Posts Tagged ‘grace’

Ephesians 6:23-24  This week Pastor Ron continues his series in Ephesians by digging into the closing words of Paul in this book.  We learn what Paul wanted the most for the people of Ephesus.

Notes:

A.  What Paul wants most for the people he loves…    

1.  Peace

2.  Love

3.  Faith

4.  Grace

Please click on the link below to listen to this sermon.

Paul’s Closing Words

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Pastor Ron Lewis:  Faith Bible Church, Warren, Pa.


ephesians-6_10

 

Ephesians 6:10-20  Today Pastor Ron begins a new series, “Spiritual Warfare.”  We need to understand this teaching as it is crucial to living the victorious Christian life.  In this introduction we go back to the beginning of the Book of Ephesians and hit the highlights.  We find out what it really means to be a Christian.  We view our spiritually dead condition and learn about the doctrine of salvation.  We see the church with Jews and Gentiles being one new man.  Then, we learned about Spirit-filled husband and wives, and Spirit-filled children and parents. Then we looked at Spirit-filled slaves (employees) and masters (employers).  We saw the world, and the flesh, but now in chapter 6 we will learn about another enemy, namely, the Devil.  We are in a spiritual battle.  As we go through this series we will find out how to win this war.  Stay tuned!

Click on the link below to listen to this sermon.

Spiritual Warfare Intro

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Almost every week I get a shiny colorful flier in the mail. I scratch off the gold circles to see if I am a winner.  I’m always a winner, and so is everyone else. The catch is that you have to go to the car dealer’s showroom and show them your winning card and number.  Most likely it will NOT match theirs.  One time I did this and I won a $5.00 gift certificate to Wal-mart.  I accepted it but the salesman pressured me so much to buy a car that it really wasn’t worth it.

There is also a real key attached to the flier.  If the key will start the car they are giving away then you win the car.  Well, that never seems to work.  I’ve never heard of anyone who has won one of these free cars.  Have you?  I suppose they do have to give one away but your chances of winning are astronomical.

Heavens Gate Pictures, Images and Photos

One of these days each and every one of us will stand before the gates of heaven.  Will we be able to enter in?  Yes, but only if we have the correct key. That key will not come in the mail on a colorful flier.  I find there are many “keys” to heaven.  So, where can we find the authentic key to heaven’s gate?

Imagine arriving at the gate of heaven and the gate-keeper says,”Do you have your key?”

“Yes,” you say.

“Go ahead and let yourself in!”  You slip the key into the lock and it doesn’t work, just like at the car place.  What then?

You say to the gate-keeper, “Please sir, let me in.  You can open the gate for me. You are on the inside!”

He answers, “Why should I let you in?”  “You have the wrong key!”

“But, Sir,” you plead, “I’ve been a good person.  If you get out the scales of justice and put all my good deeds on one side and all my bad deeds on the other, you will see that the good outweigh the bad. I’m really not a bad person.  I’ve worked hard to be good and decent.  I’ve gone to church most of my life and supported it with my money. I’ve been baptized, and I’ve given to the poor and needy, so please let me in.”

The gate-keeper replied, “You think being a good person is the key to heaven?  I’m sorry, but you are wrong!  The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 (NASB)For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  (9) not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

“You cannot come in!”  He turned, “Next!”

Do you know that approximately 250,000 people die each and every day in the world.(source: www.wiki.answers.com)

Just imagine what the line outside of heaven’s gate must look like.  In order to filter through all those people the gate-keeper might make this announcement.

“All those who belong to any of the religions of the world, other than Christianity, please follow the path over there marked “to hell,”‘  That would clear out the line pretty fast wouldn’t it?  He continues, “All other religions including Mormonism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism ,(source: www.evangelical.us) plus Catholics depend on works to save them from hell.  So does Christian Science, Spiritualism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Eastern Mysticism, plus many other religions throughout the world. But, works are not the key to heaven! Now depart from me!”

I’m curious as to how many people would be left in the line to heaven’s gate? You will notice what Jesus said in Matthew, that wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who enter it.  Then he said the gate is small and the way narrow that leads to life and few find it.  So, maybe that large number of people has been cut down to just a small number. How sad!

Matthew 7:13-14 NASB says “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. (14) “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

So, what is the key to heaven’s gate? Simply put it is the gospel message.

I Cornithians 15:3-4 says:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

There is no other key to heaven.  It is only through Jesus Christ that we can be saved.  He says he is the way. The only way. He is the truth.  His Word is true. He is the life. Eternal life is found in none other than Jesus Christ

John 14:6 NASB
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Acts 4:12 NASB
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Romans 10:9-10 NASB  that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;  (10)  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.

Do you have the key that will open heaven’s gate? I sure hope so!

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Dear Heavenly Father,  I come before you a poor soul who has been graciously saved by grace.  Lord, I don’t know why you chose me, but I am forever grateful that you did.  I certainly didn’t deserve anything at all.
You are a holy God and you are full of mercy and grace.  Lord, I lift up to you all of those who read this prayer and ask that you open up their eyes of understanding to know that they are sinners because of their heritage in Adam and Eve.  When they sinned in the garden, sin entered into the world and has been passed down from generation to generation. 
Help the reader take a good look at themselves and be honest.  Help them see that they  are not capable of saving themselves but need a Savior.  God, you sent your Son Jesus Christ to this earth in the form of man so we can identify with Him. Your precious Son took on all the sins of mankind when He went to the cross and died.  He took on mine and He took on the sins of those who read this prayer. Oh, Lord, thank you that you made a way for us to be right before a holy God.
Jesus beat death when He rose from the grave three days after he was buried.  He is ALIVE, in Heaven right now at your side.  This shows us that we too can have the promise of a new life after death. 
I pray that the reader will turn to you Lord. That they will bow their knee to you and allow you to be master over their life.  Lord, please open their spiritual eyes so that they may see their desperate need. 
Your Word tells us that this life is not the end of it all.  When we die we will either go to heaven or hell depending on who we serve down here.  Some will continue to serve themselves and will not respond to your Word.  They will spend eternity in Hell.  Your Word teaches that Hell is a real place and it is eternal torment.  Lord, please, don’t let anyone who is reading this prayer go to Hell.  I beg you Lord. Please help their unbelief right this minute.
There are others who believe they are Christians and on their way to Heaven, but have been deceived by false teaching.  Lord, if anyone is reading this prayer falls into this category, please give them a nudge in their hearts to examine themselves to see if they are truly in the faith.  It is not by good works that they will be saved, and it is not by being a nice person, joining a church, giving money or anything else man can do. 
Lord you want us!  You want our soul and you want our bodies for service.  If there is someone out there who does all the right things in their mind, but does not love you God, does not love your Word, and does not love their fellow Christian brothers and sisters, then by you own Word, that person is not saved.
They need to be born again.  Born anew, and become a new creation.  That is what you do for us.  And, it is wonderful that you actually adopt us into your family, God.  You become our Heavenly Father, and we can call you Father.  Once that happens then you take care of us.  We don’t have to worry or fear anymore.  We will have peace deep down inside knowing when we die we will go to Heaven.  There is no uncertainty about it.  We can be sure! 
If there is someone reading this that is not sure, then Lord I pray you will touch their heart today and nudge them to get right with you.  Open their eyes that they might see.  Help that person to become one of your family members Lord.  Help that person to make a fresh new committment to live the rest of their life for you and not for themself.  Help them to allow you to be Lord and Master.
Oh, this is a beautiful time of the year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus.  But, it is so much more.  It is a time when we can take a look at ourselves and make sure we are on the right path for eternity.  Jesus did so much more for us than we can even imagine, and Heaven awaits us with multitudes of blessings and things we can only dream of.  What a day that will be when we meet him face to face! 
Lord, please bless the readers of this prayer and have mercy on them. 
In Jesus name, thy will be done.  Amen

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Thanks for What we Have in Christ

This Sunday Joel Spencer was our speaker for our special Thanksgiving message.  He brought us to Colossians 1:1-23 to highlight some things that we have to be thankful for as Christians.

Have you ever thought about how many times in a week you say, “thank you?”  We say it all the time, and it is polite to say “thank you.”  We thank the cashier in the check out line when they hand us our change or bags.  We thank strangers when they hold open a door for us.  We thank our spouses when they do something nice.  Thanksgiving is a part of our lives.  But, how many times do we thank God?  And, if we do what do we thank Him for?

In this message we will see several things that we can thank God for if we are Christians.  I hope you will be encouraged to think about all that God has done for us and be forever grateful.

Click below to listen to this uplifting message.

Thanks for What we Have in Christ – Joel Spencer

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JESUS PAID IT ALL

“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18


Click on MIDI to hear this hymn.

Words: Elvina M. Hall, 1865.

Music: John T. Grape (MI­DI, score):

Our church was un­der­go­ing re­pairs, and the cab­i­net or­gan was placed in my care. Thus af­ford­ed a plea­sure not be­fore en­joyed, I de­light­ed my­self in play­ing over some of our Sun­day school hymns. I de­ter­mined to give tan­gi­ble shape to a theme that had been run­ning in my mind for some time, to write, if pos­si­ble, an an­swer to Brad­bu­ry’s beau­ti­ful piece, “Jesus Paid It All.” I made it a matter of pray­er and stu­dy and gave to the pub­lic the mu­sic now known as “All to Christ I Owe.” It was pro­nounced ve­ry poor by my choir and friends, but my dear wife per­sist­ent­ly de­clared that it was a good piece of mu­sic and would live. Time has proved the cor­rect­ness of her jud­gment. Soon af­ter, the Rev. George W. Schreck called on me to se­lect an­y­thing new that I had to of­fer. On hear­ing this piece he ex­pressed his plea­sure with it and stat­ed that Mrs. El­vi­na M. Hall had writ­ten some words that would just suit the mu­sic. I gave him a co­py of it and it was soon sung in sev­er­al church­es here in Bal­ti­more [Mar­y­land] and well re­ceived. At the sug­gest­ion of friends I sent a co­py to Pro­fess­or The­o­dore Perk­ins and it was pub­lished in Sab­bath Car­ols. Un­der the pro­vi­dence of God it has been go­ing ev­er since. I trust that it has not failed to ac­comp­lish some good to my fel­low-men for the glo­ry of God.

Here’s a story about the song:

On New Year’s night, 1886, some mis­sion­ar­ies were hold­ing open-air serv­ic­es in or­der to att­ract pass­ers­-by to a near-by miss­ion, where meet­ings were to be held later. “All to Christ I owe” was sung, and af­ter a gen­tle­man had giv­en a short ad­dress he hast­ened away to the miss­ion. He soon heard foot­steps close be­hind him and a young wo­man caught up with him and said:

“I heard you ad­dress­ing the open-air meet­ing just now; do you think, sir, that Je­sus could save a sin­ner like me?”

The gen­tle­man re­plied that there was no doubt about that, if she was anx­ious to be saved. She told him that she was a serv­ant girl, and had left her place that morn­ing after a dis­a­gree­ment with her mis­tress. As she had been wan­der­ing about the streets in the dark, won­der­ing where she was to spend the night, the sweet mel­o­dies of this hymn had at­tract­ed her, and she drew near and listened at­tent­ive­ly. As the dif­fer­ent vers­es were be­ing sung, she felt that the words sure­ly had some­thing to do with her. Through the whole serv­ice she seemed to hear what met her op­pressed soul’s need at that mo­ment. God’s Spir­it had showed her what a poor, sin­ful and wretch­ed crea­ture she was, and had led her to ask what she must do. On hear­ing her ex­per­i­ence, the gen­tle­man took her back to the mis­sion and left her with the la­dies in charge. The young, way­ward woman was brought to Christ that night. A si­tu­a­tion was se­cured for her in a min­is­ter’s fam­i­ly. There she be­came ill and had to be tak­en to a hos­pi­tal. She ra­pid­ly failed and it became ev­i­dent that she would not be long on earth. One day the gen­tle­man whom she had met on New Year’s night was vis­it­ing her in the ward. Af­ter quot­ing a few suit­a­ble vers­es of Script­ure, he re­peat­ed her fa­vo­rite hymn, “All to Christ I owe”…and she seemed over­whelmed with the thought of com­ing to glo­ry…Two hours af­ter­ward she passed away.

Sankey, pp. 110-1

If you have ac­cess to a pic­ture of El­vi­na Hall or John Grape that we could put on­line, please click here.


I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Refrain

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim,
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb.

Refrain

And now complete in Him
My robe His righteousness,
Close sheltered ’neath His side,
I am divinely blest.

Refrain

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone,
Can change the leper’s spots
And melt the heart of stone.

Refrain

When from my dying bed
My ransomed soul shall rise,
“Jesus died my soul to save,”
Shall rend the vaulted skies.

Refrain

And when before the throne
I stand in Him complete,
I’ll lay my trophies down
All down at Jesus’ feet.

Refrain


10/21/2007 15:40:11

For more hymns and stories visit the site: www.cyberhymnal.org

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Beautiful Snow 

In the early part of the Civil War, one dark Saturday morning in the dead of winter, a young woman, twenty-two years old, died at the Commercial Hospital, Cincinnati.  She had once been beautiful and the pride of respectable parents.  Highly educated and accomplished, she might have shone in the best society.  But she was stubborn and willful and would not listen to warning.  She played with fire and called it “fun”.  One day she awoke to find herself ruined by a fatal mistake which she could not erase.  She was fallen.

She spent the rest of her young life in disgrace and shame, and died poor and friendless, a broken-hearted outcast.  Among her personal effects was found in manuscript, the poem, “Beautiful Snow” which was immediately carried to Enos B. Reed, editor the the National Union.  In the columns of that paper, on the morning following the girl’s death, the poem appeared in print for the first time.  When the paper containing the poem came out on Sunday morning, the body of the victim had not yet received burial.  The attention of Thomas Buchanan Read, one of the first American poets, was soon directed to the newly published lines, and was so taken with their stirring pathos, that he immediately followed the corpse to its final resting place. 

Such are the plain facts concerning her whose “Beautiful Snow” will be long regarded as one of the brightest gems in American literature.

Beautiful Snow

Oh! the snow, the beautiful snow,
Filling the sky and earth below,
Over the housetops, over the street,
Over the heads of the people you meet.
Dancing–Flirting–Skimming along,
Beautiful snow, it can do no wrong.
Clinging to lips in frolicsome freak,
Trying to kiss a fair lady’s cheek,
Beautiful snow from heaven above,
Pure as an angel, gentle as love.

Oh! the snow, the beautiful snow,
How the flakes gather and laugh as they go,
Whirling about in maddening fun,
Cheering the heart and dispelling the gloom.
Chasing–Laughing–Hurrying by,
It lightens the face and sparkles the eye.
Rollicking dogs with a bark and a bound,
Snap at the crystals which eddy around.
The town is alive and its heart in a glow,
To welcome the coming of beautiful snow!

How wildly the crowd goes swaying along,
Hailing each other with humor and song,
How gay are the sleighs, like the stars flashing by,
Are bright for a moment, then lost to the eye.
Ringing–Swinging–Dashing they go,
Over the crest of the beautiful snow,
Snow that’s so pure when it fall from the sky,
That it makes one regret that it’s fated to lie
And be trampled and muddied by thousands of feet,
‘Til it blends with the horrible filth of the street.

Once I was pure as the snow, but I fell,
Fell like the snowflakes from heaven to hell;
Fell to be trampled as filth of the street,
Fell to be scoffed at, to be spit on and beat,
Pleading–Cursing–Dreading to die,
Selling my soul to whoever would buy,
Dealing in shame for a morsel of bread,
Hating the living and fearing the dead.
Merciful God! have I fallen so low?
And yet I was once like the beautiful snow.

Once I was fair as the beautiful snow,
With an eye like a crystal, and heart like its glow,
Once I was loved for my innocent grace,
Flattered and sought for the charms of my face.
Father–Mother–Sisters–All,
God and myself I have lost by my fall.
The vilest wretch that goes shivering by,
Will make a wide sweep lest I wander to nigh;
for all that is on or above me, I know
There is nothing so pure as the beautiful snow.

How strange it should be that this beautiful snow,
Should fall on a sinner with nowhere to go!
How strange it should be when the night comes again;
If the snow and the ice struck my desperate brain.
Fainting–Freezing–Dying alone,
Too wicked for prayer, too weak for a moan,
To be heard in the streets of the crazy town,
Gone mad in the joy of the snow coming down!
To be and to die in my terrible woe,
With a bed and a shroud of the beautiful snow.

Helpless and foul as the trampled snow,
Sinner, despair not, Christ stoopeth low,
To rescue the soul that is lost in sin,
And raise it to life and enjoyment again.
Groaning–Bleeding–Dying for thee,
The Crucified hung on the cursed tree,
His accents of mercy fall soft on thine ear.
“Is there mercy for me?  Will He heed my weak prayer?”
O God! in the stream that for sinners did flow,
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

 

 

 

 

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