Grace – Part 2

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

Today has been a nice and relaxing day. I got up this morning and did a Bible study of Romans 6 for a class I am teaching on Monday to one of our School of Discipleship groups. I always was a little timid to tackle Romans 6 because it is also difficult. But it is also a pivotal chapter in the Bible. I can’t cover everything in this post but here are a few thoughts.

The question that chapter 6 discusses is actually brought up in Romans 5:20-”But where sin increased, grace abounded more and more.” Some Christians believed that if people really understood that God judges them on just the basis of their faith in Christ, and not by works, they would go wild and continue living in sin.

Paul gives the answer to this dilemma in Romans 6. Maybe the best thing I can do here is just give a summary of Romans 6:1-10:

1. We are seen by God as dead to sin and being raised with Christ into new life.

2. Our history with Adam is done. We are now children of God.

3. God’s sentence on our old self is death.

4. But now, we have risen with Christ and walk in new life.

5. Sin’s power over us is broken.

6. Because of that we are free to live for God.

These are positional truths that God has done, and Romans 6 says that we need to know these truths. Not just in our heads, but in our hearts. God says we have died and have been raised up with Christ. Our position with God is perfect.

Then Paul lays out the practical aspect of living this out. The first step in walking in practical holiness is to count on the fact that our old self has been crucified. V11

Then, Verse 12 says not to let sin reign in our mortal bodies. God can make us holy, but we need to be willingly involved in His work of making us Holy. The bottom line to this is that God has a part and we have a part.

Finally verse 13 says that if we are dead to sin, we need to present our bodies to God. So, if we are dead, why do we have to still present our bodies? Scripture makes an important distinction: our spirit is redeemed, but our body is not. That is why there is this constant struggle against sin.

One day we will be totally redeemed. See 1 Corinthians 15:53-57. But for now, in times weakness, we can count on the Spirit of God can to turn us to the Lord rather than giving into sin. Before we were crucified with Christ, we had no choice, we were slaves to sin. But now, grace gives us the freedom to serve the Lord. We have a great privilege in being freed from the law and being under grace. The law told us what to do but we had no power to do it. Grace gives us the freedom to serve the Lord and live for His glory.

Heaven – Week 2

Heaven

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

This week at Stonepoint we discovered more about Heaven. I cannot adequately talk about this in this today. There was a lot of information. I would encourage all of us to go to the website and listen to today’s sermon again.

Today Pastor Brandon talked from Revelation chapter 21. This chapter talks about the “New Heaven and the New Earth.” We talk much about Heaven but, as good as it will be to be there, it is not our final home. Our final home will be the New Heaven and the New Earth that God will usher in at a later time. Here are a few highlights I got out of today’s sermon, in no particular order.

First, there will be a clear difference in Heaven as it is now and the New Heaven and the New Earth. Even though when a Christian dies, and is ushered into Heaven, he will not see the full glory of God. We will be with the KING, but we will still not see his total glory. That is reserved for later.

Another point I really liked was that when we as believers just see an inkling of God, we hit the floor. Isaiah chapter six is fascinating to me. When Isaiah had a vision of God and received his calling as a prophet, what was his reaction. Verse 5 says he was ruined. Basically, he was torn apart. I truly don’t believe we will be asking God a bunch of questions, like I have heard people say, when we see God in even a small part of His glory. I think we will fall on our face in worship and adoration.

A New Testament passage that follows the same thought as Isaiah 6 is in Acts 9. When Saul saw a vision of God, scripture says Saul fell to the ground. The only question he asked was “who are you, Lord?” In both these instances, neither Isaiah nor Saul saw the full glory of God. If this was their reaction to just a partial vision of God, what will it be like when we see God in all His glory? I can’t imagine!!

A final thought. When will we see God in all His fullness? It will be when God ushers in the New Heaven and New Earth! It is here that we will experience the full glory of God. I have no idea what that will look like either. But from scripture, we do know a couple of things.

God will be among us. We will actually see God face to face! See 1 John 4:12 and 1 Timothy 6:15-16.

All things will be made new. The old order will pass away. No tears, sickness or death.

Finally, There will be no Sun or Moon. The glory of God Himself will light the city! All this should blow our minds, as we often say.

So, are we ready? Do we really look forward to going to Heaven and then enjoy eternity in the New Heaven and New Earth? Or do we spend most of our time rolling around in the muck and mire of this world. There was an old saying among the people of Christ: “He is so Heavenly minded that he is no earthly good.” Personally, I don’t agree. I think the more Heavenly minded we are, the more we will accomplish here on earth. May our Lord make us all Heavenly minded.

Easter Sunday on the Prairie

EasterBob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

Sometime early on Easter morning it start raining here on the prairie. I got up and got ready to head out on the ole trail to the church meeting place. Today we met at the local high school in Wills Point. On my way, I noticed my friends the cows didn’t seem to mind being out in the rain. They seemed more interested in the nice green grass that has started to grow again. I was asked to help with greeting as I usually am. I call it my “shaking hands and kissing babies time.” Lots of hands to shake today but not any babies to kiss.

The worship time was good as usual and then Pastor Brandon got up to preach. I was expecting to hear a resurrection sermon as one would, on this day. However, I was quite surprised by the course Pastor Brandon took. This sermon seemed to be more appropriate for “Good Friday.” than Easter Sunday. He talked about the trials that Jesus had to under go. As I recall, there were six of them all together. Three were with the Sanhedrin and three were political, the most prominent being with Pilot. Pilot pronounced Jesus innocent of any crimes deserving death right away. But he also wanted to please the people. Pilot decided to follow the custom of releasing a prisoner of choice to the crowd. The call came out “give us Barabbas!!”

Now came the point of the message. Along with Pastor Brandon, I have read these accounts countless times. I can’t remember consciously thinking about it, but the point was made that Jesus and Barabbas actually traded places. Barabbas deserved death because he was guilty. Jesus deserved to go free because He was innocent. Pastor Brandon said he was Barabbas!! He deserved death but instead, because of the sacrifice of Jesus on his behalf, Barabbas went free. Even more amazing to me, so did we, if we are indeed Christians. The mystery of salvation has always amazed me. I cannot fathom, being chosen by God to be His child before the foundation of the world, being forgiven of my sins, being pronounced as righteous even though I am anything but that. It’s doubtful if Barabbas ever thanked Jesus for taking his death sentence upon Himself. Thank you Pastor Brandon for pointing that we are Barabbas in this narrative. I pray we will never take for granted the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross and then proved he had power and authority to forgive us our sins through His resurrection from the dead. He has risen!!! He has risen, indeed!!!

Heaven- Week 1

Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member

Today dawned overcast again, but no matter. It was the Lord’s day. I got up early as always, so I could make the 8:30AM Service. As I was leaving our campus I decided to drop off some things so I wouldn’t have to take them in tomorrow. I noticed the alarm was on which is usually no big thing. I have a code that can reset it and allow me in. However, I was not aware that it was no longer valid, and the alarm started blaring. I called a friend to figure out how to make the alarm stop. He said he would call the person for me, since I didn’t have the number. Finally, while I was standing outside the building, the alarm stopped. I jumped in my car and headed off to church. By the way, I never did drop anything off.

Today at church, Pastor Brandon started a new series on Heaven. I was looking forward to it. The passage for today was 2 Corinthians 5:1-10. Today was introductory but I would like to highlight a few points made by Pastor Brandon.

First, in verse 1 it talks about the fact that we are living in a temporary tent. This world is not our home and we should not just sit around and wait for Heaven, we should long for it. Am I longing for Heaven? Yes, absolutely. But when I was younger, I was quite content to just wait for heaven and go on living my life. We cannot have it both ways. We cannot want to enjoy our lives here and long for Heaven at the same time. It is important for us to remember that this is not our home. Our home is with God in Heaven.

Second, Pastor brought the point that in this body we groan and are burdened. It was not supposed to this way, but because sin came into God’s original creation through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, we suffer. There is disease and sickness, war, crime and many other things that we have to put up with. But in Heaven it will not be so! Heaven will be a pure place and there will be righteousness.

The third part I would like to leave you with is found in verses 5-10. God has given us a deposit or pledge, which is the Holy Spirit. So we press on with our lives living by faith. We prefer to be out of our body and be at home with the Lord but while we are here we should have as our goal to please the Lord. There will come a day when we will all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give account of our of what we have done whether good or bad (V10). This judgment is not to determine our destination but our rewards, which will give back to Christ, anyway.

I hope this excites you! It does me. May we realize that however long we may live, our time here is short. Let us long to be with our Lord in Heaven. God bless you.