Acts Devotionals

Outpouring of Grace

I built a foundation for a room at the place we had on the Berg River near Velddrift in the then Boland, now the Western Cape. I decided to raise the foundation about 0.6 of a meter off the ground. My reason for this is because the previous owner told me that on one occasion the Berg River came down in flood, and although the land sloops towards the jetty with a three meter fall from the grass to the jetty, the water rose so high that it drenched all the properties along the river. At this stage of my life I was not a Christian and without knowing it I did what Jesus taught in a spiritual way:

Lk 6:47 I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48 He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

The immediate sense is building a house with or without foundations. The secondary, yet actual teaching is building a solid spiritual foundation on the Lord Jesus, for without this, as the tides of temptation, persecution and human weakness expose themselves, you shall be ruined … your soul shall be lost! It is towards this that Paul is working his way as he teaches the elders of the Church at Ephesus. Please read:

Ac 20:26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.

Only the Holy Spirit can convince the eldership of any Church of the urgency of a solid foundation and to be aware of the problems that might and from personal experience (and that of numerous close colleagues in the ministry) will come upon a Church, even in the most unexpected ways and from the most unlikely sources.

1) External enemies.

Ac 20:29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.

The phrase Luke uses for “savage wolves” refers to those who are violent, cruel, destructive and aggressively greedy. Coming into the Church of God from the outside will be those who are not God’s men. They will enter the sheep gate through the wrong door … that of pretense and their objective is to take control of souls for improper purposes such as aggressive greed. These ruthless, wicked men have one goal and it has nothing to do with the souls of the people. Their objective is their pocket … money and possessions and will be the cause of souls dying eternally because of their sinister wickedness. Beloved we have them today. All we can say is that they destroy souls (not spare the flock) … and the greatest sadness is that people today don’t know or use their Bibles and fall prey to such manipulative spiritual gangsters.

2) Internal enemies.

Ac 20:30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

When a pastor leaves a Church, the Church faces one of the most difficult experiences because waiting in the wings might be those who have been longing and waiting for an opportunity to capture souls and tear away members from the Church to form their own following. We have seen this and we have seen their methods … which are to corrupt the Word of God in subtle ways through twisting it to make what had previously been taught seem wrong. In reading about African American pastors who came out of the “mainline black Churches in America” into the Reformed Faith, without exception pointed out that too often the Gospel preached was flavored away from the True Gospel towards a “black consciousness Gospel” that was no Gospel at all. This is how subtle it can be. Others again could have an agenda that disagrees with the doctrines of the Church. They will wait their opportunity to pounce on unsuspecting souls, twisting Truth and weaving error in so unobtrusively that before realization takes place, error becomes the “new truth” and believed. How careful as Churches we need to be. We need to leave the “defensive strategy” until tomorrow because we must firstly ask …

3) Whose Church is it?

Ac 20:28 the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

The Church is the people … souls. They belong to God. It is His Church … His Body. True, not all in the visible Church are converted. Some are, some will be and others are not. We know that Jesus taught wheat and weeds grow together. Therefore, the true Church that is the Church of God comprises of souls that are Blood bought! Paul visits Church Ownership in the most vivid way! The Church is God’s and God bought the Church with His blood. All souls belonging to God have been Blood bought by God. In the most remarkable way the Holy Spirit shows us that Jesus is God and God is Jesus … the owner of saved souls. There are two important aspects to King Jesus’ ownership of the Church. The first is that elders need to understand whose Church it is. We shall return to this tomorrow. The second is that saved souls must realize King Jesus’ ownership over their souls. They belong to Him and because they belong to Him they need to live as people who have a Lord and King. I saw an article with the heading … “Disunited kingdom: Rifts in the realm as King Charles III’s coronation nears.” The article starts off by saying his accession to the throne points to restiveness in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Britain has a monarch but some people in some regions live life as though they don’t have one. Because God owns the Church through His Blood (penal), substitutionary sacrifice … each citizen (soul) in the Kingdom acknowledges Jesus is their Lord and King. It’s not that He is … but is ignored. It is … He is and is received and honored as such! You see, every Kingdom Citizen (saved soul) knows he or she was chosen by God in Christ before the creation of the world to be His, conforming to the likeness of Jesus, the second Adam, to live in the “eternal garden” of God (paradise – heaven) together with their Lord and King … Jesus Christ.

Too often Lord, we fall short of remembering the basic practicalities of Your Kingdom … that You are King and we are Your subjects, whom You own through Your Blood sacrifice. Help us never to forget this outpouring of grace our way. Amen.

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