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Hebrews Pt 21: Belonging to God & His People (Heb 8:10c)

Belonging. We all long for it. God has made it a wonderful reality through His New Covenant promise in Hebrews 8:10, “I will be their God, and they shall be My people”. In this episode we explore: God as truly our God, being His people, a part of His family, as sons we are rightful and joint heirs with Jesus Christ and a member of Christ’s true church. We belong to Him in His family of love!

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Completeness in Christ: We Don’t Need “More”

A popular Christian singer has a song that says,

So I’m praying, Father, help my heart believe
That right now You’re singing over me
And fill me up with Your love…

A contemporary worship song has the lines (sung mournfully),

More love,
More power
More of You in my life….

The sincerity of the Christian writers of these songs cannot be doubted. Both are asking God for “more”. Millions hear and sing these songs, making the lyrics even their own prayer. So we pray for God to fill us up with God’s love. We pray for God to give us more love, more power and more of God in our lives.

What’s wrong with this picture?

How can we ask for “more” of what we already have? It would be like owning and living in a two-story house and asking for God to give you a two-story house. We would tell such a person, “Hey, you already own a two-story house — so enjoy it!” It would be like an incredibly rich benefactor giving someone $100 billion and we hear the recipient moan, “I wish I could pay off my car loan!” Pay off his car loan? He can now buy an entire auto assembly plant!

image courtesy of graur codrin

Why We Would be Ashamed of The Gospel

Many of us are familiar with Romans 1:16

[16] For 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. (NKJV)

Why would Paul, inspired of the Spirit, say “I am not ashamed“?

Obviously, the Spirit selected that word “ashamed” for an important reason. It isn’t “I am not afraid of the Gospel” or “I am not intimidated by the Gospel”, but “I am not ashamed“. The problem of shame is brought to light.

Most of us have thought that the problem was being ashamed of the Gospel itself. That we are afraid to speak to others about the Gospel because we don’t want to look like “religious fanatics” or they won’t like us anymore. But the context of the following verses — indeed, chapters — opens up another possibility. …

How to Approach The Word of God: GOD First

By Mark VanOuse

 

How should a person approach God’s holy Word, The Bible?  What should they be looking for?

Fundamentally, The Bible is about GOD, not me or anyone or anything else.

This is tremendously important. Most Christians approach the Bible as being about them, not God. They go to the Bible to “learn about life” or “how to live the Christian life”. …

The Two Realities of the Believer Seen in 1 Corinthians 1:30

By Mark VanOuse

1 Corinthians 1:29-31 (NKJV)

[29] that no flesh should glory in His presence.[30] But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—[31] that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”

I am now seeing that verse 30 here, which I have loved for years, contains both realities of the believer: being in Christ and Christ in the believer.
The “in Christ” part is very clear:
But of Him you are in Christ Jesus
How glorious this is! The wonderful fact that I am IN CHRIST is because God did it. “OfHim are you in Christ Jesus”. All of the wonderful treasures, infinite privileges of being in Christ are all mine, because God was the One who baptized me into Christ in the first place!
And yet this incredible verse reveals also the second great reality of the believer: Christ in us the hope of glory. How is Christ in us seen in this verse? …

The Love of God DOES

By Mark VanOuse

The love of God does.

This is the fullest expression of the Love of God!

Love is the most powerful antidote to all that is wrong with us! Nothing has such power to take our minds and hearts and seize them from the stranglehold of temptation, sin and bondage and bring us to the place of a heartfelt JOYFUL and LOVING obedience to the Lord. Nothing! …

Grace to Get Away FROM Sin

By Mark VanOuse

Grace does not enable us to “get away with sin”, but enables us to get away from sin.

It’s odd how some think that when we tell Christians that they are under grace that somehow we are enabling people to get away with sin, when in fact the Bible teaches us just the opposite: the grace of God enables us to to get away from sin. …

Not Under Law: What the “Struggle Verses” of Romans 7 Really Mean

By Mark VanOuse

[Note: a podcast of this article is available by clicking here]

Bring up Romans chapter 7 and most Christians immediately think of the “struggling with sin” discussion of verses 14 through 24. They therefore conclude that the chief subject of Romans 7 is about struggling with sin. Worse, they buy into a false theology, based on an improper reading of this chapter, that Christians are stuck “struggling with sin till the day they die”.

Nothing could further from the truth. Romans 7 is one of the clearest statements in all the scripture that those in Christ are not under law. That thesis is found in the first 6 verses of Romans 7. It is a natural continuation of the thought developed in Romans 6 that those in Christ are united with Him in His death at Calvary and therefore dead to sin. Romans 7 picks the same theme up and makes the revolutionary point that we are also dead to the law. …

Does Blessing Precede Obedience?

By Mark VanOuse

A friend of mine raised a very good question: Does blessing really precede obedience?

The question came up in the context of my saying that one of the greatest things I’ve learned in my Christian life is the vast difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. How that, as Christians, we are not under the Old Covenant of Law, blessings or curses given based on our performance, but under the New Covenant of grace, granting us blessings from God based on Christ’s performance. “In other words”, I said, “under the New Covenant, the blessing precedes our obedience. We obey because we are blessed in Christ (Eph 1:3), not the other way around.”

That statement threw him off. He emailed me and said, “Why is this ‘God blesses us, and then we respond in obedience’ idea not more clear in Scripture? You would think God would want it to be clear. I would like to hear your answer to that.”

Here, then, is my response: …

I Don’t Need the Law, I Need The Lord!

By Mark VanOuse

A truly righteous man says, “I don’t need the law, I need The Lord.”

[8] But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,[9] knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers . . .  (1 Timothy 1:8-9, NKJV)

Did you know that a truly righteous man will actually run from the law?  Why?  Because the law places the demand on his “righteousness” (which is no righteousness at all), not God’s righteousness. Philippians 3:9 makes the point quite clearly:

not having my own righteousness, which is from the law . . . …