In preaching on Mark’s version of the Parable of the Sower, Tom Long claimed that Jesus preached in these confusing parables in order to make people deeper thinkers about what the gospel is all about. Jesus did not want to have people grab the gospel too quickly because such a quick grab almost always resulted in bad faith or shallow faith that did not last long (a point made within the Parable of the Sower itself, of course).
In that connection of wanting people to grow deeper, Long told this story:
The great preacher George Buttrick was once flying on an airplane. As he sat there, he had a legal pad out on which he was furiously scribbling some notes for his sermon the coming Sunday. The man next to Buttrick inquired, “Say, what are you working on there, sir.” “My sermon for Sunday–I’m a Christian preacher.” “Oh,” the other man replied. “Well, I don’t like to get caught up in the complexities of religion. I like to keep it simple. You know, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ The Golden Rule! That’s my religion!”
“I see,” Rev. Buttrick replied, “and what do you do for a living?” “I’m an astronomer. I teach astrophysics at a university.” “Ah, yes, astronomy,” Buttrick shot back. “Well, I don’t like to get caught up in the complexities of science. ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder what you are.’ That’s my astronomy. Who could ever need more than that, eh?”
So too, man likes his religion SHORT – SWEET – SIMPLE, especially the SWEET PART. You know, SWEETS FOR THE SWEET. Lots of sugar! Three tablespoons please with every sermon! And nothing could be shorter, sweeter, and simpler than:
“YOU NAME IT – YOU CLAIM IT IN JESUS NAME – THE FATHER IN HEAVEN HONORS
YOUR CLAIM. WHAT COULD BE A SHORTER – SWEETER – SIMPLER
RELIGIOUS SYSTEM THAN THAT?”
Well now, we will be doing a Biblical analysis of it, and you will find that it will not be SHORT – SWEET – OR SIMPLE. So put away the sugar bowl and learn to eat what is good for you – SUGAR-FREE TRUTH.
She didn’t know what else to say. As a mother, she had always steered well clear of religious clap-trap, even priding herself on not force-feeding her children to believe in anything when it came to spiritual matters.
But then a beloved neighbor died. He had been a kindly old man whom this woman’s children had adopted as a kind of local grandpa. But now he was dead, and the woman’s young son was very upset. The little boy wanted to know why this had to happen.
So his mother reached for some naturalistic rhetoric. “It’s just the way of the world, honey. It’s part of the natural cycle of all things, and so our friend has now returned to the earth. And next spring, when you see the daffodils and tulips coming up, you can know that your friend is helping to fertilize them.” The little boy did not hesitate. He shrieked, “But I don’t want him to be fertilizer!”
In relating that story, author Peter Kreeft notes that indeed, even the non-religious in this world have a deep-down sense that humanity is meant to be more than fertilizer.
The world denies the Bible to be truth, and comes up with its own version of reality. The church today changes Bible truth, and comes up with its own version of religion. Both end up in the same place – falsehood and unreality. The result being in many instances is that you no longer can distinguish between the world and the church.
This is seen in many ways, among them Americans CLAIMING THEIR RIGHTS FROM THE STATE, and religious Americans CLAIMING THEIR RIGHTS FROM GOD.
“IT IS ONE THING FOR AN AMERICAN TO STAND OUTSIDE OF THE WHITE
HOUSE WITH A SIGN SAYING, ‘I DEMAND MY RIGHTS.’ IT IS QUITE
ANOTHER THING FOR A RELIGIONIST TO STAND AT THE
DOOR TO THE THRONE OF HEAVEN WITH A SIGN
SAYING, ‘I CLAIM MY RIGHTS.'”
I. CLAIMING RIGHTS – CONFESSING WRONGS.
Much of the modern church has boiled it all down to a very simplistic and yet a most utopian system. It is this:
“EVERYTHING THAT GOD CAN GIVE US IN CHRIST IS OURS BY RIGHT, AND
WHEN WE CLAIM IT WITH ENOUGH FAITH, IT WILL BE OURS.”
This religious system has all kinds of names that I am sure you have heard in some form or fashion, such as:
“NAME IT CLAIM IT – BLAB IT GRAB IT – SPEAK IT TWEAK IT ETC.”
This man-made religion is rampant today. It’s hot! It’s vogue! It is the latest fad in the religious world! It’s out of control! It has become the motor that runs many churches. Thousands fall for it every day. It’s a lie! It is a fraud! And it leads to poeple thinking that they can make orders to God and jerk Him around. It is blasphemy! It is the death of Biblical Christianity!
A typical scenario would be when one person “prophesies” over another person some utopian state, and then the one prophesied over responds and says,
“OH THAT IS WONDERFUL – I CLAIM THAT AND FULLY NOW
EXPECT TO RECEIVE IT.”
Done deal! I claim it! That settles it. Untold numbers of religious folks stake thier entire lives on the NAME IT – CLAIM IT system. (We are not barking at the moon here. It is growing like weeds.) God has no other choice but to be the CLAIMS OFFICER WHO RECORDS THE CLAIMS AND GRANTS THEM TO THE CLAIMERS AS THEIR RIGHTS. (Much more on that later.) All that God is these days is A COSMIC BELLHOP, A MAGIC GENIE, A CLAIMS GRANTER.
Much of today’s religion is all about RIGHTS, and an interesting parallel to this is that where RIGHTS ARE THE MAJOR KEY, HUMAN WRONGS HAVE BECOME A VERY MINOR KEY. If you will:
“RIGHTS HAVE REPLACED WRONGS, AND CLAIMINGS HAVE
It reminds us of course of the PRODICAL SON AND HIS ELDER BROTHER in Luke 15. The wayward son says to his father in Luke 15:18-19,
“I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I
have sinned against heaven, and in your sight;
I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one
of your hired servants.’”
No claiming of rights there, but strong and broken confession of wrongs. No claiming of sonship, but the cry for mercy to be at most a hired servant. Biblical Christianity!!!
By way of stark contrast, we hear the infamous words of the elder brother to his father in Luke 15:29-30,
“Look! For so many years I have been serving you, and I never neglected
a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a kid, that
I might be merry with my friends;”
“but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth
with harlots, you killed the fattened calf for him.”
There it is! Claiming his rights with no confession of wrongs! He makes it sound like he had never done ONE THING WRONG IN HIS ENTIRE LIFE. Hear it:
“WHEN SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS CLAIMS RIGHTS, IT WILL NEVER
Here it is:
“THOSE WHO CLAIM THEIR RIGHTS AS THE BASIS OF THEIR LIVES WILL
HAVE LITTLE SENSE OF THE CONFESSION OF WRONGS AND THE NEED
OF DIVINE MERCY TO FORGIVE THEM.”
The contemporary church has devolved into the ELDER SON. You seldom if ever will hear the preacher confessing sins and asking God for forgiveness in public prayers any longer. Hardly ever is confession of and asking forgiveness for sin uttered anymore in CLAIMING-RIGHTS CHURCHES. Why:
“BECAUSE THOSE WHO HAVE THE SENSE OF SIN IN THEIR LIVES ARE
NOT INCLINED TO CLAIM ANYTHING. THERE GOES THE ENTIRE
Or you find in these churches this belief:
“AFTER THE FIRST GRACE OF SALVATION HAS BEEN RECEIVED, EVERYTHIHG
AFTER THAT IS ON THE NAME IT – CLAIM IT BASIS.”
If you will:
“THE BELIEF THAT AFTER THE INITIAL CONFESSION OF SIN, YOU THEN
MOVE ROM CONFESSION TO CLAIMING.”
Why is that? Because you CANNOT BE CONFESSING WRONGS AND CLAIMING RIGHTS AT THE SAME TIME. They do not go together. They are antithetical! When one kicks in as the dominant theme and pratice, the other has to go. Confession of sins in the NAME IT – CLAIM IT – SEEKER FRIENDLY CHURCHES has dropped away. It has to! How can sinners needing forgiveness for wrongs be claiming their rights.
More than that, CLAIMING RIGHTS is so much more fun than CONFESSING WRONGS. Oh that annoying shame of CONFESSION OF SINS! Let alone like David when he confessed his sins before the whole congregation. Who wouldn’t prefer a religion that CLAIMS ITS RIGHTS, but does not CONFESS ITS WRONGS? It’s a no brainer!
But the Bible is clear! Joshua says to Achan in Joshua 7:19.
“My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord, and MAKE
CONFESSION TO HIM.”
The Lord Himself commands us to confess our sins to Him in Jeremiah 3:12-13,
“I am merciful, said the Lord. and will not keep anger forever:
only ACKNOWLEDGE THY INIQUITY THAT THOU HAS
TRANSGRESSED AGAINST THE LORD THY GOD.”
“EVEN AS MAN CANNOT GET RID OF THE SICKENING CORRUPTION
IN HIS STOMACH UNTIL HE PUKES IT OUT, SO WE CANNOT BE
RID OF THE POLLUTION OF SINS IN OUR SOULS UNTIL
WE CONFESS THEM TO GOD.”
But nowhere are we told in the Bible TO CLAIM OUR RIGHTS. It is a man-made religion which of course is designed to please man. Hear it:
“CLAIMING RIGHTS IS RELIGIOUS HUMANISM, BUT CONFESSION OF
SINS IS BIBLICAL THEISM.”
II. CLAIMING RIGHTS – RECEIVING DIVINE GRACE AND MERCY
One of the finer films of the last quarter-century is Bruce Beresford’s “Tender Mercies”. The film chronicles the story of Mac Sledge, a one-time country-western singing star whose life later dissolved into a fog of alcohol and shiftlessness.
Divorced from his wife and estranged from his only daughter, Mac staggers through life until one night he collapses onto the porch of a small, lonely little motel and gas station out in the middle of nowhere on the Texas prairie.
The motel is run by Rosa Lee, a young widow who is raising her boy, Sonny, and trying to make ends meet. Even though Mac is a shipwreck of a human being, grizzled, drunk, and despairing, Rosa Lee takes him in, sets him to work for her, and through this, transformation comes to Mac’s life. Over time he kicks his drinking habit, becomes a kind of father figure to young Sonny, ends up marrying Rosa Lee, and begins to attend the Baptist church in which Rosa Lee is a member of the choir.
In one lovely scene, both Mac and Sonny are baptized one Sunday morning After the pastor dunks him into the waters of baptism, Mac stands back up, blinking and drenched, water dripping down off his balding head and glistening on his grizzled beard. It’s a portrait of GRACE.
In the course of the film Mac manages to have a kind of reconciliation with his estranged daughter, now in her mid-20s. But no sooner does this good thing happen and the daughter is killed in a terrible car wreck.
Near the end of the film, still grieving, Mac stands in the middle of a vegetable garden and tells Rosa Lee that he doesn’t understand life. He can’t understand the TENDER MERCIES of God that led him to Rosa Lee and to the transformation his life so badly needed. But then, he can’t understand why his daughter had to die either. We often hear people pondering why bad things happen in life, but Mac is honest enough to admit to being equally flummoxed by the good things. GRACE and MERCY can be as arresting as tragedy.
But you see, in the NAME IT – CLAIM IT SYSTEM, grace and mercy no longer arrest man, but man arrests God with his claims. Grace and mercy will keep us humble, but constant claimings will make us cocky.
I was watching television a few days ago, and ran across a well-known charismatic evangelist Benny Hinn telling his audience the following:
-SALVATION IS YOUR RIGHT
-FORGIVENESS IS YOUR RIGHT
-HEALING IS YOUR RIGHT
-PROSPERITY IS YOUR RIGHT
-YOU MUST CLAIM YOUR RIGHTS
I sincerely doubt that had MAX been taught that salvation and forgiveness of sins are his RIGHTS TO BE CLAIMED, he most surely would not have been awed and even shocked at the GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD in his life. GRACE AND MERCY WOULD NOT HAVE GRABBED HIS HEART.
That is where much of the church is today:
“GOD’S HEART BEING ARRESTED BY THE STRONG CLAIMS OF MAN,
AND MAN’S HEART NO LONGER ARRESTED BY THE AMAZING
GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD.”
Do you really know why people, yes religious people, miss God in life? Not because He isn’t there! But because we take Him for granted, including His GRACE AND MERCY. All that God has become in modern religion is a machine functioning with automatic precision. I mean, who really has close fellowship with a machine? All we do is turn it on and turn it off. That is what happens in the NAME IT – CLAIM IT RELIGION OF THE DAY.
I believe that TAKING GOD FOR GRANTED IS NOT THE EIGHTH DEADLY SIN. It believe it lies at the root of all sin. Taking God and people for granted sours marriages, breaks up friendships, weakens family life, and destroys communion with God. And that is exactly what happens IN THE NAME IT – CLAIM IT RELIGION OF TODAY. Hear it:
“THE MOMENT WE MAKE GOD RESPONSIBLE TO US, AND NO LONGER
MAKE OURSELVES RESPONSIBLE TO GOD, WE WILL MISS
GOD ALL OF OUR LIVES.”
A. THE CLAIM FALLACY
FIRST of all, nowhere in the whole Bible do we find that lost or saved sinners are to CLAIM GOD’S BLESSINGS AS THEIR RIGHTS. Nowhere!!! It does not exist in the Bible! In fact, it cannot fit into the Bible, not even a speck of it. The theme of the Bible from beginning to end is DIVINE GRACE AND DIVINE MERCY. CLAIMS AND CLAIMING GOD’S BLESSINGS are standing contradictions to the GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD.
“GRACE IS THE BLESSINGS OF GOD UPON THE THOSE WHO DO NOT
DESERVE ONE OF THOSE BLESSINGS. HOW CAN ANYONE CLAIM
AS HIS RIGHT WHAT HE HAS LOST BY HIS WRONGS?”
“MERCY IS THE REMOVAL OF THE CURSES OF GOD, WHICH CURSES
ALL OF US DESERVE? AGAIN, HOW CAN WE CLAIM AS OUR
RIGHT WHAT WE HAVE LOST BY OUR WRONG?”
The HUMBLE AND GUT-WRENCHING BROKENNESS OF SINNERS IN THE BIBLE is what we read in Psalm 57:1 KJV,
“BE MERCIFUL UNTO ME, O GOD, BE MERCIFUL UNTO ME,
FOR MY SOUL TRUSTETH IN THEE…”
And again Isaiah 33:2,
“O LORD, BE GRACIOUS UNTO US, FOR WE HAVE WAITED
Nowhere do we read in the Word of God anything slightly close to:
“GRANT MY RIGHTFUL CLAIM, O GOD, GRANT MY RIGHTFUL
CLAIM, FOR MY SOUL TRUSTETH IN THEE.”
“O LORD, GRANT OUR RIGHTFUL CLAIMS UNTO US, FOR WE
HAVE WAITED FOR THEE.”
Oh yes, pleading for the GRACE and MERCY of God is the language of the Spirit and Word of God, not the CLAIMING of rights from God. GRACE AND MERCY cannot be claimed, for they can only be given to those who disclaim any right to anything spiritual or physical, eternal or temporal. Those who truly know this can only cry out for GRACE and MERCY, and those who do so in the name of Jesus are the ones who receive the grace of salvation and the mercy of pardon from God. The humble are exalted!
SECOND, when we go to God in prayer, where are we really going and to whom? Important question! To listen to religious people “pray” today, you can only conclude the following:
-WHEN WE PRAY, WE ARE GOING TO HEAVEN’S CLAIM OFFICE.
-IN HEAVEN’S CLAIM OFFICE, GOD IS THE CHIEF CLAIM OFFICER.
-WE STAKE OUR RIGHTFUL CLAIMS TO GOD THE CHIEF CLAIM OFFICER.
-GOD, THE CHIEF CLAIM OFFICER, LISTENS TO OUR CLAIMS MADE IN THE NAME OF JESUS.
-WHEN WE STAKE OUR CLAIMS WITH ENOUGH FAITH IN JESUS, GOD MUST GRANT US OUR CLAIMS.
-NAME IT – CLAIM IT, IT WORKS EVERY TIME. YOU CAN NEVER LOSE IN THE CLAIM GAME.
However, that is not where we go, and not the one we go to when we pray! Heaven is nowhere in the Word of God a GOLD-RUSH CLAIMS OFFICE, and God is nowhere pictured as a CLAIMS OFFICER. Nor are we anywhere pictured as CLAIM STAKERS. Period!
No, no, no!!! We read in Hebrews 4:16 about the grand and great privilege of prayer:
“Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the THRONE OF GRACE,
that we may receive MERCY and find GRACE to help in time of need.”
In fact, GOD’S THRONE OF GRACE is covered by the MERCY SEAT. God is ENTRONED IN GRACE and SEATED UPON THE MERCY SEAT. Hear it:
“IF GOD WAS NOT ENHRONED IN GRACE AND SEATED UPON MERCY,
WE SINNERS BEFORE THE HOLY GOD WOULD BE DESTROYED
AS WE MAKE OUR PRESUMPTUOUS CLAIMS.”
To the original hearers of Jesus’ parable about the PHARISEE and the PUBICAN in Luke 18, there was nothing startling in this parable – nothing even vaguely unsettling – until Jesus got to the end when He said it was the TAX COLLECTOR, not the PHARISEE, who went home under the blanket of God’s favor. Remember the words of Jesus in Luke 18:14,
“I tell you, this man (the publican) went down to his house
justified rather than the other (the Pharisee).”
You see, up until that point, the Pharisee was simply being his proud, self-righteous self. Scholars suggest that the prayer that Jesus places onto the Pharisee’s lips was not a caricature of a prayer, but appears to have been a standard Pharisee prayer of thanksgiving at that time. Remember his so-called prayer in Luke 18:11,
“The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, ‘God I thank
Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust,
adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer.’”
To those who listened to Jesus’ parable, this prayer was as familiar to them as “Now I lay me down to sleep” or “Our Father, who art in heaven” are familiar to most of us. You see, the Pharisee was STAKING HIS CLAIM TO GOD’S FAVOR in his life, because he was such an outstanding person spiritually and morally. In fact, HIS CLAIM TO FAME WAS THAT HE ATTRACTED GOD’S LOVE. GOD FOUND HIM IRRESISTIBLE.
What is one of the most common tendencies of Christians? It is the tendency to mix up ROOTS AND FRUITS. If the Christian life is like a tree that bears the fruit of the Spirit, we have a tendency to turn the tree upside down. The production of spiritual fruit – the very kinds of things for which we Christians are properly thankful to God – grow OUT OF God’s gracious love. They don’t attract God’s love, they flow from God’s love. Hear the truth:
“THE PHARISEE’S CLAIM WAS THAT HE ATTRACTED GOD’S LOVE,
RATHER THAN FLOWING FROM IT.”
C. S. LEWIS EXSPLAINS:
In all of this, what C.S Lewis says is most helpful. C.S. Lewis is very helpful as usual. The roof of a greenhouse shines brightly because the sun shines on it. The roof doesn’t attract the sun by virtue of being bright to begin with, however! Or, in another Lewis analogy, suppose a six-year-old little girl says, “Daddy, may I have $5 to buy you a Christmas present?” Well, any decent father will give the child the money and, come Christmas morning, will exclaim loudly and gleefully over whatever bauble the child bought. But only a fool would say that by virtue of the gift, the father came out $5 ahead on the deal!
We do the things we do for God because He has slipped us the money in the first place. We shine with the light of spiritual virtues and grow juicy spiritual fruit on the boughs of our lives because the sunshine of God’s grace shined on us to begin with, starting at that time when we were ourselves so sinful and tawdry that at first the light of God revealed only our slovenly lives and the muck of our sinfulness.
While we were yet sinners God shined a light on us. If, as that light still shines on us today, we now look a lot prettier than we did at first when grace found us prodigal children eating out of a pig’s trough in a far country, then that, too, is singularly and solely the action of God’s GRACE in our lives, not anything for which we can CLAIM ANY CREDIT.
Why did the tax collector go home justified? Because he knew that HE HAD A CLAIM TO NOTHING POSITIVE. So it was that he prayed in Luke 18:13,
“But the tax gatherer, standing some distance away, was even
unwilling to lift his eyes to Heaven, but was beating his
breast, saying, GOD, BE MERCIFUL TO ME A SINNNER.”
Enough said! He would have looked upon all of today’s CLAIMERS as nothing more than the direct descendants of the Pharisees. He instead was the great DISCLAIMER of anything worthy or righteous in himself. The DISCLAIMER WENT TO HEAVEN, while the CLAIMER went to Hell.
B. THE RIGHTS FALLACY
Tragic to have to say, but much of CLAIMING ENTITLEMENTS RELIGION AND CHURCH OF TODAY resembles THE ENTITLEMENT SOCIALIST PROGRAM OF AMERICAN gone amuck. Not the least being THE WELFARE STATE in which the jobless and workless CLAIM THE RIGHT TO HAVE THE STATE SUPPORT THEM THROUGH OBAMA’S REDISTRIBUTION OF OTHER PEOPLES HARD-EARNED WEALTH.
They claim that the rich owe it to them – IT IS THEIR RIGHT! A completely godless view of society, government, and life. Modern Christianity and Government have more in COMMON than they have in DISCOMMON. Listen to what follows:
“MODERN POLITICS IS THE ART OF CONFESSING OTHER PEOPLE’S
SINS, WHILE MODERN RELGION IS THE ART OF CONFESSING
NO SINS AT ALL WHILE ONLY CLAIMING RIGHTS.”
Someone expressed his view of history in this way:
-IN 1776 WE CONQUERED OUR FATHERS.
-IN 1862 WE CONQUERED OUR BROTHERS.
-IN 2000 WE CONQUERED GOD.
-TRAGICALLY, WE HAVE YET TO CONQUER OURSELVES.
What do we mean by conquering God, at least in our delusional minds? What we mean is this:
“WE AS A CHURCH AND A NATION HAVE GONE FROM DOING WHAT
GOD SAYS IS RIGHT, TO GOD GIVING MAN HIS RIGHTS.”
We have forgotten the following:
“THAT WHILE DEMOCRACY IS GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE
PEOPLE, AND FOR THE PEOPLE, THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS
GOVERNMENT OF GOD, BY GOD, AND FOR GOD.”
Those words have a scary sound to the NAMERS AND CLAIMERS. So do the words of a Scottish prayer:
“MAKE ME YOUR CAPTIVE LORD, AND THEN I SHALL BE FREE.”
GRACE UPON GRACE – NOT RIGHT UPON RIGHT
Where in the Bible do we read or get even the slightest hint that Christianity is all about RIGHTS? CLAIMING RIGHTS? It used to be the DOING OF WHAT GOD SAYS IS RIGHT, but now it is all about CLAIMING OUR RIGHTS FROM GOD. It is pandemic, as well-known religious media figures preach it day in and day out. Hear it:
“IT IS NO LONGER THAT WE OWE GOD, BUT NOW THAT
GOD OWES US.”
We are being taught in the apostate church that we live by CLAIMING RIGHT AFTER RIGHT FROM GOD. The Bible teaches that nowhere. CLAIMING OUR RIGHTS FROM GOD is a notion birthed in Hell and not in Heaven. What does the Bible teach? We read in John 1:16,
“For of His fullness we have all received, and GRACE UPON GRACE.”
Listen to it:
“CHRISTIANS DO NOT LIVE FROM CLAIMED RIGHT TO CLAIMED RIGHT,
BUT FROM DIVINE GRACE TO DIVINE GRACE.”
If God withdrew his GRACE from us, we would all self-destruct spiritually, morally, maritally, familially, and in every way. Grace is not only undeserved forgiveness, but also UNDESERVED DIVINE EMPOWERING. We literally live FROM GRACE UPON GRACE all our lives long, and if God were to pull the plug on grace, we would drop dead in every capacity.
The whole idea of CLAIMING RIGHTS IS INSANE, for GRACE CANNOT BE GRACE AND CLAIMED AT THE SAME TIME! Hear me:
“GRACE BY ITS VERY NATURE IS TOTALLY UNCLAIMABLE BUT
ONLY RECEIVABLE BY FAITH.”
“IF GRACE WAS CLAIMABLE, THAT WOULD BE LIKE DIRT CLAIMING
CLEANNESS, SAND CLAIMING WETNESS, DARKNESS CLAIMING
LIGHTNESS, AND DWARFS CLAIMING GIANTNESS.”
In short, CHRISTIANS HAVE NO RIGHTS UPON RIGHTS, BUT THEY DO HAVE GRACE UPON GRACE? If the Christian life was ABOUT RIGHTS, and thank God it isn’t, then our only rightful claim would be Divine judgment upon ourselves.
It just came to me now. I remember hearing a preacher tell the story of a woman who went to a professional photographer to have pictures taken of herself. When she finally saw the photographs, she said to the photographer, “Your pictuures of me do not do me justice.” To which the photographer responded,
“DEAR LADY, YOU DO NOT NEED JUSTICE, YOU NEED MERCY.”
Exactly! We do not need our just rights, we need mercy! Every day of our lives! Thank God that His mercies are new with every morning.
RIGHTS, RIGHTS, RIGHTS – OR – GRACE, MERCY, PEACE.
Listen to the following Scriptures so that the Spirit of the Word of God gets a hold of us:
–I Timothy 1:2,
“To Timothy, my true child in the faith: GRACE, MERCY, AND
PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER, AND CHRIST
JESUS OUR LORD.”
–II John 1:3,
“GRACE, MERCY, AND PEACE WILL BE WITH US, from God the
Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father,
in truth and love.”
–II Peter 1:2,
“GRACE AND PEACE BE MULTIPLIED TO YOU in the knowledge
of God and of Jesus Christ.”
“WHILE RIGHTS, ENTITLEMENTS, AND CLAIMS ARE BEING MANUFACTURED
BY THE APOSTATE CHURCH, GRACE, MERCY, AND PEACE ARE
BEING MULTIPLIED TO THE TRUE CHURCH BY GOD THE
FATHER THROUGH JESUS CHRIST.”
There is a powerful truth contained in the word MULTIPLIED in II Peter 1:2. Why are GRACE, MERCY, AND PEACE BEING MULTIPLIED to Christians? Wouldn’t simple ADDITION be enough?
We must grasp the truth of the spiritually and morally bankrupt state of every sinner on earth. Sin has so devastated the human race, and has so separated man and God, that MAN HAS LOST EVERY CLAIM TO ALL THE GOOD, AND HAS BECOME THE RIGHTFUL RECIPIENT OF ALL THE BAD.
GOD ADDING GRACE, MERCY, AND PEACE to this human holocaust would not be sufficient. So destroyed, devastated, and damned is man in every facet of his life, God must MULTIPLY GRACE, MERCY, AND PEACE. Only by MULTIPLICATION OF HIS GRACES AND MERCIES, and not simple ADDITION, can He in Christ salvage anything from earth’s blasted sinscape.
Listen to the words of Isaiah 59:12,
“For our TRANSGRESSIONS ARE MULTIPLIED before Thee,
and our sins testify against us; for our transgressions
are with us, and we know our iniquities.”
“GOD’S MULTIPLIED GRACE AND MERCY IN JESUS CHRIST IS
THE ONLY SOLUTION FOR OUR MULTIPLIED
We must hear the words of Jude 20-21,
“But you, beloved, building yourselves up in the most
holy faith; praying always in the Holy Spirit;”
“keep yourselves in the love of God, WAITING ANXIOUSLY
FOR THE MERCY OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST UNTO
“THOSE WHO MUST WAIT UPON GOD FOR HIS MERCY CONSTANTLY
ARE IN NO POSITION TO CLAIM RIGHTS FROM
Finally, and get hold of this, as we read in Ephesians 2:8,
“For by GRACE you have been saved through faith, and that
not of yourselves, it is the GIFT OF GOD.”
Everything we receive from God is DIVINE-GRACE GIFTS. Now then:
“IF GOD’S GRACE GIFTS WERE RIGHTS, THEY WOULD NOT BE
GIFTS, BUT RATHER ENTITLEMENTS.”
“RIGHTS ARE CLAIMED, BUT GIFTS CAN ONLY BE RECEIVED.
CHRISTIANITY IS FOR HUMBLE RECEIVERS, NOT
God put all our sin onto Jesus and then put all of Jesus’ goodness onto us. God pulled a fast one, switching everything around, bursting expectations, pulling the rug out from underneath what we would normally regard as fair. It wasn’t fair that God himself, through his Son, had to suffer for all our sin. Then again, it’s really not fair that all of us get away scot free by simply receiving the GRACE and MERCY and PEACE of God in Jesus. But we do.
I say to you that only SICK EGOMANIACS WOULD CLAIM SUCH AN EXTRAVAGANT STATE as their right. It is all part of the apostate church putting themselves on equal footing with God not only, but putting God into a submissive position to man. God help us to come back to the faith of our fathers, but also come back to our right minds. Be gracious unto us O Lord, and have mercy upon us. We beseech you!!! Amen