There is confusion in Christianity today regarding grace due to popular mega-church and TV preachers who appear to be elevating and bestowing on grace some attributes contrary to what is in scripture and God intended. Some claim that due to grace, God is restricted from His own attributes,like omniscience. Attempting to create a God to their own liking, these teachers seem to teach a form of antinomianism or lawlessness. While it’s true we are not under the law,but grace,Jesus taught our actions are weighed and said, ”If you love me you will do what I say”. (Jn 14:15) Some of these teachers even negate many of Christ’s very words replacing them with Paul’s! The book of Jude calls an all-excusing grace an attack on the faith in Jude
“For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Jude 1:4
What does 2014 hold for us?
For a long time now at the end of each year, I go to the Lord and try to get a sense of priorities we will have to hold and address the next year. Here are some things I feel the Lord is speaking for 2014:
1) Faithfulness is going to be rewarded this year! While this began in 2013 for some it will increase through 2014. Many people who have slogged it out in battle & got a victory will be blessed or promoted. People who have hung in there, not given up & persisted in doing the right thing every day are being rewarded IN THIS life! (Luke 16:10-13) Little things are a big deal & what we do for the Lord day in, day out is a big deal. Our culture celebrates appearance and celebrity not substance. But our lifestyle consists of making good choices and doing the little things right. The big breakthroughs happen only because of the day to day plodding along that gets us to that point.
Grace is God’s wonderful, glorious gift to us and it should not be misconstrued nor perverted. In many, if not most, “seeker” churches there seems to be an excessive focus on the theme “Jesus did it all”. Most of us know that this refers to Christ’s death and suffering on the cross as the atonement for our sins. It is through this where we receive salvation by grace through faith. While this is true, it is not the whole or only truth. To imply the believer has no responsibility beyond a limp agreement with God’s plan misrepresents what a disciple of Jesus is. This leads to a portrayal of God as “the ONE who expects nothing of me since He loves me”. While all mankind loves a message of unconditional love and acceptance, it is an entrance ramp, not the entire highway or journey.
To tell only one side of a story or to intentionally omit other aspects leaves you with an incomplete view. This is a clear sign of either a disdain for the other gifts and ministries in the body of Christ or neglect of the rest of the story. Either way it leads to a message bordering on, if not outright, heresy. The very best way to identify a counterfeit it to know what actual grace looks like. A more complete, accurate representation of God and His Word emerges as we see this grace in the whole of scripture and the nature of God when He interacts with man.
Here is the continuation of some things I feel the Lord is speaking for 2014
4) This will be a year we must learn to walk in the peace of God. Peace is different than rest. Peace is an attribute of God and an atmosphere. It doesn’t mean being laid back or unhurried. It means we carry the knowing and assurance of who God is,that we are at peace with Him and everyone else. Peace is a cessation of hostilities, strife, vendettas, revenge and bitterness. To walk in the peace of God requires certain things:
The time will come when people will not endure sound teaching but, having itching ears, they will accumulate teachers to suit their own passions and turn away from truth and aside to myths. 2 Tim. 4: 3, 4
There is confusion in the church today as more churches jump on the uber-grace message. How we enter the Kingdom and then walk out our salvation, is being misconstrued. This ”grace” they teach isn’t found in scripture. It misrepresents the nature of God and, most tellingly, tends to produce immorality and unholy lifestyles in its followers. By these teachers focusing on only one aspect of God’s nature, He is misrepresented. Due to this,there is no fear of God. Romans 11:22 says, ”Consider the goodness and severity of God:” Although this kind of heresy is nothing new, it impedes advancement by sullying the message.
Jude 1:4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 2:18, 19 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 promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage.
This extra-biblical version is especially taught in “seeker” churches desiring to get people “saved”. It proliferates where discipleship and church discipline are not practiced. Spiritual disciplines like fasting and prayer are not emphasized. In favor of spectator worship and an event-centered Christianity, there is also a tendency to “look the other way” concerning lifestyles of leaders and congregations.
I delve into this subject in the article, “Lawlessness or grace”, but this comparison may also be helpful.
The irresponsible extrabiblical version…
The legitimate kind taught in the Bible…
I pray you had a joyful Thanksgiving and will have a wonderful Christmas!
2013 has been a year of transition for us so I wanted to send this update to some fellow pastors and friends. At the beginning of this year I felt urged by the Lord to fully devote myself to the mission: “To see the church reformed to authentic Biblical and supernatural Christianity”.Practically, that meant being freed up from dealing with the day-to-day operations of NorthGate Church, which I founded in 1988, to focus on this mission. My son, Ryan, became the lead pastor of NorthGate in March, as most of you know.
Pastor Marc Lawson
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