Pastor Tim Pianta 65 Main Street, Tolga, Phone 0418882605 Email

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Salvation is God's gift to us

Salvation is God's gift to us, but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by
self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour can anyone be saved from sin's penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ into their life by faith.
Bible References:
Romans 6:23; For sin pays its wage---death; but God's free gift is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 2:8-9; 8for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not of works, that no man should glory.
John 14:6; Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 1:12-1 3; 12But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Titus 3:4-8; Tit 3:4 But when the kindness of God our Saviour, and his love toward man, appeared, 5 he saved us not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6which he poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 that, being justified by his grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 8Faithful is the saying, and concerning these things I desire that thou affirm confidently, to the end that they who have believed God may be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men:
Galatians 3:26; It is through faith that all of you are God's children in union with Christ Jesus.

Romans 5:1-2.
1 Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 He has brought us by faith into this experience of God's grace, in which we now live. And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God's glory!
A change takes place in the sinner's state, when he becomes a disciple. Being justified by faith he has peace with God. The holy, righteous God, cannot be at peace with a sinner, while under the guilt of sin. That is the one big problem with living under the law – break one law we lose our peace with God and we are in a corrupted state. Justification takes away the guilt, and so makes way for peace. This is through our Lord Jesus Christ; through him as the great Peace-maker, the Mediator between God and man. The saints' happy state is a state of grace. Into this grace we are brought, which teaches that we were not born in this state. We could not have got into it of ourselves, but we are led into it, as pardoned offenders. We stand firm and safe, upheld by the power of God. And those who have hope for the glory of God, have enough to rejoice in now. This hope will not disappoint, because it is sealed with the Holy Spirit as a Spirit of love. It is the gracious work of the Spirit to shed abroad the love of God in the hearts of all the saints. A right sense of God's love to us, will make us not ashamed, either of our hope, or of our sufferings for him.

Peace with God. Not, ‘toward God.’ We are, as a result of justification, no longer under condemnation. God is at peace with us. God’s relation to us is the great matter; on that is based true peace of conscience. When God has accepted the believing sinner as righteous, He looks at him as in Christ, who is our Peace. The hindrance to peace has been removed by the death of Christ; God’s wrath against our sin is removed. Peace that does not rest upon this great fact is a dream and a delusion. No matter how good we live, on our own we will not make it.

It is only through our Lord Jesus Christ. This full form gives a tone of triumph to the verse. This personal Lord has made peace, satisfied justice, removed the curse, made it possible for a holy God to account righteous those, who by nature and character, are sinners. God is love, He first loved the world, but loved it in this way, that He gave His only begotten Son (John -3:16); through this Son we have peace with God.

The Condition of the Justified.
Justification has as its proper result, peace with God, which starts the process of knowing the glory of God, and yet this is actually only increased by trials and because of God’s love. The disciple will have strife in this world, but this love is assured by the death of Christ; and this is a proof and pledge that reconciled sinners will be ‘saved in their life’, and will glory in God who through Christ who provides this reconciliation.
The gospel is ‘the power of God unto salvation,’ Death is connected with Sin, and Life with Righteousness.

The result of justification, peace with God is shown by the contrast between the first and second Adam. Justification by faith takes us to the need of sanctification by the gospel as the law failed to sanctify us. The correction of sin brings righteousness and life and grace is shown to abound, and this gives comfort to the believer. Chapter 6 takes up an objection, which constantly recurs: will not this abounding grace allow men to continue in sin? Paul answers, that Christians have a fellowship of life with Christ, and are dead to sin and dedicated to God. Moreover, they are freed from bounds of the law. This thought suggests another objection (as constantly recurring as the previous one); will not freedom from the law lead to continued sin? Paul defends the spirituality of the law and shows that it is the power of God unto salvation. He portrays, that the prominent distinction is between law and gospel, not sin and grace. This is so far from being adapted for Jewish readers only, or for that age alone, this is the part which touches our experience most closely. The struggle between law and gospel is one constantly felt; the Christian is in constant danger from legalism and liberty. God is the one who alone justifies us and our deal is to live in His grace and not in Satins legalism. God has given us a morality to set us free – if we feel bound by it we are living by another law other than God's law. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are conscious of adoption and the assurance of future Glory. God gave His law to set His people free not to make them bound up. God gave his Son to set people free not bound them up. This is His undeserved kindness or grace to us - ‘the power of God unto salvation’.

All welcome to hear Dr. Don Hardgrave

All Welcome

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Ephesians 2:14 - 18

Ephesians 2:14 For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies.15 He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. 16 By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God. 17 So Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all---to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him.18 It is through Christ that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father.

Christ abolishing the enmity – so; what does that mean? Well He broke down the hostility, animosity, antagonism, friction, opposition,dissension, rivalry, feud, conflict, discord, contention between the people of the world and the people of God. The trouble with giving anyone else the responsibility of this task is that it breaks down the purpose and plan God has for our salvation. God Himself bore the price of our freedom – no one else. Christ broke down the wall between the Jew and gentile. He opened the way forward for us to live in union with God.

He ( Jesus) “ abolished” the Law. The relation of Christ to the Law, Paul says, in Romans 3:31 is, “Do we make void the Law? God forbid! Yea, we establish the Law.” The Law, therefore, is abolished as a law “in ordinances”—that is, “in the letter”—and is established in the spirit. As you read Acts 7 this is Stephen's message. The Law in ordinances was a shadow of what was to come.

Yet not one word or dot is taken out of the Law. God still has the Authority to impose and have accepted His Law (word). None of anything is about getting rid of any Law. It is about fulfilling prophecy. When Christ died on the cross and rose again He fulfilled the requirements of the Law. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the wage of our sin. The use of the law; The wife of a drunkard once found her husband in a filthy condition, with torn clothes, matted hair, bruised face, asleep in the kitchen, having come home from a drunken revel. She sent for a photographer, and had a portrait of him taken in all his wretched appearance, and placed it on the mantel beside another portrait taken at the time of his marriage, which showed him handsome and well dressed, as he had been in other days. When he became sober he saw the two pictures, and awakened to a consciousness of his condition, from which he arose to a better life. Now, the office of the law is not to save men, but to show them their true state as compared with the Divine standard.

We do not base critical issues of the faith on someone’s oral tradition or speculation--we go to the Scripture! When we do, we see that in that Scripture, Paul has directed us to Abraham as our patten for justification. And while it enrages some, Scripture shows the man Abraham never “kept God’s holy Law” to be in full right standing with the God who imputed righteousness to him because of his belief, and not his obedience to a set of commandments! Yet the Child of the Flesh can’t get that. He claims that if we say we’re not “under the Law,” and if we don’t “keep commandments,” we’re saying it’s okay to sin. All that does is show the ignorance of heretics who miss what the covenant actually is. So then--how did Abraham achieve justification with God? Through faith.“Well…God has given us more revelation through the writings of Moses and the prophets than Abraham had, so now we know clearly what His commandments are, and even if Abraham did not know or keep them, we certainly must, or we are rejecting God!” Wrong. Were that doctrine true, Paul would have directed us to Moses, Isaiah or John the Baptist, upheld them as great men of faith who carefully observed God’s Law, and then called on us to emulate their example of faith and obedience to the Law as true justification. Instead, he bypasses all the great men under the Law and goes straight back to Abraham, whom he points out never kept the Law and was justified by faith only, through a righteousness that had nothing to do with his own commandment-keeping.

The Lord ascended to heaven and later the disciples were baptised with the Holy Spirit. The knowledge of God obtained through the experience of His pardon is the best of all knowledge of Him. This is a knowledge of God that makes Him the predominant idea of the our whole life and the supreme truth of life, because in our work for Him we will find joy, peace, purpose, etc. The peace which Christ calls for in His Church, is not simply a cessation from strife, which can happen even when there is simply bitterness in peoples spirits. This peace is a oneness of spirit simply because The Lord is our Lord and we want to please Him and serve Him, His way and give to Him all the strife (sin) in our life. The aim is for all of God's people, both Jew and Gentile to have God's peace and to be one people.

Read Colossians 

We are now dead to the old Adam (that is the old man – or our pagan way) and we are now alive to the new man – that is Jesus Christ. It is He who broke down the barrier and makes us all a new man – both Jews and gentiles. We can work at whatever we want to work at – unless we are born of the spirit we will not see heaven. Abraham's righteousness (and we all need righteousness) was due to his belief, trust, faith in God's purpose for his life. What makes Abraham's relationship with his God different to other people's relationship with their god's is that it is his belief, trust, faith in God's ability to save him. His role is simply to walk according God's word (Law). Jesus Christ made peace by the sacrifice of himself; in every sense Christ is our Peace, the author, centre, and substance of our being at peace with God, and of our union with the Jewish believers in one church. Through the person, sacrifice, and mediation of Christ, sinners are allowed to draw near to God as a Father, and are brought with acceptance into his presence, with their worship and services, under the teaching of the Holy Spirit, as one with the Father and the Son. Christ purchased leave for us to come to God; and the Spirit gives a heart to come, and strength to come, and then grace to serve God acceptably.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Ephesians 4

This chapter of this letter is an encouragement to walk as a Christian. Paul was now a prisoner at Rome; and he was the prisoner of the Lord, or in the Lord. Considering what God has done for us, we should walk to approve ourselves as good citizens of the kingdom of God, and live up to our profession and calling; We walk according to the grace that God has brought us with. We are called to God's kingdom and glory; and we must keep this in mind, and walk as heirs of the Kingdom.
Nothing is pressed more earnestly in the Scriptures, than to walk as those called to Christ's kingdom and glory. We walk as Abraham did, before God by lowliness, understanding humility, which is opposed to pride. By meekness, that excellent disposition of soul, which makes men slow to anger, and not easily to be provoked or offended. We are not to walk in the offence which is one of the sins choking the church today. We are to walk as people of victory not as victims. As we walk this way we will find much in ourselves for which we can hardly forgive ourselves; so we will not find it hard to forgive others. There is one Christ in whom all believers hope, and one heaven they are all hoping for; so we should be of one heart. They had all one faith, one object, one Author of our nature and power. We are to believe the same as to the great truths of God; We have all been admitted into the church by one baptism, with water, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, as the sign of regeneration. In all believers God the Father dwells, as in his holy temple, by his Spirit and special grace. Without this grace this would not be possible – man does not have the ability to restore himself apart from God – however with God we have all the ability; Applying this ability is by our own will. Without God we have no ability to live by the law; with God we have all the ability to live perfectly by the law. Abraham walked in fellowship with; He did things with God; this is what life is to be all about; living with God.
To every believer is given some gift of grace, for their mutual help. All is given from Christ to every one who lives as God's child. He received for them, that he might give to them, a large measure of gifts and graces; particularly the gift of the Holy Ghost. Not a mere head knowledge, or bare acknowledging Christ to be the Son of God, but such as brings trust and obedience. The gift to love to be disciplined by God. There is a fullness in Christ, and a measure of that fullness given in the counsel of God to every believer; but we never come to the perfect measure until we come to heaven. God's children are growing, as long as they are in this world; and the child's growth should bring the glory of Christ. The more a man finds himself drawn out to improve in his station, and according to his measure, all that he has received, to the spiritual good of others, he may the more certainly believe that he has the grace of sincere love of God grounded and rooted in his heart.
The apostle charged the Ephesians in the name and by the authority of the Christ and lord, that having professed the gospel, they should not be as the unconverted Gentiles, who walked in vainness and carnal affections, walking in the vanity of their minds? We need all the more today to distinguish between real and nominal Christians. They were void of all saving knowledge; they sat in darkness, and loved it rather than light. They dislike and hate a life of holiness, which is the way of life God requires and approves, and by which we live with him, but which has some likeness to God himself in his purity, righteousness, truth, and goodness. The truth of Christ appears in its beauty and power, when it appears as in the Lord Jesus. The corrupt nature is called a man; like the human body, it is of different parts, supporting and strengthening one another. Sinful desires are deceitful lusts; they promise men happiness, but give them more misery; and bring them destruction in the end. These must be put off, as an old filthy garment.
But it is not enough to shake off corrupt principles; we must have gracious ones. By the new man, is meant the new nature, the new creature, directed by a new principle, even regenerating grace, enabling a man to lead a new life of righteousness and holiness. This is created, or brought forward by God's almighty power not man vainness and corrupt ways.

Notice the particulars we should live with. Take control of every thing that is contrary to truth. No longer flatter or deceive others. God's people are children who will not lie, who hate lying. Take control of anger and uncontrolled passions. If there is an occasion to express displeasure at what is wrong, or to approve of what is right, do this without sin. We give permission to the devil, when the first thoughts or actions of sin are carnal; when we consent to them; and when we repeat an evil deed. This teaches that sin, if given into, lets in the devil in and we are not able to resist evil. We need to understand that anger is an emotion that is God given and at times we will use it. However we need to control it as well.
Idleness makes trouble for us and exposes us to temptations and keeps us from doing good. We need to keep busy and live live honestly so we can give to others what God wants for them.. What then must we think of those called Christians, who grow rich by fraud, oppression, and deceitful practices! Give to be accepted by God and what we give must not be gained by unrighteousness and robbery, but by honesty and work. God hates offerings not earned by honesty and our own work. They are someone else gift to give.

Filthy words come from corruption (sin) in the speaker, and they corrupt the minds and manners of those who hear them: Christians should beware of all such actions. It is the duty of all Christians by the blessing of God, to bring people to think seriously about their life, and to encourage and warn believers by their conversation. Be kind one to another. This sets the principle of love in the heart, and the outward expression of it, in a humble, courteous behaviour. Mark how God's forgiveness causes us to forgive. God forgives us. We must forgive, as he has forgiven us. All lying, and corrupt talk, that stir up evil desires and lusts, grieve the Spirit of God. Corrupt passions of bitterness, wrath, anger, lustfulness, evil-speaking, and malice, grieve the Holy Spirit. The last thing we need is for the Holy Spirit to withdraw His presence and his gracious influences. The Lord's plea is that your salvation is used to build the nature of Godliness in you.

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