Sunday, July 31, 2016

Does the Holy Spirit Convict Us of Sin?

Romans 8:1 proclaims, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” After I preached on this verse one time, a friend asked me, “But doesn’t the Holy Spirit convict us of sin?” “Yes,” I had to say, “That’s true. But there is a major difference between Satan’s condemnation and the Holy Spirit’s conviction.”

Condemnation tells you how bad you are, conviction tells you how good you can become through Jesus. Condemnation is Satan trying to make you feel guilty. Conviction is the Holy Spirit reminding you that through Jesus you are righteous and have no need to sin any longer. Condemnation pushes you to desperation; conviction pushes you to repent and rely on Jesus.

Let’s look at John 16:8-11, “And when He [The Comforter] has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:of sin, because they do not believe in Me;of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” The Holy Spirit is a comforter, not a condemner. The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, (singular) the sin of not believing in Jesus. But for the believer, the Holy Spirit convicts us of righteousness.

When Satan accuses us, God defends us! 
You don’t need to be worried about sin because you have an advocate: “...If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). And Jesus is not our only advocate. The word “comforter” used by Jesus to refer to the Holy Spirit also means “advocate.” And what greater picture of advocacy on our behalf is there than that of God the Father—giving up His own Son for the sake of sinners. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—all of Them are on your side. We often see our lives as a series of up and down moments. Some days we do good, other days we make mistakes and fail. And, if we rely on our own works for salvation, that is what life looks like. But if we put our faith in Jesus’ perfection, allowing Him to stand in our place before God, then the Father sees our lives as one steady line at the top of the chart…because that’s what Jesus’ life looked like.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

What is Your Church Known For?

Why does the world think Christians are bigots trying to impose their antiquated sense of morality on others? Many atheists equate fundamentalist Christians with the Islamic Taliban and accuse us of trying to drag the world back into the first century. Is this because Christians tend to be known more for what they are against then known for their grace?
We are known for being anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-drinking, anti-smoking, anti-gambling, anti-R-rated movies, anti-television violence, and anti-just about everything else that the world perceives is fun. The core message of Christianity is forgiveness, love, and acceptance. But too often our message seems to be one of unforgiveness, disagreement, rejection, and hate. Is this really what God wants the church to be known for?

The truth is that many Christians are saved by grace, but few live by grace. Instead of focusing on grace and forgiveness, the church often preaches the Law. We try to put the Ten Commandments up in schools and courthouses. We try to “impose morality” on others. Instead of offering the love of Christ, we bash people over the head with our Bibles.

Stop enforcing morality, start communicating God’s grace.
Is it a feasible project to attempt to impose our Christian morality on an immoral world? Can we force someone to do what is right? Can we force peoples’ hearts to change by forcing them to do what is right? Should we try to impose standards on others that we cannot even uphold ourselves?

Recently in the news, I heard of a politician who resigned from office because he had an affair with one of his staff. The ironic thing is that this particular politician was known for his emphasis on passing laws to promote abstinence.

No matter how “good” people are, without Jesus they are headed to hell. So, trying to force people to be “good” doesn’t change their eternal destiny. Only a relationship with Jesus can change people. Jesus did not come to earth to make bad people good, He came to make dead people alive.

Trying to force someone to keep the Ten Commandments might make them look “good” on the outside, but it does not change them on the inside. The only way to effectively and eternally change people is from the inside out. So, instead of preaching on the Ten Commandments, we should preach about Jesus.

The world will never find forgiveness in two pieces of stone. We are not called to be moral people; we are called to be Jesus people. Our focus should be on Jesus, not on religious rules. Jesus never told his disciples to “follow my rules”—He told them, “Follow me.”

Don’t tell people what is wrong with them, tell people what is right for them because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross. Some might protest, “But if we don’t focus on teaching people to do right, then people will live worldly lives.” Really? Then why, despite all the church’s screaming and teaching about right and wrong, do people still live worldly lives? Really.

The truth is that the only way for a person to live a godly life is through the power that comes from knowing Jesus as a personal Lord and Savior.

According to Jesus, “If you have been forgiven much, you will love God much.” The more you love God, the more you will want to do what is right. As soon as you realize that you have been forgiven everything, you will want to love God with all your heart. Being aware of how much you have been forgiven will not cause you to go out and sin more, instead it will motivate you to glorify God more with your life.

The church is most effective when it reveals God’s grace. We must show grace to the world. Gordon MacDonald said, “The world can do anything the church can do except one thing: it cannot show grace.”

The great evangelist D. L. Moody once said, “Of one hundred men, one will read the Bible; the ninety-nine will read the Christian.” Jesus revealed how the world will recognize the believer, By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

What are you known for? To your family? In your neighborhood? In your ministry? Are people getting a good look at Jesus when they take a look at you?

The new commandment that Jesus wants us to keep is to love one another. But not to love one another in any way of our choosing, but in this manner: “love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12). How did Christ love you? “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). May His saints celebrate that grace till the knowledge of it fills the whole earth.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

"We Speak to Nations"

Should we keep the Ten Commandments?

I don’t think the grace empowered believer should throw out the Ten Commandments.
Several times, Paul mentions the Ten Commandments. For example in Ephesians 6:2, Paul tells children to honor their parents. If the Ten Commandments were passed away, why would Paul be mentioning them? However, our understanding of the Ten Commandments is to be rooted in love.

We could express the law of grace by saying, “Love God, Love people.” This is our new version of the Ten Commandments. However, it is impossible to do this until after you have a revelation about how much God loves you. The more you focus on how much God loves you, the more you will love Him. The more you love Him, the better you will be at loving those around you.

How will you do it? Just as God saved you by grace, He now empowers you to walk the love-walk by grace. Why do you obey God? Is it because you fear He is going to strike you dead? Or is it because you love Him and are thankful for everything He has done for you? 1 John 4:18 says, “perfect love casts out fear.” We obey God’s laws, but now our motive is completely different. We are not scared of punishment, we obey God’s laws because of our love for Him.

St. Augustine said, “Love God and do as you please.” He understood that once you love God everything else in your life falls into its proper place. If you truly love God, you will not want to sin any longer. Love is the driving force behind grace.

Because of grace, we now have the freedom (liberty) to serve God through love. “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). Liberty from the Law is not an excuse to sin, instead it empowers us to live above the Law: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

While we are indeed free from the requirements of the old covenant, we are only freed from a lesser law so that we can serve a higher one. There is no law against love because there is simply no higher law. By this means, love is able to do what the Law could never do: make us blameless and holy before God. How much then should our heart’s cries echo those of Paul when he wrote, “And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you,so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints” (1 Thessalonians 3:12-13).

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

What Two Commandments Replaced the Ten Commandments?

There is no rule in my marriage that I have to kiss my wife. No law that says “Thou shalt kiss thy wife every night before going to sleep, and not just a peck, but a full blown French kiss.” A “kissing rule” would be quickly become burdensome. No, I kiss my wife because I enjoy kissing her.

Our marriage is a relationship, not a list of rules. Legalism in marriage would take all the fun out of our relationship. In the same way, Christianity is about having a relationship with Jesus, not about keeping a list of do’s and don’ts.

Life in Christ Jesus does not force us to live holy lives; rather it inspires us to live holy lives. Doing right is a delight, not a duty. I don’t have to kiss my wife, I like kissing my wife. In the same way, “…His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).

Jesus replaced the Ten Commandments with two commandments. He said, “…you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment.And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31). Matthew 22:40 adds, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40).

All Ten Commandments fall under these two commandments. Did Jesus do away with the Ten Commandments? No, He gave two better commandments that are even stronger. Why? Because now the commandments are not written on stone. God promised, “I will engrave them on your heart” (2 Corinthians 3:3). Instead of giving us an external list of rules that are impossible to keep, God promised, “I will put the love of God inside of you.”

Under the new covenant, you do not walk by legalism, you walk by an even higher standard than before. Is the Law passed away? Jesus said He did not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. He said, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love” (John 15:10). We are not lawless, we are under a higher law, the law of love—the law that fulfills all the other laws.
James calls this new law a “perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25). He also calls it “the royal law.” “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (James 2:8).

The more love we have, the less law is needed; the less there is of love, the more law is required. Listen to what Paul says, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:8-10).

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why is the Law of Love the Strongest Law?

Laws let us know when we are doing something right or something wrong. In order to illustrate this, let’s consider the speed limit. Often when I am driving around town, I see a sign that says, “45 MPH.” The sign informs me of the speed that experts think should be maintained for that particular street.

When I was younger, I would often ignore the speed limit. I would go 55 MPH or 65 MPH. I knew I was doing wrong, but I didn’t care. However, one day I was pulled over by a policeman. I received a ticket. Because the ticket was so expensive, it caused me to drive more carefully. I still sped from time to time…but I kept a careful eye out for police cars.
More recently, I became a father for the first time, and I find that I am much more conscious of driving safely. Now, whenever my son Caleb is in the car, I find myself driving under the speed limit. Caleb is 100% effective at making me drive the speed limit—and it’s not because he is writing me any tickets. In fact, with my son in the car, I don’t even need any speed limit signs. I operate under a different law, the “law of protecting my son’s life.” Or you could call it “the law of love.”

In the same way, the Law lets us know when we are doing wrong. Because disobeying the Law has consequences, it is occasionally effective at forcing us to be good. But, no one can obey the Law 100% of the time. By breaking even one law, you become a lawbreaker, worthy of punishment.

But, when you come out from under the Law and start a relationship with Jesus, you become motivated to do what’s right, not because of the threat of punishment, but simply because you don’t want to hurt the relationship. Suddenly, you are living under “the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” When my son Caleb is in the car, I drive safely, not because of the law, but because I don’t want to hurt my son. Relationship is a much greater motivator than the Law ever can be.

You can do right because you obey the Law, but you can also do right apart from the Law. In this illustration, what is “right” is safe driving. The law (speed limit) can make you drive safe sometimes, but the greater law of relationship (love for a son) can motivate you to drive safe all the time.

The Law is not effective at keeping us from doing wrong. It is effective at showing us when we do wrong. But, relationship is good at motivating us to do what is right. We know right and wrong because of the Law, but we know how to do right because of grace.

Law governs actions, but a grace relationship affects the heart. The Law can make you go to church, but grace compels you to worship. The Law can forbid divorce, but love between a husband and wife is a matter of relationship. The Law reduces adultery, but it can do nothing about lust. The Law can keep a person from stealing, but not from coveting. The law prevents discrimination, but not hate. In order for attitudes to change, grace is needed. My attitude toward safe driving radically changed once I had a son.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Law of Love

Once there was a man who hired a maid to clean his house. He looked through a dozen resumes and finally found a maid whose skills matched his needs. When he hired her, the two of them signed a contract that explicitly detailed their mutual obligations. He agreed to pay a certain wage in exchange for forty hours of work each week. He gave her a thick employee manual that explained her duties. The maid was required to prepare meals, wash the dishes, dust the living room, sweep the hall, and wash his clothes. The contract specified that if she failed to do her work, she would be fired.

After a time, romance blossomed between the man and the maid. They fell in love and got married. After they said, “I do” at the altar, the girl was no longer a servant and the man was no longer her employer: they were now husband and wife.

As a wife, the former maid is set free from the rules and regulations of the contract. No longer does the employee manual bind her to the performance of set duties. However, because she loves her husband, she continues to do everything she used to, and even more. As a wife, her desire is to please her husband.

When there is love, no rules are required. The husband would be foolish to give her a list of Ten Marriage Commandments.
1. Thou shalt have no other husbands besides me.
2. Thou shalt not have pictures of any other men before you.
3. Thou shalt not take the name of thy husband in vain or ever say anything disrespectful about him.
4. Remember date night and keep thy schedule free so we can go out to eat.
5. Honor thy husband and thy children and take care of them.
6. Thou shalt not forget to sweep the floor, do the laundry, and cook meals.
7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
8. Thou shalt kiss thy husband upon waking in the morning and before going to sleep.
9. Thou shalt not lie to thy husband.
10. Thou shalt not spend too much money at the mall.

There is a greater law in force for the wife than any Ten Commandments he could muster up. That law is love. The loving wife continues to work in the house, not because of duty, but because she cares for her husband and she wants him to be happy. Nor does the husband threaten to leave her if she does not perform perfectly. When she was a maid, he could fire her for the tiniest infraction. But once they are bound together by the covenant of marriage, there is a whole new level of commitment. So he continues to love her, even if she burns the toast.

Another name for the law of love is the “law of the Spirit of life.” Romans 8:2 refers to this law: “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

What is the most Radical Verse in the Bible?

Recently, I was invited to share at a Bible study. One man stood up and prophesied that God was about to judge America. He announced, “Because America has allowed abortions, homosexuality, and blatant sexual sins, God is angry at America.” He continued, “In Deuteronomy 28 there are five curses for every blessing. If you do not repent, you will be under a curse. Because of America’s sin, sickness and poverty will come upon you.”
I interrupted him and said, “Sir, all of God’s judgment was poured out on Jesus at the cross. Jesus took the curse. God now looks at us through the blood of Jesus. God does not curse us, He looks at us from a place of mercy, love, and forgiveness.”

The man was offended at my words but I continued, “In the Old Testament, we see God’s judgment. His wrath burned against the Israelites during the time of Moses. Fire and brimstone rained down on Sodom and Gomorrah. Elijah called down fire from heaven. But, in the New Testament, Jesus revealed God as a loving Father. All of God’s judgment was poured out on Jesus at the cross. The cross makes all the difference in the world. It is the dividing line between God’s judgment and His love.”

I finished by turning to the most radical verse in the Bible, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

In Old Testament times, God was angry at those who broke the Law. But Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law. So God is not angry anymore! God is not mad at America or the world, God is smiling at the world. God is not judging America. God is not judging you. His mercy triumphs over His judgment. God is not up in heaven trying to beat you up. He is in heaven reaching out to you. Even when people are living in sin, God still loves them and offers them the hope of salvation. We are not "sinners in the hands of an angry God," we are sinners in the hands of a merciful God.

Jesus did not come to condemn, curse, or judge the world. Jesus told Nicodemus, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).

Why do I call Romans 8:1 the most radical verse in the Bible? Because it completely sets the believer free from condemnation for doing wrong.

On another occasion, right when I was celebrating the fact that “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ,” a holiness preacher quoted the rest of the Scripture to me, “There is no condemnation to those…who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit”

“See,” he said, “if you walk in the flesh and start sinning, you will be right back under condemnation.”

This interpretation bothered me so much that I went and looked the Scripture up in my Greek New Testament. Did you know that this phrase “who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” is not found in the original Greek? So, what is it doing there?

The translators were so blinded by their legalistic theology that they could not believe the verse as it was originally written—its declaration of freedom was so large. So they added a qualification to the verse. The good news of our absolute freedom in Christ was too radical for those translators to handle. And for many today it is still too radical. There is therefore, now, no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. No condemnation! Think about that for a little while.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Should We Preach Grace or Law?

Once I heard a street minister witnessing. He asked a man who was walking by, “Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen? Have you committed adultery? Before you answer, keep in mind that Jesus said if you even look at a woman lustfully, you are guilty of adultery.” The man was forced to answer in the affirmative to each question. The minister continued, “So what does that make you? By your own admission, you are a lying, adulterous, thief.”
This script produced condemnation, but it did not lead to salvation. Salvation does not come by the Law, it comes through mercy and truth. “In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil” (Proverbs 16:6).

You do not have to bash people over the head with the fact that they are on their way to hell. Intuitively, people already know they are sinners. When Adam sinned, he ran to hide from God without God ever saying anything about the forbidden fruit. The threat of God’s judgment can make people feel guilty, and may even frighten people into good behavior, but it does not change the heart or free from sin.

When Jesus is preached, salvation results—preaching about Jesus makes people want to know God. Romans 2:4 proclaims, “the goodness of God leads you to repentance.” God uses grace to lead people to repentance. Preaching grace is preaching the power of God unto salvation.

So, if it is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance, why do so many preachers preach condemnation, Law, and judgment? The Ten Commandments “written and engraved on stone” are called a “ministry of death” and a “ministry of condemnation” (2 Corinthians 3:7-9). When ministers preach the Law, they are doing the worst kind of ministry possible: death and condemnation ministry.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Under grace, does it matter what we do here on this Earth?

1. When Jesus returns, we will be rewarded for everything we have done on the earth. For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works” (Matthew 16:27).
While the word “rewarded” usually has positive connotations, here it does not have that meaning. Here the word means simply that you will get what is coming to you as a consequence of the things you have done.

2. At the Judgment Seat, our works here on this earth will be judged.
* “…I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works” (Revelation 20:12-13).
* “And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear” (1 Peter 1:17).
* “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
Good and evil will be the criterion that will determine how our works are judged. The epic struggle between good and evil is at last being sorted out. Be assured, God is an impartial judge. He will not judge unfairly, but His judgments will be found to be justified (Psalm 51:4)

3. God will reward us in heaven for our works.
*“…I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12).
* “… all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works” (Revelation 2:23).

4. Evil deeds will be punished in heaven on the “day of wrath.”
* “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,who will render to each one according to his deeds” (Romans 2:5-6).
Wrath, anger, and its consequences will one day be the portion of those who are found to be unrighteous.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Should the church condemn people or set them free?

Like the adulterous woman, all of us have sinned. We are all guilty. If we break one of God’s laws it is equivalent to breaking all of them. So, sin is a level playing field. None of us have the right to judge another because all of us have made mistakes. We should leave judgment in God’s hands—and His judgment was poured out on Jesus at the cross. Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery; Jesus is not condemning you. Jesus set her free from condemnation before He admonished her not to sin anymore.

Sinners hear a message of judgment over and over again from the church. They know they are doing wrong. But, a message of judgment never works to draw people closer to God. Joseph Prince points out that “preaching more of the Law to counteract sin is like adding wood to fire.” What people focus on is what they will be. Preach righteousness and people will be attracted to righteous. Preach the Law and people will be tempted to sin.

Preaching the Law can be tempting. Some ministers become legalistic because they want to clean up the sheep, and legalism looks like a shortcut to getting the sheep clean. In reality, legalism only makes people look clean temporarily. Grace is far more than outward behavior modification, it is inward transformation.

Another reason ministers often become legalistic is because they want to control people. Under grace, you can’t control people any longer. How does your church make people feel about God? Do they feel set free by God, or do they see God as controlling? Do they feel condemned by God, or do they feel more in love with God?

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Is God Judging Me?

The truth is that there are three different types of judgment—past, present, and future.

Past judgment
First, there is a judgment that has happened in the past. This is the judgment for sin that Jesus paid for at the cross. God poured out all of His wrath and anger on Jesus. Since Jesus paid the full price for sin, it never has to be paid for again by anyone who accepts Jesus as Savior. Every sin we have ever committed or will commit in the future were all put on Jesus at the cross—without exception. All your sins are forgiven. “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:13-14).

Present judgment
Second, there is a chastisement for the present. This is not the type of judgment that an angry judge would dispense, rather it is the discipline of a loving Father. This present chastisement is mentioned in Hebrews 12:7 and Revelation 3:19. The purpose of God’s discipline is not to pay you back, but to bring you back. For example, when Jonah was swallowed by a whale he felt like he was being punished, but really God was just trying to get him back on track.

Future judgment
Finally, there is a future judgment at the Judgment Seat of Christ. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Payday is coming, and we will all have to give an account for our actions. At that point, the catalogue of your mundane actions are going to be something of vital interest to you. That day is coming—but, as long as you are breathing, you can experience God’s mercy.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Is God Angry at Me?

Is God judging America? Is God angry with you? Is He about to hit you with a lightning bolt? Or is God a loving God who is full of mercy and forgiveness?

Many Christians seem schizophrenic when it comes to what they think and believe about God. One day they preach that God is mad at you and the next day they say, “Jesus loves you.” One day the Almighty is judging you, the next day He gives you mercy. One minute, He is smiling at you, the next He is frowning. This schizophrenia produces two kinds of Christians: those who think you should get Jesus, and those who think Jesus is going to get you.

When the tsunami hit South Asia in 2004, some Christians said it was God’s judgment upon the heathen in that part of the world. When New Orleans was flooded in 2005, many pastors preached that the flood was a sign of God’s wrath for all the wild parties on Bourbon Street. After the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, a television preacher said it was a sign of God’s anger at the sin of the Haitian people. And doubtless, as fresh disasters visit different corners of our globe, there will be a “Job’s comforter” to make similar kinds of remarks on those events too. But if God is so angry at sin, why is Las Vegas still standing?

What makes God angry? If you study the Bible, you will find that only sin makes God angry. But now, because of what Jesus accomplished on the cross, the price for sin has been paid. God is angry no longer.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

What should be our response to those living in sin?

So, what should our response be to those who are under grace, maybe even preaching grace, but are still living sinful lives?

1. Have mercy, because you could fall yourself. “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted” (Galatians 6:1). “…Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

2. Continue to preach grace. I do not stop driving my car because someone had a car wreck. The abuse of grace is no reason to stop preaching grace. We should show grace even to those preachers who preach about grace and continue to sin. Just because someone preaches on grace does not mean that they fully understand it or are walking in it completely.
The power of sin is the Law.“The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:56). If someone warns you to watch out for “grace preachers” because they give people a “license to sin,” remind them that Paul said that the strength of sin is the Law. It is not the preaching of grace that empowers sinful behavior; rather, it is the preaching of the Law.

3. Don’t judge. As Christians we are called to, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Bob Stamps said, “God is not against you for your sins, he is for you against your sins.” Jesus advised us not to pull up weeds lest we pull up the wheat too (Matthew 13:29). Our job is not to judge who is a weed and who is wheat, our job is to continue to plant the seed of God’s Word in as many hearts as we can. Don’t judge those who break the Law—that is God’s job. “Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?” (James 4:11-12).

4. Continue to love those who sin. Jesus had a reputation of being “a friend of sinners” and we are all sinners. Have you sinned in thought, word, or deed today? The truth is that everyone sins (1 Kings 8:46; Psalm 14:2-3; Psalm 51:5; Proverbs 21:4; Proverbs 24:9; Romans 3:10-12). Most people sin twenty times before they finish breakfast. But the good news is that the blood of Jesus washes away our sins.“…The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). The Greek word for “cleanse” is in the continuous present tense. This means that the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from sin. It is not a one-time event, it is a continuous waterfall of forgiveness continuing to cleanse us every time we sin again. “Jesus took the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Why do people covered by grace still sin?

If our “old man” is dead, why do we still sin? Paul wrote, “But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me…Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Romans 7:17, 20). Paul says, “We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?” Sin is part of the old man that is now dead. Why would anyone want to walk around with a stinking, decaying dead person strapped to his back? But that is what it is like when we sin—we carry around the dead “old man” with us. It’s a heavy burden.

Unfortunately, the only time many pastors emphasize grace is after they themselves have done something wrong. Suddenly, they start using grace to excuse their own failings. Because of this, there has been a lot of criticism of the “radical grace” or “hyper-grace” message.

Sin is a symptom. If sin is mastering someone that is a sign that they do not fully understand grace. If you know how to cook but never cook, what use is it to you? If you understand the love of Christ, but never let it change you, then what is the point of knowing about the love of Christ? The solution to sin is to hear more about grace and more about Jesus. The more time one spends with Jesus, the less one wants to sin.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

How does Grace Empower Me to Live a Holy Life?

How did Jesus live a sinless life? He was fully God, but He was also fully man. It was as a human that He resisted temptation. The temptation He faced was the same as the temptations we face today. Jesus “was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

So how can we resist the human desire to sin? The answer is found in the next verse, “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). It was at the feet of His Father that Jesus found the ability to resist temptation. God’s grace helps us overcome temptation. By the way, what is the difference between grace and mercy? Grace is receiving from God that which we do not deserve (reward), Mercy is not receiving from God that which we do deserve (punishment).
Grace does not permit sin, but it does stand ready to forgive it. Even if you make a mistake, God still loves you. However, grace is far more than a way to “cover up” sin. Grace actually gives us the power to resist sin. Grace is not an excuse to “get away” with sinning. Grace is the ability to run away from sin. It is not our ability that enables us to resist temptation; it is His ability working in us.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Grace Requires Walking in Humbleness

“…be clothed with humility,” writes the Apostle Peter, “for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time… Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:5-6, 8-9).

The root of sin is pride. Lucifer tried to become like God and fell from heaven. Now he goes about, seeking to bring destruction into the lives of believers. The Serpent tempted Adam and Eve by saying, “If you eat the fruit, you will become like God.” Cain killed Abel because of pride. It is pride that says, “Grace allows me to do anything I want to do without repentance and without a change.” There is grace and there is forgiveness, but it comes on God’s conditions, not yours. The Psalmist wrote: “But there is forgiveness with you, that you may be feared.” God’s conditions include genuine faith that changes your heart, your mind, your words, and every part of your being and lifestyle. Grace does not lead you into disobedience, but into obedience.

Pride makes you want to put Jesus down and make yourself Lord. Pride turns away from God because it says you do not need Him. Walking in grace requires humbleness because you can no longer boast in your own abilities; instead, you have to completely rely on what Christ has done for you. You must come to God empty-handed. Humility is recognizing that God is the source of everything that you have and need.

The story of “the prodigal son” is a powerful illustration of the truth of how humility enables us to experience God’s grace. The one son certainly abused his father’s grace—demanding his portion of the inheritance was in effect saying that he wished his father was dead. Then the son goes out and wastes this wealth in riotous living. After he lost everything and was living with pigs, he remembered his father: “he came to himself” (Luke 15:17).

He realized he was not in the right place. His father was far away while he was living with the pigs. His father’s servants lived a lot better than he did. Before you can receive God’s grace, you have to realize that you need God’s grace. Stop living in sin and return to your Father.

The son said, “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants” (Luke 15:18-19). He humbled himself before his father and repented.

Genuine faith confesses sin—it does not hide it, does not apologize for it; faith repents of sin. The son humbled himself and knelt before his father. Of course, the father received him with grace. “When he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him” (Luke 15:20). The Father is not mad at you, He is ready to receive you and welcome you home.

The father rejoices, “My son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:24). The son was spiritually dead. His father’s love and grace never stopped, but when the son walked away the relationship died. God’s grace is always available, His forgiveness is always there, but if we are away from God enjoying riotous living, we will be dead to Him.
The son arose, returned, confessed, and repented. The son humbled himself and the Father lifted him up and gave him a robe of righteousness, a ring of authority, sandals that meant he was family, and gave him the fatted calf which represents provision. If you have been living in sin, go back to your Father. Humble yourself and let God raise you up. Go back to the original faith that got you saved in the first place when you believed in Jesus, when you surrendered to Him, and made Him Lord.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

How does the Grace of God turn into Lewdness?

The tendency to use grace as an excuse for sin is nothing new—it was an issue for the early Church as much as the church today. Jude, a leader in the early church, wrote to address this concern. Let’s look at his book for wisdom and understanding of this issue.
Jude begins by writing, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). In this passage, Jude is asking the beloved (those who believe) to contend earnestly for their original faith. What is your original faith? It was the point when you realized that you were a sinner in need of a savior. It was when you bowed your knee before Christ and made Him Lord of your life. Go back to the original faith and say, “Jesus is my Lord.”

Jude continues, “For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4). Jude warns us that the day is coming when people will use grace as an excuse for lewdness. What is “lewdness”? It is lust, perversion, uncleanness, and uncontrolled sin. Jude warns us there will come a time when people will say:
* Because grace has come, I am free to sin in any way I want to.
* I will make it to heaven, even if I live like the devil.
* I can do anything I want.
* No more laws, no more legalism, I am free to enjoy all kinds of sin and still be saved.
* I can confess Jesus and continue to do the same sinful things.
* I like the promises of divine blessing, I like the music at church, and I like the fellowship on 
Sunday, but I don’t want to change the way I live my life the other six days of the week.

What’s wrong with these statements? Grace changes your heart. If the grace of God changes your heart, then the grace of God will change and affect your actions and lifestyle too. One proverb says that out of the heart flow the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23). When grace is in your heart, it will issue out into your life too.

Jude calls those who treat the grace of God as license for sin “ungodly men,” and charges them with denying “the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” According to Jude, abusing grace is the same as denying the Lordship of Jesus.

Jude’s 3 illustrations of the consequences of sin
Jude goes on to illustrate the consequences of using grace as a license for sin, giving us three examples from the Old Testament.

1. The children of Israel in the desert were saved from Egypt through grace, but because of their sin, they brought destruction upon their lives.“But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe” (Jude 1:5).

2. The angels in heaven rebelled against God and earned eternal damnation. “And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (Jude 1:6). James offers us some good commentary on Jude’s passage: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble!” (James 2:19). Even the demons believe, but they do not submit to God’s lordship. The belief produces no change in the demons. You can’t say, “I’m a believer,” keep on sinning, and expect to make it to heaven. For demons, right believing does not lead to right living.

3. Sodom and Gomorrah engaged in wickedness and were wiped from the face of the earth. “As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7).
Jude warns the New Covenant believer through three Old Covenant illustrations of the danger and consequences of abusing the grace of God. Believers in Jesus may be under a New Covenant, but that is no excuse for sin.

The teaching that grace gives us freedom to sin is a slippery slope. Saying you don’t have to live for God because of His grace is only one step away from the heretical idea of universal salvation that says everyone on earth will go to heaven because of His grace, regardless of whether they ever made Jesus Lord. If it is true that a person can continue in sin and still be under God’s grace, I still lose nothing by living righteously.However, if it is true that God’s grace compels you to live a holy life, and you choose to continue in sin, then you will suffer eternal consequences. 

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Don’t be Afraid of Grace

Many pastors are afraid of the grace message; they feel that if you tell people that nothing they can do would make God love them less that people will use grace as an excuse to go out and live a life full of sin. Legalistic preachers say, “Grace is no license to sin,” but I like to say, “Fear of sin is no license to stop preaching grace.” The last time I checked, the whole world is already sinning without a license. Preaching the Law does not keep man from sin, because the Law has no power over sin. The Law reveals sin, but does not cure it.

One pastor told me, “If I thought I was free from the Law, people would be horrified at the things I would do.” He felt like the only thing keeping him from doing wrong is the Law. The problem with this man’s way of thinking is that the Law is a leash that only works for so long.
Imagine a vicious dog. He wants to bite you, but the leash around his neck stops him. If the leash breaks, watch out! However, the same dog will allow his owner to pet him. In fact, the dog turns over and presents his soft belly to be scratched. Why? Because the dog loves his master. The Law can, for a time, prevent you from doing wrong, but grace is a much better deterrent. The pastor I referred to had a heart problem, not a grace problem. Grace, properly preached, actually gives us the heart desire to do what is right.

The more time you spend with Jesus, the more you want to do what is right. Imagine, what would happen if Jesus was physically present with you in your everyday life? If He was walking beside you at the grocery store, would you be tempted to shoplift? Would being with Jesus make you want to cheat on your spouse? No!

Look at what happened when Zacchaeus encountered Jesus. He promised to make restitution to all those he had stolen from. Being with Jesus made him a better person. The more grace you experience, the better you will live your life. Grace is not an excuse for you to sin, grace is actually the motivation that keeps you from sinning.

Under grace, you can do anything you “want to.” However, grace gives you a new “want to.” You are not free to do whatever you please, but you are free to please God. As Paul said, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1 Corinthians 10:23).

Preaching more of the Law is not the solution to sin. Many preachers who have preached the Law the strongest have been caught sinning themselves. The solution to sin is to preach more grace. The more people know about Jesus, the less likely they are to sin.

Preaching grace makes people want to stay away from sin. When you know that you are righteous, the desire to sin disappears. The more righteousness conscious you are, the less you will want to sin. When righteousness is preached correctly, it motivates people to live better lives. As Paul said, “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin” (1 Corinthians 15:34).
People who have truly been touched by grace no longer want to sin. It is like a man who has broken his leg. Just because he finds a doctor who can heal his broken leg does not mean that he rushes out to break it again. Instead he remembers the pain he felt when it was broken. Grace is the heart of the Christian message. If you stop preaching grace because you are scared of sin, you have missed the entire point of the good news.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

5 Reasons to Avoid Sin

There are several reasons why we should avoid sin.

1. Sin has consequences. The eternal law of sowing and reaping still applies, even to those who have been forgiven. If you sow sin, you will reap destruction in your life. Even if you are forgiven in the eyes of God, here on this earth, sin will destroy you. Grace forgives our sin, but grace does not change the negative consequences that sin can have.

2. Sin opens a door to the devil. This is why Ananias and Sapphira died (Acts 5). They did not die because God judged them; they died because their lie opened a door for Satan to work in their lives. Every problem you have in life is attached to sin; either your sin, Adam’s sin, or someone else’s sin. Sin is always devastating.

3. Sin changes the direction your life is headed. Stephen Hofer says “Grace doesn’t keep us from the destructive results of sin. Sin damages the heart. It makes it difficult to trust God in the future. It makes us doubt God’s love and ability to forgive us. When we sin, God does not change and withdraw from us, but in our hearts we change and withdraw from Him.” The direction you are headed in reveals your final destination.

Sinning does not make God run away from you; rather it makes you run away from God. Under grace, you have freedom to sin. But walking in sin will pull you away from your relationship with God with no guarantee that you will ever be able to make your way back to Him.

4. Sin enslaves you. Sin actually takes you captive and turns you into a slave. You do not exercise your freedom by sinning; you actually destroy your freedom by sinning.

5. God hates sin. God abhors sin. He cannot allow sin to exist in His presence. The purpose of grace is not to allow sin, but to destroy sin. God’s grace empowers you to live holy. God’s grace frees you from sin.

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Is God's Grace a Licence to Sin?

Is God’s Grace a License to Sin? Many people accuse grace preachers of encouraging sin.  Does the Gospel of Grace lead to lawlessness? “Antinomianism” is a word originally coined by Martin Luther during the Reformation to describe those who live in lawlessness or are against the Law. The word is made up of two Greek words, anti which means “against,” and nomos, which means “law.”

For every mile of road, there are two miles of ditch. On one side of the grace road lies legalism, on the other side of the road are those who see grace as an excuse to sin. And that is the major criticism of the grace message: grace is being used as an excuse, a license, a reason to sin.

* One of my friends interned at a church where the pastor took his entire staff to a local bar and bought them all alcohol just to prove they were under grace.
* I recently heard a television preacher excuse his adultery by saying he was living under God’s grace.
* Another preacher decided it was acceptable to watch pornography on his computer because God was “going to forgive him.”
*The son of a well-known preacher published a book about grace that supports homosexual marriage.

Does grace allow us to sin?
Grace preachers are often accused of allowing people to sin. This accusation is absolutely false. No one who truly preaches grace is saying that it is all right to sin or giving people permission to do wrong. Yet, the accusations continue. Even Paul was accused of encouraging people to sin. You are not really preaching grace until you face the same accusations Paul encountered.

Look at how Paul responded to these accusations. He brought balance to the issue by emphasizing that he was not condoning a sinful lifestyle: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:1-2). Paul continues, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts...For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Romans 6:12-14). Paul goes on to repeat his original assertion: “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not!” (Romans 6:15). In the book of Galatians he sings the same tune: “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh…” (Galatians 5:13).

This is an excerpt from Daniel's book, "Grace Wins." Order your copy today by clicking HERE.