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Friday, April 12 2013

Grace In The Garden

"Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?"

Many regard "grace" to be the LORD's "New Testament" gift to Christians, but God's grace has existed right from the Garden of Eden. It was bestowed upon the first humans while they obeyed Him, and it was withdrawn when they decided to disobey Him. Through all of time, grace has been freely given to the obedient, while grace has been freely withdrawn from the rebellious.

Right from the beginning, grace was freely given for being in a state of obeying the LORD:

"1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 1:30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so." (Genesis 1:27-30 KJV)

"2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden [see The Garden In Eden] to dress it and to keep it. 2:16 And the LORD God [see The Kingdom Of The LORD God]commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." (Genesis 2:15-17 KJV)

Right from the beginning, grace was freely withdrawn for being in a state of disobeying the LORD:

The Tree

"3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat [see How Did Adam And Eve Sin Differently?]. 3:7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

3:8 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. 3:9 And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

3:10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

3:11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

3:12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

3:13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done?

And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

3:14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

3:17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee [see Seed-Bearing Plants: For Food Or For Folly?]; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

3:20 And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: 3:23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life." (Genesis 3:1-24 KJV)

"Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy Name? And in Thy Name have cast out devils? And in Thy Name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity"

Many people have been misled into the evil fantasy that the Messiah "came to do away with the Law" (see also 2 Peter: 'The Servants Of Corruption Promise Liberty'). The Messiah taught, and warned, against such a lie.

Sermon

"5:13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

5:14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 5:15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil [see The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God]. 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:13-20 KJV)

What did the Messiah also warn to those who ignore His Word, while doing as they please in His Name i.e. "Christian"? "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Notice also in His answer the reference to the primordial "tree" of good or evil - of obedience or disobedience.

"7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it [see also The Messiah's Teachings About Gates].

7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves [see The Messiah's Warning About Christian Charlatans]. 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them [see Christ Died For Repentant Sinners], I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it." (Matthew 7:13-27 KJV)

Many have used out-of-context statements by the apostle Paul as their hollow excuse to live an unrepentant "Christian" life, but consider very carefully what Paul actually said about perverting grace into a license for sin, including the admonition "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God."

The Holy Scriptures

"6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.

6:8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 6:10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.

6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace." (Romans 6:1-14 KJV)

Humanity has a choice of obedience i.e. "his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness."

"6:15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 6:18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

6:19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. 6:20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 6:21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:15-23 KJV)

Fact Finder: (a) Why is no one saved now? (b) When and where will salvation happen?
(a) See Who Can Be Saved?
(b) See What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16? and The Harvest Prophecies


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This Day In History, April 12

238: the Battle of Carthage. The forces of Gordian II were defeated by Numidian forces of Maximinus Thrax. Gordian II was killed in the battle and his father, Gordian I, committed suicide.

467: Anthemius was proclaimed Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.

1204: During the Fourth Crusade (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy), Constantinople was taken from the Muslims by the Crusaders (see A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad). Constantinople was founded in 330 by the Roman Emperor Constantine, after whom the city is named (listen to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy). Centuries later, the city became the capital of the Ottoman Empire (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).

1606: King James of England (after whom the King James Bible is named) ordered a "Union Flag" combining the crosses of St. George of England and St. Andrew of Scotland. The origin of the Union Jack.

1654: The Ordinance of Union came into effect, uniting Ireland and Scotland with England.

1782: The British, under Admiral Sir George Rodney, won a naval victory in the West Indies over the French off Dominica.

1796: Napoleon's forces defeated the Austrian and Sardinian armies at the end of the Battle of Montenotte. It was Napoleon's first significant victory.

1917: During the First World War, four divisions of the Canadian Army captured Vimy Ridge (France) from the German Sixth Army.

1945: U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt died at age 63. In his last weeks, he had reportedly turned "anti-Zionist" after a meeting with Arabian King Ibn Saud after the Yalta Conference. The "pro-Zionist" Presidential assistant, David Niles, later asserted: "There are serious doubts in my mind that Israel would have come into being if Roosevelt had lived" (Mr. Niles overestimated Roosevelt and the late-comers who became involved in what others had built - nothing or no one could stop the fulfillment of the prophecy of Judah's return; see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate, A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism and A History Of Jerusalem: War And Peace).

1955: The polio vaccine, which was developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, was declared safe and effective.

1955: Albert Einstein collapsed at home in Princeton, New Jersey from a ruptured aortic aneurysm; he died in hospital 3 days later.

1961: Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in outer space when he completed the first manned orbital flight aboard Vostok 1.

1981: The first U.S. space shuttle launch, the Columbia (the U.S. and Russia deliberately sought to overshadow important dates of the other's accomplishments; in this case, the first U.S. space shuttle launch was deliberately chosen to be the same date of Russia putting the first man in space 20 years earlier). Columbia completed 27 missions before disintegrating during re-entry on its 28th flight, on February 1, 2003. Seven astronauts, including the first Israeli astronaut, were killed.

1999: U.S. President Bill Clinton was cited for contempt of court for testifying "intentionally false statements" in a sexual harassment civil lawsuit.


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