I loved loved loved our Pastors message today on “big sins” and “little sins” and big or little sinners. It greatly demonstrated the GRACE of God and the goodness of God to all of us.
We ALL sin and make bad choices and need a rescue ship. And thankfully the rescue ship already came. His name is Christ Jesus.
John 1:15-17 “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”. As our Pastor said today, grace and truth. In that order. Gotta love that. GRACE.
The lives the Pastor outlined for the sermon were (1) Zack – the white-collar criminal Zacchaeus who was a greedy thief (Luke 19); (2) The woman at the well shacked up with her boyfriend (John 4); (3) Nick at Night – the rule following religious Nicodemus (John 3); and (4) The GGC – the “girl who got caught” in adultery (John 8).
God exercised GRACE and forgiveness with each of these people. As we should also.
If you personally know me, then you already know that I often refer to myself as “the Woman at the Well”. I don’t hide my past because that’s where I met Jesus. And WOW!!! He changed my life. Which means He will change yours too. IF you want him to.
So, after church today my husband asked me how I felt hearing a message directed at the woman at the well. Ha Ha. And I could not wait to tell him. I LOVE the grace message. But I also love the 2nd half of the message which is TRUTH. Grace got me fire insurance and a ticket to heaven. But TRUTH (discipleship) saved my life and transformed me into the woman I am today. You see, when Jesus was left alone with the woman caught in adultery he said to her, go and sin no more.” John 8:9-11. That’s called repentance.
The definition of repentance is “a change of mind, as it appears to one who repents, of a purpose he has formed or of something he has done”.
If YOU are the woman at the well, or the woman in adultery, or trapped in any other sin that is controlling you, you may – like me – need to hear the WHOLE message. Grace is so very important but repentance is so very necessary for true FREEDOM in Christ. And there is nothing I hate more than the feeling of bondage.
After my Jesus encounter, I met plenty of people who let me know that Jesus still died for me and forgave me regardless of my violations of the Top 10. And for at least 4 or 5 years I actually continued to live an unfulfilling, unrewarding, stressed out, enemy oppressed lifestyle engaged in all out spiritual warfare and was completely ill equipped to participate in the war around me. I went to church every week but stayed defeated and beaten down in my personal life.
In hindsight, after I accepted Christ in my heart, I still had not heard the truth (the whole truth), had not repented, and was absolutely in the snare of the devil engaged in a spiritual war that I had no tools to fight back with. My life got HARDER not easier and I would sit and cry trying to figure out why life was so much harder now that I was a Christian and “trying to do the right thing”.
I did not become this “new me” until I actively engaged in repentance, and voluntarily went through the discipleship process, and began learning to hear AND obey God, when He spoke to me. At church right now there is a women’s group doing the Seeds study by Priscilla Shirer and I LOVED reading one of her instructions in that book. It says “Plan Obedience and Pin Down a Date… Determine the steps you can take to immediately begin responding to what God has said to you, and put them into practice immediately. If obedience requires you to do something specific, record a date and time you will follow through. Let someone else know about your plan so you can be held accountable.”
THAT was the missing link to my spiritual warfare battles – learning what conviction was (conviction versus condemnation), learning the importance of the repentance principal, and working forward while being discipled and holding myself accountable or having an accountability partner.
The current principal God is working on me about is found in 2 Tim 2:24-26 “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.”
That is the passion within me. To help other “women at the well” know the truth and escape the snare of the devil. I really hope and pray and encourage and support you to be open to allowing God to prune, shape, cut, mold, and graft your life to be used by Him for His glory. You will be amazed at the freedom, in Christ, you will experience!