These are the outline notes for my Wednesday night Bible Study. through the book of Revelation. Please enjoy.
Verse 4: The author refers to himself as John. As we established last week, we are teaching from the perspective of the author is the Apostle John.
“Seven Churches in Asia” – Normally the NT refers to Asia as the Roman province that is known as Asia Minor or as it is known as modern day Turkey. It is not clear why Revelation is addressed to the seven churches, and more specifically these seven churches. There were other churches in Asia Minor other than the seven mentioned here and they are of equal importance.
One of the reasons it is believed that the letter was written to seven churches is because the number seven represents completeness. In Judaism seven has a specific significance because of the Sabbath.
“Grace to you and peace from him who is, who was, and who is to come.” Grace and peace come from a threefold source…. “who was, who is, and who is to come.” John paraphrases the divine name so as to remind his readers that God is eternally existent… He has no beginning or end. This reminder is written as it is appropriate at a time where the church was in the shadow of impending persecution. The future is uncertain, so they needed to have hope in the one who is sovereign over all humanity.
“Seven Spirits…” Some interpret this to represent the complete manifestation of the Holy Spirits being. Some see this as a reference to the seven archangels of Jewish Tradition. In Enoch 20:1 – 8 these angels are named Uriel, Raphael, Raguel, Michael, Saraqael, Gabriel, and Remiel. However, this is unlikely since it would be a strange intrusion of Jewish tradition into Christian thought. There is uncertainty as to what these seven angels represent conclusively but we can deduce that they are part of a heavenly entourage that has a special ministry in connection to Christ.
Verse 5: Grace and peace proceed from the eternal God, the seven Spirits, and from Jesus Christ who has the threefold title of …
1.“faithful witness” – Jesus bears witness to the truth. From God.
a.Witness – Gk “martys” – where we get the English word martyr, which means one who has suffered death as a result of allegiance to a cause. Through Jesus’s death he showed himself to be a faithful witness to the truth of God.
2.“firstborn of the dead” – Since Jesus, the faithful witness resulted in a martyr’s death, this resulted in him being the firstborn from the dead (resurrection)
3.“the ruler of the kings on earth” – Vindicated by the resurrection, he is thus acknowledged as supreme leader.
Once again, the threefold title was intended to encourage and sustain believers about to enter severe persecution. They are reminded of the death, resurrection and supreme victory of Jesus.
Verse 7: cf. Daniel 7:13 & Zech. 12:10. Jesus will be returning as the victorious Christ and when HE returns his sovereignty will be openly manifested “every eye will see him, even those who pierce him…” The wailing will not be the same as in Zech. Instead it will be a wailing as a result of impending judgment.
Verse 8: “Alpha and Omega…” This represents the Hebrew Aleph, and Tau, which is regarded not only as the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet, but also including all letters in between. Thus, God is the sovereign Lord of all human history. As the sovereign Lord he is the “the Almighty”.
Verse 9: The Apostle John writes this letter from the island of Patmos. It was a rocky island located in the Aegean Sea. It was an exile island where people were sent who banished for religious or political reasons. The Apostle John tells us he was sent there for preaching the Gospel.
Verse 10 - 11: John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day – Some have suggested “In the Spirit” meant that John was taken from the Island of Patmos and transferred to the throne room of Heaven (we see this in Chapter 4). Others suggest and probably more rightly that John was in a trance like state or he had a holy vision or revelation.
Early Christians recognized Sunday as the day Jesus rose from the dead thus the Lord’s Day was recognized as Sunday. Pagans would also set aside a day to honor the emperor, and in response Christians chose the first day of the week to honor Christ.[i]
John hears a loud thunderous voice telling him to write down what he is told and send it to the seven churches. According to D.A. Carson, “The cities were both postal and administrative centres. It has been reckoned that at the time of John’s writing this area had the greatest concentration of Christians in the world.”[ii]
Verse 12 – 16: John turns around to see the person who is speaking to him and I am certain he is not prepared for what he is about to see.
In the next few verses John gives the reader a vivid description of the risen and glorious savior. These verses are filled with symbolism and give us a glimpse of our Savior in his full glory in the heavenly places.
The number 7: The number seven is significant in this passage and in the Bible for that matter. In this passage there are seven lamp stands, churches, stars and angels. Seven is the number of completeness. This is something we should keep in our minds as we continue along.
□ Seven Lamp Stands represents the seven churches. This probably represents or is symbolic to the complete church. The Church universal (thus these letter are certainly applicable to the church today).
□ In the midst of the lamp stands is Jesus. This is very significant. It tells us the presence of Christ is in the ancient church and he is in the center of the today regardless of the state the church may be in.
□ Clothed in a long robe – This points to the priestly character of Jesus. He is our high priest who makes intercession for us.
□ White hair – Purity
□ Eyes of fire – Eyes that penetrate and burn to the heart and is the one who judges.
□ Feet of bronze – Strength and stability. Jesus is our fortress and our solid foundation who will not be moved.
□ Voice of rushing waters – The mighty and powerful voice of God.
□ The seven stars – The seven angels of the Churches.
□ The double-edged sword – The power of his word (Hebrews 4:12)
□ His shining face – The shekinah glory of God
Verse 17: John’s response was probably no different than yours or mine would be if we encountered Jesus in His full glory. He falls at Jesus’ feet as if dead. In fact his response is very similar to the reactions of Isaiah, Ezekiel and Daniel when they had visions of Jesus as well.
Verses 17b – 20: Jesus reassures John. “Do not be afraid”… These are words Jesus uses over and over again to comfort his people. We must note John was living in a time of persecution and persecution was going to get worse and Jesus tells him not to be afraid. He comforts John and restores his confidence so he can hear the words that he is about to speak. He assures him that he is the one who was at the beginning and has no end; he has conquered death. He lived, he died and he lives again. He holds the key to death and Hades which means he has the power over death and Hades and the Bible is clear that this power belongs to God and God alone.
John is then commanded to write down the things he has seen (the vision of Jesus), the things he is about to hear (the letters to the church) and the things that take place after this (the future and heavenly glories).
[i] The New International Commentary on the New Testament: Revelation (1977) Mounce, Robert: Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s Publishing. P. 76
[ii] New Bible commentary: 21st century edition. 1994 (D. A. Carson, R. T. France, J. A. Motyer & G. J. Wenham, Ed.) (4th ed.) (Re 1:9–20). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press.
In the years 600 to 589 BC the Babylonians began a campaign of deporting Jews from Judah, namely Jerusalem. It was in these early campaigns that the prophets Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezra, and many others were exiled to the ancient city of Babylon. In 587/6 under the leadership of King Nebuchadnezzar the Babylonians attacked and sieged the city of Jerusalem thus completely destroying the city and laying waste to Temple. Only the poorest were left behind to tend and watch over the land.
Fast forward a mere 50 years later to 539 BC when the Persians launched an attack on the ancient city of Babylon and easily took possession of the city. In the year 538 BC the Emperor Cyrus II “the Great” issued a decree stating that the Jewish exiles in Babylon could return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple (Ezra 1:2- 4). About 50,000 people returned with Zerubbabel the appointed governor. The people settled in and around the city of Jerusalem and began the restoration process. They ambitiously cleared the Temple mount and replaced the altar so they could start daily sacrifices repaired the walls around the city and a year later they had laid the temple foundation.
Hostility began to arise with neighboring tribes and King Cyrus “the Great” died in battle, this caused the work to stop in Jerusalem. When the work ceased, the people began to focus on their own private affairs and worshiping in the ruins of the rubble of the Temple became the norm. The desire to rebuild died out and 15 or so years passed. In 520 the prophet Haggai came onto the scene and he challenged the people to continue the work of rebuilding the Temple.
Today, we are beginning a new four-week series in the book of Haggai titled “When God Builds”. I have given the background information as a way to set the stage for this series. It is in this short account that we will look at how when we get on board with what God is doing, we will see great things happen for the glory of God and for His Kingdom.
The book of Haggai is considered a minor prophet book. Now the word minor does not entail that the book is less important, it simply means it is a short book. We do not know much about the prophet Haggai. We do not know who his father is, we just know him as “the prophet” as he is name in both in his own book and in the book of Ezra.
So, here we are around 520 BC… A large remnant of Israelites are living in and around Jerusalem and we can deduce (according to chapter one of Haggai) that the people’s spiritual priorities were not in the right place. They had become complacent and even selfish in their daily lives. They were fine worshiping God among the rubble of a destroyed temple. Their priorities were set on themselves and not God as they began rebuilding their own homes and focusing on their livelihood. It is safe to say that they had their priorities in the wrong place. They were not being rebellious, just complacent.
What makes this interesting is that the “remnant” (these are the 50,000 people who returned, not the whole nation of Israel) to whom Haggai is speaking is the group who originally had a special devotion to the Lord. They were allowed to return to Jerusalem so they could rebuild the Temple and begin the process of restoring Jerusalem to her former glory. When they returned they zealously began the rebuilding process and worked joyfully night and day. Now, we do not want to paint this remnant out to be bad people. Yes, their priorities were a bit mixed up. However, they needed to build homes to live in, create livelihood, schools, shops trade etc. These were necessary and valid pursuits. However, it was the Temple that brought them to Jerusalem and now they were neglecting it.
(Read Haggai 1:1 – 5)
Vs 1: We have already established the background of this book. The timeline puts us in the “second year of King Darius”, who was the successor to Cyrus “the Great”. It was in the sixth month of his second year (probably August) that the word of the Lord came to Haggai. His message was to the governor Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua (not the same Joshua in Exodus).
Vs. 3 – 5: Haggai speaks for the Lord by first rebuking the remnant, “Is it time for you yourselves to live in your paneled houses while this house (the Temple) lies in ruins?” God is speaking to the people and rebuking them because of how they have let their complacency replace their zeal. They once had the passion and desire to see the Temple restored to its future glory, but now their passion has turned to complacency. This is a sad state to be in. The LORD tells the people to “think carefully about your ways”. This is God’s way to put into perspective why they are facing what they are facing. In one-way God says, “You are frustrated because you are not in line with my will.”
(Read Haggai 1:6 – 9)
Vs. 6: The frustration – You plant and reap little. You eat and are never satisfied. You drink you remain thirsty. You clothe yourself but remain cold. You work hard and make no money. I think we all can understand how these people are feeling. Maybe you feel this way today. You do a lot, but you see little to no return.
Vs 7 – 8: The LORD tells them to once again, “consider their ways” and then tells them what they should do. Get your priorities straight and resume the work. Get the lumber and resume building. When they do this then they will be able to please God and enjoy the benefits of the land.
Vs 9: God tells them the reason for their frustration. The people never found satisfaction because they were not in line with Him. In fact, it was God who caused all the frustration. He was the one who ruined the harvest. He was the one who caused all the dissatisfaction. Why? He answers, “Because my house still lies in ruins, while each of you is busy with his own house.”
He says, “You were so consumed with you, that you forgot Me.” Their failure was that that they failed to put God first. Instead of having God first, they put affluence first. They became more concerned about self-preservation and less with doing what God had called them to do.
(Read 1:12 – 13)
Vs 12 – 13: These are key verses… They obeyed the LORD. In the initial rebuke the LORD reveals His disappointment with the remnant, and they could have responded in one of two ways.
Vs 14 – 15: “The LORD roused (Hebrew word is ʿuwr /oor which means “wake up”) the spirit.” This was a revival of sorts. The LORD roused the people to do the work. Notice this… The LORD roused… This is key. If you want to see the movement of God, it must be initiated by God. Once the LORD roused the spirit of the people, the work could begin. In this we see the mercy and grace of God. He could have very easily said, “I am done with these selfish, complacent and lazy people! I am going to destroy these people and start over!” Fortunately, God does not do this. Instead He rouses the people and they are renewed in Him to do the work.
So, what does this all mean for us today? We are not the remnant of Jerusalem and as far as we know we have not received a mandate to go and forsake our livelihood, homes, schools and businesses to rebuild a Temple. I am reminded of a very famous quote by Henry Blackaby in his book EXPERIENCING GOD where he writes, “Watch to see where God is working and join Him in his work.” God is at work in this world, this church and in your life. So, I think it is important for us to observe and to find out what the LORD is doing and get on board with Him. We are to do as the LORD says, through the prophet Haggai… consider this.
Take some time today and think about your relationship with God. Are you in a place of spiritual dullness, complacency or even rebellion? Then think on these things...
So, in conclusion let us think on these things. But let us not stop just at thinking. May we be proactive in identifying our complacency, frustration, efforts, convictions, and passion for God and allow Him to arouse our spirits so we may be about His work and in establishing His Kingdom here on earth.
Background of book
Prologue - Revelation 1:1 – 3
Vs. 1: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” – The Greek word for Revelation is “apocalypse” that means unveiling, more specifically unveiling of something that was once hidden. This means that this is a revelation mediated to John by Jesus as the Father revealed it to Him, rather than a revelation about Jesus himself.
“the things that must soon take place.” – History is not a random sequence of unrelated events, but a divinely orchestrated of events that must come to pass. Now, many have a issue with the word, “shortly” or “soon to take place”. According to theologian Robert Mounce, “One solution is to understand ‘shortly’ in the sense of suddenly, or without delay once the appointed time comes.” (Mounce p. 65). However, some also believe that John is speaking of the persecution of the church that did, in fact, take place shortly. And some hold to taking the word in a straightforward sense. This means that in the prophetic view of the word, the end is always impending or imminent.
Vs 3: “Blessed is the one who reads aloud…” A blessing is pronounced on those who read this letter. Not only to those who read it, but those who read it aloud. Reading scripture aloud publicly was a Jewish practice. At first, someone from the congregation was chosen to read and this person probably had proficiency in the art of reading. The ability to read well was not something that was a common trait. Actually, the position of Scripture reader became an official office in the early church.
“the words of this prophecy…” We also see John sees this work as prophetic literature that on par with the OT prophetic books thus possessing an authority which with required the obedient response of all believers.
“Blessed are those who hear and keep what is written in it…” Not only are those blessed who read it, but also to those who both hear (by faith) and keep (obedience) to all that is written in the letter.
As we enter this study, it is important to know and understand that the blessing continues to us today. We are blessed in reading the words of Revelation. We are also blessed when we take seriously and heed the words of Jesus. My hope and prayer for us during this time together is that we would not only gain a better understanding and knowledge of Revelation, but that we would also gain a better understanding of Jesus and His Kingdom that would forever change and transform us into the people that God has called us to be.
Do you believe that anyone is so far gone that he cannot receive saved? Thankfully, the answer is an emphatic NO! We serve a merciful and forgiving God whose grace extends a long way. I once asked a group of people how they felt when they heard conversion stories about bad individuals who had done some heinous things? I asked, “how does it make you feel when you hear about murderers, criminals, and even abusive people coming to faith in Jesus Christ?” Everyone responded in a positive manner. However, we know this is not always the case. Sometimes people can respond in judgment, bitterness, anger, self-righteousness, and fear. I believe it is true that regardless of what any of us have done in the past God’s grace, love, mercy and forgiveness is available to all who encounter Christ and respond to his call to become a follower of Jesus.
We are continuing our new series titled “We Believe” as we have been talking about the 8 core beliefs of our church as outlined in our statement of faith. I began the series as we talked about the scripture or Bible and its inerrancy, it is God breathed, and trustworthy. Then we looked at the Trinity and we noted the multiple passages to show that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are in fact one. Following that I talked about salvation where we looked at the reality of sin entering the world and humanity needing salvation. This salvation is found in Jesus Christ. Three weeks ago I talked about humanity and how we are all created in the image of God, thus we have value and purpose. Two weeks ago, Harry talked about Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. Last week, John talked about the Lord’s return.
Today, I will talk about one of the most beautiful doctrines of Christianity… grace. In preparation for this message I was praying about what passages to use to support this beautiful doctrine and I concluded that it would be best to show you what grace looks like from the Bible instead of giving you a bunch of scripture passages. We will spend some time in Acts 9:1 – 9 where we will witness God’s act of grace in the conversion account of the Apostle Paul.
TOO FAR GONE
Some of us here today may have been considered at one time “too far gone” to be saved. You may have been too far deep into your sins and maybe even some people could not believe that you would ever find you way out. I know there was a time in my life when this seemed true. I was considered “too far gone” by people who, ironically, came to be one of my best friends. I also became a follower of Jesus as the direct result of the diligent prayers and genuine concern for my salvation from another who is still to this day a great friend. Both eventually became friends, mentors, and role models. Thom and Drew are/were unique individuals. I am thankful God brought them into my life because they cared enough to invest in me as both a heathen and eventually a young believer. They were both able to see past who I was and would pray for me to become the person I am today.
Today I want to share a moment about Drew and his influence on my life. He currently lives in Washington State and he is the artist who draws the pictures for my Friday Devotion Days. Early in my life Drew and I were great friends. We used to hang out all the time. There was a point in both of our lives where we went in opposite directions socially (he became a Christian and I wanted nothing to do with Christianity) but we remained friends. He watched out for me during my rebellious years. I look back and I remember that I did many stupid (and irresponsible) things as a college student. I was living a life of rebellion. I lived a reckless and sin infested life. To say I was a rough individual would be an understatement. I lived in complete abandonment of rules and regulations. Fortunately, and thankfully Drew was there to watch out for me. He cared about me, he was concerned for my safety and most of all he wanted me to come to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. In an unusual sort of way Drew had a servant attitude to me as he would accompany me to parties and bars to make sure I stayed out of trouble. He would often share Jesus with me, and I would just pass him off as a Jesus freak. My other friend Thom, would often say to Drew, “Why do you waste your time on Jeff? He is never going to change.” Thankfully, Drew did not believe this nor did he give up on me. Eventually, even Thom came around and realized I was worth the investment. As a result of their Christian witness to me, their faithful prayers and the grace of God I am who I am today… A child of God.
I am thankful for the prayers and the time and life Drew and Thom invested in me, but I am most thankful for the grace of God. I am thankful for Ephesians 2:8, “For you are save by grace through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is God’s gift -” It is not just a gift… it is THE gift from God.
Nobody in this room today who is a born-again follower of Jesus can say, “I am a Christian because of who I am or something I did.” Not even one of us is so good, pure, moral, and holy that you deserve God’s grace and yet, not even one of us too far gone, sinful or lost to receive God’s grace. We all should rejoice and be thankful for the God’s extending grace.
SAUL TO PAUL (Sinner to Saint)
(Read Acts 9:1 - 9)
“Now Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and requested letters from him to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any men or women who belonged to the Way, he might bring them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he traveled and was nearing Damascus, a light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul said.
“I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting,” he replied. “But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the sound but seeing no one. Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing. So they took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. He was unable to see for three days and did not eat or drink.”
A few weeks ago, I introduced you to the Latin phrase Sola gratia… This means “Grace alone”. Grace is a beautiful word. But more so, God’s grace is a beautiful theological truth.
Grace – “God’s unmerited kindness shown to undeserving humanity.” Without grace we are all lost.
The Apostle Paul understands, appreciates, and loves the grace of God. This was not always the case though. He may not have understood grace until he has his encounter with Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road. Paul loved grace. He spoke about it often in his writing. He brought the message of grace through faith in Jesus to the Gentiles through his preaching and writing. However, Paul was not always a grace loving, Jesus preaching, messenger of hope that we know him to be today.
Before Paul’s Christ encounter, he was one of those individuals that many believed was “too far gone” to be saved. Before he became the Apostle Paul he was known as Saul. He was an aspiring Pharisee who was quickly making a name for himself. We are introduced to him in Acts 7. He was the young man (pharisee) who was looking on with approval and holding the cloaks of the elders and scribes they stoned the Apostle Stephen. Early in his career Saul launched a campaign against this Christian movement. He ravaged homes, threatened, murdered, and arrested men and women and had them put in prison. This was all done with the approval of Israel’s religious leadership of his time. This tyrant caused a great dispersion to occur among believers (which we now know was part of God’s plan) who fled for their lives and relocated to various Jewish and Gentile cities. Pastor and author Charles Swindoll writes, “He hated the name of Jesus, so much so, he became a self avowed, violent aggressor, persecuting and killing Christians in allegiance to the God of heaven.”[i]
Saul was born a Jew in the city of Tarsus. In his youth he went to Jerusalem to study under the teachings of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), who was perhaps one of the most notable of first century sages. Saul was totally committed to the Law as interpreted and understood by the Rabbis, and he became a member of the sect of Pharisees with high aspirations. To Saul, followers of Jesus were heretics and they were an abomination to the God he served. In response to this he joined in the persecution of the Christian church. He would stop at nothing to accomplish the goal of destroying Christianity. [ii]
Paul’s Christ Encounter
Verses 2 & 3: Saul approaches the high priest and asked for letters to the synagogue at Damascus to seek out and arrest anyone who was a follower of Jesus. He set out for his 150-mile journey (It would take him about a week). On the road to Damascus Saul comes face to face with the risen Jesus Christ and has a Christ encounter that changes his life radically. He would literally become a new person with a new outlook and purpose.
Verses 3 & 4: “Suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ He responded, ‘Who are you Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.’” At this very moment Jesus in his grace reached down and called the man who was persecuting his people to become one of the people he was persecuting. Isn’t grace amazing? In God’s never-ending grace he stops a murderer (Saul) dead (pardon the pun) in his tracks and calls him to become that which the murderer despises. Jesus tells him specifically to stop what he is doing and do what he is told to do. He was now going to become a messenger of Jesus Christ to both Jews and Gentiles about the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
This all happens with men who were traveling with Saul and they stood there speechless because they could hear what was going on but not see anything happening. This encounter was a time where God pours his grace on Saul and he is converted to Christ. His life will never ever be the same again.
In this short passage we witness an event that has reshaped the face of Christianity. A murderous tyrant comes face to face with the savior and has a salvation experience that completely rocked his world. Paul understood on this day that all he had devoted his life to destroying was in fact a movement of God. Up to this point Paul was completely dependent upon himself and his works for his righteousness. Yet he eventually realizes that all his law keeping, and rule following was all for naught. Paul says this in Philippians 3:4 – 11… “although I have reasons for confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he has grounds for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised the eighth day; of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; regarding the law, a Pharisee; regarding zeal, persecuting the church; regarding the righteousness that is in the law, blameless.
But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ. More than that, I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them as dung, so that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own from the law, but one that is through faith in Christ[a]—the righteousness from God based on faith. My goal is to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death, assuming that I will somehow reach the resurrection from among the dead.”
He acknowledges that his conversion and transformed life is all a result of God’s grace. He says if anyone could boast in the flesh of his works it would be him. However, he counted it all as loss in relation to the grace of God. He knows and acknowledges that it is only by God’s grace that he will receive eternal life. If Paul wrote nothing else other than these verses it would be enough to know that he understood the beauty of God’s grace.
GRACE! It is the gift from God, it is not something we deserve, He has given it to us regardless of who we are and what we have done. Our salvation does not depend on how good we are, how popular we are or how little we sin in life. It depends solely on the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and our response to His offer of the gift.
God has an abundance of grace and love for you. This was displayed through the cross of Jesus Christ. Even when all of you were entrenched in your sinful ways and in complete disregard for Jesus it did not take away the fact that He still gave His life for you. God’s love for you is never ending. Jesus did not die on the cross based upon what our response would be to Him, He did it so humanity could receive redemption, life, and eternal joy.
You and I have been saved by grace. We did not deserve to be saved; we deserve hell. God’s unmerited favor shown to you and I, He provided a way. It is THE gift from God.
Regardless of our past we all need to realize that our salvation is not based upon what we do (works) but based upon what Christ did for us (His grace). When we were called by God it was because He first loved us, not vice versa. Our response to Him is based upon our conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit, this leads to the realization that we are indeed sinful, decrepit, and in need of a savior. God calls all of us to receive His gift of grace.
No body in the room is so far gone that God cannot extend his grace to him. God’s grace has the power to transform. His grace turns sinners into saints. This is great news for all of us.
[i] Swindoll, Charles (2002). Paul: The Man of Grace and Grit, p.4. Nashville, TN Word Publishing.
[ii] Richards, Larry: Every Man in the Bible. Nashville: T. Nelson, 1999, S. 177
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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