Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh continued preaching about the power of the Gospel. Her main text was taken from the Book of Romans: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” … being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus… Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. Moreover, the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 1:16, 17; 3:24; 5:18-21; NKJ).
Pastor (Mrs) Silvia Lia Leigh said that there are two ‘countries’ or two ‘realms’: Adam and Christ! All men are either in Adam or in Christ. There is no middle ground. In Adam, Sin is king and reigns unto death. In Christ, Grace is King and reigns unto eternal life! You are either under Sin or under Grace! Sin and saving Grace are both positional. In Christ, all are under Grace! Sin is defined as rebellion against God! It is disobedience, breaking God’s law, and worse, breaking God’s heart! It is lawlessness, chaos. Grace is God’s unmerited favor to sinners.
Regarding God’s dealings with men, there are three dispensations:
*The first dispensation is called ‘The Dispensation of the Patriarchs or Ancestors. This applies to God’s dealings with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is described in the Book of Genesis. During this time, God spoke directly to few men. It was a dispensation based on Grace. God choose them according to His sovereign will and promised them unconditional blessings.
*The second dispensation is called ‘The Dispensation of the Law’. After the people of God left Egypt, they came to Mount Sinai and God gave them His laws thru His servant Moses. God added that if they obeyed His laws they shall be blessed. If they disobeyed His laws, they shall be cursed. These laws reveled the character of God, what He loves and what He hates. The laws applied primarily to Israel. There is no other country that God dealt with by giving them His laws.
*The third dispensation is called ‘The dispensation of the Gospel’. The Gospel applies to all men, black or white, male and female, to the end of time. It is the last dispensation until Jesus comes back. It is the good news from heaven, that by the Grace of God, sinners can be saved, because of the sacrifice of God’s Son on the Cross.
What is the function and the power of the Law?
“And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:16, 17; NKJ). The Law is the Ten Commandments and other laws given by God to Moses for the people of God. These are all in the Old Testament. Obeying the law leads to blessings. Breaking the law leads to curses. In case of sin, when men broke the law, God required animal sacrifices. Blood needed to be shed for forgiveness and restoration of relationships, with God or between men. This will tell you the power of the law! Blood is shed for restoration! God gave Moses the law so that we know Him, His character, what He likes and what He dislikes. In the past, God made a covenant of grace with Abraham who had faith in God. Four hundred years later, God gave the law thru Moses. The law did not negate the previous covenant of grace and faith. Spiritually, we are people of faith, children of Abraham and not children of Moses.
The Jews misunderstood the purpose of the law. The Jews continued to circumcise their boys (according to the covenant with Abraham) but they assumed that they could become righteous thru obeying the law of Moses. That was their error. The law was not given to save men. The law is not a savior!!! The law has no mercy, no grace, gives no hope, and no faith! But the natural man wants to prove that he can do something about his salvation. This is a great deception. No man can obey the law of God in his power. This is because of the sin factor dwelling in us. Salvation was, and still is, only by grace and thru faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Jews missed it and rejected Christ. Religion is the greatest enemy of grace and faith! This is God’s eternal Word: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Salvation is always thru Jesus Christ, by Grace and thru faith in Him!
THE RELIGIOUS SON AND HIS FATHER (KING GRACE) (Luke 15:25-32)
Most people forget about the religious senior brother. He was even more lost than his prodigal brother. He too is the son of King Grace. Jesus was telling the people this parable because the Pharisees criticized Him for eating with sinners. They hated His joy at the conversion of sinners. The senior brother did all the right things: worked hard, obeyed the Father, did not waste money. He was right outside but rotten inside. He was lost in his own home, better said, inside the church. When the junior brother asked for his inheritance, this brother is strangely silent. He was supposed to intervene and reconcile father and son. But he did not. It was his responsibility to be a family peacemaker. But he refused to do it. This is a sin of omission. “To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). He loves his father and his brother too little to help them before it is too late. That fateful day, he came from the field. He hears music. He is angry that he was not ‘invited’. He asks a servant what is happening. When he hears the story, he gets angry. He was angry at the reconciliation. This proves that he did not pray for his brother. He did not share in his father’s pain. He wanted the junior brother to suffer and pay for his sins, to work as a slave. He does not understand or appreciate Grace. He hates Grace!!! He felt that the party was done by the father spending ‘his money’. He became angry! He accused his brother of spending money with prostitutes. How did he know that? In his imagination he was jealous on his brother’s ‘freedom’ and was lusting after women in his heart, while inside church. He accused his father of being a hard taskmaster and even stingy. He said that he wanted a goat to celebrate, not with the father, but with ‘his friends’ (religious hypocrites like him). He kept the letter of the law but did not kept the law of love. As you can see, both sons wanted only the father’s money and not their father’s God or grace. This describes spiritual religious pride and self-righteousness. People like him misrepresent the Gospel. They are in the church but are not saved. They criticize our freedom and our worship, in the presence of God. The father goes out to plead with his son. The father humiliates himself again. The same day, King Grace humbled himself two times to two different lost sons. This action tells us that Jesus loves even the Pharisees!!! But they do not love Him in return. The parable does not tell us what this son did that day. Jesus is King Grace, and He loves all sinners. Sinner, backslider, King Grace is calling you home! There is joy in heaven when sinners repent. Let us share in this heavenly joy! Let the music start! Grace is King! Worship the Lord!
“But Israel shall be saved by the Lord with an everlasting salvation; you shall not be ashamed or disgraced forever and ever…The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand” (Isaiah 45:17; NKJ; Psalm 37:23, 24; NLT)
We are not ashamed of Him who has become a stumbling block and offense to Jews and Gentiles alike! Blessed Advent, Silvia!
I can never be ashamed of the Lover of my soul! God bless you Mary Jo!