Showing posts with label grace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grace. Show all posts

Saturday 5 November 2011

Faith Applied is Faith Invested

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Parable of the Talents 

“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 
1 Peter 1:7

Bottom line! Share Your Sandbox And All What's In It.

The Paradox of the Promises and Faith

Here’s a paradox.  What came first? Is it the chicken or the egg?  For the evolutionist, it is a continual debate.  Millions of dollars are spent to research the origin of mankind.  What a waste.  As for Christians, it is not a paradox.  We believe in a God who created the earth and the heavens, man and woman, therefore the chicken came first. 

Here’s a paradox for Christians.  What came first, faith or God’s promises? Is it God’s promises that cause us to believe, and to have faith, or is it faith first then God’s promises?

I, like most Christians, doubt God’s promises. I'm like a yo-yo. "Doubt, trust, doubt, trust... etc.  The Old Testament is full of examples of people refusing to trust God, to believe in Him, and therefore taking the matter into their own hands.  To believe and trust only according to our five senses is easy.  We refuse to obey, to trust, to believe and therefore to have faith. We are told to wait on the Lord is a blessing, (Isaiah 30:18).  Faith is the substance of the thing to hope for.  What are we to hope for?  We are to hope for (in) His promises.  According to this statement, promises came second. But is it?  

Inasmuch as the chicken came with the ability to produce eggs, faith came first which give us the ability to believe in the promises and to act upon them.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them," Ephesians 2:8-10 

 P.S. "Created in Christ  Jesus for good work,"  keep that in mind.  

Jesus’ Parable of the Talents can explain this paradox. 

Matthew 25:14-30

I will be using the New Century Version (NCV) for its simplicity to understand the content since the KJV required explanation in the interpretation. 

"The kingdom of heaven is like a man who was going to another place for a visit. Before he left, he called for his servants and told them to take care of his things while he was gone. He gave one servant five bags of gold, another servant two bags of gold, and a third servant one bag of gold, to each one as much as he could handle. Then he left. The servant who got five bags went quickly to invest the money and earned five more bags. In the same way, the servant, who had two bags invested them and earned two more bags. But the servant who got one bag went out and dug a hole in the ground and hid the master's money.
After a long time the master came home and asked the servants what they did with his money. The servant who was given five bags of gold brought five more bags to the master and said, 'Master, you trusted me to care for five bags of gold, so I used your five bags to earn five more.' The master answered, 'You did well. You are a good and loyal servant. Because you were loyal with small things, I will let you care for much greater things. Come and share my joy with me.' Then the servant who had been given two bags of gold came to the master and said, 'Master, you gave me two bags of gold to care for, so I used your two bags to earn two more.' The master answered, 'You did well. You are a good and loyal servant. Because you were loyal with small things, I will let you care for much greater things. Come and share my joy with me.'
Then the servant who had been given one bag of gold came to the master and said, 'Master, I knew that you were a hard man. You harvest things you did not plant. You gather crops where you did not sow any seed. So I was afraid and went and hid your money in the ground. Here is your bag of gold.' The master answered, 'You are a wicked and lazy servant! You say you knew that I harvest things I did not plant and that I gather crops where I did not sow any seed. So you should have put my gold in the bank. Then, when I came home, I would have received my gold back with interest.' So the master told his other servants, 'Take the bag of gold from that servant and give it to the servant who has ten bags of gold. Those who have much will get more, and they will have much more than they need. But those who do not have much will have everything taken away from them.' Then the master said, 'Throw that useless servant outside, into the darkness where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.'

The bags of gold are referred to as talents in the KJV which are referred to as a type of currency used at the time of Jesus among men. I have heard many interpretations of what talent would represent. I heard sermons where talent actually represents personal ability, literally talents received from God to share with others, such as the ability to play a musical instrument, to sing, or special qualities used in one’s career. Some refer to talents as sole savers. In this case, we are responsible for saving souls by preaching the gospel.   I also read comments about the talent representing God’s word. By investing time in studying and thereby increasing our knowledge of God’s word, we are rewarded.  I also heard that talents represent the gifts given by the Holy Spirit. 

 "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift," Ephesians 4:7

"And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers," Ephesians 4:11

What really derails these interpretations of talents is the consequences of not investing: perishing in eternal condemnation in hell, (Matthew 23:33, Mark 3:29, John 5:29).  It does not make sense to lose your soul, especially to those who received gifts from the Holy Spirit, since only those who believed and accepted Jesus receive the Holy Spirit.  It is clear that once saved we are always saved.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit,” Romans 8:1. 

Pastor Jack Kelly from ( explains this clearly:  
“If salvation is by grace thru faith Eph 2:8-8, and faith come from God, and if the one condition to believe in the death and resurrection, Jn 3:16, Rom 10:9 and the Holy Spirit is seal within us Eph 1:13-14 seal until the day of redemption and God Himself accept responsibility for our security 2 Cor 1:21-22 and if He is faithful to complete the good work that He began in us Phil 1:6 and that no one can snatch us from His Hand Jn 10:29, and that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord Rom 8:38-39, then how can one fall away?” Get the point? 
Who then can fall into eternal condemnation, “into the darkness where people will cry and grind their teeth with pain?”  The answer is found in (Mark 3:29):

“but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.”  

It is well understood that those who blaspheme against the Holy Spirit are those who refuse the teaching and the declaration that Jesus is Lord, Son of God.  The Sadducees and the Pharisees refused to accept Jesus as the Son of God after all the power demonstrated by the Holy Spirit manifested through Jesus to prove His deity.  They are condemned.  And those who believed are saved as Peter testified, (Matthew 16:16).  It is obvious that this useless servant in the Parable of the Talents was never saved.  So what does the talent represent?

Now open your eyes and see how great God’s grace is.

“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,”        1 Peter 1:6-7

The faithful servants in the Parable of the Talents represent those who accepted Jesus by faith.  They are the servants who received 5 bags of faith and 2 bags of faith.  Compare this to the unsaved who received one bag of faith.  All servants received according to the amount of faith they could manage. According to the scriptures, faith is measured and given in portions.  Here are some examples:
"For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith," Romans 12:3
"Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;" Romans 12:6
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, (Matthew 17:20), but have not love, I am nothing," 1 Corinthians 13:2
"If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?" Luke 12:28
"So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you," Luke 17:6

Faith: A choice to use it or not to use it.

Faith is a gift of God.  Surprise! Every living being, man and woman has a portion of Faith; (Ephesians 2:8), 

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” 

It required faith to accept the grace of God. It requires only one measure of faith to be saved by grace.  Each individual person ever exists and to come has received and will receive the testimony that Jesus is Lord, the Savior, the Son of God. 

Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,” Romans 4:16. 

“All the seed” meaning the saved and the not saved.  The seed of God, created in His image, (Genesis 1:27). Everybody is guaranteed to receive one bag of gold, talent- faith. It only takes one measure of faith to be saved.  The servant who refused to invest it or to use it was secular in his way of thinking.  He/she refused to use this one portion of faith given to accept Jesus as the redeemer and Lord.

Listen again to the bad servant excuse, the one who received one bag of talent: 
I knew that you were a hard man. You harvest things you did not plant. You gather crops where you did not sow any seed. So I was afraid and went and hide your money in the ground.” 

 You hear that complaint every day.  “God is unfair, and if there is a God why does He allow suffering?  How can He condemn those who never heard of the gospel?”  "God has no intention to save me." Secularist society does not understand God’s grace, therefore ignores the calling to redemption and does not use the one measure of faith given to them to be saved, (John 3:16).

Salvation is only the beginning. Faith Applied is Faith Invested

There are many in this world who received one bag of faith, yet hate God (Luke 19:14, 20 - 27).  God's grace and faith are given to all men/women with no exception. It is enough to make a choice: enough to invest in the bank in heaven and return faith back with interest, to be saved. (Matthew 6:20).  That choice to invest in the bank in heaven is to believe, to accept Jesus, and to trust in Him.  The interest received guaranteed not only salvation but also rewards.  The one who buried the bag of gold made the choice not to believe, and to reject Jesus.  Those who refuse to believe are condemned and are to be thrown into hell.   As the old saying goes, “Use it or lose it”.  

Faith is useless in hell,
therefore faith is taken away from them
and is given to those in heaven to enjoy for eternity.

The good servants, who have received five bags of faith and two bags of faith, are those who not only believed and accepted Jesus as their Saviour but also invested their portion of faith in any opportunities given to them according to their calling, (Ephesians 4:7, Titus 1:1, Hebrews 2:4, Hebrews 11:7, 2 Timothy 1:9).  They were not stagnating in being satisfied with salvation only but invested their faith all through their Christians life.  They are the ones who learned to trust in the Lord, to depend on Him for everything they endured with joy.   They are the ones who learned to walk with the Lord.  They followed the example of the Macedonians in Chapter 8 and verse 2 of the letter to the Corinthians.  They are the ones that invested abundantly in treasures in heaven, (Matthew 6:20).  Great rewards are awaiting them, (Matthew 10:42, Matthew 16:27, Luke 6:23, 1 Corinthians 9:18, Colossians 3:24).

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him,” Hebrews 11:6
“Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward,” 2 John 1:8 
 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work,” Revelation 22:12.  

Works by faith. "But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead," James 2:20? (1 Thessalonians 1:3, James 2:18).


We all have a measure of faith. Some have more than others according to their calling. Those with less have enough to make a decision to accept Jesus and receive salvation.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believe in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John 3:16.  

Those who receive more faith have the responsibility to help those who have less faith.  These are the ones called into His ministry for different important positions, (1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11, Romans 8:28, Romans 1:1, 1 Corinthians 1:2, 1 Corinthians 7:17). 

Here is an example in James 5:14, 
“if anyone among you sick, let him call for the elders of the church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up.” 

Jesus stated that if we had faith inasmuch of a mustard seed we could relocate a tree.  I have not seen nor heard of anyone doing so.  None have enough faith to move mountains or trees. What was Jesus' point?  The point is 'on our own, we can do nothing'.  It is all Jesus doing.  

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” Philippians 4:13
"If you ask anything in My name, I will do it,"  John 14:14
Inasmuch Jesus was counting on the Holy Spirit to do all things through Him while He was a man; we are to be the same “humble as a child”.  Get it?

God has given you, your own little sandbox.  That sandbox is your present condition and circumstance that you are experiencing now.  Saved or not, you are exactly where the Lord wants you to be.  You have received a measure of faith according to your calling.  All have been called, Jn 3:16. It is up to you to invest it and reap your reward.  Therefore, if saved, use faith. For those who refused salvation, you will lose what you have. “For many are called, but few are chosen,” (Matthew 22:14).

Saturday 16 July 2011

Repentance Is A Most

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It’s all about admitting who you really are…a sinner
And in need of a Saviour


“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief,” 1Ti 1:15.

I know who I am and where I’m coming from.  I am a sinner from the day I was born and will be until I die or until Jesus second coming, whatever comes first.  Being born again does not make me sinless; no, it makes me circumvent the death penalty in the ever-burning hell. That is what is called ‘receiving mercy’. It is an act of forgiveness on the part of Jesus. 

“But that you may know that the Son of Man has ‘ power’ on earth to forgive sins,” Matthew 9:6.

I, on my own power, can not do anything to take away the consequence of my sins…nothing. Furthermore, since the Lord commands me to be Holy as He is in (1 Peter 1:16), I can only sin least in my walk with God. I can’t and will never be sinless.  I continuously need God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness. 

“If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us”, 1 John 1:10. 

To be saved, all we needed to do was to believe in Jesus… 

“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent,” John 6:29.

 Yes, that is true, yet I was wrong not to teach repentance.  We need to repent. We need to recognize who we are.  Repent is the first step to obtaining salvation. 

“I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish,” Luke 13:3.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word repent as:
1.      to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one's life
2.    to feel regret or contrition
3.     to change one's mind

The definition of Merriam-Webster is quite adequate. The three definitions are part of the sequence a sinner goes through to receive salvation and live his Christian life. Repentance is a complete change of one's mind of our unbelief. It is not necessarily about our attitude toward our sinful nature and its damaged fellowship toward God.   We should not take sin lightly.  Repentance brings us to salvation, which is believing in our Lord Jesus's works.

The first statement that Jesus said at the beginning of His commission was

  “Repent[1], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” Matthew 3:2. 

 In this verse, Jesus admonished the Jews to start thinking differently, to change their minds.  The emphasis here was on the purpose: to realize that the kingdom of God among His people, Israel, was at hand.  What most Christians do not know is that because of the false teaching of the “Replacement Theology,” it is not understood that Jesus came first to proclaim His throne (Luke 1:31-33).  Daniel prophesied the date when  Jesus would proclaim His Kingship.  No one at the time knew that a Church was to be created as a consequence of the Jewish authorities' rejection of Jesus as the Son of God. As of this day, Israel is still God's chosen people. The Church and Israel have their purpose in the fulfillment of Bible prophecies.

To understand Bible Prophecies, I recommend these articles title:

What Jesus was saying when He made that statement, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” was ‘set your mind on the kingdom; set your mind on what you were told about the Messiah?’ He showed up to pay the price as a redeemer and to reign. The Jewish authorities are the ones who refuse to accept Jesus as the promised Redeemer and king, not the whole Jewish population.  Remember, there were about 3000 Jews later on who repented and accepted Jesus as the redeemer.  That was when the church came to be.

“Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call. And with many other words, he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them,” Matt 2:38-41.

In this circumstance, repenting means to change one's mind by understanding that Jesus is the one prophesied to take away our sin,  not about feeling regret or contrition. The 3000 Jews heard and understood Peter's message. Peter took the time to quote scriptures such as (Joel 2:28-32, Is 50:5, Ps 16:8-11, Ps 132:11, Ps 68:18, and Ps 110:1). Can you imagine the excitement arising from awareness of the free gift of eternal life from hearing these words?  That convicted the 3000 to repent and be baptized in the Spirit. Repentance was then extended to the gentile,

“When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life,” Acts 11:18.

When I look back on my life, I now realize the importance of repentance as a precursor to salvation. I fully realized the sinful nature I had and have today. Believing in God's grace is enough.  Yes, I am saved by faith alone by an act of grace by Our Lord Jesus. And this was only during the Church era.  Many who end up in hell will then believe that Jesus is Lord, the redeemer and the lamb that took away our sins. That will not save them.  They end up in hell because none repented; none believed that they needed salvation. None believed in the work that Jesus did so that they may attain the free gift of eternal life.  They all thought that they were good enough and that their good deeds would balance their bad deeds. Please read “Getting What I've Got Coming” by Joe McKeever.

“Even the demons believe—and tremble,” James 2:19. 

There is no hope for demons. Their destiny is to be in hell for eternity. They know it (Matthew 8:29).  They will be tormented forever in the bottomless pit. Satan and demons are not granted to receive eternal life even if they would repent.  Only humans are.

Yes, it is important to believe that Jesus is Christ. (Matthew 16:16) illustrate that believing - faith is the foundation of the Church. It is by grace and by faith that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9, John 6:28-29). Yet, repentance comes first. It is the realization that we need a saviour, separated from God and in need of Jesus to pay for our death penalty.

Jesus proclaimed the gospel by exhorting the Jews to repent, for His kingdom was at hand.  Today, it is the same gospel, but this time oriented to Jews and gentile; 

“testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” Acts 20:21.  

Please repent, for the rapture is imminent, for Jesus' return is near. If you die now before repentance, your destiny is the same as Satan and the demons, which is in an ever-burning hell where there is no hope, no forgiveness, only torment forever.

So this is the sequence to obtain everlasting life in Jesus: TRUST in the Word of God that clearly states that you are a sinner. Repent is to believe that Jesus is your Redeemer, the One who paid the penalty for your sins.  Ask forgiveness for your sins (Luke 18:13).  That will guarantee you eternal life.

Once we believe in Jesus, we learn to walk with Jesus.  When we stumble and sin, we ask for forgiveness. Not to gain salvation but to stay in good fellowship with God.  So, how do we repent? By admitting our sins and turning away from sins by overcoming them.  How do I overcome sin? Overcome sins with Jesus' help (Luke 10:19, John 16:33). Put your mind on doing good works not to gain salvation, for it is by God’s grace and faith ALONE that we are saved, but as a distraction and to prepare you to reign with Christ. Therefore, stop thinking about the temptation by keeping your mind busy. 

 “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”, Romans 12:21.  

 Study the Bible, sing songs, give thanks to God, and do whatever it takes to overcome sins. Jesus is there to help you overcome, not to condemn you.

Quoting Joe McKeever, “That's why, from the moment you first experience His mercy, your life will be characterized by one overwhelming sensation: Gratitude.” Please read  “Getting What I've Got Coming.”

Now, you are ready to learn to walk in righteousness and thanksgiving by resting in the Lord and seeking God's kingdom (Matthew 6:33). Watch for His return (Matthew 24:42, Luke 12:37, 1 Corinthians 16:13).
“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life,” Romans 6:22.

Recommended material to read is “Repentance”, by Ray Stedman.

Here is a quotation by Ray Stedman: 
“When God is dealing with people, He seeks to bring them to the place where they acknowledge what is wrong. This is what God wants to do with us. He finds us in our failure, our estrangement, our guilt, our sense of nakedness and loss, and immediately He moves to bring us to repentance. We misunderstand His moving. We think He is dragging us before some tribunal in order to chastise us or punish us, but He is not. He is simply trying to get us to face the facts as they are.”

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[1] From G3326 and G3539; to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction): - repent.