“But by the grace of God I am…

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10-11 NKJV). God’s “gospel of grace” saved Paul when he washed away his sins in baptism, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). But he knew it was not “once-saved-always-saved,” because he “had labored more abundantly than” the rest of the Apostles.
Paul taught: “This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men” (Titus 3:8 NKJV).  A Christian must continually be obedient, or else God’s grace was given “in vain.”  “Good works” are the proper response to God’s grace.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #good-works, #grace

9-21-2016 Grace And Baptism

“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 NKJV).  The Child Jesus “grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him” (Luke 2:40 NKJV).  Paul felt that what he “received from the Lord Jesus, [was] to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24 NKJV).  That “gospel” said, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7 NKJV).  Jesus offered His blood in his death, and the only way sinners enter His death is through baptism!  “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3 NKJV).  Baptism into His death brings salvation by God’s grace.  If not, why not?

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #grace

Does grace and faith by default do away with water?

Many people in the religious world contend that water has nothing to do with our salvation today because salvation from God comes by grace through faith. In other words, salvation by grace and faith, so it is thought, leaves no room or need for the water, but is that the case?

Did you know that Noah was saved by grace through faith and water? He sure was!

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:8)

By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)

who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.” (1 Peter 3:20)

Now if God’s plan of salvation in the past could consist of saving someone by grace through faith and water, then what makes a person think that grace and faith does away with the water today?

There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” (1 Peter 3:21)

#baptism, #faith, #grace, #noah, #salvation

Faith/Grace/Obedience/Walking in the Light

Below, is the text of a Bible lesson that I taught Sunday morning, Apr. 12, 2015 at the State Line church of Christ. I hope everyone finds this study informative and comforting, but also alarming if you are NOT walking in the light with God.

James

FAITH/GRACE/OBEDIENCE/WALKING IN THE LIGHT 4-12-15

I. INTRODUCTION There is great misunderstanding and disagreement among our friends and even among ourselves regarding the roles that faith, grace and obedience occupy in our lives. Is faith in Christ the only thing necessary for our salvation? What does grace have to do with our salvation? If God wants everyone to be saved, He being all powerful should be able to give us executive clemency without us having to obey. Right? Since there is no sin in heaven am I doomed to torment if I die right after committing a sin? I’m sure that all of us have wondered about these things at various times in our lives. Hopefully, we will have a better degree of understanding and comfort about these issues after studying the following Scriptures.

II. Rom. 10:1-17 Paul stated in his letter to the Roman Christians the importance of faith/believing. He also mentioned the importance of confessing that faith. It’s obviously important to preach the Lord Jesus to those who have not heard about Him. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.”

III. Eph. 2:1-22 In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul reflected upon the sinful nature of man. God is a just God. He severely punished sinful people during the Old Testament era because of their failures to follow Him. In addition to being just, God is also loving and merciful. He desires that all would be saved. His love, mercy and desire for our salvation led Him to send His Son to serve as a sacrifice for our sins by shedding His blood on Calvary’s cross. Sinful man has done nothing and will never do anything that will “earn” salvation. If our works saved us through their merits, salvation would not be free, but earned. It is a free gift and gifts are not earned. HOWEVER, there are certain conditions or commands that must be met prior to qualifying to receive God’s grace. If one is to enjoy these blessings, it is necessary to be in Christ—in His body—the church.

IV. Jas. 2:14-26 Empty words do not show faith—faith is made known by the kinds of acts that a person performs. Even the demons believe in the one God and tremble, but that is not sufficient to please Him. Abraham and Rahab are examples of some who showed their faith by their works of obedience. “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

V. Rom. 5:12-6:23 A person with more sins than another receives a greater measure of grace than the one with fewer sins. There are those who seem to teach that one may sin freely and God’s grace will cover those sins. It is hard to live without “slipping up” and sinning, but to sin freely makes a mockery of His grace. Paul stated, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” As one repents of his sins when becoming a Christian, his old sinful man dies to sin. This dead man of sin is symbolically buried in baptism just as Christ was buried. He then symbolically rises as a newborn Christian to walk a new spiritual life just as Christ rose to walk a new spiritual life. Even though a Christian may occasionally stumble and sin, if he has died to sin, he has stopped willingly living in sin or for sin.

VI. I Jn. 1:1-2:6 How can one be assured that he is saved? According to John, the person who says that he has not sinned is a liar and that makes God a liar—strong words. There are no sins in heaven. God is referred to as light. John stated that one cannot claim to walk with God if he is living in the darkness of sin. A true child of God walks in fellowship with Him according to His word even though he sometimes falls. As long as one keeps his trust in the saving power of the blood of Christ and walks accordingly, that blood continually cleanses all of those sins. This is a most reassuring and comforting thought. LET US CONTINUE TO WALK IN THE LIGHT!!

#faith, #grace, #obedience, #reassurance

3-19-2015 A Commandment of Men

Israelites were commanded to “Honor your father and mother” (Exodus 20:12), but Pharisees and scribes had claimed whatever they might use to honor parents was “Corban,” or devoted to God (Leviticus 1:2). Jesus exposed their using the Bible to contradict the Bible by saying, “Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition” (Matthew 15:3-6 NKJV). Did Jesus contradict other Scriptures when He said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16 NKJV)? “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV). Since “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35), then it is a “commandment of men” to make Paul cancel Jesus’ requirement for salvation.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #contradict, #grace, #not-of-works

3-18-2015 Did Jesus Make Baptism Essential to Salvation?

Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16 NKJV), and placed baptism after believing but before salvation. Why is this so? If Jesus had felt baptism had nothing whatever to do with salvation, He would have (1) left it out altogether, but He included it;(2) mentioned it after salvation, but not one passage of Scripture where baptism and salvation/remission of sins are mentioned together that places salvation before baptism; (3) specifically said that it had nothing whatever to do with salvation, but no New Testament writer ever taught this ; (4) warned His disciples that it contradicted God’s other commandments but Peter did not think it contradicted any passage dealing with “works,” “grace,” “love,” or “faith” when he said “baptism doth also now save us “ (1 Peter 3:21 KJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#baptism, #contradicted, #grace, #not-of-works

We need them all

The Lord Jesus Christ taught multitudes, discipled small groups, talked one-on-one. He also took time away from people to be with his Father.

His followers do likewise. They find time alone with their God. They shine their light in the midst of a dark world. They make it a priority to meet with their family in Christ. Continue reading

#church, #divine-gifts, #grace, #service