousness. He took your sickness to give you His health. You took your poverty in order to meet all your needs according to his riches in Glory. Whenever he ask you to do something he provides everything you need to carry it out.

The great Jehovah, God of heaven and earth, is your Father God. Can you understand that? If you're under the blood of Jesus, you've been made a covenant child of the most powerful being in the universe.

Luke 4: 14 to 21.
Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

The Galilean ministry of Jesus began about a
year after Jesus' baptism & temptation, with most of the time spent in Judean ministry (Jn 2:1-4:43). Luke emphasises the power of the Spirit in Jesus."

The Synagogue originated during in the Exile, when the Jews were separated from the temple services in Jerusalem. It was both a religious & educational institution. A member or a visitor who was judged worthy was frequently asked to read the Scripture & make appropriate comments.

Verses 17-21 is the prophecy in Isaiah 61:1; 2 describes the deliverance of Israel from exile in Babylon in terms of the year of Jubilee, but it's ultimate fulfilment awaited the coming of the Messianic age. Jesus boldly claims to be the promised Messiah, & His defined ministry here becomes the ongoing essence of the Good News of the gospel of the kingdom of God. Luke later makes it clear He passed this same ministry on to the entire church (Acts 1: 1-2)

In vv 21-22 We see the response of marvel at the words of Jesus is qualified by scepticism since His hearers know His earthly origin.

When you run into impossible situations, situations you don't have the strength or the ability to handle, are you often attempted to give up & accept defeat? Don't instead look to God, because His word says His strength is about to be made perfect in you.

The word strength translated in this Scripture is ischys means God's miracle working power. Just think about that. When your human strength ends, God has

If you look in Acts 14, you can see that promise in action. The apostle Paul was stoned by a group of Jews, taken out of the city & left for dead, Paul's human strength had ended. He was absolutely powerless.

But the disciples gathered around him & prayed, & the Lord raised him up & he went on his way. In other words, when Paul didn't have enough human strength to overcome, God's miracle – working power was sufficient for him. It enabled him to be an overcomer in spite of his weakness!

Many scholars believe that Paul was describing his near death experience in 2 Corinthians 12:2-5. It is possible that when Paul rose up & went into the city he was actually raised from the dead.

At the very least he was miraculously healed.

So if you are facing a crisis today, if you are sick & medicine has failed you, if your finances are out of control, If your family is falling apart, if bad habits have you hopelessly bound, If you have done absolutely all you know & you still haven't got results, then rejoice for when human strength ends, the power of God excels!

God's is sufficient for you. When Paul had a thorn in the flesh which came by a messenger of satan God said to him in 2 Corinthians 12:9 "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness" Paul said "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me.

Though it is fruitless to try to identify the thorn it caused Paul a great deal of grief but ultimately served a good purpose, becoming the occasion for a revelation to him of the over coming grace of God, which proved sufficient in the midst of Paul's weakness.

We looked at the Hebrew word for grace now we learn what it means in the Greek. The Greek
word is Charis which comes from the same root as chara which is joy, & chairo, to rejoice. Charis causes rejoicing. It is the word for God's grace as extended to sinful man. It signifies unmerited favour. Undeserved blessing, a free gift. Lk 15:21-22,24

And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

In today's world we always seem to be proving ourselves constantly, we feel we have to do right, at work, among friends, & even at home, we are always working to win the approval of those we need. Working to convince those around us that we deserve the salary we are paid, friendships,& even the love they give us.

We wonder is there an escape?

Yes, yes there is it is called grace. Unearned, & undeserved favour & acceptance. There is only one place we can find it – in the heart of God Himself.

There is no better picture of God's grace than found in the story of the prodigal son. Few of us today can really feel the impact of that story like those first Jewish listeners Jesus told it to. You see by there standers the prodigal son had committed some of the most despicable acts possible. He had not only taken advantage of his father & spent his inheritance in riotous living, he had left the nation of Israel & made covenant as a foreigner – a pig farmer!

That was as low as you could get. In their eyes, that boy's rebellion was so serious his fathers only recourse was to disown him. But that is not what his father did! He welcomed his repentant son home with open arms. He offered him grace – unmerited favour – that was based on the fathers love rather than the son's performance.

Next time you catch yourself struggling to make up to God for something you have done wrong, & working to win His approval, let the story of the prodigal son set you free. Let it remind you that, in spite of your sins, Your Father has received you with open arms, He's put a robe of righteousness on your back, His signet ring on your hand, & He's put the shoes of son ship on your feet!

Do you feel unworthy of all that? God hasn't based His relationship with you on your worthiness. He has based it on His love for you. You don't have to struggle to prove yourself to him. As far as He is concerned you are a proven success. Lk 15:11-32

Then He said: “A certain man had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood. And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living. But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want. Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and
before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’ “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with
him. So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’ “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found."

We will now have a look at Acts 4:33 And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.

The Greek word for power is dunamis which means energy, power, great force, great ability, & strength, it is sometimes used to describe the powers of the world to come at work upon the Earth & divine power overcoming all resistance (Compare "dynamic," "dynamite," & dynamo meter.") The dunamis in Jesus resulted in dramatic transformations. This is the norm for Spirit led & Spirit led Churches.

Most believers know the common definition of the beautiful word "grace" as "the unmerited favour of God." (As explained earlier)This is wonderfully true & clearly relates to our salvation apart from the works or energy of our flesh (Eph 2:7-9)

Eph 2:8 Paul tells us in this verse that grace is a wonderful thing, it is God's unmerited favour by which we are saved

The Holy Spirit ministers grace to us from God the father. It can be said that grace is the Holy Spirit's power flowing out from God's throne to save us; it enables us to live holy lives & to accomplish the will of God.

But "grace" used in this text (" great grace") & texts such as Luke 2:40 & Acts 11:32 refer to "operations of the powers of God." Just as God in mercy saves us by His grace, so the grace is manifested in great dynamic ways where the Holy Spirit is at work in power Zac 4:7 provides an illustration of this truth. "The prophet instructed Zerubbabel to speak "grace" to the mountain" - the hindrance he faced in the trying
task of rebuilding God's temple. Speaking "grace" to obstacles we face is an action of faith, drawing on the operations of God's great power. We only speak; the work is entirely His-by is gracious power & for His great glory.

When we accept salvation we receive it only through the power of His grace, we can trust that His same grace will operate in & through us, as it has been shown to us. As with the early disciples, great authority & power in other issues flowed through them & in their midst. As we call upon the name of the Lord, speaking His grace into the face of our mountainous impossibilities, we have every reason to expect "great power" & "great grace " today too Acts 3:6/ Rom 10:9-10)

All human beings have evil tendencies, but James 4:6 teaches us that God will give us more & more grace to deal with these tendencies.

Some Christians spend much of their life trying to overcome their own wrong motives & intentions. All their trying only brings much frustration. They must come to a place of humility & learn that God gives grace to the humble, not the proud. (1Pet 5:5).

We have our own ideas about what we can accomplish, but we often think more highly of ourselves then we ought. We need a humble attitude, knowing that apart from God, we can do nothing.

If you are planning your own way, trying to make things happen in the strength of your own flesh, then no doubt you are frustrated. You have probably said "no matter what I do, nothing seems to work!" Nothing ever will until you learn to trust in God's grace.

Paul tells us in Romans 11:6 is that grace & works are diametrically opposed to one another.
They cannot fellowship together or have anything to do with each other.

To put it another way, grace & works of the flesh are mutually exclusive. Where one exists the cannot exist.

If you & I are into works, then we are out of grace. If we are in grace, then we are out of works. Any time we get into works, the grace of God ceases to operate on our behalf. God has no choice but to back off & wait until we have finished trying to handle things ourselves. We must take our hands of the situations, circumstances, & relationships that concern us-& let God's grace go to work for us.

We need to relax. Let God be God. Stop being so hard on ourselves. Change is a process; it comes little by little.

2Peter 3:18 Encourages to grow in grace. We grow in grace by putting our faith in God & receiving His grace in situations that are difficult or impossible for us. Sometimes we put our faith in God, & He gives us grace for deliverance. At other times we put our faith in God, & He gives us grace to "go through." We must leave that choice to Him & know that either way we can have victory, but only by grace through faith.

If you are struggling with something right now in your life, ask your self honestly if you are putting your faith in God & that you believe His grace will meet the need. Remember grace is unmerited favour to us sinners. It is God's power coming into our situation to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

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