The Truth About the Grace of God

And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:16-17 NKJV

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23-24 KJV

There is a difference between mercy and grace. Mercy is what we receive when God does NOT give us what we DO deserve. Grace is what we receive when God gives us what we DO NOT deserve. We receive both when we obey the gospel and receive Jesus as Lord. The truth is that grace cannot be withheld from man because of any demerit and it cannot by lessened by demerit; neither can it be mixed with the law of works. However, this does not prove that we do not have any conditions to meet in order to receive the benefits of grace. There is not one scripture that teaches unconditional grace, or that God gives grace to those who disobey the gospel. God’s love is unconditional, but His grace is not. You must cooperate with God in receiving, and continuing to receive, His grace.

Romans 2:11 AMP says: “For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another].” God is not a respecter of persons. The same rules apply to all. If He saves just one sinner, who disobeys, then He is under obligation to save them all.

1 John 1:7 NKJV says: “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” God is under obligation to believers only when they walk in the light and remain true to the gospel. He is not under obligation to sinners until they receive Jesus and start obeying His word.

Titus 2:11-12 NKJV says: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age.”The grace of God teaches us that we should deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and should live soberly, righteously, and godly here and now. Grace can go no further, if people do not obey its teaching.

It is possible to:

1. Receive grace in vain

2 Corinthians 6:1 NKJV – We then, as workers together with Him, also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.

2. Frustrate (set aside) the grace of God in your life.

Galatians 2:21 NKJV – I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.

3. Fall from grace

Galatians 1:6-8 NKJV – I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.

Galatians 5:4 NKJV – You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

4. Fall short of the grace of God

Hebrews 12:14-15 NKJV – Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.

5. Turn grace into lasciviousness

Jude 1: 4 AMP – For certain men have crept in stealthily [gaining entrance secretly by a side door]. Their doom was predicted long ago, ungodly (impious, profane) persons who pervert the grace (the spiritual blessing and favor) of our God into lawlessness and wantonness and immorality, and disown and deny our sole Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

6. Sin in spite of grace

Romans 6:1-2 NKJV – What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

7. Continue or discontinue in grace

Acts 13:43 NKJV – Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

8. Minister grace to others

1 Peter 4:10 NKJV – As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

9. Grow or not grow in grace

2 Peter 3:17-18a NKJV – You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

10. Receive or reject grace

John 3:16 NKJV – 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.

Revelation 22:17 NKJV – And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

James 4:6-10 NKJV – But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Persecution From The World by Rodney Howard Browne

This is My commandment: that you love one another [just] as I have loved you. 13 No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends. 14 You are My friends if you keep on doing the things which I command you to do. 15 I do not call you servants (slaves) any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing (working out). But I have called you My friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from My Father. [I have revealed to you everything that I have learned from Him.] 16 You have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you and I have appointed you [I have planted you], that you might go and bear fruit and keep on bearing, and that your fruit may be lasting [that it may remain, abide], so that whatever you ask the Father in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], He may give it to you. 17 This is what I command you: that you love one another. 18 If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you. 20 Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master [is not superior to him]. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word and obeyed My teachings, they will also keep and obey yours. 21 But they will do all this to you [inflict all this suffering on you] because of [your bearing] My name and on My account, for they do not know or understand the One Who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin [would be blameless]; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates Me also hates My Father.24 If I had not done (accomplished) among them the works which no one else ever did, they would not be guilty of sin. But [the fact is] now they have both seen [these works] and have hated both Me and My Father. 25 But [this is so] that the word written in their Law might be fulfilled, They hated Me without a cause.  John 15:12-25 AMP

Jesus loved us so much that He sacrificed His life for us—His friends—as He calls us. He only had one life to give and He gave it freely and utterly. Only those who obey His commands can claim to be His friends. Jesus is the one who promoted us from servants to friends. What an honor to be called a friend of God! We did not choose Jesus—He chose us—He loved us and died for us and invited us into His family. We have a choice to make as well—to either accept or reject His offer of salvation. He chose us and appointed us to bear lasting fruit so that whatever we ask the Father, in the Name of Jesus, He will give us. Jesus wants us to get our prayers answered! We should consider it a great, great honor that Jesus loves us so much!

Because Jesus is our Lord and Master, we owe Him our unconditional obedience, but Jesus asks us to obey Him simply because we love Him. The Father, Himself, loves us and desires that His love be freely reciprocated. Indeed, He has been so devoted to us; we owe Him something in return. We owe Him our honor and loyalty. 1 Corinthians 7:23 ERV says that, “God paid a high price for you, so don’t be slaves to anyone else.”  You need to take your eyes off of other people—stop caring about what they think of you more than what God thinks of you and be loyal in every way to the One who saved you and set you free.

Jesus goes on to speak of persecution. The world—the world’s system—hates Jesus; hates righteousness; hates what is good—without a cause and for no reason. The god of this world—the devil—has blinded the eyes of the unbelievers so that they should not discern the Truth (2 Cor. 4:4). They hate Jesus and they hate you, but don’t even know why themselves. If the world hates you—know that they hated Jesus first. If you were one of them and like them—they would love you. But because you are not one of them and you are not like them, they hate you. A servant is not greater than his master—if they persecuted Jesus, they will persecute you as well. Don’t be surprised at persecution when it comes, because everyone who desires to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). If they hate you, they hate Jesus too. If they hate Jesus, they hate the Father who sent Jesus to die—even for them. Before Saul became Paul, he too hated Jesus and all Christians, but his eyes were opened and he ended up giving his life for the sake of the Gospel!

Christians get enough hatred from the world—we need each other’s love, support and encouragement. Many times, we think that other Christians are our problem, when our only problem is the devil. He comes to sow discord so that he can divide and conquer. When the Christians of the Early Church were persecuted, they pulled together, called on the Father in unison and continued to boldly preach the Gospel, perform miracles and meet the needs of the people. It’s time the Body of Christ woke up and stopped fighting each other, rather, stood side to side and faced the devil—our true enemy—and fought and conquered him! Jesus asks us to please Him by unselfishly loving one another and he will give you the strength to do it.

Characteristics of the Power of God – Part II

But you shall receive power (ability, efficiency, and might) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judea and Samaria and to the ends (the very bounds) of the earth. Acts 1:8 AMP

Delivering power:

Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, 18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. 19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.” 21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought. 22 But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23 saying, “Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be. 25 So one came and told them, saying, “Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!” Acts 5:17-25 NKJV

The apostles were flowing in the power of God – healing and delivering large numbers of people and more and more people acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior and were being added to the body of Christ. This infuriated the high priest and the Sadducees. They locked them in prison, but an angel brought them out of prison and instructed them to go back and preach in the temple. When we are doing the will of God, the power of the Holy Spirit is also the power of deliverance from the hands of man.

Power in the face of death:

When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth. 55 But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, 56 and said, “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; 58 and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:54-60 NKJV

Stephen preached the sermon of his life and the truth he spoke cut the Jews to the heart. They picked up stones and began to throw them at him. Stephen was so full of the Holy Spirit that he seemed oblivious to the stones hitting his body – he looked straight up into heaven and saw Jesus, the Father and the glory of God. Referring to his death the Bible says that he “fell asleep”. The Holy Spirit gives one peace, strength and power in the very face of death!

Power that money can’t buy:

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6 And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7 For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 And there was great joy in that city. Acts 8:5-8 NKJV

The people of Samaria were enthralled with the power of God on Philip’s life. They were saved, healed, delivered, baptized in water and filled with the joy of the Lord! Even a sorcerer called Simon was saved and baptized!

Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15 who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21 You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. 22 Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” 24 Then Simon answered and said, “Pray to the Lord for me, that none of the things which you have spoken may come upon me.” Acts 8:14-24 NKJV

Simon wanted to buy the power or ability to fill people with the Holy Spirit, but his motives were evil. Peter thoroughly rebuked him. The power to pray for people to be filled with the Holy Spirit cannot be bought, controlled or manipulated. You must be thoroughly yielded to the Holy Spirit yourself. The Lord can only do through you what He is allowed to do IN you. The power to fill people with the Holy Spirit comes only through the Holy Spirit Himself – not by the power of man.

Overcoming power:

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:11 NKJV

The power to overcome the devil and his works is through the blood of Jesus and the word of your testimony. What the Lord has done in you, to you through you and for you, is a powerful witness and a powerful force! Keep trusting in the power of the blood and the Name, and keep testifying – preach the Word of God and the power of God – and you’ll see great miracles and victories!

Seventeen Benefits We Have Through Jesus Christ

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Colossians 3:2-3 KJV

All that we have is in Christ Jesus. All that we have in and through Jesus are the blessings of God.

1. Through Jesus we have the blessing of righteousness:

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:21-23 NKJV

2. Through Jesus we have the blessing of the grace of God:

But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. Romans 5:15 NKJV

3. Through Jesus we have the blessing of grace reigning through righteousness:

So that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:21 NKJV

4. Through Jesus we have the blessing of grace and truth:

I thank my God at all times for you because of the grace (the favor and spiritual blessing) of God which was bestowed on you in Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:4 AMP

For while the Law was given through Moses, grace (unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17 AMP

5. Through Jesus we have the blessing of the Gospel of peace:

You know the contents of the message which He sent to Israel, announcing the good news (Gospel) of peace by Jesus Christ, Who is Lord of all. Acts 10:36 AMP

6. All of creation was created through Jesus:

And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 3:9 NKJV

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. Colossians 1:16-18 NKJV

7. Through Jesus we have the blessing of reconciliation:

But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him]. 2 Corinthians 5:18 AMP

8. Through Jesus we have the blessing of the revelation of the Gospel:

But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. 12 For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:11-12 NKJV

9. Through Jesus we have the blessing of justification:

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. 17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! Galatians 2:16-17 NKJV

10. Through Jesus we have the blessing of adoption into the family of God:

For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]. Ephesians 1:5 AMP

11. Through Jesus we have the blessing of His exceeding riches of grace:

That in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Ephesians 2:7-8 NKJV

12. Through Jesus we have the blessing of having all our needs supplied:

And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Philippians 4:19-20 NKJV

13. Through Jesus we have the blessing of salvation:

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10 NKJV

14. Through Jesus we are able to offer up spiritual sacrifices:

You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5 NKJV

15. Through Jesus we have the blessing of a good conscience:

There is also an antitype which now saves us — baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3:21 NKJV

16. God calls us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus:

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10 NKJV

17. Through Jesus we are given utterance and knowledge:

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, 5 that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge. 1 Corinthians 1:4-5 NKJV

Matters of the Heart

Worship Soundtracks from RMIRiverSong on Vimeo.

Well for starters I want to say how much of a privilege it is to be part of the River Church. I come from Houston, Texas with a hungry heart for the things of God! Just being here these past months I’ve learned so many wonderful things about the ministry that I never knew before! I came to Rbi expecting God to fill me up to an overflowing to then be able to go back home to pour it all out…and that is exactly what im getting! Everyday there is something fresh and new from God, weather it’s in class or a service or soul winning on the streets. Never had I gone soul winning in my life as much as I have here, here souls is what it’s all about! And I’m so grateful that I’m able to experience this harvest time with the church. The passed Sunday December 13, 2009 was amazing!! I was asked to help at the nursery with ages one and two. Before service started we all prepared for the kids…i did not know what to expect! Service started and the building started to flood with people! I couldn’t believe my eyes; I was amazed at how many of my people (Hispanics) had showed up. In a few amount of minutes the nursery was filled with kids. The kids were very loving and of course super hyper! Once I got my group of little girls on the floor I asked one by one if they wanted to have Jesus in their heart. They all just said “Yes” with the cutest smile! So I prayed the prayer and they all repeated after me…it was breath taking! I looked into their little eyes just filled with joy that at such a young age they know they have Jesus living in their hearts! It was something I did not expect; I thought they wouldn’t understand what I was praying and that they wouldn’t pray it. But wow God surprised me BIG time! It was an awesome experience! So if this happened in the nursery I cannot even imagine what happened in the main service…or should I say main event!?! God is so GOOD!!

Rodney Howard Browne – Esther L. Testimony

Worship Soundtracks from RMIRiverSong on Vimeo.

Today at the nursing home i prayed for a husband and wife who were in beds besides each other each said they had never heard that god loved them they both prayed and asked Jesus in their hearts.

Vera Willow springs, NC had left eye tissue of cornea torn from glaucoma.  75% of her sight was gone from that eye and she had redness and pain.  After prayer all the pain left her body, and her vision was 100% restored.  Her eye was no longer red, and she was able to read the small print in the newspaper to me.  She was freaking out and said “I can read the small print now!”

My little sister died when she was 20 months old from Sickle Cell, the doctors told me when I was 5 I had Sickle Cell also. Sickle cell is a blood disorder that cause’s your blood to stick together and not carry oxygen. In doing this they can cause what could be explained as a traffic jam and won’t allow the blood to get where it needs to go. On a Tuesday night Pastor Rodney prayed for me and I have been healed from Sickle Cell, more energy and no pain! I am so thankful for what God has done in my life. Thank you Rodney, for allowing me to see just what God has in store for me. I am 16 and will be attending his College when I graduate, another testimony in itself.

A lady had serious problems with her back and other problems was heal and touch by the Lord. Jake P. College when I graduate, another testimony in itself.

Twenty-One Proofs of Physical Resurrection – Part I

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, [the women] went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had made ready. 2 And they found the stone rolled back from the tomb, 3 But when they went inside, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And while they were perplexed and wondering what to do about this, behold, two men in dazzling raiment suddenly stood beside them. 5 And as [the women] were frightened and were bowing their faces to the ground, the men said to them, Why do you look for the living among [those who are] dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen! Remember how He told you while He was still in Galilee 7 That the Son of Man must be given over into the hands of sinful men (men whose way or nature is to act in opposition to God) and be crucified and on the third day rise [from death]. Luke 24:1-7 AMP

See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself! Feel and handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones, as you see that I have. 40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 And while [since] they still could not believe it for sheer joy and marveled, He said to them, Have you anything here to eat? 42 They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, 43 And He took [it] and ate [it] before them. Luke 24:39-43 AMP

1. Jesus showed them His hands and feet (Luke 24:39).

2. Jesus said: It is I Myself, not another (different) person (Luke 24:39).

3. Jesus told them to touch Him and prove that He was alive (Luke 24:39).

4. Jesus told them: a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have (Luke 24:39).

5. He showed them His hands and His feet (Luke 24:40; John 20:20).

John 20:20 NIV – After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

6. He took fish and honeycomb and ate it before them (Luke 24:41-43).

7. He is risen (Matthew 28:6-7; Mark 16:6).

Matthew 28:6-7 AMP – He is not here; He has risen, as He said [He would do]. Come, see the place where He lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell His disciples, He has risen from the dead, and behold, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.

Mark 16:6 AMP – And he said to them, Do not be amazed and terrified; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, Who was crucified. He has risen; He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.

What is risen? It could not be His soul and spirit for they did not die. They went into hell to preach and carry on work (Psalm 16:10; Luke 23:43; Ephes. 4:8-10; 1 Peter 3:9; Hebrews 2:14-15).

Psalms 16:10 AMP – For You will not abandon me to Sheol (the place of the dead), neither will You suffer Your holy one [Holy One] to see corruption.

Ephesians 4:8-10 AMP – Therefore it is said, When He ascended on high, He led captivity captive [He led a train of vanquished foes] and He bestowed gifts on men. 9 [But He ascended?] Now what can this, He ascended, mean but that He had previously descended from [the heights of] heaven into [the depths], the lower parts of the earth? 10 He Who descended is the [very] same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest).

1 Peter 3:18-19 NKJV – For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison

His body is the only thing that died (James 2:26) and the only thing that could have been resurrected (Luke 24:39; Zech.13:6; Acts 1:11).

James 2:26 NKJV – For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Acts 1:11 NKJV – Who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

8. They held Him by the feet (Matthew 28:9; Luke 24:39-40).

Matthew 28:9 NKJV – And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!” So they came and held Him by the feet and worshiped Him.

9. They saw Him (Matthew 28:17; John 20:19-20).

Matthew 28:17 NKJV – When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted.

John 20:19-20 NIV – On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

10. They did not find the body (Luke 24:3; 23) because it was resurrected (Luke 24:39-43).

Luke 24:23-24 AMP – But did not find His body; and they returned saying that they had [even] seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive! 24 So some of those [who were] with us went to the tomb and they found it just as the women had said, but Him they did not see.

11. They went to the tomb to embalm Jesus’ body, but it wasn’t there, because Jesus’ body was raised up. The angel asked: Why do you seek the living (body) among the dead bodies (Luke 24:5-6; James 2:26)?

12. Jesus Himself came to them. He sat and ate with them and they knew Him (Luke 24:15; 30-31).

Luke 24:15 AMP – And while they were conversing and discussing together, Jesus Himself caught up with them and was already accompanying them.

13. Angels said He was alive (Luke 24:23; Matthew 28:6-7; Mark 16:6).

The Blessings of Grace

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Titus 2:11-14 NKJV

1. The grace of God brings salvation:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Titus 2:11

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 NKJV

It is the grace of God that brings salvation. All those who depend on his grace are saved from sin and forgiven eternally. God is the one who saves us, but it is our responsibility to stay in the grace of God, once we have experienced it.

2. The grace of God has appeared to ALL men:

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Titus 2:11

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. John 3:16 NKJV

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17 NKJV

The grace of God has appeared to all men – that means that it has shined upon all mankind. It has become literally visible to them, and/or figuratively, known by them. It is clearly visible to all those who desire to see it and experience it.

3. Seven lessons grace teaches us:

a. To deny ungodliness:

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness… Titus 2:12

b. To deny worldly lusts:

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts… Titus 2:12

God’s word instructs us to turn our back on any form of ungodliness and carnal lusts.

c. To live soberly:

…we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age. Titus 2:12

Soberly: with sound mind; moderately.

For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled. Titus 1:7-8 NKJV

Sober-minded: safe (sound) in mind; self-controlled – moderate as to opinion or passion; discreet; sober; temperate.

But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine: 2 that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience. Titus 2:1-2 NKJV

Sober: to be sober; to watch; to abstain from wine (keep sober); (figuratively) be discreet.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:3-5 KJV

Sober: to make of sound mind; (figuratively) to discipline or correct; teach to be sober.

Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded, 7 in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, 8 sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you. Titus 2:6-8 NKJV

Sober-minded: to be of sound mind; sane; (figuratively) moderate; be in right mind; be sober minded; soberly.

d. To live righteously:

In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility. Titus 2:7 NKJV

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 NKJV

Therefore, brethren, we are debtors — not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. 13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Romans 8:12-14 NKJV

God’s grace empowers us to live righteous lives.

e. To live godly:

Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12 NKJV

God’s grace empowers you to live a godly life in spite of temptations or persecution.

f. To live right in this life:

Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age. Titus 2:12 NKJV

God’s grace empowers us to live right and do right.

g. To look for the rapture and the second coming:

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Titus 2:13 NKJV

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20-21 NKJV

By God’s grace, we no longer belong to the earth. We are citizens of heaven – we belong to the Father, through Jesus His Son, and we eagerly await His coming return. Because of the great things we have experienced through God’s grace, we are assured that His promise is true, and we are looking for blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sing Unto the Lord a New Song

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

Psalms 33:1-3  (KJV)
1 Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

In the Bible we are encouraged to sing a new song with a loud noise.  This word “new” does not mean new in that it has not existed before, but new in quality as opposed to that which is used and worn.  When the scripture says that Jesus was laid in a new tomb, it does not mean that it was newly made, but that no other body had ever lain in there.  We must sing a new song to the Lord.  In fact, we must continually be singing new songs to the Lord.  These are not necessarily brand new songs that have never existed before, but it is our heart and our attitude that makes it new.

Because we are redeemed, we can sing a new song of praise and rejoicing and thanksgiving.  Our praise is new every morning, just as God’s mercy is extended to us new every morning.  Every day is a new day.  Every day we are refreshed and renewed.  Every day we rejoice afresh in God’s mercy and His love.  It doesn’t matter that we praised Him yesterday, today is a new day.  He loves and forgives us new every day — we can lift our hearts and voices and praise and magnify Him fresh and new as if we were only just saved.  You can be saved for fifty years and yet still praise His Name anew every morning.

Verse 1 says, “praise is comely for the upright” (KJV); “praise is becoming to the upright” (NAS); “it is fitting for the upright to praise him” (NIV); and “praise from the upright is beautiful” (NKJ).  It is comely, becoming, fitting, and beautiful for the righteous and upright to praise God!  Who are the righteous?  The believers.  Are you a believer?  Praise looks very good on you!  Sometimes people are afraid to praise God freely, because of what others may think.  They feel strange and awkward to lift their hands and voices.  However, according to God’s Word, you look beautiful when you praise the Most High God.  You were made and created for this purpose to praise the Lord  and praise becomes you.
In verse 3, “loud shout” is also translated “shouts of joy.”  You can praise loudly and you should praise joyfully with voices and instruments as you sing your new song to the Lord every day!

Psalm 98:1, 4-6 (KJV)
1 O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.
4 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
6 With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.

Psalm 98:4  (NKJ)
4 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises.

Revelation 5:9-10  (NAS)
9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood {men} from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
10 And Thou hast made them {to be} a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

We have a brand-new song to sing every day, the song of the redeemed, purchased with blood and made to be kings and priests reigning on the earth.  Do not hold back one more day, sing your new song in praise of your redeemer today!

Being Full of Joy in Every Situation

“From the Heart” teaching by Drs. Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne.

Galatians 5:22-23  (KJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Joy is a fruit of the Spirit. As you allow the Spirit of God to do a work in your heart and life, the natural result will be that the fruit of the Spirit is manifested through you. If you are full of God, you will be full of joy.

1 Chronicles 15:16  (NKJ)
16 Then David spoke to the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers accompanied by instruments of music, stringed instruments, harps, and cymbals, by raising the voice with resounding joy

When we praise God, we should do so with joy. Joy has a voice. If you are full of joy it will be evident to others around you. They will see joy on you countenance and they will hear joy in your voice and in your song of praise.

1 Chronicles 29:9-10   (NKJ)
9 Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to  the LORD; and King David also rejoiced greatly. 10 Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly; and David said: “Blessed are You, LORD God of  Israel, our Father, forever and ever.

1 Chronicles 29:16-17  (NKJ)
16 “O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from  Your hand, and is all Your own. 17 “I know also, my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of  my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here  to offer willingly to You.

It is right and scriptural to give willing and joyful offerings to God.

Isaiah 12:1-6  (NKJ)
1 And in that day you will say: “O LORD, I will praise You; though You were angry with me, your anger is turned  away, and You comfort me. 2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; he also  has become my salvation.'” 3 Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 And in that day you will say: “Praise the LORD, call upon His name; declare His deeds among the peoples, make  mention that His name is exalted. 5 Sing to the LORD, for He has done excellent things; this is known in all the earth. 6 Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion, for great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”

Verse 3 says that with joy we draw forth water from the wells of salvation. In other words, you could say that joy is the bucket we use to draw forth the salvation that God has provided for us. The Hebrew word translated here as “salvation” means deliverance, aid, victory, prosperity, health, help (-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), and welfare. God has already handed salvation to us on a platter. It is up to us to open our hearts to receive it. Joy is a key to receiving from God that which we need.

True joy is not manipulated by our circumstances like happiness (which is dependent upon positive circumstances). Even in the midst of a storm, joy is there, strongly anchoring us to the Word of God. We are instructed by God to cast all of our cares upon Him. There is a rest and a joy for us as we allow Him to carry our burdens. When your faith is working for you, you rest in joy, knowing that God is bringing it to pass. Why worry when God is in control!

Zephaniah 3:17  (KJV)
17 The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in  his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

The Lord rejoices over you. He loves you with an immense, incredible, everlasting love that cannot be stopped. He will never stop loving you. All you need is His love. In His love is every answer to every question you could ever have. He loves you so much that He sings joyfully over you. You can rejoice over the fact that He loves you and that He rejoices over you!

Reaching Souls across America

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