Where the grace of God is missed, bitterness is born.
But where the grace of God is embraced, forgiveness flourishes.
The longer we walk in the garden, the more likely we are to smell like flowers.
The more we immerse ourselves in grace, the more likely we are to give grace.

Chap 11 Grace Works

Romans 6:11-12

How can we died to sin still live in it? Rom 6:2

Antinomianism: anti, meaning “against” and nomos meaning “moral law.” Promoters of the idea see grace as a reason to do bad rather than a reason to do good. Grace grants them a ticket for evil.

Titus 2:12 NCV Grace teaches us not to live against God nor to do the evil things the world wants to do. Instead, that grace teaches us to live in the present age in a wise and right way and in a way that shows we serve God.

Sin put you in prison. Sin locked you behind the bars of guilt and shame and deception and fear. Sin did nothing but shackle you to the wall of misery. Then Jesus came and paid your bail. He served your time; he satisfied the penalty and set you free. Christ died, and when you cast your lot with him, our old self died too.

The only way to be set free from the prison of sin is to serve its penalty. In this case the penalty is death. Someone has to die, either you or a heaven-sent substitute. You cannot leave prison unless there is death. But that death has occurred at Calvary. And when Jesus died, you died to sin’s claim on your life. You are free.

Christ has taken your place.

Rom 6:6-7

Not only has a price been paid, a vow has been made. Rom 6:2

Baptism is “a pledge made to God with clear conscience” (1 Peter 3:21)

Baptism is a vow, a sacred vow of the believer to follow Christ.

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Chap 12 Turning yourself in

Luke 22:54-62

What a wretched man I am! Rom 7:24

Lev 26:40-42 if they will confess their sins.. I will remember my covenant

Neh 1:6-7 I confess the sins..

Neh 9:2-4 they confessed their sins and worshiped..

Lev 16:21 NCV He will put both his hands on the head of the living goat, and he will confess over it all the sins and crimes of Israel. In this way Aaron will put the people’s sins on the goat’s head…

22 So the goat will carry on itself all the people’s sins to a lonely place in the desert. The man who leads the goat will let it loose there.

By virtue of the drama the people learned that God despises sin and God deals with sin. Before there could be honest worship, there had to be honest hearts.

Those who keep secrets from God keep their distance from God. Those who are honest with God draw near to God.

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Chap 13 Sufficient Grace

2 Cor 12:7-9

My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.

Paul never stopped. Thessalonica, Jerusalem, Athens, Corinth – if he wasn’t preaching he was in prison because of his preaching.

Before he knew grace, he killed Christians. After he knew grace, he grilled the Christians.

2 Cor 10:10 NCV Some people say, “Paul’s letters are powerful and sound important, but when he is with us, he is weak. And his speaking is nothing.”

1 Cor 2:3 NCV So when I came to you, I was weak and fearful and trembling. 4 My teaching and preaching were not with words of human wisdom that persuade people but with proof of the power that the Spirit gives.

Translation: I was so scared that I stuttered, so nervous that I forgot my point, and the fact that you heard anything at all is testimony to God.

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Chap 14 The Civil War of the Soul

Romans 7:7-26

When I want to do good, evil is there with me.

Can I go to the well of grace too many times? I don’t deserve to ask for forgiveness again.

Who told you that you deserved forgiveness the first time? When you came to Christ did he know every sin you’d committed up until that point? Yes. Did Christ know every sin you would commit in the future? Yes, he knew that too.

So Jesus saved you, knowing all the sins you would ever commit until the end of your life? Yes.

You mean he is willing to call you his child even though he knows each and every mistake of your past and future? Yes.

If your sin is too great for his grace, he never would have saved you in the first place.

What a miserable man I am! Who will save me from this body that brings me death? Rom 7:24

Simply stated: we are helpless to battle sin alone. Aren’t we glad Paul answered his own question?

I thank God for saving me through Jesus Christ our Lord, v. 25

The same One who saved us first is there to save us still.

There is never a point at which you are any less saved than you were the first moment he saved you. Just because you were grumpy at breakfast doesn’t mean you were condemned at breakfast.

When you lose your temper yesterday, you didn’t lose your salvation.

Your name doesn’t disappear and reappear in the book of life according to your moods and actions. Such is the message of grace.

There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom 8:1

You are saved, not because of what you do, but because of what Christ did. And you are special, not because of what you do, but because of whose you are. And you are his.

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Chap 15 The Heaviness of Hatred

Matthew 18:21-35

Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ. Eph 4:32

Our debt is far greater than our power to repay.

Our pockets are empty while our debt is millions. We don’t need a salary; we need a gift. We don’t need swimming lessons; we need a lifeguard. We don’t need a place to work; we need someone to work in our place.

That “someone” is Jesus Christ.

God makes people right with himself through their faith in Jesus Christ… God gave him as a way to forgive sin through faith in the blood of Jesus’ death. Rom 3:22, 25

Our Master has forgiven an insurmountable debt. Does God demand reimbursement? Does he insist on his pound of flesh? When your feet walk the wrong road, does he demand that you cut them off? When your eyes look twice where they should never look once, does he blind you? When you use your tongue for profanity instead of praise, does he cut it out?

If he did, we would one maimed civilization. He demands no payment, at least not from us.

How can one forgiven not forgive?

Luke 7:47

God is willing to forgive all. He’s willing to wipe the slate completely clean.

See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Heb 12:15

Where the grace of God is missed, bitterness is born. But where the grace of God is embraced, forgiveness flourishes.

2 Tim 2:1 be strong in the grace we have in Christ Jesus

The key to forgiving others is to quit focusing on what they did to you and start focusing on what God did for you.

Job 21:23-25

They live and die with bitter hearts.

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Chap 16 Life Aboard the Fellow-ship

Romans 15:7 NIV accept one another, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

Rom 14:1 MSG welcome with open arms fellow believers, who don’t see things the way you do.

Unity creates belief. Disunity fosters disbelief.

Nowhere are we told to build unity. We are told simply to keep unity.

John 10:16 one flock, one shepherd

Unity does not ned to be created; it simply needs to be protected.

Unity begins, not in demanding that others change, but in admitting that we aren’t so perfect ourselves.

James 3:16; 4:1

Mark 9:37 whoever accepts a child like this in my name accepts me. And whoever accepts me accepts the One who sent me.

Jesus used the word acceptance four times in one sentence.

Mark 9:38 We told him to stop, because he does not belong to our group.

Mark 9:39 Don’t stop him, because anyone who uses my name to do powerful things will not easily say evil things about me.

Jesus was impressed with the man’s pure faith (…who uses my name) and his powerful fruit (…to do powerful things).

His answer offers us a crucial lesson on studied tolerance.

Look at the fruit.
Look at the faith.

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Chap 17 What we really want to know

Romans 8:31-39

Rom 8:35 Can anything separate us from the love Christ has for us?

The Question of Protection

If God is for us, who can be against us? Rom 8:31 NIV

The question is not simply, Who can be against us?

The question is, IF GOD IS FOR US, who can be against us?

The Question of Provision

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Rom 8:32 NIV

Did God save you so you would fret? Would he teach you to walk just to watch you fall? Would he be nailed to the cross for your sins and then disregard your prayers?

Ps 91:11

Two Questions about Guilt and Grace

Rom 8:33 NCV Who can accuse the people God has chosen? No one, because God is the One who makes them right. 34 Who can say God’s people are guilty? No one, because Christ Jesus died, but he was also raised from the dead, and now he is on God’s right side, appealing to God for us.

Rev 12:10 the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accused them day and night before our God

As he speaks, you hang your head. You have no defense. His charges are fair. “I plead guilty, your honor,” you mumble.

“The sentence?” Satan asks.

“The wages of sin is death,” explains the judge, “but in this case the death has already occurred. For this one died with Christ.”

Satan is suddenly silent. And you are jubilant. You realize that Satan cannot accuse you. No one can accuse you!

Isaiah 50:7-8

The Question of Endurance

Can anything separate us from the love Christ has for us? Rom 8:35

Rom 8:38-39

What in the world are you doing, God?

Or,better phrased:
God, what are you doing in the world?

You wonder how long my love will last? Find your answer on a splintered cross, on a craggy hill. That’s me you see up there, your maker, your God, nail-stabbed and bleeding. Covered in spit and sin-soaked. That’s your sin I am feeling. That’s our death I am dying. That’s your resurrection I am living. That’s how much I love you.

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Do you worship to impress God? Or do you worship to thank God?

Do you do good deeds in order to be saved? Or do you do good deeds because you are saved?

Do you pray, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people who steal, cheat, or take part in adultery?

Or do you confess, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner?

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