VIDEO One Coin, Two Sides – Rebuilding Relationship,

When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my home, and slaughter an animal and make ready; for these men will dine with me at noon.”  Genesis 43:16

Mercy is thought of as the withholding of punishment that is deserved, while grace is the giving of a blessing or benefit that is not deserved. Hebrews 4:16 uses them both: We come before God in prayer to “obtain mercy” (to be spared from deserved judgment) and “find grace to help in time of need” (receive undeserved help). They are the two sides of the same theological coin.

When Jacob’s sons went to Egypt, they received both grace and mercy from their brother, Joseph, who was unknown to them. He could have punished them for their sin against him, but he didn’t. Joseph was merciful. He also fed them and met their need of food for Jacob’s family—favors they didn’t deserve. Joseph was also gracious. God is both merciful and gracious to us in the same way.

We also have frequent opportunities to be both merciful and gracious toward others. Let us take every opportunity to be like God: merciful and gracious (Ephesians 4:32).

The habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal.  J. I. Packer


Life of Joseph 14 Rebuilding Relationship, Genesis 43:1-34

The Danger of Ignorant Zeal

Being a member of a healthy church isn’t an end in itself. It’s a wonderful blessing and privilege to sit under the faithful teaching of a shepherd who rightly handles God’s Word. But we must never allow that blessing from God to cultivate complacency in our relationship with Him. The nation of Israel serves as a sobering reminder of that danger.

Regarding Israel, Paul writes, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation” (Romans 10:1). This is vital to understand, because he’s not talking about rank pagans here. Israel had the Old Testament. They believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They believed in the God who created the world and everything in it, who gave His law to Moses, who was the Redeemer and Savior of Israel. Prior to the writing of the New Testament, they were the sole possessors of God’s written revelation. As God’s chosen people, they had more spiritual light shed on them than anyone else in history. To them belonged “the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises” (Romans 9:4). But it wasn’t enough. They were not saved.

Christ Himself continually pronounced judgment on apostate Israel. Even as He walked to the cross, while the professional mourning women were weeping over Him, He turned to them and said, “Stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children” (Luke 23:28). Jesus saw the whole nation of Israel as apostate. They had the Old Testament, but they had misrepresented its meaning and twisted its revelation into a system of salvation by works. As Paul explained, they had “a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge” (Romans 10:2). And religious zeal—no matter how vigorous and pious—is worthless if it’s not grounded in God’s truth.

Paul goes on to explain specifically why Israel’s knowledge was lacking. “For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3). In other words, Israel had underestimated God’s righteousness, and overestimated their ability to satisfy the righteous standard of His law. They completely misunderstood their own depravity and inability. Therefore, they failed to humble themselves like the publican in Luke 18:13, who pounded his breast in horror over his own wretchedness and said, “God be merciful to me, the sinner!”

Instead, the people of Israel were convinced of their own goodness and acceptability before God. They had a warped view of sin, a warped view of God’s righteousness, and a warped view of their ability to attain salvation by their own efforts. Worse still, they had a severe misunderstanding of the cross of Christ. As Paul wrote in Romans 10:4, they didn’t understand that “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness,” that the only way we will ever be righteous is through the One who satisfied the Law perfectly. Missing that pivotal point was a disaster for Israel’s theology. It distorted their understanding of sin, Christ, and salvation. They sought to manufacture their own righteousness instead of relying on Christ’s, which is available, as Paul says, “to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). Their faith was firmly focused on their own works, not the completed work of Christ. Despite all the revelation God had given them—despite the incarnation of the Son of God Himself—they were not saved.

Israel’s rejection of the Messiah was so wrenching to the heart of Paul that in Romans 9, he says, “For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Romans 9:3). He agonized personally over the apostasy of Israel.

But Paul’s thoughts don’t end in desperation. In Romans 10:13–14, he identifies the source of his hope: “‘Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?”

Imagine for a moment that the theory of natural theology is correct—gospel preaching and evangelism are entirely unnecessary to see souls saved. That renders more than two thousand years of missionary work utterly futile. It means the incalculable sums that God’s people have put into missions were a prodigious forfeiture, and that the lives sacrificed for the sake of the gospel were a pathetic waste. The same goes for all the martyrs throughout church history—if it’s true that people can get to heaven without knowing anything about Christ and with no exposure to the gospel, the martyrs were not heroes of our faith but fools who died worthless deaths for a nonexclusive gospel and in defense of meaningless biblical precision.

Make no mistake: the rise of postmodern Christianity and the supposed wideness in God’s mercy isn’t a harmless, potentially helpful theological perspective. It’s a direct assault on the gospel work of the church and an affront to the integrity of countless believers who suffered and died throughout its history.

Paul knew better. He understood that he did not labor in vain, but that the gospel he preached, and that countless others after him preached, is the only hope in the world for those caught in the grip of self-righteousness. Romans 10:13-14 is his rallying cry to get busy about the work of the gospel. His case is clear: You can’t be saved if you don’t believe the gospel, and you can’t believe the gospel if you haven’t heard it.

Paul is so energized by the work of the gospel that he bursts into enthusiastic praise for God’s faithful evangelists: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:15). He understood the farce of attempting to achieve your own salvation, and he was passionate about the only truth that could set sinners free.

In Romans 10:17, Paul continues, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” That word of Christ was best summed up by the Lord Himself in John 14:6: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

The world must hear the message of Jesus Christ, and we have the precious privilege of serving as His ambassadors and heralds. May we never be so content with our theology—never so satisfied with our salvation and sovereign grace—that we forget that our great God has not only saved us but has also called us to be the means by which He will save others. As long as He grants us breath, He has work for us to do. May we be faithful in the relentless proclamation of the glorious gospel of Christ, for His glory and the sake of His kingdom.

 

by John MacArthur

 

https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B180924

The Power of God’s Armor

Ephesians 6:10-20

Did you know that when you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, you became not only a believer but also a warrior? That’s why, at the end of his life, Paul said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).

The apostle knew that there are enemies opposing us all throughout our time on earth—and these include not just Satan, his emissaries, and the world system but even our own sinful flesh. However, Jesus has not left us defenseless. He has provided the armor of God for our protection.

The Word of God promises that we who believe in Jesus Christ will overcome the world (1 John 5:4-5). Yet most of us would have to admit we sometimes feel more defeated than victorious in certain areas of our life. However, the tools God has provided for us make it possible to withstand Satan’s temptations and break down any strongholds he has established in our minds.

When we are dressed in the Lord’s armor, we’re wrapped in truth, righteousness, peace, and salvation and are protected by the shield of faith. And Paul says that with this shield, we “will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph. 6:16). Those arrows are the devil’s lies, and they can be snuffed out with truth from God’s Word.

Our weapons are “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” and prayer (Eph. 6:17-18). Although our enemy knows our weaknesses and is always ready to attack, we have the power of God on our side.

Amazing Power of the Gospel

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16)

In this verse we are told that God’s power resides in the gospel—and indeed, that the purpose of this power is the salvation of both Jew and Greek. This passage is intended to incorporate spreading the gospel to all humanity, which is specifically commanded by the Lord Jesus: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Evidently, the event that takes place when one is twice-born is nothing less than a supernatural “creation” by the Creator Himself (Ephesians 4:24)! There is no need for salesmanship or psychology or finesse or technique; the dunamis (power) of the living God is transmitted, applied, and exercised as the gospel is spoken and a person listens.

  • Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
  • Romans 10:17: “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
  • John 6:63: “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
  • 1 Peter 1:23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

To be successful (not to mention obedient) to the Lord’s command, we must most surely use the “power” of God that has been made available to us in the Scriptures! HMM III

We Do Need A Revival!

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

—Luke 12:19-21

We need a revival! We need a revival of consecration to death, a revival of happy abandonment to the will of God that will laugh at sacrifice and count it a privilege to bear the cross through the heat and burden of the day. We are too much influenced by the world and too little controlled by the Spirit. We of the deeper life persuasion are not immune to the temptations of ease and we are in grave danger of becoming a generation of pleasure lovers.

Any who disagree with these conclusions are within their rights, and I would be the last to deny them the privilege. But in the name of a thousand struggling churches and disheartened pastors, may I not plead for a little more loyalty to the local church during this season of difficulty?

May God raise up a people who will consult their pleasures less and the great need more.   GTM159-160

Lord, make me today one of those “who will consult their pleasures less and the great need more.” Amen.

 

And above all these things put on love

And above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness.—Colossians 3:14 (R. V.).

 

Thou hatest hatred’s withering reign,

In souls that discord maketh dark

Dost Thou rekindle love’s bright spark,

And make them one again.

Paul Gerhardt.

 

We have cause to suspect our religion if it does not make us gentle, and forbearing, and forgiving; if the love of our Lord does not so flood our hearts as to cleanse them of all bitterness, and spite, and wrath. If a man is nursing anger, if he is letting his mind become a nest of foul passions, malice, and hatred, and evil wishing, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

Hugh Black.

 

Love me always, boy, whatever I do or leave undone. And—God help me—whatever you do or leave undone, I ‘ll love you. There shall never be a cloud between us for a day, no, sir, not for an hour. We’re imperfect enough, all of us, we needn’t be so bitter; and life is uncertain enough at its safest, we need not waste its opportunities.

Juliana Horatia Ewing.

 

Our Coming In and Going Out

“Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.” Deut. 28:6

The blessings of the law are not cancelled. Jesus confirmed the promise when He bore the penalty. If I keep the commands of my Lord, I may appropriate this promise without question.

This day I will come in to my house without fear of evil tidings, and I will come into my closet expecting to hear good news from my Lord. I will not be afraid to come in unto myself by self-examination, nor to come in to my affairs by a diligent inspection of my business. I have a good deal of work to do indoors, within my own soul; oh, for a blessing upon it all, the blessing of the Lord Jesus, who has promised to abide with me.

I must also go out. Timidity makes me wish that I could stay within doors, and never go into the sinful world again. But I must go out in my calling, and I must go out that I may be helpful to my brethren, and useful to the ungodly. I must be a defender of the faith and an assailant of evil. Oh, for a blessing upon my going out this day! Lord, let me go where Thou leadest, on Thy errands, under Thy command, and in the power of Thy Spirit.

Lord Jesus, turn in with me and be my guest; and then walk out with me, and cause my heart to burn while You speak with me by the way.