Grace Preacher

A Person Called Grace

Preaching grace always keeps an eye on the incredible forgiving & loving nature of God.
Preaching grace does mean loving your hearers in spite of how they respond to your message.
Preaching grace does mean trusting God to accomplish His objectives in His way and in His time.

We are all molded by our walking in life, especially our childhood experiences and when we grow up, we tend to apply what we experienced into our daily life, including in our professions, be it a clerk, a manager, a housewife, or even a Preacher. For a secular positions, it is just normal, but for a Grace Preacher to teach and still be influenced by the world principle instead of the Heaven Kingdom’s principle, that is something to raise concern.  Grace is unnatural to the world, some may find it mystified, for it is too good to be true to the natural ears.

The Gospel (=the good news) is beyond human understanding, it takes Holy Spirit to teach and understand. The Gospel is basically Grace, Grace is the Gospel, and Grace is the Truth, as Truth is on the side of Grace and not the Law, and Grace & Truth is Jesus Christ. (Joh 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ)

Man will understand and accept fully the principle of Law because it resonances well with their flesh: “when you do good you get good, but when you do bad you get beat”. Isn’t this what every religion in the world is teaching ? what is the difference with Christianity then ? This is what every child learns; the first time they know good from evil, probably at the age of 7 years old onward. Because this is what their mommy & daddy taught them, continued with what their school teachers taught them. All performance oriented. Also when they entered working life, this is what their employers taught them “performance oriented principles”. And thus, this is what  everybody grows up to believe in! They read bible also from the lens of man’s experience, instead of the lens of Grace (read my article : https://liftingjesus.org/2013/08/02/read-the-bible-through-the-lens-of-grace/). When the bible said Labor to enter rest, they think they have to work more to earn the rest. While the truth is we Labor to enter rest is “Holy spirit directed activities”, resting on Jesus’ finished work (read my article : https://liftingjesus.org/2013/08/06/labor-every-day-to-enter-his-rest/)

Grace preachers must first believe with the unshakable confidence in God’s Grace, His unmerited favor unearned, and freely given. That they can receive God’s goodness even when they fail, because Grace is freely given independent of our obedience and unearned, nothing to boast about ourselves. This can be seen in their daily life, when being grounded in Grace will produce Graceful actions towards one another. Then God gives the wisdom and the heart to generously dispense that grace through their preaching.

The life of total dependency on God’s Grace can be best described just like a little child. Jesus mentioned the phrase “a little child” 9 times in the new Testament, being the most desirable state to inherit the kingdom of Heaven. Why “a little child”? I learnt from my daughter, Pearl, since 3 to now 7 years old, always happy, when I brought her to any places, the first thing she would do is to look for things to play, no worries on tomorrow, nor any food to eat, nor any clothes to wear, nor anything at all, because she is totally dependent on the parents. Even when she is sometimes naughty and makes mistakes, she would still receive my grace, because I love her as my daughter whether or not she is good. She trusted on the parents for any problems of tomorrow. And that makes her totally freed and joyful every day. This is hard to find in adult people’s life, even Pastors alike.

Grace Preachers having a good heart, sometimes still worry about their congregation’s sinful life-style. So, they preach Grace mixing with law. And by so doing, they diluted the powerful message of Grace, from totally beholding Jesus and His beauty, into mixing with self-performance of what man ought to do. And surely man is weak at his core, and will fail again and again. The power of Grace is diluted and gone.

There is no power in telling man what they ought to do or not to do, because every man knows what they ought to do already, and yet they failed to do again and again.  Apostle Paul in his writings always starts from teaching the believers: “WHO the believers are in Christ”. What they have inherited in Christ. What Christ has done for them, before in the later chapter/s he will also tell them what fruits they ought to bear being in Christ. Non Grace Preachers will concentrate on the later (the fruits – by trying to modify believers’ behaviors, teach like a school teacher teaching a young child), while Grace Preachers will focus on the former first, who they are in Christ. What Christ has made them “a new Creation” a prince, a priest, and the children of God, knowing this they will not want to be a pauper anymore.  Grace preachers should always behold Jesus, unveiling Jesus in all the loveliness of His person, and unveiling the perfection of His finished work on the cross, And “Trust Jesus will do the rest”, just let the Holy Spirit do His work inside the person. When Jesus went to the cross, He did not have doubts whether His Grace by dying on the cross will result in any good for any sinners ? Jesus had faith in Grace, so shall we who have faith in Jesus.

A Preacher is not a school teacher who teaches mere man’s knowledge what man already knows. A Preacher’s job is unveiling the heart of God, that is Grace, Jesus Christ. And, it has to be radical, or otherwise, people’s life will not be radically transformed. I pray to all Preachers, that God give you unshakable confidence in His grace for you as His child. And then, may He give you the wisdom and the heart to generously dispense that grace through your preaching. And that as you unveil the beauty of Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross, Grace instead will teach the hearers to deny ungodliness. Let go, and let God be God and let God do the rest of transformation within the person.  Tit 2:11-12 For the Grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, …  Note that Grace is teaching us…, Grace is a person, Grace is God, Grace is Jesus Christ Himself, and Grace is Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

Today many preachers claim to preach Grace to impress the audience.  Let me teach you how to discern if the Grace teaching that you are hearing is doctrinally sound.  It is always Christ-exalting, it always reveals more and more of Jesus.  It always unveils the beauty of Jesus and the perfection of His finished work on the cross.  Jesus is always glorified when Grace is taught.  There is no Grace without Jesus!  Grace is a person and His name is Jesus.

Grace is Jesus

Labor every day, to enter His rest

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I remember when my little girl, Pearl was still learning to walk. She’d first start to learn to sit, then stand, then walk. How well she walked, would depend on how well she sat down and gathered up her strength, before she stood up and sprang up to walk.

Our Christian life is also like such baby learning to walk. We need to sit first. Because Eph 2:6 “God raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus”.

Sadly today many Christians are still restless, still cannot sit well, still cannot believe that the work of Jesus is truly complete and finished. They are still trying to complete a completed work, finish a finished work and defeat a defeated devil. They would work hard to attain their salvation overlooking the finished work of Jesus, as if the cross never happened. How ? by trying to earn their own salvation by focusing on observing the Law of Moses. (“bless me when I obey, and curse me when I disobey” instead of obedience to the faith in believing Jesus’ finished work on the cross)

The problem with this kind of Christianity is life becomes restless, there is no peace nor joy; when they succeed over a sin temptation, they’ll feel great, they will be cheerful, recharged and laborious in their daily work, working like superman; because they feel they have earned God’s blessing. By the same token when they fail in a day, eg. committed a sin / loosing their cool, be angry with a colleague, they will feel miserable for the whole day or week, and feeling lousy in their work, everything seems bad, heaven seems so far away, and hell seems so near. Their life is like a little boat alone in the ocean, being tossed up and down by the waves of daily life, the ups and downs, the successes and failures. There is no peace, there is no sitting down, how can they even stand up and walk ? They have forgotten, that God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2Co 5:21). So, believers, you are already righteous in God’s eyes ! Now embrace that righteousness and reign in life ! Jesus has come that you may have life, and that you may have it more abundantly (Joh 10:10).

God wants us to stop trying and start trusting in His love for us. He wants us to stop working and struggling by our own effort. Stop looking at our own ability as there is no beauty in yourself, you will only see ugliness if you focus on yourself; even when you do good it will never be good enough to you. Start focus on resting and believing in His Grace towards us. Self work (Law) condemns even the very best of us, while God’s unmerited Grace saves the very worst of us. God wants us to look at Jesus, and you’ll see all the loveliness in His person, and the perfection of His finished work on the cross.

The only “work” left for us to do today is to enter His rest. We are to labor every day, to enter His rest. We are to rest inwardly and believe that the work is done because it is a finished work, and trust in God’s undeserved favor toward us. We are to rest in Jesus our true ark, who will carry us through tempestuous waters. Even when we fall and made mistakes, hey!, stand up and walk again, that mistakes have been paid for by Jesus already, just be thankful to Him and walk again. Don’t stand there and condemn yourself, because Jesus has been condemned for you. Jesus wants you to walk with Him no matter what come may.

So today, “if you hear His voice within you, in your heart, follow that Godly desires He put in your heart, God speaks inside us as if we speak to ourselves, because in the New Covenant of Grace, God the Holy Spirit is inside, not outside, …do not harden your heart…be diligent to enter that rest” (Heb 4:7, 11) Let us enter His rest. Let’s enjoy sitting together with Christ in the heavenly places, then we will run and not be weary (Isa 40:31).

Remember this: How well we walk, depends on how well we sit and rest in Christ’s finished work.

Read the Bible through the Lens of Grace

When we read Bible through the lens of Grace (the new covenant), then the whole Bible will become beautiful, unveiling Jesus in all the Loveliness of His Person, and the perfection of His finished work on the cross. There should be no fear but love, peace and joy of being a believer in Christ. Many Christians felt lost when they read without the lens of Grace, it is like walking from town A to town B, and yet not knowing where town B is? Like Walking in wilderness, without end. Like the children of Israel after claiming the Law covenant at Mt. Sinai, walking in wilderness for 40 years, what they could have reached in 11 days from Egypt to the promised land.

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When you read bible and there are obscured passages that are not in line with Grace, do not get panic, first of all, always ask these 3 basic questions :

1) What are they speaking about? (Old / New Covenant)
2) Who is speaking?
3) Whom or to whom are they speaking to?

1) What are they speaking about ? (Old or New Covenant?):
Bible is divided into 2 parts, and is not for a show of neatness or any other reasons, but clearly, there has been a change from the Old to the New testament. The death of Jesus on the cross signifies the point of change. The Cross: the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, and the subsequent outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost, divides history and how God relates with us.

The basis of Bible promises:
Old covenant (OT) is the Law: we were blessed if we were good, and obedience to the Law. By the same token, cursed if disobeyed the Law. (God Himself had made the old covenant obsolete – Heb 8:13)
New covenant (NT) is the unmerited favor of God (Grace): we are blessed because He is good. There is no curse any longer, as Jesus had hung on the cross to take the curses and all punishment of all sins.

Asking this question:
a) Is this scripture describing the old law covenant that condemns sinners? or
b) Is it describing the new grace covenant that makes sinners righteous.

Reading with the Lens of Grace, even when you read the Old Testament, you should see Jesus is hidden inside the verses. Jesus taught that all of the OT were shadows of Him.

Luk 24:25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!
Luk 24:26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?”
Luk 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
Luk 24:44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

The role of OT for us in the New Covenant:
Rom 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope.

2) Who is speaking:
All bible words quoted in the Bible, are truly words of Many people being truly recorded, including the words of Satan, the devils, the fool, the depressed like Job, etc. So, NOT all quotations are the truth about God or Jesus.

For example, this is the words of a wicked, and lazy servant:

Mat 25:24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.
Mat 25:25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’
Mat 25:26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?
Mat 25:27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.

Next is the words of a man named Job, who had this one really bad week when his livestock were stolen, his servants were slain, and his kids were killed when a house fell on them. For some reason, Job thought God was behind his loss for he said:

Job 1:21 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Anyone who has suffered loss has probably heard this verse. It’s often quoted at funerals by the ministering Pastors. We even sing songs about it. For some strange reason people seem to find comfort in believing that God is responsible for their loss. But, it was not the truth about God, but it was Job’s own words being truly recorded word by word, and Job was not in sanity of mind when he said it !  Job said some dumb things about God. Later on in the story Job would come to regret his choice of words saying “I spoke of things I did not understand” (Job 42:3).

If you want the very best insight into God’s character, you are better off looking at Jesus, who said “anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9), while Job, who had only heard of God but did not actually know him (see Job 42:5). Furthermore, Rom 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

So if God is doing the giving, who is doing the taking? Again, Jesus provides the answer: “The thief (= Satan & his cohorts) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10).

3) Whom are they speaking to:
The context will reveal, like Questions from Pharisees / Jesus’ answers would relate to Jews under the Law, and not to Christian Gentiles. “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” (Matt 15:24)

When Jesus spoke, He also look at whom He was speaking to?, Is the person a Jew who lived under the Old Covenant ? Like this story of a young ruler:

Luk 18:18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
Luk 18:19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.
Luk 18:20 You know the commandments: ‘DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,’ ‘DO NOT MURDER,’ ‘DO NOT STEAL,’ ‘DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS,’ ‘HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER.’ ”
Luk 18:21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”
Luk 18:22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

The correct answer for the above question of the young ruler, today under the New Covenant, would be: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”(Rom. 10:13). or “”Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” ”(Acts 16:31).

However, the ruler was living under the Old Covenant and Jesus spoke to him also as such. Jesus was saying the way to eternal life is by obeying the 10 commandments. The ruler boasted that he had done all, and Jesus being the expert on Law, unleashed the first commandment of “Thou shall not have other God”, and money seemed to be the god of this young ruler, as he could not do “by selling everything he had and giving to the poor?”

Forgiveness in the Old & New Covenant:
As mentioned earlier, the Old Law Covenant is a conditional Covenant, you had to do this in order that God will do this. So, this is also reflected in the way Jesus taught His disciples to pray, because Jesus was still walking in the era of Old Covenant,

Matt 6:12 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.
Mat 6:14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
Mat 6:15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Jesus walking in the era of OT, while no body (except Jesus Himself) knew the upcoming of New Covenant yet, and although at times He promoted the New Covenant by making people realize that they cannot perform the Old Covenant by God’s standard. (The Jews Pharisees tried to make the Law “do-able”, but Jesus always brought up the Law to its esteemed original God’s standard)

OT: IF this, THEN. This is a conditional clause. “IF you forgive, THEN He will forgive.” “IF you do not, THEN He will not.”

Compare with the era after Jesus’ death and resurrection, verses quoted by the Apostle Paul.
Eph 4:32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you.
Col 3:13 Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.

So, there has been a change: IF God had forgiven me, THEN I forgive. Forgiveness is about our relationship with Christ. IF we have received God’s forgiveness through Him THEN we can and should forgive others. (see my article on “Un-Forgiveness” https://liftingjesus.org/2013/06/12/if-god-had-forgiven-all-our-sins-past-present-and-future-why-then-must-we-forgive-others-2/)

Love in the OT & NT:
Jesus summed up the Old Covenant law also as Love: “Love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and love others as ourselves. (Matt 22:37-40) ; However notice that the Love originated from man towards God, and furthermore, it is an impossibility that no one could do. Can anyone proclaim to love like this? (May be the pharisees will boast this way), as Jesus knew that no one can love like God.

Compare with the New Covenant of Grace, Love has been defined as:
1Jn 4:19 We love because he first loved us.
1Jn 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

It is not our love for God, it is His love for us, so great is His Love, God loves us with all His Heart, Soul, and Mind, that He came to save us,
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Joh 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

As Jesus has loved you with all His Heart, Soul, and Mind, and with that new strength of Love that He first gave you, now you are able to love one another.

Summary or Bible Era:

OT n NT

Fearing and Trembling , the meaning in the New Testament

“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)

There was a time, before Jesus came into this earth, when human being was trying their best to save themselves, but nothing they did was good enough to bring them to heaven. God even called every righteous deed of human being or every self righteousness, being: “filthy rags” as said in: 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.

The term “filthy rags” is quite strong. The word “filthy” in the Hebrew language comes from the word “iddah” which literally means “the bodily fluids from the woman’s menstrual cycle.” The word “rags” comes from “beged”, meaning “a rag or garment.” Therefore, these “righteous acts” are considered by God as repugnant as a soiled feminine hygiene product.

But thank God, the era was over, men finally see that they could not achieve God’s required righteousness by self effort. You see, in order to see God face to face in heaven, you and I must not have even a tiny bit stain of sin and must possess God’s required perfect righteousness, which can only be given as a gift by God (Jesus) Himself who possess perfect righteousness. Jesus came to impute righteousness of God in Him.

2Co 5:21  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 

Now after we were made righteousness of God in Him, there are some Christians who still be left doubted about their future salvation from then onward (from the moment they receive Christ Jesus as their Lord & Savior). Many Christians still believe they must work our their salvation with fear and tremble. Like the fear and tremble as in the old covenant of Law, which is truly being in fear/scared. However, in the new Testament’s “fear and tremble” is having a different meaning.

The problem stemmed from this verse:  Php 2:12  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;

If we just pluck one verse like that, we may get misunderstanding, but when we see the next verse it is clear: Php 2:13  for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Look carefully: For It is God, and NOT you and I, but it is GOD who works inside you and I, and for us and through us, according to His will, and His good pleasure. It is really awesome isn’t it ? We ought to feel amazed by the fact that it is not us who work it ! It is God who works it. And, if it is God who does it, then it surely will be perfect ! If we were to do it, then surely only “filthy rags” as the result.

Another instance in the New Testament where we can see the Bible interpreting the bible, in the meaning of Fearing and Trembling, was in the story of woman with the long suffering of blood disease for 12 years she had been suffering. She had seen many physicians yet to no avail. She touched the garment of Jesus in hoping for miracle. Indeed, she got healed.

Mar 5:30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?”
Mar 5:31 But His disciples said to Him, “You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, ‘Who touched Me?’ ”
Mar 5:32 And He looked around to see her who had done this thing.
Mar 5:33 But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.
Mar 5:34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace, and be healed of your affliction.”

Do you see why the woman fearing and trembling ? The verse clearly said it was because of her knowing what had happened to her. What happened to her ?She was completely healed ! after 12 years of having the issues of blood. So, fearing and trembling is a good expression of awesome and admiration for the Lord. Amazed by what had happened, the splendor and glory of God.

I was fearing and trembling too, When I saw miracle happened to my court case during my prison trial in 2006, in the court room when I learnt my sentence was only 6 months just nice and precisely as what had been foretold by the Lord, instead of the sentence I deserved, a Long sentence-years, as expected & told by my Lawyer. I really feared and trembled, not because of fear / scared, but because of being awed – awesome !, unspeakable Joy and unexplained blow in my mind, I just could not believe it ! I was so amazed in fear and tremble.

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