12/19/10

Resisting God's Grace

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers [did], so [do] ye.

1 Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

Some time ago, Bettie and I watched the first "Spiderman" movie. It was good, except for one scene.

The movie made a point that I believe was also in the "Incredibles" movie. It was, WITH GREAT POWER AND ABILITIES COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY.

As Christians, God has given us "great power" by his grace, and with that "Great Power", grace, comes GREAT RESPONSIBILITY. God's grace is not given so we can sit at home and enjoy life. It is given that we might be able to expand His Kingdom in our areas of influence.

The doctrine of God giving to each individual unique gifts, skills, talents and abilities for specific jobs is one of the clearest in the word of God. (1 Cor 12:6, 11, 12; 2 Cor 10:13; Rom 12:6, Eph 4:7, &c.)

He gives to individuals according to His own will and good pleasure, and the individual is/will be held accountable for how he used his unique gift in God's Kingdom work. (Mat 6:33, 1 Cor 4:2, 7, 2 Cor 5:10, 11.)

Romans 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

How do we resist God's grace?

Grace can be defined as God working in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Phil 2:13.)

In other words, when God shows an area of need, he also gives us the ability and power to do something in that area he has shown us.

Example: With a God-given ability to study, see problems, write and present solutions to social ills, comes the responsibility to use these abilities for God.

The problem is, though, that we want the gifts and abilities given by the Spirit of God, BUT WE DO NOT WANT THE RESPONSIBILITIES that go with what has been revealed.

Responsibilities require work, sacrifice, standing alone against evil public policy, and against sin in every area. Fulfilling our Christian duty will make enemies. (Eph 6:12)

I must admit that those of us who see what is going on in society and who try to sound the alarm are called and dismissed as alarmists, among other things. (See Ezekiel chapters 3 & 33.) Many times I have wished I did not see what is going on, and just go on as though things are continuing as they have been for years.

Example. Anyone who is willing to face facts rather than words must see that both men of the major parties are evil, so to vote for either is voting for evil.

As we saw in this last election, both sides are normally so alike that they must reduce the rhetoric to personal attacks.

We love abilities without responsibilities. We want to see the truth about the issues of the day, and maybe even talk about them, but to take a Scriptural stand publically is a different story.

There are two points, of which I will only pursue one at this time.

First, the ability to see the evils and wickedness around us, yet we do nothing to correct those evils.

Second, our unique and personal gifts and abilities are from God, yet we do not accept the responsibility that goes with them.

However, accepting the God-given abilities without accepting the accompanying responsibilities, is an insult to the grace of God. If God allows us to see the sin problems around us, he will give us the opportunity and power, grace, to confront that evil.

We are responsible before God regardless of what kind of response we get from others.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite (or insult) unto the Spirit of grace?

Acts 7:51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers [did], so [do] ye.

We resist the grace of God when we resist the responsibilities attached to His given abilities.

Matthew 25:14-30

The unprofitable servant refused to accept the responsibility that went with his talent, i.e. he had an ability from God, yet refused to accept the responsibility attached to his ability.

I know many godly individuals (pastors & laymen) who, by God's grace (Ph 2:13), see society's problems and difficulties. They may even gather together and talk about the problems and even offer good Biblical solutions, yet they do nothing but talk and then have lunch.

The grace of God has given them an ability to see the problem. God's grace provides the "thinking" ability to formulate proper solutions, yet they do nothing.

When individuals do nothing, they mock of the grace of God

God opened their eyes, and they resist what he has shown by doing nothing. They have done despite (insult) unto the Spirit of grace. The Master has NOTHING good to say about them because they resist the Spirit's enlightening work in their heart by refusing to take proper action. He calls them unprofitable servants, good for nothing but His wrath, v. 30.

We can understand peoples' refusal to accept responsibility that comes with grasping and understanding the issues at hand.

Responsibility involves work, sacrifice and many other things despised by the fallen nature. It even involves separation from family and loved ones. Mat 10:34-38.

Certainly, there is great fear of what men can do:

Ps 118:6, The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

Pr 29:25 The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

The man who does not do what God opens the door to do for the welfare of his family, is worse than an infidel:

1 Tim 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

 

Also, Mat 10:28; Mat 6:24

Solomon, after examining absolutely every area of life, summed up man's total duty:

Ecc 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this [is] the whole [duty] of man.

Why Christians refuse responsibility

Fear & covetousness.

Hebrews 13:5 [Let your] conversation (behavior) [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Christians fear what man can do to them. They fear what the cost of getting involved. So they refuse to accept the responsibility that comes with their ability because of their covetousness.

The unprofitable servant in Matthew 25 was covetous – fearful of what he would lose, v. 25.

Queen Esther

God enabled Queen Esther to see past the wicked deceit of the evil man, Haman. Queen Esther feared man, and fearfully rejected to do what she could. Mordecai confronted her with her fear, and in doing so, forced her to make a choice between her fear of man and her fear of God (although the word "God" is not used in Esther, it is implied throughout). Esther then made the choice that every Christian is required to make: If I perish, I perish. She gave up her covetousness (fear for her life), made the proper choice, and God exalted His people. (Est 4:16.)

Thus, if one can see past the "smoke and mirrors" evil men use to hide their actions from public scrutiny, it is because of Divine grace and Divine Providence. The purpose of God enabling one to rightly evaluate situations is not to impress others; rather, it is to respond with responsibility – responsibility to take Godly action. With the ability to see comes the responsibility to do.

Covetousness

First, the covetousness which causes Christians (pastors & laymen) to refuse to stand and act against evil has consequences. Covetousness prevents God's people from doing what they know they should do from God's word:

Ezekiel 33:31 And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee [as] my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, [but] their heart goeth after their covetousness.

Second, covetousness causes one to seek safety and deliverance through compromise:

Jer 51:13 O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, [and] the measure of thy covetousness.

Hab 2:9 Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, that he may be delivered from the power of evil!

Third, covetousness brings the wrath of God:

Isa 57:17 For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.

Note that because everyone is given to covetousness, and refuses to stand publicly for righteousness, evil reigns:

Jer 6:13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one [is] given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.

Fourth, covetousness causes God to strip one of everything—the covetous one was afraid to stand for fear of loss; now he loses everything:

Jer 8:10 Therefore will I give their wives unto others, [and] their fields to them that shall inherit [them]: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely.

Fifth, the Lord Jesus Himself warned of the evils of covetousness which causes compromise:

Luke 12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

Sixth, covetousness is many times cloaked in righteousness, making it difficult to recognize:

1 Thess 2:5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God [is] witness;

2 Peter 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

Seventh, the Christian's command is to flee from covetousness because it is idolatry; it sets something before obedience to the word of God:

Eph 5:3 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

Col 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:

Eithth, when covetousness is conquered by God's grace, there is assurance of God's presence in the stand against society's evils:

Heb 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Ninth, an answer to covetousness is confession prayer:

Ps 119:36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

Tenth, and finally, blessings of a life free of covetousness is promised:

Pro 28:16 The prince that wanteth understanding [is] also a great oppressor: [but] he that hateth covetousness shall prolong [his] days.

Covetousness has killed Christian American's freedom and liberty. Oppressive persecution against Godly Christianity is here and will continue to increase because of Christians who will not accept the responsibilities that come with seeing problems around them, and do what they can to influence those areas for righteousness.

God, in his grace, has given us individual unique abilities. With those abilities comes the responsibility to use them for the advancement of his kingdom work.

[Message Master Page]