What’s So Amazing About God’s Grace?

WHAT’S SO AMAZING ABOUT GOD’S GRACE?

“Can We Really Do Whatever We Like?” –  Romans 6: 1

In 2008 recording artist Tip Harris better known as T.I. produced a song called Whatever You Like. It was released as the lead single (second overall) from his sixth studio album, Paper Trail (2008):

“Stacks on deck, Patron on ice and we can pop bottles all night. And baby you can have whatever you like. I said you could have whatever you like.”

The relative question for the Christian is, if God has freely given grace to overcome our sins why can’t we do whatever we like? The Apostle Paul addressed this question in Romans chapter 6 which is called “The Declaration of Emancipation” because it declares that we are no longer slaves to sin. The Apostle Paul senses a “Do whatever you like” understanding of God’s grace based upon interpretation of grace abounding over sin given in the previous chapter (Romans 5:21).

Romans chapter 6 captures the thoughts of the reader who would sarcastically think, “If grace abounds when there is sin, let’s really sin so that grace can really abound!” It is for that reason that Paul opens Romans chapter 6 with the question, “What then, shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”

Romans chapter 6 is a clear directive to every believer that grace does not allow us to do whatever we want as though God is ok with it. To live how you want, to do what you want without respect for God’s will, way, wishes and His Word and then lean on God’s grace as a means to support a sinful lifestyle is grace abuse.

Lewis Smede says, “Grace is not a ticket to Fantasy Island. Grace is not a potion to charm life to our liking. Grace does not cure all our cancers, transform all our kids into winners, or send us all soaring into the high skies of sex and success. Grace is the amazing power to look earthy reality full in the face, see its sad and tragic edges, feel its cruel cuts, join in the primeval chorus against its outrageous unfairness, and yet feel in your deepest being that it is good and right for you to be alive on God’s good earth.”

What’s So Amazing About Grace?

Grace Leads You to Commitment

Charles Spurgeon in a sermon titled, “The Obedience of Faith” said, “The more of faith in Him you have, the more of obedience to Him will you manifest.” Our faith should drive us to holy committed living.

Grace Lifts Your Consciousness

When one becomes aware that everything they have or have become is a result of God’s grace it is as if a bright light illumines ones spirituality.

Grace Lightens Your Convictions

When the Christian does sin there remains the assurance that grace is still working on their behalf. What it all boils down to is this; if your heart is not right you will never know the value of God’s Grace! Conviction of sin is necessary to appreciating grace.

In The Grip of Grace,

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Dr. Oscar T. Moses

Something Has Gone Wrong In The Field!!!

“Something Has Gone Wrong In The Field”

 Matthew 13:24-30

      Something has gone wrong in the field. Sixty years after launching the civil rights movement African Americans seem to have forgotten the struggles that were launched on the fields of social justice and equality. How did this happen? Low voter turnout for political change in economically deprived, educationally disregarded and high crime neighborhoods speak volumes to how far we have disengaged from the struggle. There was a time when the issues of social equality and social justice were the field in which African Americans toiled for fairness. However, something has gone wrong in the field. We were once conscientiously clear and had a sense of pride and a plan that spread throughout our communities and Black college campuses. Our struggle creatively, strategically and intentionally targeted oligarchs and plutocrats that fought to maintain the status quo. In the 1950’s and 60’s we engaged a righteous unified response to racism, poverty and inequities among our people because we understood how essential it was to our future. Something has gone wrong in the field. We have gone from raised fist of protest and African American pride to sagging pants of cultural shame. We have lost the yearning to fight for a seat at the front of the bus to fighting to take backseat anywhere.

       In 2015, we have joined ranks with many within the dominant culture where right has become wrong and wrong has become right. Something has gone wrong in the filed. It is difficult to place a finger on when or how this change occurred but it has become apparent. Something has occurred in the world that has slowly and sinfully turned many African Americans against the mindset, mores, precepts and principles of God that fought for our rights in the past. We have embraced a “Cultural Jesus” that is acceptable and accomodating to what is popular and reject the “Historical Jesus” that has been reliable throughout the ages. Something has gone wrong in the field. The struggle has dwindled and police are kiling young black men like target practice without a collective cry from our communities. The government has built twice as many prisons as schools. The economy has collapsed within many African American communities because of political disinvestments and education has not been a priority. Yet, there is not the same struggle or passion to protests social injustices as there once was among African Americans. Something has gone wrong in the field. What happen?

     Jesus told a story about a farmer that planted good seed in his field. At night an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and slipped away before dawn. Over some time the farmhands noticed tares growing among the wheat so they went to the farmer and asked him, “Did you plant good seed? Where did these tares come from?” The farmer said, “Some enemy did this.” The farmhands asked, “Should we weed out the tares?” The farmer said, “No, if you weed the tares, you’ll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I’ll instruct the harvesters to pull up the tares and tie them in bundles for the fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn.”

      The farmer is Jesus. He plants good seeds because that’s all He has. The field is the world and the workers are true Christians. This parable teaches us that those who are at work for the Lord of the Harvest should be able to look at the world and come to the conclusion that something has gone wrong in the field. The enemy has planted seeds of corruption within the struggle that has compromised the integrity of the good seeds. However, as the farmer indicated in the parable, “harvest time is coming.” God will do the separating. What do we do until then?

 Watch and Pray

      Jesus never said or gave the impression that we do nothing but He always encouraged believers to watch and pray. Why? Early detection is always the best policy and prayer opens up our eyes. My late grandfather used to say, “Watch everybody and watch yourself!” Look for early warning signs of enemy invasion in your own life as well as the people you are around. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus instructed His disciples to watch and pray. They fell asleep. Jesus was attempting to teach the disciples that prayer enhances your performance when the enemy shows up. That’s why Peter performed foolishly when the guards came in the garden and cut the soldiers ear off. Had he been praying when Jesus asked him to pray he would have known how to perform when the enemy showed up.

Rely on the Word

     The Word of God is crucial to staying spiritually awake and detecting enemy invasion. When society lines up against God’s Word it is a clear indicator that seeds of corruption have been sown.

Hope in the Harvest

      Harvest time is coming! The enemies who plant seeds of corruption will have their day. Father Henry Fehren was quoted in Christianity Today saying, “The fact that evil people prosper is a problem that goes back into the Old Testament. But Jesus said that our Father causes the sun to shine on the bad as well as the good, and his rain to fall on the honest and dishonest alike. The passing ‘rewards’ of evil should not tempt us to abandon good. The evil person is like the man who jumped from the 50th floor without a parachute. When he passed the 30th, someone shouted, ‘How’s it going?’ And the jumper answered, ‘So far so good.’” When evil happens and evil people prosper it is like the jumper who is only at the 30th floor. Their end is inevitable . . . even if it is delayed. As Christians we know what’s going to happen in the end.

Improving My Serve!

Dr. Oscar T. Moses

Something Gone Wrong In The Field

It’s Just That Ugly Part Of Me!!!

It’s Just That Ugly Part Of Me

Romans 7:15-25

Every now and again we can hear a new tune on the radio for the first time that really hits home and arrests the core of our consciousness. Like a leitmotif in a Wagnerian opera, the theme and the words of a song can vibrate and unfold like a flower bursting from an array of musical brilliance. This is was what happened to me one night as I found myself winding down from the days madness. As I thought about the events that occurred that day, within the background, there was a voice on the radio crooning to music and coupled with inviting and intoxicating lyrics that broke into my concentration. It was the sultry and soulful voice of a rising R&B and jazz artist by the name of Avery Sunshine. She is a singer, songwriter and pianist, who rooted in Gospel, brings forth a cornucopia of music complexities. Her style has been coined jazzgosoul, with elements of jazz, gospel and R&B soul. This night she sung a song I had never heard before but the storyline was so familiar! You see, she hit on an area that all of us find difficult to talk about, our ugly side! Here are her words:

“Last night, I got mad and I said things I shouldn’t have said. I wanted him to know how deeply I feel I wouldn’t even let him talk. All he could do is walk away. He was gone and it was too late for me to say, “It’s just that ugly part of me!” – Avery Sunshine

Let me repeat that! “It’s just that ugly side of me!” With that snatch of a phrase I was arrested and handcuffed. God had somehow blazed and baptized the lips of an R&B singer to remind me just how messed up I really am and why I struggle with being a sinner and saint simultaneously. I was able to see our text from a fresh new perspective. Whether we want to admit or not all of us have a side to us that is considered the “Ugly Part” or the “Dark Side” or what Carl Jung calls the “Shadow Side”. I mean, the person that surfaces like roaches when the lights are out and scatters when the light comes on; you know, the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde part of our personalities.

Have you ever been there? Wresting with good and evil! You love God with all of your your heart but every now and then the “old man” pops up and reminds you of who you used to be. If you’ve ever rode on that bus or walked down that street then you certainly can identify with the author of this text. His name is Paul and in Romans 7:24 he cries out, “Oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Paul confessed that he has an ugly part of himself that he can’t get away from. I said to myself, “If it could happen to a saint like Paul, who am I to think I am immune from the temptations and tribulations of life.

In Romans 7:15-25 Paul speaks of his own struggle and lays his soul bare before us and articulates his struggles. He grapples with his own sin. Note these 3 biblical observations:

The Presence of Evil Is Inescapable: In verse 21 Paul said, “I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.” This is a reminder to every born again believer that we are never too far out of reach from the devils tactics. He knows your address.

The Pull of Evil Is Alluring: In verses 22 & 23 Paul said, “For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin in my members.”

The Relief from Evil Is Available: In verse 24 Paul cries out in desperation, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

When Paul uses the term “wretched” it is the Greek word talaipōros, and the word means miserable. Here it is! Paul described sin as a “The Ugly Side” or a corpse that has attached itself to us as an opponent. In Paul’s day if a person was found guilty of murder they would take the victims dead corpse and tie it to the guilty offenders body. They would bind the dead corpse head to head, torso to torso together until eventually death and decay from the corpse would seep into the living body. This is how Paul described the ugly nature of sin, as a dead man taking life from him.

What can we walk away with by reading this? THE STRUGGLE IS REAL! Martin Luther King Jr. said, “There is a tension at the heart of the universe between good and evil.” Sigmund Freud said it was between the id and superego.” In other words there is a civil war going on inside each and every one of us.

How do you handle life when who you really are is who you don’t want the world to really see?

  1. You Must Make The Confession: Paul confessed that he was a “wretched man” and that there was an ugly side to him. He took sides with God against himself concerning his weaknesses. He acknowledged the “white elephant” in the room. As long as we continue to act as though we have no faults, nothing will ever change in any of our lives. Confession is the first sign that you really want help. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
  2. You Must Reach For The Right Deliverer: Paul said, “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death”. Paul recognized that he could not deliver himself. Paul did not say “What” shall deliver me but “Who” shall deliver me. Dear friends in the faith, it is possible to be saved and still not delivered. The only way we can be delivered is to recognize our powerlessness, stop fighting, and submit to God. James 4:7 says,Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
  3. You Must Strip The Dead Man Of Power: Paul is struggling to free himself from the ugly side, from the old nature of sin. It is possible to strip the dead man’s power. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” There is a struggle between the spirit man and the flesh and the man you feed is the man that will win in this fight!  I am reminded of the story of the man who fought pit bulls. He would fight the dogs every week and would take side bets on which dog was going to win. Every week he seemed to know which dog would win. Then someone asked him how he knew which one would win. He simply said, “The one that I want to win I feed.” That’s all I am trying to say, feed the man that you want to win. God’s Word is food for the soul!!!

Because of His Grace!

Dr. Oscar T. Moses

Ugly Part of Me