For ye have heard of my
conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I
persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews'
religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous
of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me
from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that
I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and
blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before
me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
As a minister there are times that the Lord will plainly
give me many messages to preach, while at other times I struggle to get a clear
message from Him. This morning is a struggle. I labored all week
trying to decide what the Lord would have me say to the congregation this day.
I believe He has put it upon my heart to speak of "Deep Truths." Sometimes
"Deep Truths" sting! I feel that we preachers fail to deliver an adequate
knowledge of grace. We focus on grace as being the forgiveness of our sins
and the bringing of us into the right relationship with Almighty God.
Believing that alone is an incomplete knowledge of grace. Grace is more
than simply drawing the "Get Out of Jail Free" card. Grace is more than
having your slate wiped clean.
The Apostle Paul (Saul was his original name) at one time
was not a friend to the church. He was one of their greatest tormentors.
Being a great Jewish leader and a Pharisee, he saw the new gospel as nothing
more than something to be stamped out with his foot. Then one day when
Saul was on the way to Damascus to persecute the church, he met Jesus. A
light shone from heaven so bright that it startled him. A voice from
heaven cried out, "Saul why do you persecute Me?" From that day forward,
Paul's life was changed.
A want to show you the other side of grace. You were
born into this world by the grace of God; you were on accident. There is
no such thing as an accident according to God. You are sitting in this
church today by the grace of God. There is food in your pantry because of
the grace of God. Your life and everything you claim is because of the
grace of God. Paul realized that. In Galatians 1:15 he says,
"When it pleased God who separated me from my mother's womb and called me by His
There is a missing part in each of us until we come to know
the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot see it from the outside, but, rather
from the within your heart. Lost person, you realize what I am talking
about. You are longing for something. You may not even be aware of
what your problem really is -- Can I tell you what it is? You are not
walking with Jesus Christ. Until you claim His blood, you will not have
the fulfillment you are looking for.
I said earlier, "We preachers paint an incomplete portrait
of grace." If I should ask, how would you define grace? Some of you
would say it is God's unmerited favor, and you would be right. Some would
say it is divine forgiveness, and you would be right. Even others would
say it is the right road to Heaven; you would be right, too. While all of
those answers are right, they are all incomplete. There is more to grace
than being forgiven. Look at Galatians 1:16. Nor only are we saved
by grace, we are saved to do one important thing -- as Paul says, "To
reveal His Son in me." You are redeemed, saved, and justified for
one reason, so that your life can show the life of Christ in you. I have a
problem with those people who say they are saved by Christ, yet their lives do
not reveal Christ living in them. We are saved by grace not only to escape
Hell, but also to reveal Christ in us.
Our churches were once fortresses and now have become weak.
Holiness has sunk to a lower standard for those who claim to love Jesus.
Those inside the church are being led down the wrong path of righteousness.
You cannot become saved and continue to live the same of sinful life. We
are judged by the fruit we bear. You can never show the life of Christ by
participating in the sinful pleasures of this world. the church is a
sanctified, called-out body of believers who have placed their lives in the
hands of an awesome God.
You say, "Preacher, I am not perfect." None of us is
perfect and the Lord knows that; but, it boils down to one thing -- what is the
motivation of your heart? In our Wednesday night Bible study we were
discussing a verse in Proverbs that states, "Those who speak a false witness
shall not go unpunished." So I started thinking -- why would someone
purposely not tell the truth? Then the Lord said to me, "You big dummy --
they can't tell the truth because their hearts are not right." Now is
stands to reason that for those who say, "I love Jesus" and are participating in
sinful deeds of the world, they are living a lie.
What motivates us to do the things we do? Is it pure
thoughts on the things of God or is it thoughts of the flesh? God's grace
is not only to get you safely out of this life, but also to "Show Jesus."
That is my only purpose in life -- to show Jesus in my daily walk. I try
to be a good citizen in the community and I try to be a good husband; but my
number one priority is living the crucified life of Christ and to let His light
shine through me. That should be your purpose, too. Paul says in
Galatians 1:16 "To reveal His Son in me."
The kids sing a little song "This Little Light of Mine; I'm
gonna let it shine." Jesus said in Matthew 5:16 "Let your
light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your
Father which is in heaven." We are commanded to be light-bearers.
It is true that we cannot produce the light. The very best that we can
hope for is to be a great reflector of the light. We must let our
reflectors shine for Him.
I have spoken this before -- my greatest fear as a pastor
is that the rapture will take place on a Sunday morning during church services,
and there would not be enough people taken for the other side to notice
something miraculous had happened. For those of us who left in the
rapture, would those left even know we are gone?
Grace is more than getting you out of jail. Grace
reveals Jesus in us. We must live every day with God's light shining
through us. We will do that if we have truly been saved by grace.
There is someone keeping a record of your life. Once life is over, it's
over. Salvation is not a game. God has given us all the tools we
need to live a victorious life. He has given us His recorded word in the
Bible, His Holy Spirit, and a place to worship. It is my desire to walk in
His light today, tomorrow, and all my days to come.
Pastor Earnest Fields, Jr.
August 3, 2008