Friday, 18 July 2008

Is it possible to preach too much grace?

This is the title of the latest message from City Church International, preached by Ryan Rufus

"Is is possible to preach too much grace? Can we overdose on grace? Be careful now, if you preach too much grace people are going to turn it into a license to sin. Careful now, if you keep preaching grace over and over again, people are going to think it's okay to just run out and sin. You need to balance this message, you've gotta put a little bit of restraint on people, because if they just keep hearing grace, grace, grace, they're just gonna go out and sin. OH REALLY?!! 
Let's clarify this question. Are Christians desperately wanting an excuse to sin?
Titus 2:11 ' For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,it teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions.' 
What teaches us to say no to sin? Is it the law? No. Is it restraint? No, it's the grace of God that teaches us to say no to sin.
If you teach Christians that they've been forgiven of all their past, present and future sins, and that God will never ever count their sins against them ever again, well then what's to stop them from just running out and sinning? If you keep teaching grace you're going to produce Christians that always want to give in to and go out and sin....No!
'The grace of God teaches us to say no to ungodliness' 
Why is it the first thing that people think when you teach on grace, you just have to clarify it, quick we don't want people to hear this and think oh we can just go out turn it into license and sin now, why is that so common when people hear grace preached? It is because people have not seen their salvation, they have not seen the supernatural work that God has done in a person's life when they get born again. How does the grace of God teach us to say no to sin? Now I am not talking about overcoming sin, I am talking about why we teach on grace so much. The grace of God teaches us to live near to God every moment of every day, and to have boldness to come into His presence every day and to come face to face with God. People that live near to God, don't find it so easy to give in to sin. The closer you are to God the less you want to sin. Law drives people away from God. Law brings people under condemnation. Law is the accusing voice of the enemy, that is why God nailed the law to the cross and this disarmed the accusing voice of the enemy at the cross, when God cancelled the written code at the cross, because the power of the enemy to accuse you was the law. The law says do not lust in your heart, well that's it you lusted, that's it you fell short of God, now you have to be punished......the law actually drives people away from God, it sets up a standard where people have to live with a standard that if I do this I have got to do that, in order for God to love me or to be happy with me, then God will be happy and then He will let me in His presence, so if I don't do this and don't do that then I fall short of His presence and feel condemned and that God does love me, so the law actually drives people away from God.
'Putting the law on Christians results in them feeling far from God and seriously struggling with sin and it will fill their mind with a sin consciousness that will keep them in condemnation, you cannot live in condemnation and close to God at the same time. You cannot live in victory over sin if you are not living close to God. Grace empowers us to live close to God. The more we live in grace the nearer we will live to God, and the nearer we will live to God, the less we will sin. The more people come under law, the further they will live from God and the further they live from God, the more they will give into sin.' (excerpt from the book Ryan is writing on sanctification)
Grace empowers us to live to God every moment of every day!! The closer we are to God, the less we will want to sin. 
'For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, it teaches us to say no to ungodliness and worldly passions.'
The same grace that saves you is the same grace that sanctifies you. Why is that? Because when you came to Jesus you realized it was not about you and what you have done, or your performance or keeping the law, no it was all about Jesus, it was all about the blood that washed away all of your sins and that doesn't ever change, it's not now I need to go back and earn that salvation by keeping the law, or I need to pay God back - no it's the same grace right from the start through to the finish and if you walk in that grace you will walk near to God every day, so the more you preach grace the more people will be driven to God. People that are under grace are people who love Jesus. People who fall more in love with Jesus every day! I am more in love with Jesus today than I was yesterday. People under grace grow in their love for Jesus. 
How does grace teach us to say no to sin? Grace teaches us that God's not trying to put restraint on you, because he's already put it in you. He's changed your heart. When you got saved he took out your stony heart, that had the sinful nature in it, that was provoked by the law and he ripped that out of you and gave you a new heart, he gave you a new nature in your spirit. In Ephesians 4:24, it says we have been created after God himself. Our inner man, our inner being has been created after God's perfect nature in righteousness and holiness of God, inside of our new man, there is a God nature living inside of us, and it's the very nature and character of God. The bible says, we are partakers of the very divine nature of God - we've got God's nature, his character, his justice, his mercy, his love all of that living in our new nature. But the circumcision group wants to come and say you need to be circumcised, outward restraint. God says, No way man I circumcised your heart, changed you from the inside. God's not trying to put restraint on us, he's already put it in us. My inner man, my spirit wants to live passionately for God every day of my life. My spirit wants to serve God with everything that is has, it wants to live in 100% righteousness, it wants to live obedient to God, it wants to live passionate for Jesus. That's my spirit. Now my mind comes under bombardment, I'm working through stuff in my mind. My body gets tired, and tempted and I have natural appetites. If I could live just by my spirit without the interference of my mind and my body -you would see me living 100% righteous, 100% passionate for Jesus, 100% obedient and fruitful for Jesus, why? because God has put that stuff in my spirit. And so sanctification is us learning how to get our minds to line up with heaven and getting our body under control and saying no you are not going to take me there, the Spirit of God wants me here and this is where I am going, it's offering your body as a living sacrifice and it's being transformed by the renewing of your mind. God has put some awesome stuff in our spirit's. We just don't realize that enough, that God has changed our inner man. Before you were saved, sin was on the inside of you, the sinful nature, trying to express itself through your life, law was on the outside of you coming and trying to bring restraint and control that sin problem. Only thing was we think it was trying to control the sin problem but it wasn't. God didn't give the law to control the sin problem, he gave the law to expose the sin problem. That there is a sin problem in us. But then you don't take the law and try to fix the sin problem, it is only through Christ that the sin problem can be solved. Where we have died with Christ, crucified with Christ, that sinful nature has been circumcized, removed from us -Col. 2.  To many preachers still teach that we've got a sinful nature and oh we've just gotta die to the sinful nature. No, the Bible is so clear that the old nature is gone, and we have been circumcized from the old nature and that God has put a new nature inside of you. You don't have a yingyang theology, you've got the old and the good, the sinful and the new nature living together and just wrestling and fighting it out. That is bogus theology! That is rubbish! That's what I mean by Christians have not seen their salvation. And so when you haven't seen your salvation, you think oh if I just preach grace the sinful nature in me or in Christians is just gonna go out and sin. NO we don't have a sinful nature. So when you preach grace, grace empowers that new righteousness nature to want to rise up and live for God as much as you possibly can. Before you were saved sin was on the inside trying to get out. The law was on the outside trying to get in. Now that you're saved, how many of you have ever seen this, now that you're saved sin is on the outside trying to get in, and law is on the inside trying to get out, trying to express itself. Hebrews 8-10 the Lord says a New Covenant I will make, I will write the law on your heart. It's not a reminder, it's a new nature, it's a new drive, it's God's character, God's perfect standard, God's perfect holiness, God's perfect righteousness living on the inside of your new nature, wanting to express itself in perfect righteousness for God. 
Before you were saved, sin on the inside, law on the outside, now that you're saved law on the inside, sin on the outside. 
The circumcision group wants to put external restraint on Christians, grace says no, God has put internal restraint in us. 
You know how they try to restrain you, those who haven't seen their salvation, this is thte  kind of restraint they will try to put on you, "if you sin, God's going to punish you." Is that a good motive not to sin? Because of punishment. That is fear. Fear opens the door to the enemy. You will end up thinking God is punishing you, therefore releasing the enemy to have power in your life. God is never going to punish believers again, because ALL sin has already been dealt with at the cross. Jesus was already punished for ALL my sin. From the start of time to the end of time. Why would God punish for sin twice? God is just - He only punishes sin once!
Where is the safest place to be in a forest fire? It's where the fire has already burned because it will never burn there again......
Where is the safest place for sinners  to be? IN CHRIST, where the fire of God's wrath has already burned, because it will never burn there again. 
The heart of a Christian is not to run out and sin. Temptation comes, because sin is external trying to get in. Not internal trying to get out.
If you sin enough you will lose your salvation. That is not biblical, that is not grace, that undermines the cross. The cross looked ahead at all the sins would ever be committed and dealt with them all right then and there. That means even if we sin, that sin has been dealt with already. 
Sanctification is about our condition on this earth coming in to alignment with our position in heaven. Our position in heaven is perfect forever. When you get tempted it's not even in your spirit, the devil can't even touch your spirit, he goes for your mind and your body. 
Can you ever lose your salvation? NO! It is impossible in any way to lose your salvation. To say you can lose your salvation is to go back under law. It's to put yourself back under old covenant and to say I didn't perform good enough. No, it's a New Covenant, it's His performance on your behalf. Grace from the start right through to the finish. Grace, grace, grace!!!
Why are you always going on about righteousness? When are we going to move on to some solid food? You are always talking about the gift of righteousness.....but let's move on, you keep teaching about righteousness, you keep teaching that you are just going to produce immature Christians, you know infant christians.
OH REALLY!! Let's turn to Hebrews 5:12. We are involved in a grace revolution around the world, God is bringing His church back to New Covenant theology, bringing his church bakc into New Covenant glory, that's where the  unfading glory is, God is taking his church out of old covenant the fading glory and He's bringing his church back into New Covenant glory and it's a time for the revolutionaries to rise up, it's not a time for people to sit back and weigh their options. 
The revolutionaries need people to stand with them, they need people to have their backs. City Church is like a spearhead. It's not a time to back off. It's not about us being right, and others being wrong. Its about liberating the church to come into freedom to invade the world. We want to release the life of God to the world. 
You preach this message and you will face persecution, you will feel people's psyche's coming against you. This is normal. You preach the true Gospel you will face persecution.
Back to Heb. 5:12-14, "2In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
The bible says teachings of righteousness is the solid food. Anyone who is still and infant and immature, is not acquainted with the teachings of righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, solid food is the teaching of righteousness. The more you teach righteousness the more you will be giving people solid food. Anyway, who is still and infant is not acquainted with the teaching of the gift of righteousness. We need to teach the gift of righteousness.  Why? Because we are transformed into His glory as we encounter His face.  2 Corinthians 3, says we become like Him when we encounter Him. How? - by revelation that we are free, that we are righteous in Christ, so that we can come boldly into the throne room of grace and encounter God, not in shame, in grace, there is nothing in the way of me going before God, as we encounter Him we are transformed into his likeness and what is that, maturity -being transformed into His likeness is maturity. The more we encounter Him the more we are transformed into His likeness!!! 

2 main things you need to understand to unlock the grace revelation. First, propitiation, that means the satisfying of God's wrath at the cross, not only does he cover our sins, he removes them forever. Hebrews 1o, one sacrifice for all time for all sin. The cross looked ahead to all sin in the future.  There is no more wrath left for sin. 
And secondly the teaching of the gift of righteousness. God sees you 100% righteous all the time every moment before Him. Don't look at your condition, look at your position. God doesn't relate to you on the basis of your condition, he relates to you on the basis of your position. Amen!! 


Dan Bowen said...

This is SO awesome!! Thanks so much for taking the time to post this and type it! I almost went mad with desperation to hear this message when I saw the title of it and the speaker out in Ibiza ... so your transcript was a life-saver!

lydia joy said...

No problem, I just couldn't help myself, I guess it may have been just for you, ha!!