Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Lost and Found #3: The Lost Coin

Jesus continues with His stories about the joy of finding that which was lost.  First, in Luke 15:3-7  it was the shepherd finding the lost sheep. Now In Luke 15:8-10 it is the story of a woman finding her lost coin.  Of her ten silver coins she had lost one,  probably a Greek drachma, equivalent to a Roman denarius; about a day’s wages.  It was probably part of her dowry given by her husband.  The Bible says she lit a candle and swept the house, searching diligently until she finally found it.  She was so happy that she called her friends and neighbors together and they rejoiced together.   

WHAT BEST DESCRIBES HEAVEN? 

 Certainly Heaven could be described by holiness, righteousness, peace and rest.  But the word that may best describe heaven is JOY!  Jesus, in Matthew 25:21 invites His good and faithful servants to “enter into the joy of Thy Lord”  God’s joy is eternal and we will share that joy with Him eternally.   

That joy begins to a limited degree from the moment we pass from death unto life when we receives Christ as our Saviour.  Oh, how I remember the joy and peace in my heart the night, as a nine year old boy, I put my trust in Christ and He saved me! 

As Peter puts it in I Peter 1:8 “we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.”   

The Psalmist in Psalm 36:9 described God as a fountain of life. When we have God’s Spirit in our hearts through faith in Christ, life just starts bubbling up each day as fresh, pure water from a fountain.  

Jesus in John 4:14 described to the Samaritan woman this fountain of eternal life. “Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him  shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” 

Isn’t that amazing!  We don’t just get a  cup of water when we are saved,  we get a fountain of pure fresh water in us that constantly supplies us with all the refreshing water we need for life, even into everlasting life. We have it for eternity.  

Psalm 16:11 speaks of the path of life for God’s children. He reminds us that in God’s presence is fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore. 

You may have the pleasures of this world if you wish.  I choose the eternal pleasures of God any day to the fleeting pleasures of this world.   I enjoy those pleasures even now in this life,  for it is “in His presence” that we find eternal pleasures.  We don’t have to wait till we die and go to Heaven to enjoy His presence daily right now.  That’s the message of one of my favorite songs by Oswald Smith.    

“The Glory of His Presence”     

I have walked alone with Jesus in a fellowship divine,

Nevermore can earth allure me, I am His and He is mine.  

Chorus:

I have seen Him, I have known Him; for He deigns to walk with me;

And the glory of His presence will be mine eternally.

O the glory of His presence, O the beauty of His face.

I am His and His forever, He has won me by His grace.   

On the mountain I have seen Him, Christ my Comforter and Friend,

And the glory of that vision will be with me to the end.  

In my failure, sin and sorrow, broken heart and crushed and torn,

I have felt His presence near me, He has all my burdens borne.  

In the darkness, in the shadows, with the Saviour I have trod,

Sweet indeed have been the lessons, since I’ve walked alone with God.     

The Psalmist in Psalm 17:15 describes what it will be like for us when we are in His presence. “As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness. I shall be satisfied when I awake with Thy likeness.”   Romans 8:28-29 reminds us as Christians that Christ is in the process of daily conforming us to His image and He uses all sorts of good and seemingly bad things to bring that about.    

Jesus concludes the story of the joy of finding the  lost coin by likening it to the joy in Heaven over one sinner that repents.  Rather than deal with that topic here, I encourage you to go to my REPENTANCE link on this web site for a full treatment of that subject.   

One further thought before we conclude this study. I believe the coins could represent the woman (the Christian’s) spiritual gifts and talents.   God gives us those gifts for one reason only and that is to use them for His glory.  Those who fail to do so often find that they lose their talents and with it their joy.  Down in Babylonian Captivity, Judah sighed in Psalm 137  “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?  And then Judah along with every backslidden Christian agrees, ” If I forget Thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her skill. If I do not remember Thee (My God)  let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I prefer not (Thee) above my chief joy.”  But when she found her talents and used them for His glory, God restored the joy that only comes by serving Jesus.  What have you lost that needs to be found and given to your Lord and Saviour?

August 23, 2007 Posted by | LOST and FOUND | Comments Off on Lost and Found #3: The Lost Coin

Freedom # 20: Fallen From Grace

There are only two religions in the world,  Satan’s religion which comes under a variety of labels  and  God’s Gospel (His Good News)    

   

Satan’s religion is all about human achievement and our  attempts to merit God’s favor through our works of righteousness. That is legalism, the error false teachers were promoting among the Galatians churches.  Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians was written to counter that false doctrine with God’s Gospel of freedom through His grace. Requiring us to live a perfect life is certainly not Good News.  That’s bad news!

   

God’s true religion is all about His grace and what He has done for us as sinners. He loved us and sent His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus, to live among us and then die for us, paying the full penalty for our sins.  Jesus rose again and is in Heaven today. Those of us who trust Him are given the gift of eternal life. We are also given the gift of His Holy Spirit, who lives in us, enabling us to live pleasing to God.

   

God’s Law, though good, curses us for it demands absolute, perfect obedience.  Those who fail to keep it perfectly, (that’s the entire human race, including you and me) are cursed with death.   “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23  “The wages of sin is death.”  Romans 6:23

   

The Good News, the Gospel, is that Jesus delivers us from that curse, being made a curse for us.  Galatians 3:13.  Those who receive Christ by faith are saved and delivered from that curse of God’s broken Law.

   

In Galatians 5:1  Paul challenges us to stand free in the liberty we have through Christ.  Don’t go backward by putting yourself back under the curse of God’s Law.  You see, we are not only saved by grace, but we live the Christian life by His grace also. As Christians, we are never to put ourselves back under the bondage of the Law to where we try to keep our salvation through our own efforts.

    

WE ARE NOT TEACHING ANTINOMIANISM

    

Antinomianism is the false doctrine that says that once you are saved, you are free to ignore God’s Law and live anyway you wish. 

   

God’s Law is  holy, just and good according to Romans 7:12.  Verse 14 teaches that His Law is spiritual. That is, that it deals with heart issues, not just conduct issues.  There is nothing wrong with God’s Law.  In fact, the Psalmist says “It is perfect.” 

   

The only problem with God’s Law is me; not His Law.  I can’t keep it perfectly, even though I’m commanded to in Matthew 5:48. So how does God solve the problem?

       

GOD’S SOLUTION TO THIS DILEMMA

    

First, He took our punishment in His own body on the cross so that we are delivered from having to pay that penalty in hell. Galatians 3:13

   

Secondly, He gave us the gift of His Holy Spirit to  live within us, empowering us to live the Christian life.  That’s the message of Galatians 2:20  It is the Spirit of Christ who lives within the body of every Christian as is taught in Romans 8:9.

   

So you see, the new life you live is not by your feeble effort.  It is by His almighty power. Living this life is no longer a heavy burden and bondage.   It is a new life of freedom such as you have never experienced before.

   

Galatians 5:1 encourages us to stand in that liberty and refuse to ever put ourselves back under the bondage of self effort.

   

That freedom is also taught in Romans 8:1-4. and John 15, just two of many passages on the subject. 

   

There we learn that we are enabled to live the righteousness of God Law. That it is by His internal power, not by our effort to keep an external code of laws.

   

In John 15 Jesus likens this new life of freedom to being a grape branch in a vine bearing grapes. The branch makes no effort to produce grapes.  It just stays united to the vine (Christ)  and the life of that Vine flows through us producing His fruit.

   

It changes the Christian life from a struggle of self-achievement, to simply resting in Christ. Read  Isaiah 30:15, 21,   32:17-18, Matthew 11:28-30.

    

DO YOU INSIST ON TRYING TO SAVE YOURSELF BY YOUR OWN EFFORTS?

    

1. If so, Christ profits you nothing. Galatian 5:2  His death on the cross is worthless to you.

   

2. You are a debtor to keep the whole law perfectly yourself.  Galatians 5:3   Not only that, but if you take one misstep and break even one point of the Law,  you are guilty of breaking the whole law and are cursed.   James 2:10  Galatians 3:13

   

3. You are fallen from grace.  Galatians 5:4  That is, Christ death on the cross for you is meaningless for you.

   

4. You are excluded from righteousness.  Galatians 5:5-6  You and I have no righteousness apart from Christ.

    

WHERE THEN DO WORKS COME IN?

    

Though our works do not save us nor keep us saved, good works are certainly a fruit of salvation.   That is clearly taught by James.  Paul also teaches the place of works in Ephesians 2:8-10.  Though they do not save us, we are saved to live a life of good works, empowered by the Holy Spirit just as we are saved to bear the fruit of the Spirit as taught in Galatians 5:22-25.

   

GOD’S INVITATION

    If you have never known God’s grace or if through faith in your self-effort you have fallen from grace, turn to Christ now and cast yourself on His mercy and grace and He will receive you.  Listen to the Prophet Isaiah plead with you in Isaiah 55:6-7  “Seek ye the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon Him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.”    

August 23, 2007 Posted by | Freedom | Comments Off on Freedom # 20: Fallen From Grace