Finding Grace

Genesis 6:8

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

The story of the flood is a story of judgment and redemption. Mankind had turned its back to God. Moses is careful to describe the condition of the world at that time,

Genesis 6:5

“Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

People were living in open defiance against God. The line between the godly and the ungodly had become so blurred that the sons of God were marrying the daughters of men. The men of renown, the leaders of the ancient world, wanted nothing to do with the things of God. There was open demonic activity taking place among men and Jesus described a spiritual apathy that even when Noah preached of coming judgment the people continues on with their lives as though they would never have to give an account to the God who created them. After of 100 years of warning the sky suddenly became dark, the rain began to fall and the earth began to rumble and split open. The judgment of God broke forth on the very people He had created to fellowship with. In the midst of this we read,

Genesis 6:8

“But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

As much as this is a story of God judging sin it is also a story of God redeeming man. Noah was the recipient of the grace of God that rescued him from wrath. Nothing has changed. God is still Holy and will forever judge sin, but He is also gracious providing a way for sin to be forgiven and and men to be delivered. We receive the grace of God when we choose to accept the pardon for sin that He has provided through the death of Christ upon the cross. When we receive Christ all our sins are washed and we are rescued from wrath.

We see in Noah a picture of how this grace affects a man. We read that Noah “walked with God.” Walking with God is a common idiom found throughout the Bible and used to illustrate a person who is living a life that is well pleasing to the Lord. We read of three distinct things about Noah’s walk. First he obeyed the Lord. Four times we read that “Noah did according to all that the Lord commanded him” Not all that was commanded seemed to make sense, instead of arguing, rationalizing, complaining or disobeying Noah did as the Lord commanded. Secondly we read that Noah’s faith impacted his family. Unlike Lot, Noah lived out his walk with God for others to see and won his family members to the Lord. Too often our best Christianity happens at church and we fail to live for Christ within the home. Finally we read that upon exiting the ark Noah offered sacrifice to the Lord. He realized that salvation was not based upon his good work and he accepted the pardon that God provided.

Jesus told us that the times leading up to His return would be like the days of Noah. With evil increasing we must walk with the Lord all the more.

Jim

  

Jim Gallagher

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

The story of the flood is a story of judgment and redemption. Mankind had turned its back on God. Moses is careful to describe the condition of the world at that time;

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5

People were living in open defiance of God. The line between the godly and the ungodly had become so blurred that the sons of God were marrying the daughters of men. The men of renown, the leaders of the ancient world, wanted nothing to do with the things of God. There was open demonic activity taking place among men. Jesus described a scene of such spiritual apathy that even Noah’s preaching of coming judgment, did…

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Offering

Genesis 4:2-5
“Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.”

As the drama of Genesis unfolds we are introduced to two sons of Adam and given a glimpse into their lives and occupations. Abel the younger was a shepherd while his older brother Cain was a farmer. It was not their occupations but their character that determined their destinies. We read that Abel brought an offering of the flocks while Cain brought the fruit of the ground and that God respected Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s. The question we must answer is why? What was wrong with Cain’s offering?

Two things stand out to me from the story. First off, back in the garden God had already shown that He rejected fig leaves as an acceptable covering for sin. Instead He established a system of substitutionary sacrifice. This system will be further developed throughout Scripture but will never change. We will see it in the levitical system established at Sinai and it will have its ultimate fulfillment in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Never will the work of our own hands be a sufficient covering for sin.

The second aspect of this story that stands out is the reason a substitute is necessary. Cain brought the fruit of the ground because he did not understand the far reaching effects of sin. He looked at his crops that represented hours of care and labor and thought they were an acceptable offering. This was because he failed to see that they were grown in fallen dirt. As good as those vegetables may have been, at their core they bore marks of the fall. The same is true with all works. My very best efforts are always tainted with sin.

From the beginning God established a way for sinful man to have relationship with Him and from the beginning men have been trying to come their own way. The way to God is paved for us by the cross, entrance is a simple as trusting that Jesus died in our place. Isn’t it time to trust in Christ instead of clinging to your own goodness as a means to access God.

It has been and always will be about His amazing grace

Jim

  

Jim Gallagher

Genesis 4:2-5
“Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.”

As the drama of Genesis unfolds, we are introduced to two of the sons of Adam and given a glimpse into their lives and occupations. Abel, the younger, was a shepherd, while his older brother Cain was a farmer. It was not their occupations, but their character that determined their destinies. We read, Abel brought an offering of the flocks, while Cain brought the fruit of the ground; God respected Abel’s…

View original post 288 more words

I’ll Be Back 

Revelation 22:20-21
“He who testifies to these things says, ‘ Surely I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

If you are anything like me, you have echoed the cry of John, from time to time in your walk with God. It seems whenever things become difficult, confusing or frightening, my heart cries out, “Come, Lord Jesus.” I realize, the only reason for His delay is His desire to see others come to faith in Christ. Peter wrote,

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

There is a day coming, in the not so distant future, when all the promises of Scripture will be fulfilled, and Christ will return for His church and set up His kingdom. As John sat incarcerated on the island of Patmos, his heart longed for the return of his Savior and Lord.

That being said, it has often struck me, that the final promise of Scripture takes us from the promises of the future, to those of the present. After declaring Christ will return for His church, John reminds us that we are living in a present state of grace.

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”

Grace can be defined as the giving nature of God. It i s expressed in His desire to save the lost, and to pour out lavish gifts upon His children. As we await the return of Christ, we live in the age of grace. The closer we get to the time of Christ’s return, the more difficult things will become on earth. As men harden their hearts to God, sin will increase and righteousness will become more and more scarce. It is vital to remember, although God will judge sin, it is His desire to save. The darker the background, the more brightly the message of the Gospel shines. Instead of becoming discrouraged by the present condition of things, let’s remember that it is in the heart of God to save. Let’s be busy praying for, and witnessing to, our friends and loved ones, until the day Christ calls us home.

Until He comes,

Pastor Jim

 

Get Out 

Revelation 18:4
“And I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.'”

As John begins to describe the fall of Babylon the Great, he hears a cry from heaven calling the people of God to come out, and no longer share in its sins. Babylon here is referring to more than a city in modern Iraq, it refers to the world system that is opposed to the ways of God. The call then is for the people of God to leave the ways of the world, to live in step with the ways of God. This is not a one time call, but is repeated time and again within the pages of your Bible. We were saved, not to continue in a destructive lifestyle, practicing the things that Jesus died to free us from, but to live a new life on a higher plain, where we seek in every area of life to bring pleasure to God.

Galatians 1:3-4 “Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,  . . .”

Christ died, not only to forgive sin, but to provide deliverance for all who come to Him. When we put faith in Christ, the chains that once bound us to a life of sin have been broken. We no longer have to be like shrub in the desert, barely surviving in life, but we can be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, bearing fruit in its season.

Have you come to Christ? Have you asked Him to wash you of your sin and give you new life? That is the first step; the second is to come out of the world and stop partaking in practices that do not please Him. Don’t wait another moment,

“Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”

Pastor Jim

 

Praise Him

Revelation 15:3-4
“Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty!
Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints!
Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy.
For all nations shall come and worship before You,
For Your judgments have been manifested.”

IMG_4241.jpgWhile the tribulation continues on earth, John’s attention is drawn once again to the scene in heaven. The contrast alone should be enough to persuade us to surrender to Christ. Earth is experiencing the wrath of God, while heaven is being filled with sweet and continuous praise. Those who have been rescued from the tyrannical reign of the Antichrist stand before the throne and worship.

One of the evidences that a person has met Christ and been set free from sin is a desire for worship. While it is not required to fall on our knees, lift our hands, or even sing loudly, it is hard to imagine a person who has been impacted by the love and mercy of God who will not offer the loudest praise. Just the other night in our worship service, I noticed one young lady who humbly turned, faced her chair and knelt in worship. She has been growing so much in her relationship with Jesus of late that she could not resist the desire to bow in worship. I think we can learn a lot from the praise song of the redeemed found here in a Revelation 15.

““Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty!”

Their praise stemmed from focusing upon the works of God. As they stood before the Lord, they recalled the way in which they had been redeemed. Since these are tribulation saints, we know they had neglected the things of God for most of their lives and ignored the gospel. Still, the persistent love of God hunted them down and won them over. They, like we, could look back to the cross, where the love of God was poured out to redeem them from sin and give eternal life. Reflecting upon the work God has done is vital to a life of praise.

“Just and true are Your ways, O King of the saints! Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy.”

As important as it is to look back upon the works of God, it is also vital that we look up to the person of God. He is worthy of the highest praise for what He has done, and also for who He is. Their praise stems from remembering three things about the nature of God. First, He is just; second, He is the king; and third, He is holy. All of the judgments of God are just. We often accuse Him of being unfair, however when His judgment is finally meted out upon a Christ-rejecting world, we will see how mercy and truth have met one another, and how righteousness and peace have kissed.

“For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.”

Finally, their worship includes an understanding of the promises of God. The judgments that the Word of God has warned about are finally coming to pass. Peter speaks of those who mock God because He waits so long  to execute judgment; failing to recognize it is His mercy which holds back His judgment. One of the best ways to increase a heart of praise is to focus upon the promises of God. Too often, in dire circumstances, we look only to our surroundings, instead of looking into the promises of God. The saint who trusts the promise over the circumstances he faces, or the emotions they stir up, is the saint whose life will be filled with the loudest praise.

Pastor Jim

 

The Meeting Place 

Ezekiel 41:4
“…And he said to me, “This is the Most Holy Place.”

The deepest chamber within the temple housed the Ark of God and the the Mercy Seat. It was here, the high priest would enter only once a year to bring the blood of the sacrifice, and intercede on behalf of the Nation. It was here,  God had originally explained to Moses, they could meet with the Lord and talk to Him about anything.

Exodus 25:22 “And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.”

I think it is worth noting,  this chamber is called the Holiest Place. It is only in holiness that we can meet with God. That is particularly concerning when we realize we are not holy. The prophet made it abundantly clear, even our best attempts ar doing good, lack true holiness in the sight of God.
Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind! Have taken us away.”

If God is holy, the meeting place between God and man is holy. We, at our best, are not holy;  we are in need of help. That is where the cross comes in. Under the old covenant, this was solved through sacrifice on the altar. The priest would confess his sins and that of the people, and would enter the holiest place. Now under the new covenant, this is solved by Christ. His sacrifice provides atonement for all our sins. We, like the priest, must accept the sacrifice, by accepting Christ and confessing our sin. When we do, we are forgiven, made holy, and have access to God.

If you have received Christ, there is nothing keeping you from the holy meeting place. You may attend there regularly, bringing yourself, your life and your needs before the Lord.

Pastor Jim

 

When The Trumpet Sounds 

 

Revelation 9 records the fifth and sixth blast of the angelic trumpets. With each blast, another calamity is poured out upon a Christ-rejecting world. While each of these is intriguing in themselves, two things stand out to me as I read through them.

First, it strikes me, the judgment of God does not come in a single stroke. It is spread throughout seven trumpet blasts, the pouring forth of seven bowls, and a multitude of other expressions. The message screams at me, God truly does not want men to perish. Each judgment is strong enough to grab attention, while allowing many to have the opportunity to respond by crying out to Jesus for salvation. No doubt, many will respond during the tribulation. Sadly however, many will also reject, seeking death rather than conversion. The same is true today. Some, who hear of the love and grace of God, decide to follow Him, while others reject Him, thinking they can escape judgment by ignoring it. Don’t misinterpret the patience and mercy of God, by thinking His judgment can be evaded by ignoring it. Cry out today for Jesus to save and transform you.

Second, I am struck by the fact that God makes a distinction between those who belong to Him and those who do not. A mark is placed on the forehead of all who believe. We are not sure what this mark is or whether others can see it, but we do know it is a distinguishing mark, affecting how a person is treated by God. Those with the mark avoid the judgment. Currently, there is no mark on the forehead of genuine believers. Instead, the evidence of true conversion is the indwelling of the Spirit of God. The Spirit is manifested in that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. God has always been in the business of making a distinction between His people and those who do not yet follow Him. In Egypt, the Israelites avoided many of the plagues; in the tribulation, those with the mark of God, will avoid much of the calamity caused by judgment. Today, the child of God dwells under the mighty hand of God, in a place of sweet fellowship peace and comfort.

Pastor Jim