What Do You Do With The Resurrection?

Grace For The Journey



Today’s blog finds us at the end of Passion Week . . . that set of days leading up to the Sunday when we celebrate the most momentous event ever occurring on planet earth!

I pray it has been a time when you have reflected upon what Jesus endured on our behalf.  I pray that God has used this week as a time to refocus and recharge our spiritual batteries

To ignite a deeper love and more powerful living for

Christ which the world desperately needs to see.

So, today, I want to use my blog to cause our hearts to be moved and our joy to run over as we think about Jesus and all He has done for us.

The Bible says in Acts 13:29-31, “And when they had carried out all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb.  But God raised Him from the dead, and for many days He appeared …”

God had ordained the crucifixion and sinful man had unwittingly cooperated with His plan which had been in effect prior to the creation of the universe (Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:19-20).  The Messiah was rejected and crucified.  Even though He had come to His own, His own did not receive Him (John 1:11).  The price for our sin was offered there upon Calvary and it appeared to all spectators that an epic, irreversible tragedy had occurred.  The disciple’s sky-high hopes had crashed to the earth.  Every miracle which Jesus had performed in three-plus years of public ministry was now obscured with doubt and confusion.  His words – now seem to be hollow and impotent!  His followers had grown over time to hold more and more confidence in Him and there was no denying that His authority over demons, nature, and the shackles of sin had been demonstrated.

  • Jesus had saved people from death.
  • Jesus had banished disease and affliction from more people than could be counted.
  • God’s Son had provided food to the hungry and freedom to the oppressed.
  • Christ’s teachings reinforced the truth of God’s Word and shook the very foundations of the politicized religious structure of His day.

In the shadow of the cross, two worlds collided:

The world of hope and the world of despair.

As the crowd dispersed that day it seemed that despair had spoken the final word to them all.  But … Then …

On that resurrection Sunday …

Life came from the tomb!

Despair was turned back, and, in the place where Despair once stood, there entered Hope.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the exclamation point on the Gospel.

The great barrier of sin, the intimidating opponent of death, and the dreaded reality of our eventual demise would haunt us day and night were it not for the Spirit-empowered resurrection that we has given us comprehensive victory!

There is no issue we face in life more vicious than sin and death.

Sin and death possessed the ultimate dominion

Over every person born into this world,

Until Jesus Christ emerged from the tomb!

Now the Resurrection testifies to us that, because the saving work of Christ is finished, it can be well with our soul.  Unless Jesus comes again, we all will die at some point in time.  Our final breath will occur and someone will declare us dead.

Here is something powerful to ponder . . .

A great truth that doesn’t appear after physical death but before it!

I don’t have to await death before resurrection

becomes something of significance to me.

Through the finished work of Jesus Christ, I have been granted resurrection power which is at work through the gift of eternal life.  This means that God has brought forth life and there is nothing in this life that can undo that fact (Romans 8:31-35)!  We live out our lives and are confronted with a thousand mini-entombments every day of our pilgrimage upon this earth.

How many times are we tempted to doubt that it is all over?  We say to ourselves, “This is my undoing!  Nothing good can come from this!  There is no longer hope for escape!

And yet we find as we wait upon the Lord and look to Him our strength and hope is renewed.  We experience grace to mount up with wings like eagles; we somehow are able to continue our race and fight the fight and not become weary.  We travel onward and do not faint.

You see, the Resurrection is not a nuance of the Christian faith.

The Resurrection is not limited to some historical event.

The Resurrection is all about a Person.

This Person is the Son of God and the Savior of all who believe.

He is the living Lord who relates to us today.  If you are His, then hear Him tell you of your victory and accept His dare to believe Him to the fullest.  Hear Him remind you that He is here.  Hear His voice speaking with full authority over all that comes against you.  Hear Him make again that grand promise from 2,000 years ago, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die . . .” (John 11:25-26).

Yes, today I do believe it because every day I should believe it.  Some days I simply must believe it because it is my only anchor and mainstay.

As Easter approaches, think deeply on what you are to do with Resurrection.

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey

… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Agony In Gethsemane

Grace For The Journey



  The Bible says in Luke 22:44, “Being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

The medical term for what this verse is describing is hematidrosis, also called “blood sweat.”  Medical journals explain it this way: “Near the sweat glands, there are multiple blood vessels in a net-like form, which constrict under the pressure of great stress. Then, as the anxiety passes, the blood vessels dilate to the point of rupture and blood goes into the sweat glands.”

Now, let’s return to today’s passage and prayerfully consider the deep truth revealed to us.

You see, as Jesus knelt in Gethsemane,

He fully understood what He was about to do.

He was going to a cross to drink the full cup of God’s wrath and judgment, and He was doing it on our behalf, as our substitute.  The anguish Jesus experienced was both raw and real, an intensity that was surpassed only by His earnest prayer to His Father in heaven.

Our Lord’s agony in Gethsemane teaches us a profound biblical truth:

There is no pain and trauma we experience in life

That Jesus did not experience Himself

And even beyond what we can begin to comprehend, such as experiencing the full measure of God’s holy hatred for sin at Calvary.

Jesus was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).  Many Bible translators note that the Hebrew word makob, which the Bible translates as “sorrows” in Isaiah 53:3, can also be rendered as “pain.”  Fellow Christian, you are not alone in your pain, anguish or agony.  As a matter of fact in Isaiah 63:9, the Bible tells us, “In all their affliction He [the Lord] was afflicted . . .”

During pastoral counselling sessions, it is not uncommon for someone to say, “You just don’t understand what I’m going through!”  That is often true; I haven’t experienced what that individual has, and thus I can only sympathize, not truly empathize.

But there is One who does understand, and His name is Jesus.

He knows our frustrations and fears.  He knows our doubts and our defeats.  He knows our misfortune and our misery.  He knows everything about our life story – because He is the One who wrote it!

Regardless of where this message finds you today, always remember that Jesus is in it with you.

  • He lived your loneliness.
  • He suffered your storms.
  • He conquered your challenges.
  • He participated in your pain.
  • He was “tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin: (Hebrews 4:15).
  • He walked where you walk and is walking it all over again with you.

When He said He would never leave nor forsake you, He meant what He said!  Jesus is in you, with you, and for you, and He will sustain you during whatever storms you are currently facing.

His drops of blood sweat are like battle scars that shout from heaven, “I have overcome the world; don’t give in and don’t give up!”

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


When Seeing Nothing . . . Is Something

Grace For The Journey



On that first Resurrection morning, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb, saw that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb, and went running to tell Peter and John.  When she told them the Lord had risen, they ran to see for themselves.  John reached the tomb first and looked inside, but Peter went straight into the tomb and saw the burial clothes lying there.  Finally, John also went in, and we read the words of our verse for today’s blog: “He saw and believed” (John 20:8).

The other gospels do not record this event, but it was of special interest to John since he was present and what he saw was proof of Jesus’ resurrection.  The fact that the linens were present and the face cloth so carefully folded up was evidence that shouted loudly that Jesus body had not been stolen.  Thieves would not have unwrapped a body before stealing it, especially when that body was inside a tomb with a Roman seal on it. They would be risking death to break that seal.  If Jesus’ body had been stolen, the thieves would have been in and out of the tomb as quickly as possible, but the linen wrappings and the face cloth by itself carefully folded up lying there demonstrated there was no hurry.

We do not have an exact account of the events of Jesus’ resurrection. We do not know if Jesus unwrapped Himself or an angel did it for Him, but the presence of the grave clothes proved there was no hurry and the One who had been in them no longer needed them.  John was now beginning to believe the evidence before Him.  Jesus had risen from the dead.

Now, John didn’t see what he thought he would see: the dead body of his Lord.  John saw nothing, and it was at that point that the Scriptures tell us he believed.  This was indeed a time when “seeing nothing was something.”  Why?  Because, for the very first time the disciple whom Jesus loved was looking through the eyes of faith.  Only when we are looking through the eyes of faith can we see nothing and it becomes something substantial (Hebrews 11:1) . . . something life-changing.  By faith, John saw that the tomb was empty on that first Easter morning, and he believed that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead, just as He had told His disciples He would do.

In our natural selves, we see so little.  For the most part, we live by the phrase, “Seeing is believing!”  If we can’t see something, we don’t believe.  By nature we are all just like Thomas, who said, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).  But, God’s Word tells us that John saw nothing and he believed.

What was the difference between Thomas and John?

John was looking beyond the fleshly veil.

John looked through the eyes of faith,

And the eyes of faith are able to see the invisible.

This is nothing new for God’s people.  In the Old Testament, we read in 2 Kings chapter six about a time when the enemy armies of Aram surrounded the city of Dothan.  The servant of Elisha saw them, and he was panic-stricken.  What he saw was real and true. The city was surrounded by the enemy, but the servant was only looking with natural eyes.  Elisha prayed that the Lord would enable his servant to see through the eyes of faith and when he did, “He saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17).  God gave Elisha’s servant the eyes of faith and he learned the absolute truth of Elisha’s words: “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16).

Only when we are looking through the eyes of faith do we begin to see all that God is doing in our lives.  God has surrounded you with legions of angels and He has promised to protect and provide for your every need.  Do not fear what you may be seeing through your physical eyes, for they see only a tiny portion of what is actually going on around you.  Ask God to open your eyes of faith, and you will begin seeing God’s hand in everything that is happening in your life.  At that level of living, seeing nothing is indeed something!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Guiding Principles Under Grace for Deciding Right and Wrong

Grace For The Journey



  Freedom in Christ never means freedom to do as we please, but the power to do as we ought in accordance with the character of Christ as His life is reproduced in the believer by a Spirit-filled, Word-filled life.  In today’s blog, I want to look at five biblical principles that should guide every believer as they seek to live for the glory and honor of the Lord.

1) The Principle of Love

Though convinced that I have liberty to do something, nevertheless, out of love for the weaker brother, I will limit my freedom when necessary to avoid being a stumbling block (Romans 14:15; 1 Corinthians 8:1-13).  If my actions cause a believer to stumble by influencing him or her to follow my example, the question is, “Do I really have liberty to follow my own conviction regarding the doubtful thing?”  The answer is an emphatic no – not if I am walking by love!  Listen to the warning God gives us in Romans 14:15-21, “For if your brother is grieved (hurt) because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died.  Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the king of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.  Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the thing by which one may edify another. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.  All things indeed are pure, but it is evil for the man who eats with offense.  It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak.”

2) The Principles of Profitability and Edification

While all things that are not specifically forbidden by Scripture, particularly the New Testament, are lawful to me as a believer, the question I must ask is, “Is it profitable to my spiritual life, to God’s goals for me, to my health, to my testimony to the lost and my life as an example to other believers?”  The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:12, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable” and in 1 Corinthians 10:23, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”

3) The Principle of Enslavement, of Who and What is in Control

An understanding of this principle becomes a determining factor as to whether we really should or should not do the thing in question.  The Bible succinctly states it this way, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”  Believers are to walk under the control of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16).  By means of the Spirit, we are to have control over all aspects of our lives rather than be under the control of dominating influences in our lives.  The body is a wonderful God’s instrument in God’s service, but it is a poor master. The questions we must ask are, “Will it enslave me?  Is it something that is known to be habit forming or addictive so that it could enslave me?”  This does not automatically exclude something and anything can become a habit that controls me, but this principle does pose a warning.

4) The Principle of the Temple

The New Testament teaches us that our body is the temple of God, the very dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and should be cared for accordingly. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple f the Holy Spirit who is in you whom you have from God, and ou are not your own?  For you were bought at at price,; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”)  The body is an instrument used by the Spirit of God . . . a vehicle of service by which we can glorify God.  A weak body becomes a weak instrument, so we need to care for it and protect it.  This means proper rest, diet, exercise, and the elimination of those habits which are unhealthy and harmful.

In my college days, I was eating breakfast with a fellow student.  As we talked he asked if I preached against sin.  Knowing something about him and being a bit suspicious about the question, I asked him to clarify his statement.  He said, “I am talking about things like dancing, wearing makeup, smoking, drinking, and things like that.” This young man weighed at least three hundred pounds, was under six feet tall, and was eating a breakfast big enough to feed a small army.  Maybe it was unkind of me to say, but I replied, “Yes, I preach on sin.  And that includes things like gluttony and life dominating sins.”  How easy it is for us to major on the sins of others and ignore our own sin habits!

5) The Principle of Exaltation

Here we must ask the question, “Will it glorify or exalt the Lord and His glory?” In a context dealing with doubtful issues, we are told to act on this principle, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”  (1 Corinthians 10:31).  The Bible also says in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15, “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”

This principle applies to all Christians, but it is especially vital for Christian leaders such as pastors, teachers, elders, deacons, etc.  One of the characteristics so necessary for a leader is that of self-sacrifice, of giving up our rights for the benefit of others and for the glory of God.  Why?  Because our lives are so determinative and influential on others.  Christ, our supreme model, said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  This means the need for sacrifice and living for the glory of God at all times. (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:1-23; 2 Thessalonians 3:7, 9; 1 Timothy 4:12; Hebrews 13:7; Titus. 2:7).

Let me sum up the grace principles that should guide us when seeking to make decisions as we live our lives:

(1) Liberty is constrained by our love of Christ.  If you do not love Christ forget all the rest of the principles and do what you want.

(2) Liberty should not cause another person to stumble, be made weak, or turn from Christ.  This is a major point.  It is the only one that says that a person sins against Christ.

(3) Liberty should be edifying.  Does your liberty build up the body of Christ?

(4) Liberty should not be enslaving.  Can someone be enslaved by their liberty?

(5) Liberty should glorify Jesus.  Does your liberty bring glory to Jesus?

(6) Liberty should help you toward your goal God has set.

(7) Liberty should be worthy of the gospel.  Does your liberty hinder the gospel of Christ?

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Three Prayers In Light of the Attacks In America And Around The World

Grace For The Journey



It seems like deadly attacks upon innocent people are becoming almost a daily occurrence.   News commentary on the radio, television, and in newspapers are full of fearful reports, images and videos of these senseless attacks.

I have had many reactions as these horrific events has occurred:

(1) Anger: towards the terrorists and weak foreign policies of our nation and others;

(2) Grief: for the those who have lost their lives and for their families; and

(3) Prayer: that God’s grace would triumph in this situation and the Gospel would come to be heard and received.

We all have a myriad of reactions to this and other tragedies and toward the cowardly perpetrators.  But, I wonder if we are all praying as much as we should about these horrible acts that result in so much fear, terror, and injustice?  How should we pray in times like this?  How should we pray for the families of those grieving; for our government leaders; and even for ISIS and who follow their mode of operation?

Let me suggest three prayers we can all pray in light of these attacks:

1) Pray for the Comfort and Peace of the Lord.

The Bible says in Psalm 3418, “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit.”

As we invoke God’s presence He promises to give us peace and comfort.  His presence and power is our hope.  Many are brokenhearted today. We need to ask God to draw near and bring them comfort and peace.  Many of those who are hurting and crushed today can know no real comfort today, not only because of their immense temporal loss, but because they do not know Him, who is “the God of all comfort.” (1 Corinthians 1:3)  Today families are grieving without hope.  We can ask the Lord to draw near to them.   We need to ask God to bring believers with the Gospel into their lives to speak grace, truth, love, and the hope of eternity into their hopeless and helpless hearts.

The Bible says in Lamentations 3:22-23, “Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  ‘The LORD is my portion’ says my soul, ‘Therefore, I hope in Him!’”  Today, we can ask the Almighty to reveal His unending, faithful mercy, and steadfast love to those who do not know Him so He can turn their grief into eternal joy or their hatred into everlasting love.

Maybe we need to confess that we, as believers, too often react to these situations as those who have no hope.

We need to be reminded that we have . . .

The hope of the Gospel,

The power it brings to change lives and hearts,


The promise of His coming to set things right!

2) Pray for Justice.

The Bible says in Psalm 9:7-9, “But the LORD shall endure forever; He has prepared His throne for judgment.  He shall just the world in righteousness, and He shall administer judgment for the people in uprightness.  The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You. LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

In place of a call for vengeance, we are glad that vengeance belongs to the Lord alone (Deuteronomy 32:35; Psalm 94:1-3; Romans 12:19; Hebrews 10:30; 2 Peter 2:3).

Today, we see hurt, injustice, and terror.  We want justice for those who have died and for their families who are grieving.  We want justice against the wicked who maim and kill.  We desire our courts to execute justice.  But, our judgment and justice is often so clouded by our fear, our pain, and our sin.  We need the Lord and Him alone to execute justice.

Our pray should include a desire that God brings light and love to the evil perpetrators.  Some ask how long the Lord will allow the wicked to trample upon and terrorize the people?  How long will they trample on His name and character?

We need to be reminded that God will not hold off His judgment forever.  His justice and vengeance is coming.  In the meantime, let us pray that God will raise up leaders in our nation who will have the courage to do what is right and necessary.  Let us also pray that God will protect us from the enemies’ plans and efforts and be our defender.  May the Lord lead us to trust that He is in control when all else is coming apart.  May He help us to seek justice, but not vengeance.   May we look to Him to be our stronghold today and every day.

In the midst of all the turmoil, tragedy, and legal injustice around us, let’s praise the Lord that if we are in Christ Jesus by grace through faith, we have not received justice for our sin.  Jesus took our just wrath against our sin.  We are living proof that God is just and that He deals fully and finally with the full weight of sin.

3) Pray for Mercy.

The Bible says in Matthew 5:44, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”

The world is in desperate need of God’s mercy today.

  • We fear when we should trust Him.
  • We despair when we should hope.
  • We despise our enemies when we should pray for them.

May God grant us the desire to pray for the ISIS terrorists and for those who hate God and His people.  God’s mercy made us His sons and daughters even when we were His enemies.  God’s mercy took spiritually dead sinners from death to life.  He can do the same for the most hard-hearted person.  God can work today to save the most wicked terrorist, suicide bomber, and murderer.

His great mercy turned Saul from one who terrorized Christians and was an ardent enemy of the cross and the followers of Christ into a missionary to His enemies and an ardent peace-maker for individual souls and society.

In the midst of all that you have heard and seen happen in the last several years, how much have your prayed that God would bring ISIS leaders and their followers to the light of His love and grace?  We know that one day their knees will bow before Him as Lord, either by those who have gladly accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord, or by those who have to painfully admit that they rejected Him as Savior and Lord which will result in eternal separation from Him.

  • Are our prayers being lifted up for them that God would make that day today?
  • Are we praying that God would help us to take the Gospel of grace and mercy to the terrorists?

May God’s love, compassion, and mercy so impress on the hearts of His people to pray for all people and to desire that no one face His just wrath for all eternity in hell.   May we pray that God will show His grace and mercy to the terrorist and others who are filled with hate and revenge in ways that we could never imagine.  God is able.  God has done it before.  May our desire be like David who prayed, “Will You not revive us again, that Your people may rejoice in You?  Show us Your mercy, LORD, and grant us Your salvation.” (Psalm 85:6-7)

As we pray for our nation today and what we see going on in it, as well as what is happening around the world, may these three prayers be utmost on our hearts.  They are the first and best things we can do for those who fear ISIS and those who have hate, revenge, and disregard for the preciousness of life.  May faith rule the day and not fear.

Our hearts are moved by what is happening in the world.

May we not be overwhelmed by these events


May we overcome with good through prayer.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Our Glorious Freedom In Christ, Part 5

Grace For The Journey


Throughout this week we have looked at our glorious freedom in Christ!  We have seen the challenge of this life, the consequences of not living this life, and the conquest that God has provided to allow us to live this life.  In today’s blog, we will conclude this topic by looking at how we cultivate this kind of life.

Our Cultivation: An Exhortation to Walk by the Spirit.

The Bible says in Galatians 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”

Since the emphasis is clearly on the fruit of the Spirit, the need is the cultivation of the spiritual walk.  In this verse Paul a marvelous condition and a magnificent contrast of this life of freedom.

Since regeneration is a work of the Spirit of God (something man cannot do)

So also is daily sanctification, resurrected, transformed living.

The word “walk” is stoicheo literally means “to be in rows (of waves, plants, and men), to walk in line and keep in step (especially of marching in file to battle).” We are to keep in step with the Spirit.  Step by step our walk is to conform to the Spirit’s control, enablement, and direction.

Our Challenge: Exhortations Against Non-Loving One Another Actions

The Bible says in Galatians 5:26, “Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.”

When actions like these exist in our lives, it is clear evidence that we are not walking by the Spirit.  Regardless of what we claim to know or believe, when we are acting like this, we are not serving by love and walking by the Spirit.

This then is the way to experience true freedoms in Christ

And express true love and service to one another.

By faith in the finished work of Christ, by our identification in Him, and by the ministry and power of the Spirit of God, God sets us free from the domination of sinful habits and lives of selfishness!

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Our Glorious Freedom In Christ, Part 4

Grace For The Journey


21March  We have been learning in this week’s blogs that the believer in Christ is a freed man!   We are looking at what that means from the teaching of Galatians chapter 5.  We continue in today’s blog to learn just what this freedom means?  How should that affect our lives?  I invite you to have your Bible open as we go through God’s Word. Yesterday we learned that freedom is the power to live so as to please and glorify God and that this power significantly impacts our relationships.  Today we will look at the conflict and conquest that freedom in Christ brings.

Our Conflict: The Struggle Between the Flesh and the Spirit

The Bible says in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”

In this verse . . .

The Apostle explains why we need to be walking by the Spirit –

To have a life controlled and energized by the Holy Spirit.

The explanation is found in the fact of the conflict going on between the Spirit and the flesh.  Though we are judicially dead to the sinful nature and its power and can experience the deliverance of our new life in Christ though our union with Him (Romans 6:1-14), the sinful nature is nevertheless not eradicated.

The acceptance of Christ into one’s heart will inevitably provoke a determined resistance on the part of the old sinful nature which previously has had everything its own way.

It is imperative for our spiritual growth that we grasp the fact that

The old nature is not removed or reformed at regeneration.

Failure to understand this important fact frequently plunges a new convert into needless bewilderment and even despair of his standing before God when, after a period of victory and fellowship with Jesus, he stumbles into the old sins and faults he thought had been dealt with through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our Conquest: Deliverance from the Law through the Spirit

The Bible says in Galatians 5:18, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”

Again, this does not mean Christians are without responsibilities and command to obey.  The Lord said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.”

The point is we have a new means of living.

Just as justification is not by the works of the Law,

So sanctification cannot be achieved by human effort.

The believer is not spiritual because he keeps a set of principles or imperatives.  He keeps the imperatives of Scripture because he is spiritual.

To be under the law is to be under its authority as a rule of life, and thus to try to keep it as a means of sanctification.

If the believer is to live the glorious life of freedom in Christ he must understand the difference between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit.

The Bible says in Galatians 5:19-23, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy murders, drunkenness, revelries , and the like; of which I tell you beforehand , just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law And those hwo are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

These verses show us several things . . .

(1) A Contrast of Source or Means—Flesh versus Spirit—one or the other is dominant.

(2) A Contrast of Results or Effects—Works (points to human resources) versus Fruit (points to inner life and the divine resources that are worked out in our lives as we grow in our walk with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

(3) A Contrast of Characteristics and Blessings.

The Works of the Flesh (19-21).  These fleshly characteristics are only a small illustration of the activities of the flesh.  These “works of the flesh” involve the heart, the mind, the emotions, and the physical part of man which has been affected by sin.  The works of the flesh demonstrate our nature to seek to satisfy and please ourselves and our earthly desires rather than know and please God.

The Fruit of the Spirit (22-23).  “Fruit” is singular which suggests that these nine qualities form a unity.  When one is missing the whole is spoiled.  They form picture of the drastic difference that a life of walking in the Spirit makes.  These “fruit” affect our relationship with God, others, and ourselves.  This type of life is a Spirit-produced, Spirit-controlled life that is satisfied with God, sacrificial in love toward others, and savoring the joys and effects of our faith-relationship with God.

Our Crucifixion: The Foundation for Transformed Living

The Bible says in Galatians 5:24, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

This does not refer to self-crucifixion or self-mortification –

That which man does in the energy of the flesh to overcome the flesh.

It refers to the truth of Romans 6:1-14 . . .

The truth of the believer’s co-identification with Christ

Through the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

This is the work of God which positionally and judicially unites us into Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection so that, while the flesh is still active, its power is broken with the result we can walk in newness of life.  The flesh is still alive to us, as the context makes perfectly clear, but we are dead to it and we can, through the Spirit, have victory over its desires.

We will look at how to cultivate this life of freedom in tomorrow’s blog.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Our Glorious Freedom In Christ, Part 3


Grace For The Journey


21March  We have been learning in this week’s blogs that the believer in Christ is a freed man!   We are looking at what that means from the teaching of Galatians chapter 5.  We continue in today’s blog to learn just what this freedom means?  How should that affect our lives?  I invite you to have your Bible open as we go through God’s Word.

Notice . . .

God’s Caution:  A Warning Against License

A philosophy of license always results in non-loving, selfish, exploitation that ignores the needs of one another and acts in ways that are harmful to the body of Christ and God’s purpose for the church. So to this end, the apostle wrote Galatians 5:13. “For you brethren have been called to liberty, only do not use liberty as an opportunity (a base of operation) for the flesh …”  And again, the Holy Spirit led him to write in verse 16, “I say then: walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”  And finally, in verse 24 the Bible says, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” 

Clearly we are to live for Christ and not for sin or self.

Our Commandment: Serve One Another By Love

God’s love always leads us away from living and focusing on self to lifting up and living for Jesus.  This kind of love and life fulfills the Law . . .

Galatians 5:13-15, “… But through love serve one another.  For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, even this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another.

Concerning verses 13 and 14, Warren Wiersbe writes:

“This verse gives the reason for the above (note the “For;” it is a particle of explanation). Freedom in Christ does not ignore the law, it fulfills its holy demands through that which is its essence, love for one’s neighbor.  If you love people (because you love Christ), you will not steal from them, lie about them, envy them, or try in any way to hurt them.”

Love, through the life of Christ and the fruit of the Holy Spirit, leads us to fulfill the Law!

Consequences to Avoid: Carnal Christian Cannibalism

The Bible says in Galatians 5:15, “But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.”

When we do not love and serve one another we invariably end up devouring one another.  This is the alternative.  It seems there is ultimately no neutrality – either we live for others or we live for self.

Our Confidence: God’s provision of the Spirit

The Bible says in Galatians 5:16, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

Herein lies the secret.

Not through the our goodness or our efforts (which is the demand of the law),

but through the personal ministry of the Holy Spirit

will victory over the flesh or the sinful nature be experienced.

The Command

The Bible says in Galatians 5:25, “If we live in (by means of) the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”  “Walk” is an imperative, a command.

Though not under the law, we are not without the responsibility of right choices.

As a command, it also implies the ability to do so.  In the Greek text, the tense is present continuous action pointing to the need to walk moment by moment, step by step in dependence upon the Spirit.  The phrase “By the Spirit” points to the Holy Spirit as the agent and means, and thus the strength by which we are to live our lives.

The Consequence

The Bible says in Galatians 5:16, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”  The phrase “Shall not” is a strong negative of denial meaning, “not at all!”  The word “fulfill” means “bring to an end, finish, bring to fruition,” or “perform, accomplish, carry out.” “The lusts of the flesh” refers to the problem we all face of the continued activity of the sinful nature, the propensity for sin that continues to exist even in the life of the saved. While we are never entirely free in this life from the evil desires that stem from our fallen human nature, we can experience victory over them through the Holy Spirit.

We will look further into this liberty that Christ brings in our tomorrows blog.

This is God Word … This is Grace for your Journey

… Rest And Rejoice In The Wonderful Truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”




Our Glorious Freedom In Christ, Part 2

Grace For The Journey


15Mar  We learned in yesterday’s blog that the believer in Christ is a freed man!  We began to talk about what that means from the teaching of Galatians chapter 5.  We continue in today’s blog to learn just what does that being free in Christ means?  How should that affect our lives?  I invite you to have your Bible open as we go through God’s Word.

It is important that we first understand . . .

 Man’s Viewpoint of Freedom

In the Book of Galatians, Paul is concerned about the wrong influence of man’s perspective about freedom.  To the world (those operating without the divine absolutes of Scripture) “freedom” means “the right to be who you please; the right to do as you please, how you please, when you please, and where you please.  It means doing your own thing, being your own boss, and looking after number one first.”  The Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary says it means “exemption from necessity in choice and action.”

From man’s perspective, freedom is . . .

The right to any choice so long as it is your own personal choice.

But the Bible teaches that such a definition or viewpoint is not freedom . . .

It is instead license and an excuse to throw off the moral restraints

of God in pursuit of selfish goals (Romans 1:18f; John 3:19-21).

This always results eventually in the exploitation of others, moral degeneracy, and lawlessness.  Sadly, this is becoming more and more evident in our “do your own thing” society.

This kind of freedom, or license as it really is, is also SLAVERY OR BONDAGE.

The Bible says in 2 Peter 2:17-19, “These are wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.  For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.  While they profess them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by who a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.”

 Our Call: God’s Viewpoint of Freedom

Negatively: What Freedom is Not.

Paul is concerned that we have God’s perspective, the viewpoint of Scripture regarding true freedom.  Christian freedom is never the freedom to sin or do as you please.

The Bible says in Galatians 5:13, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

The Galatians, like many today, tended to go in one of two extremes:

(1) Some were reverting to the Law as a means of spirituality or righteousness.

This only served to bring them back under bondage to both the power of the flesh and indwelling sin.  Thus, to these Paul wrote 5:2-12.

Such a position always nullifies the deliverance that is ours in Jesus Christ

because it places our faith in the wrong objects – self and the Law.

This is what it means to fall from grace: to fall from God’s grace provision against the flesh.  It doesn’t mean they had lost their salvation.  It means they had forfeited their deliverance through the power of Christ.  As someone has said, “Legalism will produce some satisfaction, but it will be a joyless satisfaction and a satisfaction stemming from generally neurotic, self-promoting motives to meet selfish needs.”

(2) Others, hearing about their freedom in Christ, thought they could now do as they     pleased.

But such a philosophy always results in non-loving, selfish exploitation that ignores the needs of others and acts in ways that are harmful to the body of Christ and God’s purpose for the church.

So, to these the Apostle wrote Galatians 5:13-14.  The word “serve” in the Greek is a present active imperative verb which means, “to perform the duties of a slave or servant.  The word “opportunity” originally meant “a starting point” or “a base of operations,” then “an opportunity, an occasion, incentive.”  .”  It is important for us to note that most of the One Another injunctions in one way or another demonstrate the heart of a servant.

Here is God is teaching us:

Our liberty in Christ and the abundant grace that is ours in Him

must never be used as an excuse to do as we please

and in the process hurt others or ignore our calling and

obligations to God and men (cf. Romans 5-6; Titus 2:11-14).

Freedom in Christ is not merely freedom from the presence and struggle with the flesh or indwelling sin.  Biblical freedom means the provision of the Spirit as God’s means of victory (5:16-17).  So our salvation and freedom in Christ is never to be considered as freedom from servanthood or from service and loving responsibilities to others (Romans 14-15).

Here lies a great Christian paradox.

It is interesting that Paul, having warned these Christians against becoming slaves again to the Law and the flesh, now urges them to become servants, slaves to one another (5:13) which includes, of course, being bond-slaves to God (1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 12:1).

This paradox is tremendously instructive:

  • Slavery to one another and to God is nothing at all like slavery to the flesh or to the Law.
  • Slavery to flesh and the Law result in death, misery, and frustration.  It causes us to be consumed, torn apart by one another.
  • Slavery to sin is involuntary and never neutral.  It is degenerative and destructive both to self and to others.
  • Slavery to the Law is voluntary.  It is man choosing to save himself.  As such it is foolish, burdensome, but also completely helpless to change our lives on the inside where it really counts.
  • On the other hand, slavery to God and one another always results in true freedom and maximum blessing.
  • Slavery to God and to one another is voluntary.
  • Slavery to God and to one another is a product of love and the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it becomes a source of glory to God, and joy, peace, and blessing to self and to others.

Positively: What True Freedom Is

Freedom is not the right to do as one pleases, but

the power and capacity both to will and to do as one ought.

True freedom is never freedom from responsibility, but responsibility not only for choice, but right choices.

Freedom is an inner contentment with

who we are in Christ and

with what we have in Christ.

It means the willingness and ability to allow God to be in control of your life.  It means single-mindedness which turns the control of one’s life over to Christ which in turn frees us to follow the Lord.  It means the liberty for self-responsibility to both God and man under the grace of God.

A train is a good illustration because it is only effective when it is on the tracks for which it was designed.  Tracks don’t inhibit a train, but enable it to run freely as long as it is running under the power of the steam or fuel of its engines.

But let’s understand, from God’s point of view . . .

that freedom is particularly concerned with human relationships

which flow from a right relationship with God through faith

in Jesus Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

This is a key point throughout the fifth chapter of Galatians.  Five times the apostle uses “one another” in relation to our freedom – once in verse 13, twice in verse 15, and twice in verse 26.  Central to each reference is the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

This is a vital and key point in our study.  No matter what mankind tries to do to improve the world or society, society eventually deteriorates.  Why?  Because man is enslaved to sin; man is primarily sinful and selfish.  Rather than truly desiring to serve others, he basically desires to serve himself, to meet his own felt needs and, as a result, he ends up exploiting others as Paul warns us in Galatians 5:15 and 26.

This is evident in our social programs.  The programs fail to work effectively because man is unable to work them effectively.  God knows that if we were going to be able to serve one another in love we need strength from a source other than ourselves and we would need to deal with the inner man honestly through confession and the power of the indwelling Spirit of God.

Mark 8:33-35 shows that true freedom flows out of total commitment to Jesus Christ.

In losing our lives in devotion to Him and His purposes, and in turning control of our lives over to Him, we find true freedom – the freedom to be what we were designed to be and thus experience true joy.

Using our freedom to indulge ourselves never satisfies the inner core longings of the heart.  Instead it destroys the soul’s capacity to relate to others, and leads either to the neglect of others or their exploitation.  Thus, we are to voluntarily, out of love, serve one another as bondslaves of the Lord.

Being a servant of Christ involves us in service to others because being in Christ we are part of His body and members of one another.

We will look further into this liberty that Christ bring in our next blog.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”


Our Glorious Freedom In Christ, Part 1

Grace For The Journey


14Mar.png   Today, I begin a five-part blog on the topic of “Our Glorious Freedom In Christ.”  We will look mainly in the Book of Galatians chapter 5; the chapter that details for us the life of freedom that the believer has in Christ.  I invite you to follow along in your Bible as we go through these biblical truths that will help us live a life of freedom, a life that will glorify and honor our great God!

We live in a society committed to self-love and to each one doing his own thing, pursuing his own happiness, comfort, and peace.  This commitment to self is destructive to society, to the family, and all other human relationships.  Such a perspective is the product of sins influence, Satan’s attempts to distort and destroy, and is directly opposed to the desire of God and the direction of the Bible for the life of the Christian.

The mandate on every follower of Christ is three-fold:

1)   Loving God supremely and loving our neighbor as ourselves . . .

Matthew 22:22:37-40, “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.’”

2)   The pursuit and promotion of the kingdom of God . . .

Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

3)   Not living for self, but denial of the self-life that we might be free to live for God and others . . .

Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and have Himself for me.”

Galatians 5 is one of the key passages in the Bible that deals with the Spirit-filled life or walking by power of the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer.  It is important to understand that Paul’s argument centers around the believer’s freedom.

Note the following that is gleaned from a study of the Book of Galatians:

(1) The Galatian believers had been prisoners of sin, in bondage to its control and death  (3:22), and the Law had not been able to liberate them.  The Law had been merely a       temporary custodian to guide and teach the children of Israel until Christ would come       and man could be freed from sin and justified by faith (3:24).

(2) Before Christ, man was like a small child, under the tutor or guardianship of the law   and no different from a slave; in bondage, under the legal practice of the law and         Judaism (cf. 4:1-3).

(3) But with the coming of Jesus Christ, they were set free, made adopted sons with the     Holy Spirit’s indwelling which was also a proof of Sonship (4:4-7).

(4) However, because of false and legalistic teachers, some were trying to go back to     the works of the Law as a means of salvation and sanctification.  They were becoming entangled again as slaves under the Law (4:8-11).

(5) Thus, note Paul’s declaration and injunction in 5:1-12. Here the Apostle deals with the believer’s freedom and warns us against entanglements with the law or any kind      of human works system by which one attempts to be justified from sin’s penalty or           sanctified and delivered from sin’s power.

The Christian is one who is justified, saved by faith through the person and work of Jesus Christ.  He is also one who is sanctified, transformed in his spiritual character, through his new position in Christ and by faith in the Spirit who indwells him or her (3:1-5; 4:19; 5:4-5, 16, 25).

The believer in Christ is a freed man!  What does that mean?  How should that affect our lives?  We will look at the answer to these questions in our next four blogs.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.