Sunday, February 10, 2019

689. Guaranteed to Fail: Working at Becoming More Like Jesus

Anyone who has spent much time in the church world has probably heard that the primary goal for the Christian is to work at becoming more like Jesus. It sounds logical, doesn’t it? Sermons tend to shine from such a message with a typical backdrop of people shouting “Amen!” But seldom will you find a consistent model on exactly what it means to become more like Jesus through what we do, although most will have their preconceived ideas or assumptions. The general idea religion presents is that we gradually and progressively improve by our works and lifestyle choices. We’re told that improved morality will make us more like Christ. This approach has believers turning the gospel inside out as we work to achieve the impossible. It will benefit us to realize we’ve been born of God and have received an inheritance that has already made us like Jesus - completely righteous and holy just as He is - even while we’re in this world. These qualities we have inherited as children are gifts provided by grace, not our attempts to improve the flesh through human effort.



Download  GIGBite  YouTube

Get the book

Sunday, February 03, 2019

688. Jesus Often Taught a Ministry of Death and Condemnation

Jesus always had a reason for His methods during His earthly ministry. But much of what He taught was not meant to be considered or received as New Covenant Christianity - yet we can still look back on it and benefit when considered in the proper context. As the Apostle Paul explained to the Galatians, Jesus was born of a woman under the Mosaic law so that He might redeem those who were under that law - the Jews needed to be delivered from that religious system which could only bring death and condemnation. To assume Jesus was usually teaching a new doctrine meant for future Christians has resulted in countless misinterpretations as to how the gospel is defined. Empty religious doctrines of men will scream that we should do our best to keep some of the commandments from that old law which is now obsolete. What’s the problem with this? “The law is not of faith!” Faith in Christ has no relationship with a law of works which can’t bring life.



Download  GIGBite  YouTube

Get the book

Sunday, January 27, 2019

687. Confusing the Teachings of Jesus With New Covenant Christianity

When you mix peanut butter with chocolate, you might end up with a delicious peanut butter cup. If you take (portions) of the Mosaic law from the Old Covenant God made with Israel and mingle it with the New Covenant of Jesus Christ, you’ll end up with confusion and uncertainty. One of the primary ingredients that has led to this problem within the Christian religion is making the false assumption that the New Covenant began with the birth of Jesus. It pulls people into a misleading belief system that Jesus was usually communicating a new Christian teaching meant to be applied to our lives today. Certainly there were moments when He did look forward to the New Covenant, but His primary purpose while walking the earth as a man was to minister to Israel - those who were under the curse of the law - and to ultimately redeem them from it. Don’t fall into the trap of concluding that much of what Jesus taught was always meant for you personally. If that were true, we’d discover inconsistency with some of the writings from the apostles after the cross… not because they contradicted Jesus, but because two different covenants need to be kept in the proper context.



Download  GIGBite  YouTube

Get the book

Sunday, January 20, 2019

686. Danger: Elevating the "Good Book" Above the Person of Jesus

Have you ever wondered how people have been spiritually nourished and sustained when they never had exposure to what we call The Holy Bible? It’s easy to forget in our modern-day western civilization, but Bibles haven’t been collecting dust on living room tables for most centuries since the time of the cross.

If you’ve been listening to the Growing in Grace podcast for any length of time, you know we cherish the information and revelation found within the pages of the Scriptures. But even as believers in Christ, our understanding of them is far from perfect, it can be easy for us to misinterpret various things or begin to filter our limited understanding through doctrines of men and denominational dogma. Unfortunately, at times, we may be doing the same thing some of the Jews did before the cross - elevating the written pages above the Person to whom the writings bear witness. Those Jews knew the Scriptures and thought they would find life within those writings… but they did not have His Word in them because they refused to come to Jesus - the only One who could give life.

Jesus put it this way when speaking to them: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40 ESV).

Jesus did not say, “I and the Bible are one.” He is supreme compared to scrolls and predominant over publishers. Jesus is the living Word that has been around before there was a beginning. Be thankful for the Scriptures, because they bear witness of the Son… but ultimately, life comes from one source - not the pages, but the Person - Jesus Christ. He stated that it would be the Spirit of truth who would abide in us and now be our guide. He is the one we should all agree to rally around and trust in together - not our flimsy theology.



Download  GIGBite  YouTube

Get the book

Sunday, January 13, 2019

685. Is Everything in the Bible Written to Us Directly?

Everything within God’s written Word is there for a reason. Sometimes this can cause Christians to assume that everything within each passage is somehow meant to be applied directly to our lives. God must have some sort of secret meaning or hidden message that we need to tap into in order for us to gain wisdom for our current situation or for the next step in our lives. Millions of sermons continue to be built upon this premise. Often, we’re trying to figure out how to make “verses” relevant for us today, but there are times when that isn’t why it was written. Our conversation this week revolves around the importance of context within the Scriptures. Not only the context of the passage, but the context of the two primary covenants upon which the entire Bible is based upon.



Download  GIGBite  YouTube

EXTRA: On this week's podcast Kap mentioned a public speaking appearance of his from last year. Here is his 40 minute message on YouTube.


Get the book

Sunday, January 06, 2019

684. How to Get Ideas for a Growing in Grace Podcast: Listen to "Bad News" Church Sermons

When raised within a certain belief system, we tend to assume our way of thinking is generally the correct one and that it’s rooted in absolute truth. What happens when we find out the church teaching we’ve trusted in has been built around pieces that don’t accurately fit the puzzle of the bigger picture? Among thousands of Christian denominations, people with good intentions have bought into an idea or mindset about Bible beliefs that are founded on doctrines of men about a Word that is not rightly divided. On the other hand, those of us who have discovered faith-based righteousness through God’s unlimited love and grace can easily forget about some of those legalistic teachings that bring people down. When we prepare to do a podcast that communicates the truth of God’s grace through the finished work of Jesus, sometimes it’s based upon having heard a sermon from a popular church teaching that left people in uncertainty, guilt, and condemnation. This is why we occasionally like to check-out some of these lifeless teachings in order to help remind us of what many church attendees are being subjected to and it inspires us to communicate the message of freedom found in the New Covenant.



Download  GIGBite  YouTube

Get the book

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Top Picks of 2018

Happy New Year from the Growing in Grace podcast! We'll return in 2019 with brand new weekly Growing in Grace episodes, but this week's topic is the Top Picks of 2018. Mike and Joel have both independently selected two of their favorite episodes from this past year.

We'll start with this pick from Mike: Dead to Sin, Alive to Righteousness. (Podcast 655).



"This is one of my personal favorite Growing in Grace podcasts in 2018. It quickly and simply covers a handful of topics that are commonly misunderstood within the vocabulary of legalistic religious circles:

Under grace, can we just go out and do whatever we want?
Sin, repentance, and struggles.
Understanding who you are: The righteousness identity of a believer.
Already forgiven and sins taken away."

----------

Joel's first pick comes from a 17 part series that we did called "Summarizing the Scripture." As we were nearing the end of the series, we did an episode called Contradictions or Different Covenants? (Podcast 645).



"I like this episode because it's a great summary of the differences between the Old and New Covenants, and we talk about why did Jesus often taught works-based teachings that seem to contradict the essence of the New Covenant.  Under the Old Covenant, it was up to the people to keep the covenant, but all they ever did was fail.  Everything in the New Covenant is based on the finished work of Jesus and God's oath that He made to Himself, and not the works of the people.  It always confused me why Paul seemed to teach righteousness as a free gift that we receive apart from works, and yet Jesus seemed to teach that it was all works-based.

What I eventually came to understand is that Jesus was teaching the Old Covenant to those who were under it (Israel), for the purpose of showing them that they were not keeping it (and could not keep it), and they instead needed to turn, by faith, to this other covenant that was based upon God's oath to Himself and not their ability to keep a covenant with God."

----------

Next, from Mike, The Golden Rule: A Spiritual Death Sentence (Podcast 658).



"Here is one of my top 5 favorite Growing in Grace podcasts of 2018. It takes a traditional mindset 'head-on' with the subject of The Golden Rule as stated by Jesus:

'So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets' (Matthew 7:12).

Traditional Christianity has mistakenly mixed this law from the Old Covenant into church tenets and creeds. With one sentence He summarized the entire law which nobody could keep and it brought a sentence of guilt, bondage and death … not life. There is a better way."

----------

Another of Joel's favorites from 2018: The Gospel Is the Gift of God's Righteousness. (Podcast 665).



"Back to the basics with this one. We talk about questions such as What is the gospel? and How does it differ from the 'bad news?'  The 'bad news' is that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but yet the 'good news' - the gospel - is that God justifies ungodly people by gifting them with His very own righteousness.  The gospel reveals the righteousness of God that is given as a gift to those who do nothing but believe. Those trying to attain righteousness by their own works don't find it, and yet it's given freely to those who aren't even trying.  This episode is one of my favorites because it's a great reminder to me that I have nothing to boast about before God, and I can stop trying to perform for God in order to attain or maintain right standing with Him.  I've already received it, solely as His gift to me."

----------

We hope you enjoy our year end picks!  Do you have any favorites?  If you'd like to hear more, check out the "Most Popular Posts" in the column to the right, which lists the most viewed posts on this website in the last year.

Get the book