Once And For All

September 6th, 2019 § 0

Scripture tells us that one of the names given to our enemy the devil is “the accuser of the brethren”. It also tells us in Revelation that “the saints overcame him by the blood of the Lamb …”. I don’t know about you, but my experience has been that the enemy never misses an opportunity to point out my past sins or failures (whether from 10 years or 10 minutes ago). But what I have also learned is that the “the enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may destroy” can be rendered powerless if I simply remember what the Lord Jesus has done for me. Specifically, how His work on the cross for me was totally complete and perfect. So, in this writing I will be emphasizing the “Once and for all” nature of the death of Christ in hopes that you may come to know in experience that “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. As you will see, as it relates to both you personally and to mankind, the redemptive impact of Christ’s death was so far reaching that it took into account ALL THE SIN OF ALL PEOPLE FOR ALL TIME.

Hebrews 2:9 says, “But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.” This reminds me of another scripture in 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, which states “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their sins against them, and He has given us the ministry of reconciliation”. Then there is that popular verse displayed at sporting events around the world, John 3:16, which says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”. There are many more verses like these but the main point here is that CHRIST DIED ONCE … FOR ALL PEOPLE.

Furthermore, Hebrews 9:26 says, “Otherwise He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself”. Likewise, “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22). In the same vein, the Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the scriptures”. Again, I could quote a multitude of other scriptures that show that CHRIST DIED ONCE … FOR ALL SIN.

Moving on to another eternal aspect of the gospel, the Spirit of God bears witness in Hebrews 10:12 that “He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God”. This scripture captures the essence of the third aspect of Christ’s death being elaborated upon, that CHRIST DIED ONCE … FOR ALL TIME. Unfortunately, over many centuries starting literally in the year 1 AD, the enemy has planted a multitude of false doctrines in the churches and in many cases we have adopted church practices which can be traced back to a lack of faith in, and understanding of, the 3 aspects of the gospel mentioned herein. So, to once again reiterate my main point, Christ died once and for all … once for all people, for all sin, and for all time.

I believe that the main purpose of preaching & teaching is twofold, one is for evangelizing a lost world and the other is for the edification of the church. Although the Protestant Reformation in the 1500s brought a great deal of light to the church of Christ, it is my firm belief after 500 years that the teachings of the Protestant Reformation need to be replaced by a fresh revelation of Christ’s death and resurrection. We need to rid ourselves of the residual religious dogmas that have attached themselves to our belief systems like barnacles on a whale. In many cases the church has become like the religious crowd in Jesus day, to whom He said, “You are experts at setting aside and nullifying the word of God in order to keep your man-made tradition and regulations” (Mark 7:9). Let us not be like them but let us follow the instructions of the apostle Paul in his letter to the Galatian saints and “cast out the bondwoman and her son”.

In closing I want to offer up this simple prayer to my God and yours. “Dear Father, deliver us from the devil’s lies that would seek to rob us of our inheritance as your children. Open our spiritual eyes to see that the death of your Son was indeed once for all people, for all sin, for all time. As the classic hymn “It is Well with My Soul” says, “My sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more”. May we see that Jesus’ death was in fact our death and that we have now been raised through His resurrection power to sit with Him in heavenly places. As we rest there through the mystery of union with your Son, let us gaze upon His face and glimpse His eyes of flaming fire, thereby being transformed into His likeness through Your Spirit. Equip us to love one another even as He loves us. Last but certainly not least, Magnify Your Son Jesus who was dead but is alive forevermore! In Jesus name. Amen.”

Chris Wiley

Lord, To Whom Shall We Go?

May 27th, 2019 § 0

Although Spotify and I-Tunes are the popular music formats of today, most of you can probably still relate to the frustration that occurs when the radio reception goes bad on your favorite station. You are jamming out to a great song while heading down the highway and then the broken lyrics and scratchy sounds take over. After fiddling with the dial and pushing the search button to find the signal again, you get impatient and end up switching to another station. I liken this scenario to the current Christian climate in America, where there is an endless variety of “new radio channels” in the form of “dynamic” preachers, contemporary praise services, churches for the unchurched, trendy best-selling books, TV programs, social media sites, etc. This analogy reminds me of the story in Acts chapter 17 where the Apostle Paul was speaking to the Epicurean and Stoic (Greek) philosophers. The scripture says that “all the Athenians and foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or hear some new thing.”

This is one of the crafty tactics of the enemy to attempt to deceive you, much like he did with “Eve, with your minds being led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Cor 11:3). Scripture tells us that God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. So, it is no surprise that the enemy of our souls uses confusion to discourage us and rob us of our peace. Nor is it strange that he would use this obsessive-compulsive search for “some new thing” to complicate our minds and distract us from that “simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” to which we have been called.

Can you think of any Christian fads, popular movements, or best-selling books that you got all excited about in the beginning but after some time had passed you realized that they were just “some new thing” that was being peddled for money and/or religious prestige? I have a recollection from the 1990s that in my zeal to “go hard after God,” I attended a large religious meeting in a stadium where we all stood up with our swords of the spirit and slayed a demon hovering over the city. Unfortunately, that demon must have been like the multi-headed Hydra monster of Greek mythology, because in the following weeks that city saw the same crimes and sins being committed as before. Live, learn, and thank God for his patience!

To emphasize my original point further, I now turn to an event in the life of the apostle Peter. In chapter 6 of the gospel of John, Jesus says to the Jews in foreshadowing his death and resurrection, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you … for My flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.” As a result of this and other related “hard sayings,” scripture says “from that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more.” At that point, Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” Then Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” It should be obvious and go without saying, but there is no other Person to turn to for the things pertaining to life and godliness.

In summary, the next time you hear some “hard saying” in scripture or you encounter some difficult life experience that you just can’t believe God would allow, remember the words of Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” In like fashion, when bad reception obscures the music on your life’s favorite radio station, avoid chasing after “some new thing” on the other channels. There is simply no “new thing” to substitute for Christ Himself that will bring you the satisfaction and joy that your heart longs for and for which He died. As scripture says in Colossians, “Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus as Lord (by faith), so walk in Him (by faith).”

– Chris Wiley

Did God REALLY say THAT?

May 16th, 2012 § 1

Since the beginning of time the devil has been in the sales business and he has been pretty successful at it. To get a glimpse of his tactics we have to go back to where his career began. In Genesis 3:1-5 we read “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from [a]any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (NASB) I want to draw your attention to 5 words the enemy used then and is still using today… DID GOD ACTUALLY SAY THAT? The devil as we know is not creative but he is very crafty. The deceptive tactic he uses is one of confusion. He knows he cannot steal our salvation (although many believe and are taught they can lose it) so he goes to his default setting of attempting to confuse as he did with Adam & Eve. Notice he says in verse 5 “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” He was convincing them that they must DO something (eat the fruit) in order to BECOME like God. Is it any different today? Many believers are still falling for the lie of you must perform in order to become. Unfortunately it is widely taught either by the spoken word or is implied that we are saved by grace but perfected by performance. And we wonder why so many people are confused and want nothing to do with Christianity. It is taught that salvation is a gift and cannot be earned. This part we have right. Then we turn right around and say now you must “pay God back” for what He did for you. I believed this lie for years and it brought me so much frustration and lead to eventually burning out. One day the light bulb went off and I discovered that a gift cannot be earned. How insulting if after receiving a gift for your birthday you then tell the person who gave you the gift “ thank you so much now how much will I have to pay you back”? Doesn’t that look a lot like how we approach our relationship with Christ? It’s either a gift or a wage, and God does not hand out wages!

Now to get back to the point (sorry I went off on a rabbit trail) the enemy is still saying “Did God REALLY say THAT?? For example in 1 John 4:17 we read an almost unbelievable statement that says “as He is so are we in this world”. The thought the devil would like you to think is “ Did God really say you are like Him? That can’t be true because your behavior today and this last week looks nothing like Him’. One secret I will let you in on is the devil will never say “you are dirty or unholy, or whatever. He will convince you to say to yourself “I am dirty and unholy.” See the difference? This is where the back and forth in and out of fellowship mindset comes from. Also, a lot of teaching out there will lead you to believe that “one day you will be like Him if you obey perfectly, and confess every sin you ever commit so you can stay in fellowship”. Once you get to heaven THEN you will be like Him. Here is a truth for you to meditate on…everything you will be THERE you already are HERE!! God is not going to do a last minute polish before you go to heaven. What is true there is true here NOW!! You are not waiting to be sanctified there, you are fully sanctified here (Hebrews 10:14) You are SEATED WITH CHRIST in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) Here are some more unbelievable truths that are actually in the Bible! See if you can see why the enemy would TRY and say to you ” Did God REALLY say THAT?”

John 3:17-18- For God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged ; he who does not believe is judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Colossians 2:9-10- For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.

1 Peter 3:18- For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.

Let me end with this. Remember the game many of us played as kids where we sat in a circle and one of us was given a sentence or phrase? We would then say it to the next person and it would travel all the way back to the original person? What was originally said sounded nothing like the original statement! This is exactly what has ben going on for centuries, and it continues today when it comes to the gospel. Rather than saying something or teaching something that sounds like the gospel, why don’t we just go back and read the ACTUAL words of Christ and the apostles. Be encouraged today that WHO you ARE in Christ is REALLY true RIGHT NOW!!!

Jeff Fitzgerald

Let Jesus the Christ Live Through You

May 13th, 2012 § 2

“And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He said unto him, Follow Me. And he arose, and followed Him” – Matthew 9:9

To “follow” means to come or go after, move behind in the same direction: to come or go with; to accept the guidance or leadership of; to adhere to the cause or principles of; to be governed by; obey; comply with (John 10:27-29, Romans 10:9-10,13).

When a person first comes to Jesus, it is impossible to know everything that following Jesus entails. No one, however, should be fearful of making a total commitment to Him because of some imagined problem that may never come to pass. There should be a willingness to forsake everything to follow Jesus. Once we make that decision, then Christ Jesus begins to live through us and we find a strength that is not our own, and is equal to whatever test we may encounter Galatians 2:20).

It is Christ Jesus living through us that is the secret of victorious Christian living. It is not us living for Jesus, but Jesus living through us. Failure to understand this simple truth is at the root of all legalism and the performance mentality. The law focuses on the outer man and tells it what it must do. Grace focuses on the inner man and tells it what is already done through Christ Jesus. Those who are focused on what they must do are under the law. Those who are focused on what Christ Jesus has done for them are walking under grace.

Just as the life of a root is found in the soil, or a branch in the vine, or a fish in the sea; the believer’s true life is found in union with Christ Jesus. The Christian life is not just hard to live; it’s impossible in our human strength. The only way to walk in victory is to let Jesus live through you.

God loves you ! There is nothing you can do about that. Talk to Him today, He’d love to hear from you. You are an important part of God’s plan.

Brother Coop
Right Time—Right Place Ministries

The Sound of Grace

April 22nd, 2012 § 0

By: James Schulze

“Do you hear that horrible sound? What is that? The grinding, shrieking, and squeaking rumble seems to be getting louder and louder by the minute. What a terrible noise! WHAT ON EARTH IS IT?”

Well the truth is, it’s possible that not everyone reading this may hear this hideous shrill sound, because it’s only heard with spiritual ears. But if you have heard it or you are hearing it, you probably already know what it is. It’s actually something we’ve been hearing for quite a while, yet it seems to be being magnified at this moment in time. It is a very harsh noise! It penetrates your soul! When you hear it, you can tell that it is something massive and mechanical, and yet it is also very human. If you listen closely you can actually distinguish individual voices that make up the collective clatter.

When you separate the sounds, you can hear a pastor and his wife who cannot handle the thought of one more day in ministry. You quiet yourself further and hear the screams of a believer who is drowning in condemnation. He is seemingly surrounded by and even being attacked by the constant reminder of his sins. Sins, that he was once promised, were buried in the deepest parts of this sea and never to be remembered. The hum is becoming deafening now. You can hardly stand to listen for another second. Just as you’re reaching up to cover your ears, suddenly the clamor dies down and settles to an almost tolerable level. You listen yet again, desperate to understand the abrupt change that just took place, yet all you hear above the sound of the original rumble is a soft whisper saying, “Grace to you.”

What I’ve just described to you is what God showed me a few mornings ago while in prayer. That morning I was talking to the Lord about how I could not understand how the church has missed this incredible message of grace for so long, and the “fallout” that has taken place as a result of it. As so many others that have come to the knowledge of this grace, I have my own story. And I know how costly the absence of the “message of grace” is in the life of a believer. I (could personally) remember sitting behind my beautiful desk in a lush office, flooded with ministry opportunities, but I was constantly frustrated with the religious message I had been “programmed” with. Something inside of me was saying, “There’s absolutely no way that we are preaching the same message that Paul preached.” I knew intuitively and understood that the sound I was hearing was the sound of the religious machine grinding its gears and wounding the Saints.
What I didn’t know was what the Holy Spirit said to me next. He said, “James, what’s happened in religion is this. Instead of trusting in the simplicity of Jesus Christ and making grace the centerpiece and power source of life, men have used grace instead as a lubricant to oil their religious machines.” I asked Him what He meant. He said, “These religious machines always break down and wear out. So whenever that happens and whenever their systems, principles, patterns, and programs don’t do the job, THEN they apply some grace in order to keep things functioning. And in a sense it has, and does, because even a little bit of grace is incredibly powerful. Tragically and typically My grace is used to manipulate things in the direction already chosen by the system.”

This immediately made perfect sense to me and settled some things in my own spirit. Recently I have noticed a spike in interest regarding the subject of grace, everywhere. It has become an extremely popular subject in churches. Grace is the “buzz-word” post 2010. Pastors everywhere are doing Sunday Schools and series on it. I have also noticed, however, that hardly anyone is actually preaching on “the finished work of Christ” with any real revelation, boldness, or impact. The potential for the transforming power of grace in the life of the believer is not being actualized. Everyone wants to say they have grace, that they believe in grace, and that they are preaching grace; but having come to a revelation of grace myself, I know that when it comes in its pure form, it leaves no stone unturned in your faith. It changes everything!

All of this brings the question, with all of the buzz—why is there no massive change or shift in the church at large? The answer is simple. Religionists have looked at the huge storage towers of heaven, filled to the brim with God’s amazing grace, which is ready to fuel the lives of believers here on earth. Then instead of connecting the church to these unending resources, they’ve grabbed a few gallons of grace and used the “oil of joy” to lubricate their own failing operating systems. No Christian group has ever been able to survive with a total lack of grace. Therefore every movement in history has believed in and instituted this truth to some measure, for without it they would be terminal. But few have seen the sufficiency of it and sadly the church for centuries has not fully believed what the Lord said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

I had the opportunity to share what I believed the Lord had taught me with James Barron. He completely agreed and said it back to me in these words- “It seems that many preachers talk about grace but it’s really just lip service. I never thought about it that way but you heard from the Master correctly. Grace is being used merely as a lubricant to keep their legalistic machines running instead of seeing grace as the source of power! I love it! Their religious machines only produce a form of godliness while they deny the very source of power of godliness which is the grace of God in Jesus!”

Grace is enough! Grace is the whisper that overpowers the screams. Grace is the oil dripped upon the religious machines that does keep them going and doing some good in the earth. Can we just imagine if they ever got the revelation that what they had been using as a lubricant was actually the fuel and that the church is an organism fueled by God’s gracious Spirit and not a man-powered machine? Oh Lord, let that revelation come; the revelation of your grace and the revelation of your Holy Spirit of promise! Amen!

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