Sunday, February 17, 2019

690. Christian Catch Phrase Alert: Identifying Ourselves as Followers of Jesus

One of the things that we often focus on here at Growing in Grace is built around helping believers in Christ to understand the identity we now have in Him as a new creation. Sadly, people are seldom taught they are righteous, holy, complete, forgiven, perfected, saints, etc.

But a catch phrase that is often used to identify us as believers: We are “followers of Jesus.” Just exactly what is a follower of Jesus today? Get ready for a wide variety of different answers because it’s one of those talking points within Christianity which people don’t think too much about. Typically, we might think it has to do with following the teachings of Jesus. But as previous programs have revealed, Jesus often taught things related to the Old Covenant which targeted Jewish people who were under the law - impossible demands - now made obsolete since the cross.

Almost all references to those who were followers of Jesus are found in the four books of the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)… people who literally and physically followed Jesus from one place to the next. But their following ceased at the cross as they were relocated to a New Covenant where they would be led by God’s Spirit. You’re not merely a follower, you are a child of God, living in union with Him.



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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.



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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.



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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.



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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.



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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.



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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.


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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.



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