Revelation 7; The Seal of God

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.  And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed an hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.  Of the tribe of Juda [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Aser [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar [were] sealed twelve thousand.  Of the tribe of Zabulon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin [were] sealed twelve thousand.  After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;  And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and [about] the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, [be] unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.  Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.  Revelation 7:1-17

Before Christ returns, He seals His people with His character so they can stand when he appears. The tribes represent different characteristics. People will come from all walks of life and have their characters sealed with the character of Christ. These do not merely follow a church, they follow the Lamb wherever He goes. The lamb feeds them His righteousness so that they do not hunger and thirst for righteousness anymore. He leads them to the living water of life. He wipes away the tears from their eyes.

Many people get wrapped un in the number of the 144,000. Will it be a literal number or is it a symbolic number? I believe it has to be a symbolic number while others argue that if God is going to save 144,000 in the last days, after only saving 8 in the flood, that He sure has his work cut out for Him! I believe in the power of the cross and that a numberless multitude will be saved. Either way I believe, as we study Revelation, we should pay more attention to the character of the 144,000 and not so much the number.

Garments of Grace; In The Loom of Heaven

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

To download the SS lessons to your cell phone click here.

This week’s SS lesson brings out the wonderful balance of the gospel. I will never forget the night long ago now, that I was at the bedside of a dying saint. Her pastor told her over and over to rest in Jesus and His love. While she was dying she would smile a gentle smile when the pastor mentioned Jesus. As the pastor told her to rest in God’s grace, he never mentioned once all the wonderful works this lady did for the church and community. She died that night clinging to the cross alone. Yet she did do many wonderful things while alive, not to be saved, but because she was saved!

While we can never earn salvation by our goodness, we must not get the idea that the robe of righteousness which Jesus gives us to wear is a cloak to cover un-confessed sins. In Zechariah 3, Joshua has his filthy garments removed before the robe of Christ’s righteousness is put on him. While Joshua could do nothing to make himself clean, God could and did.

Thursday’s lesson deals with two extremes, cheap grace and legalism. I would like to share some comparisons I put together a few years ago to help us understand this important topic.

First, the Gospel Versus Legalism: 

Legalism: We make sacrifices to obtain God’s love. 

The Gospel:  God provided a sacrifice to obtain OUR love.   Romans 5:10-12:  “ For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” In pagan religions the sacrifice enables the god to love the humans, while in Christianity the cross enables the humans to love their God.

 

Legalism: We keep the commandments in order to be saved. 

The Gospel: We keep the commandments because we love Jesus.  John  14:15:  “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

 

Legalism: We want to get sin out of our lives because of the investigative judgment. 

The Gospel: We want to get sin out of our lives because sin crucifies Jesus.  Isaiah  53:4-6:  “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

 

Legalism: We want to give our heart to Jesus today because He is coming soon. 

The Gospel: We want to give our heart to Jesus today because He loves us. 1 John 4:19:  “We love him, because he first loved us.”

 

Legalism: Good behavior is motivated by a hope of reward or fear of punishment. 

The Gospel: Good behavior is motivated by our love for Jesus regardless of consequences.  2 Corinthians 5:14:  “For the love of Christ constraineth us.”

 

 

Legalism: God’s grace is a response to our faith. 

The Gospel: Our faith is a response to God’s grace. Ephesians 2 :8-9:  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

 

 

Legalism:   Me plus Christ. 

The Gospel:  NOT I, BUT CHRIST.   Galatians 2:20:  “ I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet NOT I, BUT CHRIST  liveth 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 gave himself for me.”

 

Legalism: Self- centered. Obedience according to my own standards, in my own power, for my own glory. 

The Gospel: God- centered. Obedience according to God’s standards, in His power for His glory. “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:11

 

 

Legalism: All about pride and rewards. 

The Gospel: All about love and humility.  

The Gospel Versus Cheap Grace

 

In Matthew 24:14 Jesus says “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Inspiration tells us that at the end of time every wind of doctrine will be blowing.  Even in the days of Jude, He tells us, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness…” Jude 4. So, how can we tell the Gospel of grace that Jesus and Jude talk about from the lasciviousness or “cheap grace” that has ”crept in unawares” ? Let’s take a look: 

 Grace: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people FROM their sins.” Matthew 1:21

 Cheap Grace: And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people IN their sins.

 

 

Grace: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2: 8-10

 Cheap Grace:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 

Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Cheap Grace leaves out verse 10.)

 

 

Grace: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” Titus 2: 11, 12 

Cheap Grace: For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, we can only deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, live soberly, righteously, and godly, NOT in this present world but after the Second Coming of Jesus.

 

Grace: “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name.” Romans 1:5 

Cheap Grace: By whom we have received grace and apostleship….

 

 

Grace: “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17

 Cheap Grace: The UNjust shall live by faith.   Note: The just are those who are obedient and right with God. Paul says they maintain their obedience and relationship with God by faith. That is how they stay just. If faith and grace covered those who continue to live in disobedience, then Paul would have to say the UNjust shall live by faith.

 

 

Grace: “Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.  And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” Zechariah 3:3-4   Note: In the genuine gospel the angel is instructed to take away the filthy garments before the clean garments are given. God’s grace is not a cloak for sin.

 Cheap Grace: Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.   And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, I will cover your filthy garments with white raiment.

 

 

Grace: “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” Hebrews 5:9

 Cheap Grace: And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all who just believe.

 

 

Grace: “[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1 

Cheap Grace: [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, even if they continue in the flesh.

Revelation 4-6; Worthy is the Lamb!

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Revelation 4-6.

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.  And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?  And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.  Revelation 5:1-4

In Bible times a seal was also a title or a deed. The title in question is the destiny of this earth. The people of earth had put their destiny in Satan’s hands and who could reverse it?

And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.  And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.  And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.  Revelation 5:6-10

Jesus is the Lamb who has taken our destiny out of the hands of Satan! Jesus, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, (Rev.13:8) controls your destiny now. Sure, we never become robots, and you can choose at any time to place your destiny back in the hands of Satan if you want, but Jesus, on the cross has totally undone all the damage caused in the Garden of Eden and has redeemed you!

Revelation chapters 6-8 cover the seven seals. The seventh seal is the second coming of Jesus. For more commentary on these chapters, may I suggest the book, Daniel and Revelation, by Uriah Smith?

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;  And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:  Revelation 6:14-16

I cannot imagine anything more heartbreaking or tragic, than for me to want to ask for rocks and stones to fall on me and hide me from the One who saved me! I want to run to Jesus when He comes and thank Him for dying for me! I do not want to run and hide from the One who gave everything to save me. Friend, Jesus died for you. He loves you! Please do not run and hide from Him!

Revelation 6 ends with the question, “For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:17 This question is answered in chapter 7 of Revelation. In Chapter 8 the seventh seal is completed, which is the second coming.

Revelation 3; Why Are We Lukewarm?

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.     Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  Revelation 3:14-21

This is the last of the seven churches, and represents the last church of the Christian era. In every letter to every church, Jesus asks them to overcome, but in His letter to His last day church, He asks them to overcome, “even as also I overcame.” He is asking His last day church to do something beyond what He has ever asked any church to do before. He is asking them to perfectly reflect His character to a world dying for the hope only He can bring. This can only be done by casting away our so called righteousness for His true righteousness. That is what makes us so lukewarm, we are trying to be like God while still trying to be filled with self. We buy God’s gold and white raiment, by trading in our pride and self-righteousness.

We see in this letter, that there is hope! While Jesus does not paint a pretty picture of our condition, He implies that through His grace He expects to see us overcome! I remember when working at UPS once as a part time supervisor, my full time supervisor was rebuking me for a mistake I made. He seemed to be a little rough on me, but he ended the conversation by saying, “When you become a full time supervisor you will understand what I am talking about.” So while my boss did not paint a pretty picture of my current situation, he also implied he expected me to perform better and get promoted! If we study this letter to Laodicea carefully, we can see all the things Jesus can do for  and through us once we put self away.

God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This command is a promise. The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning.  {Desire of Ages, p. 311}  

Revelation 3; What Does Jesus Say About You?

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. Revelation 3:5 

Your name rolling off the lips of Jesus before the throne of God! What an awesome thought! It is always pleasant to overhear someone giving us a compliment. The other day at work one of the executives told me that my boss had praised my work in a committee meeting. It made me feel really good about myself. It’s always nice to hear that we are well spoken of, yet I cannot think of anything more thrilling than to know that Jesus is ”bragging” about me to His Father! 

Fact is here on earth there will always be some people mentioning our names in a good light and then others mentioning our names in a bad light. Instead of worrying about what people are saying about us here on earth, our concern should be, what is Jesus saying about us before His Father, that is all that matters. 

Remember, while folks on earth discuss your reputation, The Son and father in heaven discuss your character, and it is not our reputation, but our character that we take to heaven. 

What will Jesus have to say about you today?

Revelation 2; No Fear

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Jesus gives seven churches in Asia some relevant instruction for their time and place, but it is also relevant to us as well. The churches also represent different time periods of the Christian era. Jesus loves His church and gives them special instructions to help them with the trials that they will be encountering. Read what He tells the church of Smyrna.

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast [some] of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.  Revelation 2:10

Usually when someone says, “Don’t be afraid,” we take it to mean that they are going to save us from death. While Jesus is telling His church not to fear, He is not promising them they won’t die. He is just telling them don’t be afraid to die, because I will still give you eternal life. As Christians there are things we should fear a lot more than death, like sin and compromising with the world. Christ promises to save us from evil, and one of the ways He may do that is to let us die and rest until He returns. Those who are asleep in Jesus are eternally beyond the annoyances of sin and evil! And yes, Jesus promises us a crown of life if we are faithful. Not just faithful as long as it does not cramp our style. Not just faithful as long as are lives are saved, but faithful until death. Is that not how faithful Jesus was to us?

 Jesus is not promises us a bed of roses. He is not saying we will never be cast into prison, or die. He is just saying, Hey don’t worry about it. I will still give you eternal life.

Revelation 1; In Jesus’ Hands

I am writing today from the Beautiful Tampa Bay area.

The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.  Revelation 1:20

How comforting it is to know that Jesus holds the gospel minister in His hands! And as far as Jesus is concerned, all who are united in His effort of saving the lost are ministers or priests. See verse 6. Angels in the Bible are messengers, either celestial or terrestrial. As Jesus dictates His letters to the seven churches we see that the angels John is writing to are those who minister in the churches. Isn’t it wonderful to know that if you are a sincere worker for Christ, that you are in His hand and not in the hands of the enemy?

  God’s ministers are symbolized by the seven stars, which He who is the first and the last has under His special care and protection. The sweet influences that are to be abundant in the church are bound up with these ministers of God, who are to represent the love of Christ. The stars of heaven are under God’s control. He fills them with light. He guides and directs their movements. If He did not, they would become fallen stars. So with His ministers. They are but instruments in His hands, and all the good they accomplish is done through His power. 

     It is to the honor of Christ that He makes His ministers a greater blessing to the church, through the working of the Holy Spirit, than are the stars to the world. The Saviour is to be their efficiency. If they will look to Him as He looked to His Father, they will do His works. As they make God their dependence, He will give them His brightness to reflect to the world.  {Gospel Workers, p 13- 14}

Jesus Wept; The Bible and Human Emotions, Lesson 13

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Sunday’s section of this week’s SS lesson asks the questions, “What kind of prayer life do you have? How much time do you spend in the Word of God? What are ways you can make your devotional time more meaningful and life-changing? However important that we spend time in prayer and reading the Word, time alone isn’t the only element. What other factors are needed?”

I do not pretend to be an authority on these topics, but I will attempt to answer these questions personally.

First question: What kind of prayer life do you have? I have learned that every breath can be a prayer. I have learned that just because I say “amen” the prayer does not need to end. I talk to God about everything. I ask Him to help me find eternal life while contemplating the themes of life, but when at the grocery store I ask Him to help me find the enchilada seasoning mix. I have learned to not only pray before reading the Bible, I also pray before reading any book. I pray for God to help me find anything that will make me a useful better person. I have also learned that when someone calls and asks you to pray for them, that they want you to pray with them right there on the phone-now. I have learned to pray in restaurant parking lots, Wal-Mart isles, and anywhere I am with people who are asking for prayer. Sure I will pray later, but these people want prayer now.

How much time do you spend in the Word of God? My job as a Bible Instructor requires I spend a lot of time in God’s Word, but that is not why I do it. I want to stay in a relationship with Christ. I haven’t always been a Bible Instructor. For a couple of years, in Fort Worth, Texas I worked at UPS from 3 to 8 AM every morning and then went straight to my day job from 8:30am to 5 or 6pm or later. My schedule tore me away from a lot of things, but I was determined it was not going to tear me away from God. I often hear people say they are too busy to study the Bible and pray, but my attitude was that if life was too hectic to spend time in God’s Word then life had just defeated its purpose! Everything else is meaningless without God so why let it take you away from God? I had my Bible with me all the time. I read it first thing in the morning at 2AM. I had it with me on breaks and lunch hours. I had the Bible on CD in my car. What I would have given to have had it on my cell phone back then like I do now! (Today you can get the Bible and Sabbath School lessons on your cell phone.) I want to share something very important right here. My parents raised us with having family worship every day. If we had guests, they were invited to join us, but we never skipped it. If we were visiting family or friends we had it in their home. I believe my sister and I are still in a relationship with Christ today because of this foundation. I think this is something we need to hear a lot more about. We go on and on about Christian education and good church schools which are great. However, I am convinced that Christian Education often takes credit for what was going on in the home. Fact is, many and I mean many kids who attend Christian schools leave God once they are out of school if they were ever with God at all. The kids who attend church school and stay with Christ were also having family worship like my family was. I do not mean to take away from Christian schools, but we need to give credit where credit is due, and I believe family worship needs to be preached in our church as a necessity even above placing your kids in Christian schools.

What are ways you can make your devotional time more meaningful and life-changing? I have always enjoyed having special places where I meet with God. In Fort Worth I loved going to the Japanese Gardens in the Botanical Gardens. Here I love going to the parks on the river or by the bay. It also becomes more meaningful and life changing when I share the relationship I have with God with others too. I love to write or blog or even just post statuses on Facebook  about what God is teaching me. If you are not as transparent as I am and a little more private, then try just writing in a journal for personal reference. Many Bible apps for your cell phone provide opportunities to make notes.  Even if you don’t want to share what you are learning with the whole world, share with somebody.

However important that we spend time in prayer and reading the Word, time alone isn’t the only element. What other factors are needed?” I remember a while back going door to door, asking people if they wanted Bible studies, and I met a lady who told me she reads four chapters a day. To me, that sounded a little legalistic. I don’t use a stopwatch when spending time with friends and I don’t use one while spending time with God either. Yes, there is a lot to spending time with God, but sometimes it is better to read a small passage and mediate to get the whole meaning, than it is to read several chapters and not comprehend any of it. Sometimes you can just let one phrase soak in. For example, in Genesis 12:3, God tells Abraham “in thee (his seed) shall all families of the earth be blessed.” Take some time and let that soak in. How has every single family in the world from Adam to today been blessed by the seed of Abraham? How have atheist families been blessed? How have families suffering from physical and sexual abuse been blessed? How were families who were born and died in slavery blessed by Abraham’s seed? You will be begin to sense the power of the cross as you let that short phrase really sink in instead of just quickly skimming over it on your quest to read several chapters.

Again another important element is sharing with others. This is where Sabbath School comes in. Small groups are fun and educational too. One on one Bible studies are helpful as well. If you would like to find out how you can become involved in a Sabbath school class, small study group, or one on one Bible studies, please contact me at LayPastor@TampaAdventist.net I would love to hear from you!

Jude; A Warning Against Thinking Grace Covers Immorality

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. Jude 1:4 NIV

There is nothing new under the sun. There have always been people trying to rob the cross of Christ of all its glory. Many people want to use God’s grace as a cloak for sin. But God’s grace is powerful and does way more than cover sin-it gets rid of sin! In Zechariah 3 we read of how Joshua has his filthy clothes of sin removed before the robe of righteousness is put on him. God does not cover sin-He removes it! God’s grace not only frees us from the penalty of sin but also frees us from the power of sin. Grace not only gives us a title to heaven, but it also fits us for heaven. Grace is more than just Jesus dying for me, but me also dying with Him!

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.  And so he condemned sin in the flesh,  in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:3-4 NIV

Notice the cross does not meet the requirement of the law for us but in us.

Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. Romans 1:5 NIV

Grace calls us to obedience.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.  But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,  in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV

Grace saves us from more than the penalty of sin, which is death. It saves us from a sinful lifestyle and gives us good works.

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age. Titus 2:11-12 NIV

Grace enables us to live Godly lives right now!

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—  to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.  Jude 1:24-25 NIV

3 John; Saving Body and Soul

 I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.  3 John 1:2 

Our work is to be practical. We are to remember that man has a body as well as a soul to save. Our work includes far more than standing before the people to preach to them. In our work we are to minister to the physical infirmities of those with whom we are brought in contact. We are to present the principles of health reform, impressing our hearers with the thought that they have a part to act in keeping themselves in health.  {Ev 260.4}

     The body must be kept in a healthy condition in order that the soul may be in health. The condition of the body affects the condition of the soul. He who would have physical and spiritual strength must educate his appetite in right lines. He must be careful not to burden the soul by overtaxing his physical or spiritual powers. Faithful adherence to right principles in eating, drinking, and dressing is a duty that God has laid upon human beings.  {Ev 261.1} 

     The Lord desires us to obey the laws of health and life. He holds each one responsible to care properly for his body, that it may be kept in health.–Letter 123, 1903.  {Ev 261.2}