Thursday, June 15, 2017

Communion Isn't for Remembering Our Sins - It's for Remembering Christ!

"For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes." 1 Cor 11:26

Communion, or The Lord's Supper, isn't for the purpose of remembering our sins. It's for the purpose of remembering Christ, who took away our sins!

But you say, "Let a man examine himself!" Yes, Paul said that, but what was he referring to? He has just finished telling the Corinthians that when they come together for the Lord's Supper, some are eating ahead of others, letting others go hungry. And some are getting drunk. He tells them, "Don't you have your own houses to do that in?!?" This is the "unworthy manner" in which they were partaking of the Lord's Supper. This is what he was telling them to examine themselves about.

Again, the true meaning of Communion is to proclaim the Lord's death. The Lord's Supper is meant to be a celebration - or at the very least, a remembrance - of what was accomplished through the Lord's death. Jesus Himself said, "Remember ME." Not "Remember your sins." Through His death, our sins were taken away once and for all! In remembering Him, and proclaiming His death, we remember that through His blood our sins were cast into the sea of forgetfulness!

It certainly would be worth examining ourselves if while we were getting together to do this, certain people were eating all the food and others were getting drunk. That manner of remembering the Lord's death would certainly be unworthy of the majesty of all that we're gathered together to celebrate! But when we're eating a wafer or a tiny piece of bread, and a thimble-sized shot of wine or grape juice, how is it even possible for us to do what the Corinthians were doing? ;)

"God demonstrates His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Rom 5:8). This is what we are remembering in celebrating the Lord's Supper.

Here's a video I did on this:

The Gospel Reveals the Gift of God's Righteousness

"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'The just shall live by faith.'" Rom 1:16-17

The gospel isn't the power of "I cleaned up my act." It's the power of God. The gospel isn't about "I now do righteous things." It's about God's very own righteousness given to us as a gift.

The gospel is contrasted with the wrath of God, of which Paul speaks for several verses following the above passage. He writes that the wrath of God is revealed against all the ungodliness and unrighteousness of mankind. But, he says, the gospel is the answer to it all. The answer is not "keep the law of God," because nobody keeps it! The answer is not "change from doing bad to doing good," which, like keeping the law, is a form of self-righteousness.

The answer is the gospel, which reveals the gift of God's righteousness, given freely, "through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe." (Rom 3:22). It's for anyone and everyone, not by works, but simply by faith.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Let Your Confidence Be in God, Not in What Others Think of You

God alone is the judge (discerner) of your heart and ministry. Let your confidence be in what God thinks, not in what others think. People can provide constructive criticism or destructive criticism. People can provide good advice or bad advice. You can take or leave what others think or say, but no matter what, listen to what God says to you in your heart and you won't have to be concerned with what others think or say about you. Paul said he doesn't even judge himself (!), never mind being judged by others. He leaves it all up to God. (See 1 Cor 4:3-5)

Elsewhere, Paul also says that the body of Christ is a single unit, made up of many diverse parts. You are the part that you are, and others are the parts that they are, and God has placed each part exactly where He wants it. (See 1 Cor 12:4-31) The part that you play may be very different than the part that someone else plays, but God places us where we are individually for the good of the body as a whole. So be the part that you are and let others be the parts that they are, and celebrate (rather than judge) what God is doing through each and every one of us in His body.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

God's Blessings Aren't Based Upon Our Performance, But Rather HIS!

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." Eph 1:3

He hasn't blessed us because we've done anything great. He hasn't blessed us because of our good deeds. He hasn't blessed us because we've said the right things. He hasn't blessed us because we've done the right things. He hasn't blessed us because we've given. He hasn't blessed us because we've tithed. He hasn't blessed us because we've sown seeds. He hasn't blessed us because we've produced fruit. He hasn't blessed us because of anything we've DONE.

He's blessed us because we're in CHRIST! The righteous standing that we have with God and the blessings we've received from Him have nothing to do with anything we've done. We've been made righteous *apart from* our works. Righteousness isn't something we've DONE. It's something we've RECEIVED. It's a gift that God has freely given us. God is a great giver, and He hasn't given us and blessed us with what we DESERVE, based on what we've DONE, but rather He's given to us and blessed us because of His great MERCY and GRACE!

Think about this. Let it sink in. Don't let yourself be up and down and all around on the uneasy and unstable roller coaster of God's blessings based upon your performance. You'll NEVER get off that treadmill! You'll NEVER arrive!

Rest. Relax. Let it go. Trust in the once-for-all sacrifice of Jesus, and the free gift He provided for you, not because of your excellent performance, but because of HIS!

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Will a Man Rob God?

You're not "robbing God" if you don't give 10% of your income to a church. It's absolutely wonderful to give, give, give to your heart's content, so please never think that I'm saying "don't give." The "will a man rob God?" passage (Malachi 3:8) was not spoken to the New Covenant church. It was spoken to the nation of Israel (Malachi 3:9) because they (not the New Covenant church, which was not even in existence) had been commanded to supply tithes of food for the tribe of Levi (the Levites), but they had been neglecting this.

The Levites were a tribe that was set apart for certain functions, under the law, within the nation of Israel. The tithes were meant to feed the Levites. See Numbers 18:21-24. Verse 24 says that God has given Israel's tithes to the Levites as an inheritance. So when Israel did not do this, they were "robbing God." This has nothing to do with giving 10% of your income to a church - which has not been commanded by God.

The word "storehouse" is mentioned roughly 15 times in the Old Testament. They were places that stored - you guessed it - FOOD! Items such as grain, wine and oil were stored there, and there were also stalls for livestock in these storehouses. In the context of Malachi 3, the storehouses were places where the children of Israel were to bring their tithes of these things (grain, wine, oil, livestock, etc) so that the Levites could eat.

None of this has anything to do with today's church. You have to go "extra-biblical" (completely outside the Bible) in order to turn the OT tithes into "income" and the OT storehouses into the modern church. It's absolutely ridiculous! But again, I say, give to your heart's content. You will be of great benefit to others when you give. But also get yourself freed from tithing, and simply give freely.

For more on this, check out my blog series Freed from Tithing, Free to Give.