Rewards At The Judgment

Adapted from my book: Heaven: Where Few…Are Many! (Can be ordered from me waynedunaway@gmail.com 256-624-6024 or amazon.com).

Their Works Do Follow Them!

In Revelation 14:13, the Bible says: “Then I heard a voice from Heaven saying to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’” Notice that He did not say blessed are those who die, because all who die are not blessed. Nor did He say blessed are the dead because all the dead are not blessed. But He did say blessed are the dead who die “in the Lord.” That is, blessed are those who die belonging to and in a relationship with the Lord (Gal. 3:26-29). These are the ones who are blessed. Note also that it is their “works” that follow them and not their sins. Our sins do not follow us. They are continually forgiven because of Jesus’ death on the cross (1 John 1:7). But our “works” do follow us because we will be rewarded by Jesus for our works.

The Day of Judgment will not only be a day of welcome, but it will also be a day of rewards and recognition. The Bible teaches that each will be rewarded according to his own labor (1 Cor. 3:8). We are all redeemed by the Lord, but each of us will be rewarded according to our own labor. Jesus Himself taught: “Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward. And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward” (Matt. 10:41-42, NIV). We are certainly not saved by our good works (Eph. 2:8-9), but we will be rewarded for our works (1 Cor. 3:8; 2 Cor. 5:10). Jesus clearly taught that He would reward the faithful according to their works (Matt. 16:27; Rev. 22:12).

I know that we are not working just for rewards but rather because we love Jesus and appreciate what He has done and is doing for us. I know that just being in Heaven in His presence will be enough for us. I know that rewards are, hopefully, not our primary motivation for serving Jesus. But I also know that rewards do motivate and encourage. I know that He has promised to reward us for serving Him. The promise of rewards is reasonable, sensible, and scriptural. There is nothing wrong with looking forward to rewards from Jesus. Properly understood, there is no conflict between a faithful heart and a desire for God’s rewards.

Jesus seemed to think that rewards were important. When He was on earth, He talked a lot about rewards. He said that God rewards the meek. He rewards the merciful. He rewards those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. He rewards givers. He rewards those who fast. He rewards those who pray. (Read Matthew chapters 5-7.) On one occasion, Peter said to Jesus, “We have left all and followed you. Therefore, what shall we have?” Peter was asking about rewards. Jesus did not rebuke him for asking the question but promised Peter and others rewards in this life and the next (Matt. 19:27ff). Paul wanted to be a wise builder (teacher/preacher) because he knew that if his work (converts and those he encouraged) endured, he would “receive a reward” (1 Cor. 3:9-15). He also knew that if they did not hold on to their faith that he would “suffer loss”—not loss of his personal salvation, but loss of the reward he would have gotten if they had remained faithful (1 Cor. 3:15). The Bible is full of promises of rewards for believers. And one of the reasons that Moses made the right choice about “suffering affliction with the people of God” was because “he looked to the reward” (Heb. 11:24-26).
WIIFM.

I may not know all of the radio stations that you listen to, but we all listen to this one: WIIFM. These letters stand for What’s In It For Me? Whether we are willing to admit it or not, we are all interested in this question. The Bible answer is redemption from the Savior and rewards for service. What more could we ask? Jesus not only redeems us from sin, but He also promises to rewardus for service. He said, “Great is your reward in Heaven” (Matt. 5:12). It is much greater than most of us have realized or even considered. Jesus not only provides us with an inheritance, but He also provides us with the incentives to obtain it (1 Peter 1:3-5). Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway
https://gandpministries.wordpress.com/

Glad Reunion Day

Adapted from my book, “Heaven: Where Few…Are Many!” The book can ordered from this page or from Amazon.

GLAD REUNION DAY

One of the main things that we look forward to in Heaven is being reunited with our loved ones who will be there. It will surely be a “Glad Reunion Day.” There are many ways and many passages to prove this glorious fact. In this article we will notice one example.

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians. 4:13-18). In these verses Paul writes to those who were “grieving” over those who had died. The New International Version reads: “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope” (1 Thes. 4:13). Who are the dead that we “grieve” over? It is not all who die. Actually, we only grieve over our relatives and friends.

What does Paul say to comfort those of us who “grieve” over lost loved ones? He says that, when the Lord returns, the dead in Christ will rise first and “then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (1 Thess. 4:17). Who are the ones that we will be called up “together” with? It is those that we are “grieving” over. Then he says, “comfort one another with these words” (1 Thes. 4:18). In other words, Paul was telling us that one day, when the Lord returns, we will be back together with those over whom we are “grieving,” and we will all be “together” and with the Lord forever. There is comfort in the promise that one day we will be “together with them” that we know and love and grieve over who have died. The “comfort” is in the fact that Christians never say goodbye to our Christian family and friends for very long. These verses surely teach us that we will know, recognize, and be with those we now “grieve” over when He comes again.

What “comfort” would there be for Paul to say that “God will bring with Him” those who “sleep in Jesus” if we were not going to recognize them or know who they are? If Paul was simply telling us that we are going to one day be called up together with a bunch of strangers and people we have never met and have never actually grieved over, what comfort would that be for us as far as “grieving” over those who have died is concerned? It is true, of course, that all Christians will be caught up together to meet the Lord, but that is not Paul’s primary point in this section. Paul’s point here is that we are going to be reunited with our loved ones, close friends, and those we “grieve” over who now sleep in Jesus.

What a blessing! What a promise! What A Day That Will Be!! Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway
https://gandpministries.wordpress.com/

The Sacred Secret # 3

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THE SACRED SECRET # 3
The Secret Saves

III. THE MYSTERY THAT MAKES SALVATION REAL (Ephesians 3:8-13).

1. The mystery that had been concealed, and is now revealed, is the plan that makes salvation real.
2. The scheme of redemption is now in place. The price of pardon has now been paid. The purpose of God has now been “accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord” (v. 11).
3. The mystery that makes salvation a reality, and no longer just a promise or a prediction, is now an “accomplished” fact (v. 11).
4. The “unsearchable riches of Christ” (v. 8) are now to be preached to all men.
5. It is a perfect plan. It exemplifies the “manifold wisdom of God” (vs. 10a). It displays the “wisdom of God…the hidden wisdom” (1 Cor. 2:7).
6. In preaching the mystery, observe how Paul emphasizes:

A. The EQUAL POSITION (v. 8).

1. He preached among the Gentiles that we are “fellow heirs” in Christ. The word “fellow” means “equal.” We all share equally in the “fellowship of the mystery” (vs.9). We all share equally in the blessings of salvation. This means: You may have more money than me, but you don’t have more mercy, than me (Eph. 2:4). You may have greater gifts than me, but you don’t have more grace than me (Eph. 2:5 & 8). You may have more power than me, but you don’t have more pardon than me (Eph. 1:7). You may have more faith than me, but you don’t have more forgiveness than me (Eph. 1:7). You may be smarter than me, but you are not more saved than me (Eph. 2:8). You may be more helpful than me, but you are not more holy than me (Eph. 1:4). You might behave better than me, but you are not more blameless than me (Eph. 1:4). You may have more ability than me, but you don’t have greater access than me (Eph. 2:18). You may be better than me, but you are not better off than me (Eph. 1:6). You might be a better servant than me, but you don’t have a better Savior than me (Eph. 1:13; 5:23). You may have greater status than me, but you don’t have greater salvation than me (Eph. 1:13). You may keep more rules than me, but you are not more righteous than me (Eph. 4:24). You might have more intelligence than me, but you don’t have a greater inheritance than me (Eph. 1:11). You might have a better attitude than me, but you don’t have a greater adoption than me (Eph. 1:5). You may have more strength than me, but you don’t have more of the Spirit than me (Eph. 1:13,14). You may have more accomplishments than me, but you don’t have more assurance than me (Eph. 1:14).
3. All of God’s children “are one in Christ Jesus” whether Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, and “if you are Christ’s,” then you are “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:26-29; Eph. 3:6).

B. The Exalted Privilege (v. 9-10).

1. Although in his own mind Paul was “less than the least of all saints,” he had the exalted privilege of making all men see this “fellowship” (or equal sharing) brought about by the revelation of salvation in Christ.
2. He considered it an exalted privilege to help men see the equal position of all who are in Christ (v. 8).
3. Now all men can understand what God was doing from the “beginning of the ages” (v.9).
4. The angels who “desired to look into these things” regarding the salvation of man (1 Peter 1:10-12) and the powers that can be now see “in the church” the manifold wisdom of God in it all (Eph. 3:10).
5. Who could have known that God was planning to die Himself in order to purify man so He could dwell in them on earth-in spite of their weaknesses and sins, ignorance and errors?
6. This salvation is real to all who trust in Christ and they are equally saved (Eph. 2:1-10), equally reconciled (Eph. 2:11-18), and are equally “being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit” (Eph. 2:19-22).7. Notice also that, in the latter part of this section, the mystery was “accomplished in Christ” (v. 11b) and made real in us because in Him “we have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Him” (v. 12).

C. The Eternal Purpose (vs. 11-13).

1. Salvation through the death of Jesus was not an accident or an afterthought.
2. It was according to the “eternal purpose of God” (vs. 11).
3. In other words, there never was a time when God did not intend to save all in Christ.
4. As God is eternal, His purpose in Christ is eternal.5. Jesus was “indeed foreordained before the foundation of the world” to redeem those “who through Him believe in God…so that your faith and hope are in God” (1 Pet. 1:18-21).
Conclusion: The mystery is summed up by Paul in 1 Timothy 3:16 “God was manifest in the flesh. Justified in the Spirit. Seen of angels. Preached among the Gentiles. Believed on in the world. Received up in glory.” Truly the “history” of the mystery is “His story” from beginning to the end. This was concealed in types and shadows in the Old Testament revealed in words too plain to be misunderstood in the New Testament and made real in the hearts of all who trust Him as Lord (Rom. 10:9-10).

Illustration: When I think about the mystery I sometimes think about the first time I saw house plans. There were lines on sheets of paper with sketches, arrows, numbers, etc…but, since I’m not into house building, I did not really understand exactly what I was seeing. But later, when I walked through the house, I could look back at the plans and see what all those lines and sketches meant. In the Old Testament God was “drawing the plans” out for us. In the New Testament He has “built the house.” The “SECRET IS OUT!” Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway https://gandpministries.wordpress.com/

The Sacred Secret # 2

THE SACRED SECRET # 2
THE SECRET’S OUT!

II. The Mystery is Revealed (Eph. 3:5b-7).

Observe, in the latter part of verse 5 that Paul says the mystery “has NOW been REVEALED by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets.” This mystery can now be “read” and “understood” (vs. 4). It might be best in helping us understand this Revelation that is now “made known” (vs. 3) by asking the following questions:

1. What did God do? Answer: He made known and revealed the mystery.
2. When did God make known the mystery? Answer: “Now” in the Christian age. “It has been made clear…” (Rom. 16:26 NCV).
3. How did God make the mystery clear? Answer: “By Revelation” (Eph. 3:3). It is “revealed by the Spirit to the holy apostles and prophets” (Eph. 3:5). Please observe that Paul says there was a time when these things had not “entered into the heart of man” (1 Cor. 2:9). Then he says “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:10).
4. What means did God use to make the mystery clear? Answer: Words! ”Words that can be “read” and “understood” (Eph. 3:4). Words “which the Holy Spirit teaches” (1 Cor. 2:13). Note: A picture is not always worth a thousand words. Remember God did not give us a catalog or High School annual. He gave us “words” so we can “understand the mystery.”
5. What is the mystery that is now made known or this secret that is now made clear? Answer: It is that the Gentiles are blessed in Christ just as are the Jews. They are: Fellow heirs (vs. 6a); in the same body (v. 6b); partakers of His promise in Christ (v. 6e).
6. The sacred secret is that all saints are saved in Christ. All are equal. (See Gal. 3:26-29).
7. Paul’s point in talking about the mystery here is stressing that saints share equally in the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8). The “mystery is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). That God Himself would save and come to live in the hearts of Gentiles, as well as Jews, was never anticipated, nor expected, by those in former ages. But God has saved us all and lives in all who are in Christ (Eph. 2:1-22). Thank God for Jesus (2 Cor. 9:15).

More to follow.

Wayne Dunaway
https://gandpministries.wordpress.com/

The Sacred Secret # 1

            
             THE SACRED SECRET
             (The History of the Mystery)
               
Introduction: Eph. 3:1-13
A. In Ephesians 2 Paul had discussed Salvation (vs. 1-10), Reconciliation (vs. 11-18), and the Foundation (vs. 19-22) that God has provided for us.
B. In our present study he is going to expound on the Revelation that
makes the Salvation, Reconciliation and Foundation possible.
C. He is going to give us a brief History of the Mystery or the Sacred Secret.
D. In discussing these verses we will note three main points about the
mystery.
a. The Mystery Concealed (vs. 1-5a).
b. The Mystery Revealed (vs. 5b-7).
c. The Mystery Is Real (vs. 8-13).
I.  THE  MYSTERY THAT WAS CONCEALED (Eph.3:1-5a).
A.    Observe please that in verse 3 Paul refers to “the mystery.”
B.    The word mystery means, “Something unexplained, unknown, kept secret.” (Webster).
C.    The word, as used here, does not mean “mysterious” in the sense that it is impossible to explain, but rather to a secret “which in other ages (what we commonly call the Patriarchal and Mosaic Ages) was not made known” as it is now.
D.    Illustration:  We read a book called a “mystery,” or watch a “mystery” on T.V., and we really don’t understand it until the end.
E.     In much the same way the gospel was a mystery, or secret, during the Old Testament period.  We might call the gospel a “the Sacred Secret.”
F.     Note that the mystery was “not made known” in the other ages as it is “now revealed” (v. 5).  God was making known His purpose from the very beginning (Gen. 3:15), but it was not clear and, therefore, not understood.
G.    According to Paul, the “preaching of Jesus Christ” was “according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25).
H.    It is “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations” (Col. 1:26).
I.      But the question we might ask is, “How was it concealed or hidden?”
J.      Time will not allow us to study, or even mention, all the ways it was concealed.  In fact, I don’t pretend to know all the ways.
K.    I do know that the Old Testament contains a “shadow of good things to come” (Heb. 10:1).
L.     So what were some of those “shadows” or “types”?
M.   In order to help us remember, we will use the word “S-E-C-R-E-T” and let each letter stand for a way in which the mystery was concealed.
Sacrifices – The mystery was concealed in the sacrifices offered in the O.T. All the animal sacrifices from Abel on (Gen. 4) pointed to, in one way or another, the sacrifice of Christ. (See Heb. 10:1-14).
Expressions – There were certain expressions or statements that concealed the mystery. For example, God spoke of:
1.    The “seed of woman” bruising the serpents’ head (Gen. 3:15).
2.    The “seed” of Abraham blessing all nations (Gen. 22:18).
3.    A “root of Jesse” and how “the Gentiles shall seek Him” (Isa. 11:10).
4.    Raising up “the tabernacle of David” and including “all the gentiles” who are called by His Name (Amos 9:11-12). 
Note: Those expressions and a host of others were never understood by those in other ages.  The real meaning was concealed or kept secret.
Characters – There was certain individuals in the O.T. whose lives in certain respects concealed the secret.  They were types or “figures” of one to come.  For example: 
1.    Adam (1 Cor. 15:22 & 45).
2.    Melchizedek (Heb. 5:6ff).
3.    Moses (Acts 3:22-23).
4.    Aaron (Heb. 5:4).
5.    David (Ezek. 34:23-24).
6.    And many others.
Race The mystery was also concealed in God’s dealings with the Jewish race.  The children of Israel and their relationship with God were also a type of something to come.  For example they were:
1.    Chosen ones (1 Chron. 16:13; Eph. 1:4).
2.    Redeemed (Deut. 21:8; Eph. 1:7).
3.    Children (Deut. 14:1; Eph. 1:5).
4.    Special (Deut. 7:6; Eph. 1:6; I Pet. 2:9).
5.    Saved (Ex. 14:30; Eph. 2:5). 
Note: God intended for the Jewish race to be a type of God’s people today is clear from the fact that His spiritual people today are called “the twelve tribes” (Matt. 19:28;James 1:1); “house of Jacob” (Luke 1:33); and “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16).
                     Experiences – The mystery was concealed in various experiences recorded in the Old Testament. For example:
1. Abraham offering the ram instead of Isaac (Gen. 22:1-22; 2 Cor. 5:21).
2.    God delivering Israel from Egyptian bondage (Ex. 12-14; 1 Cor. 10:1-11).
3.    The Passover Lamb (Ex. 12; 1 Cor. 5:7).
4.    Jonah in the whale three days and nights (Jonah 1-2; Matt. 12-40). 
Note: These experiences as well as many others typified and concealed the mystery in the O.T.
                  Temple One of the most notable ways the mystery was concealed in ages past was in the temple in Jerusalem. When it was built “it was symbolic for the present time” and typified numerous “good things to come” (Heb. 10:1). The Holy Place, the most Holy Place, Altar, Curtain, etc…. were mere copies of the true and real thing (Heb. 9:24).
N.    Thus we clearly see that the mystery was not “made known to the sons of men” (Eph. 3:5) and “none of the rulers of this age knew” (1 Co. 2:8), nor understood what blessings God had/has in store for those in Christ.  As Isaiah wrote (64:4) in his day “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor have entered into the hearts of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:8-9).
O.   The Secret that was concealed in the Old Testament is now revealed in the New. As Paul wrote: “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:10).
Note: God can/did keep a Secret but now the Secret’s Out and that will be the subject of lesson # 2.
Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.org

Baptism Is Not The Savior

The following is a section of my book: Heaven: Where Few are Many! These are comments from the section dealing with 1 Peter 3:18-21.
Baptism Is Not The Savior!
It seems appropriate to note that the context in which this often misunderstood statement concerning the righteous “scarcely” being saved is found, is where we also have a statement that says there is a “saving” aspect to water baptism (1 Peter 3:8-4:19). Peter plainly says that baptism saves us (1 Pet. 3:21). But what exactly does that mean? And is it possible that a misunderstanding concerning this simple ordinance that the Bible calls baptism has led some to conclude that no one can know for sure that they are going to Heaven and, if they do, they will only “scarcely” be saved?
It seems to me that the subject of water baptism is commonly misunderstood by many people, both in the church and in the religious world at large. Some ignore it completely, some try to explain it away, and some simply deny that it is even commanded. Yet, others seem to place more emphasis on it than is justified and this could be at least part of the reason many think that we will only scarcely make it to Heaven. For example, I know of many cases where believers were “baptized” two, three, and in one case four times to make sure that they had observed the ordinance “exactly” right. It is no wonder that we would think that only a “few” will be saved and that even the righteous will only barely make it if we believe that we must understand every detail about the conversion process in order for Jesus to save us. And I am not being critical of those who choose to be baptized again because that is a personal decision that each must make for themselves. But in my experience, at least in some cases, it seemed to me that it was unnecessary—it really did not change anything. If we are baptized because we “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 16:31; 19:4) and His saving message in the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4), then, according to the Bible, that is saving faith. If we are baptized because of our faith in the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins, then surely that is enough faith to save us. I know that Peter clearly states to his readers that the “water” of the flood in Noah’s day “symbolizes baptism that now saves you also” (1 Pet. 3:18-21, NIV). But, obviously, he is not teaching that we are saved by “water” or by the “act” of baptism or by simply believing that the act of baptism “saves” us or is “for the remission of sins.” Surely he is not saying that there is any “saving power” in simply knowing and submitting to these things, is he? So what exactly does he mean? Why did Peter plainly say that baptism saves us?
First, in no way should we understand Peter’s words to contradict what the New Testament teaches over and over concerning salvation by trusting in Christ rather than by trusting in anything that we do. What can wash away my sins? The answer is nothing but the blood of Jesus (Rev. 1:5). Thus, our faith must be in His death for our sins and a believer’s baptism is into His death (Rom. 3:25ff; 6:3-4). The Bible clearly says that we are all saved “through faith in his blood” (Rom. 3:25, KJV). Faith, repentance, and baptism all point to the work that Jesus did. Faith is not the Savior, Jesus is. Repentance is not the Savior, Jesus is. Baptism is not the Savior, Jesus is.  However, we do express our faith and trust in the sacrifice of our Savior by turning to Him in repentance and by being buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through faith in the working of God (Col. 2:12). Thus, it is clear from the New Testament that God has tied believer’s baptism to the new birth—sanctification, justification, and conversion to Jesus (1 Pet. 1:23; John 3:5). 
But Peter had already made it clear in chapter one that we are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (1:18-19). He had already said in chapter two that Jesus Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree (2:24). Additionally, in this immediate context Peter had just stated that Christ suffered for us that He might bring us to God (3:18) Then, in the very next sentence, he says that baptism saves us by the resurrection of Jesus (3:21). Why did he say this? It is because water baptism is an external declaration of our internal trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus to save us, as well as our total surrender to Him as Lord of our lives. It seems to me that this is the sense in which baptism is said to save us.
Second, we must realize that our faith and trust is in the “working of God” who “raised Him from the dead.” In Colossians 2:12, we read that we are “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (NIV). Our faith is not in anything we do, have done, or can do. It is important to understand that it is not the water of baptism that saves us. We do not have any faith in the “water,” but we do have faith in the “working of God.” Neither is it the act of baptism itself that saves us. We do not have faith in the “act,” but we do have faith in the “working of God.”
By the way, if “water” or the “act of baptism” or if simply knowing that baptism is “for the remission of sins” actually saves people, why would the twelve men at Ephesus need to be baptized again (Acts 19:1-5)? They had submitted to the “act” of baptism. They had been baptized in “water.” They had also been baptized knowing that baptism was “for the remission of sins” because that is what John’s baptism commanded (Mk. 1:4). If “water” or the “act” or being conscious of the fact that baptism was “for the remission of sins” actually saved people, then these twelve would have been as saved as anyone because they had experienced all of this!
What then was their problem? Why did they need to be baptized again? The answer is that they did not have the right faith in Jesus! They had not yet believed “on Him…that is, on Christ Jesus” (Acts 19:4). Their faith was not in the working of God that He had already accomplished by raising Jesus from the dead. Since they were baptized with “John’s baptism,” then they were still waiting on God to do the work that He had already done, but they did not know about it. That is, they did not know that Jesus had already come and had died for our sins, was buried, and arose again, which is of “first importance” (I Cor. 15:1-4; NASV). Therefore, “When they heard this they were baptized in the name of the Lord” (Acts 19:5).  
It is trusting in the working of God that He did when He raised Jesus from the dead that saves us. When God raised Jesus from the dead, it was God’s guarantee that He had accepted the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins. Therefore, our faith is in the working of God which “He worked in Christ Jesus when He raised Him from the dead” (Eph. 1:20). Paul prayed that saints would comprehend the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe because of what “He worked in Christ” (Eph. 1:15-21). Now read again Colossians 2:12 which states, “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Please observe that Paul taught that it is “faith in the working of God” which God accomplished when He “raised Him from the dead” that saves us. Notice also that Peter taught the very same thing when he said that believer’s baptism saves us “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21). If we accept the power of what God accomplished in Christ toward us who believe, then we will know that we will all get to Heaven and it will not be “by the skin of our teeth.”
Third, if we trust in our own obedience rather than in the working of God that He accomplished in Christ, then it is no wonder that we would think that righteous people will “scarcely” make it. If our faith and trust is in our “acts of obedience,” then I could understand how we could draw that conclusion. After all, we would always wonder about such things as: When I believed, was I sincere enough? When I repented, was it completely enough? When I was baptized, did I understand enough? When I was baptized, was I thinking the right thoughts at the time of my baptism? 
But when we realize that repentance (faith turning to Jesus) and baptism (faith identifying with Jesus) are expressions of our faith, trust, and total dependence on Jesus and His sacrifice for us, then we will never, never, never think, say, or imply that believers will just “scarcely” be saved. We will know that because of the “exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe” (Eph. 1:19-20), an “abundant entrance” will be given to us into Heaven (2 Pet. 1:11). Remember, we cannot preach the gospel and leave Christ out! When we preach the requirements (faith, repentance, baptism) but do not teach how those requirements relate to the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins, we have not only missed the mark, we have also missed the message.
Wayne Dunaway

 gandpministries.org

What Is Your Life?

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE?

Introduction: James 4:17

1. This is a good question and a Bible question.
2. Observe that James says, “whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”
3. As to Duration on earth: This very text says it is a “little time.”
4. As to Destination: That depends on what you believe.
5. As to Explanation: That is what this study is all about.
6. The Bible records a lot about life as well a lot about faith. Understanding what it says about life should help us with our faith. Sometimes we get discouraged and our faith weakens because we misunderstand what life on this planet is all about.
7. In this study we will observe three things about life, namely,

A. THE ADVENTURE
B. THE ADVERSITY
C.  THE ADVANTAGE

I. THE ADVENTURE

1. Life is an adventure. The word “Adventure” means “an undertaking usually involving danger and unknown risks;” or “an exciting and remarkable experience.”
2. Sometimes we feel stressed and at other times we feel blessed, and there seems never to be any complete rest. Most of the time we are stressed and blessed at the same time.
3. And we are all familiar with this lifestyle because it this is the way we all live.
4. Just to let you know how familiar we are with being “stressed out” complete the following sentences:
a. I am ready to throw in the ____________.
b. I am at the end of my ________________ .
c. I am just a bundle of _________________.
d. My life is falling_____________________.
e. I am at my wit’s_____________________.
f. I am about to come un_______________ .
` g. I feel like resigning the human_________.
h. Nobody knows the _____________ I see.
i. Walk a mile in my ________________.
5. The Bible puts it this way when it comes to life, “Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Prov. 27:1)
6. James says, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit’; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:13-14).
7. Life is filled with “unknown risks” and is a “remarkable experience.” An “adventure”(if you know what I mean).
8. We sing about it: “Life is filled with swift transition; naught of earth unmoved can stand.”
9. We move from one stage of life to another and each stage is an adventure all its own. Illustration: Grandma Ain’t What She Used To Be.
10 We keep thinking that the next stage is the one. This will be when everything comes together and then life will stable and everything secure. But it never happens for any us. We never know for sure what’s coming or when!

II. THE ADVERSITY

1. Life is also full of adversity. On one occasion, Jesus said, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things” (Lk. 10:41).
2. Job said, life is of “few days and full of trouble” (Job 14:1).
3. According to the King James Version, Paul was “troubled on every side” (2 Cor. 4:8).
4. Jesus Himself said, “In the world you will have tribulation…” (Jn. 16:33).
5. Problems are here and they are here to stay. Our adversary is going to make sure that we have adversity (1 Peter 5:8).
6. Satan wants to “sift” us, not “lift” us. “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat” could just as easily read “Brother/Sister! Satan has asked…that he may sift you…” (Lk. 22:31).
7. When Paul was in Ephesus there were “many adversaries” (1 Cor. 16:8-9).
8. Jesus told His disciples they would have “tribulation” (Jn. 16:33).
9. Remember that it was one of His closest female friends who was “ worried and troubled about many things” (Lk. 10:41).
10 In the “Sermon on the Mount” Jesus warned “Each day has enough trouble of it’s own” (Matt. 6:34; NIV).
11. Life is filled with adversity. Into every life some rain must fall and problems are common to us all.
12. Jesus Himself is described in the Bible as “A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3).

III.  THE ADVANTAGES

1. While it is true that life is an adventure, and life is filled with adversity, it is also true that Christian have  tremendous advantages.
2. When I think about the word “advantage,” I think about words like benefit, gain, edge, or upper hand.
3. Christians do indeed have benefits and advantages in life that are not available to those who are outside the body of Christ.
4. For example, notice some of the passages that should help us.
a. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps. 46:1).
b. “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (1 Pet. 5:7).
c. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13).
d. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Rom. 8:37).
e. “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 Jn. 5:4).
g. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Ps. 23:1).
h. “The Lord is my helper and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Heb. 13:6).
j. “That He would grant you…to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Eph. 3:16)

CONCLUSION: In this study we have observed how that life is an adventure, it is filled with adversity, and how Christians have a tremendous advantage.

Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.org
ohatcheechurch.org