Now!

1.jpg2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (KJV)  We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.  [2]  (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I [helped] thee: behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation.)

The biggest threat to all of us is the time that is not “now”.
To live in either the “then” or the “when”.

As I get older, my mind loves to go back to “then”. That thing we all call the good old days. The days of Mayberry. The times when I ran through the woods and my own back yard, climbed pine trees, rode bikes with my brother Mark and my friends. I get nostalgic for the good old days. As I go through nostalgia, wishing things were the way they used to be, I forget about the bad things. In the good old days we had trouble with disease like polio, small pox, and plague. There were no dishwashers. When I think with nostalgia of the smell of fresh cut grass wafting through the screen window in my bedroom I also forget tossing and turning in a pool of sweat to 98 degree or higher temperature, hoping one small breeze would blow. There was no air conditioning. King Solomon said:

Ecclesiastes 7:10 (NKJV) Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.

Yesteryear had its sin, its failure, its problems. When I was young money was scarce and all we had was hope and pocket lint. Sherry and I – living on an Airman’s pittance – used to walk through K-Mart and dream of what we could one day afford to buy. We had fun window shopping but I often felt bad that I couldn’t provide better for my little family. But I by the grace of God fed them. God gave us what we needed in the “then” – the “Good Old Days”.

So often we get trapped not only in the “then” but in the “when”. We look to the future and dreaming about what might be. We plan, but do nothing about it. We may procrastinate, waiting for a better time, hoping for something better. I never dreamed as a child of living in the year 2000, but I always believed there would be flying cars when that happened – didn’t you? Time has progressed. Amazingly I am still alive in 2018. But there are no flying cars, and if there were I wouldn’t want to be in one. People are texting and driving gravity bound cars NOW … how will it be when cars take to the sky aqnd people fly about with no roads nor lines to restrict them. I can only shudder!

Only God knows what tomorrow may bring. We read in …

James 4:13-17 (NKJV) 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”; 14 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. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

We lived through yesterday because of God’s Grace. We will make it through tomorrow because of God’s Grace. Yesterday, today, or tomorrow we are to live with our hearts vested in our Creator, our Savior, our Lord. We are to do good TODAY because to fail to serve God TODAY IS SIN. James says “to him who knows to do good but does not do it, this is sin”.

Faith seeks God diligently.
Faith follows Christ.
We were given Grace – second life – spiritual life – so that we can serve our Lord.

without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that HE IS, and that HE IS a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 – NKJV)

The Bible does not tell us that HE WAS, or that HE WILL YET TO BE. Our God is the Great I AM. He is ever in the present tense. He is always right now. There is a point to this. We are to serve the Great I AM RIGHT NOW. We are to live for Him and in Him this very moment. We cannot bury our heads in the sands of time hoping things will be better later, or smell the aroma of all our yesterdays. As Spurgeon said back in the 1800’s:

The time present is the only time I may ever have.

Live In The Grace That God Gave You NOW

2 Corinthians 6:1 (KJV) We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye RECEIVE NOT THE GRACE OF GOD IN VAIN.

Life is a gift from God. No one earns life. It comes by His Grace. God gave us our first life as a gift, and gives us our second or spiritual life as a gift. The Apostle says “we BEG you, do not receive the Grace of God IN VAIN”. What does it mean to “receive the Grace of God in VAIN”? The third of God’s Commandments is …

Exodus 20:7 (NKJV) You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

To take something in vain is to take it shallow, to denigrate it, to misuse it. When I was a little boy I found a .22 caliber long bullet on the floor of my daddy’s shop. I took it out behind my house, sat it on a brick, and smack it with a rock. By the grace of God it didn’t kill me, but it went off with with a loud crack. I don’t know where the bullet went, but I do know I hid for a while scared because of it.

I used that bullet in vain.

To use God’s name in vain is to use it in a wrong manner. God gave us His Name so that we can call on Him, worship Him, praise Him. God did not give us His Name so we can frivolously use Him in curses or silliness. God gave us His Name so we can know Him, for by His Name we know His attributes. God’s name is not “God” no more than our name is “Human Being”. The Name has a purpose. It is so we can intimately know Him.

Just as God’s Name is not to be used in vain, we are not to use Grace in Vain. This Grace, this Amazing Grace that was given us was given to us to bring us into the Light of God.

By Grace we enter His Kingdom.
By Grace we are transformed.
By Grace we become priests with access to Heaven.
By Grace we are forgiven.
By Grace we become alive, indwelt by God the Spirit.
By Grace we are saved from hell and condemnation.
By Grace we are new creatures, Children of God.

The Holy Word tells us that Grace transforms in a mighty way:

Hebrews 10:16-25 (NKJV) This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” 17 then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 18 Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin. 19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

There are many who receive the Grace of God in vain. These who are many cripple the Church of God, drawing its light into darkness.

Some Receive The Grace Of God In Order To Continue In Sin Jude speaks of these …

Jude 4 (KJV) For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lasciviousness or embracing the sins of the flesh (sexual or immoral behavior) is mentioned and condemned by God in Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 4:19; 1 Peter 4:3, 2 Corinthians 12:21 and was directly condemned by our Lord in Mark 7:22. The Grace of God was given to release us from slavery to our sins, not to enable us to sin guilt free. Sin is abhorrent to God. We are told:

Galatians 1:4 (ESV) {Jesus} gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to Whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

And in Romans 8:3-6 (KJV) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

This is very clear. Grace was given to every child of God to save us FROM our sins, to release us from the bondage of sin. When any lesser Grace is preached it is no more Grace than a Thanksgiving Turkey made of Tofu is a Turkey. It may look like a Turkey, but that wiggly mess ain’t no Turkey! The Grace that saves is the Grace that frees.

Some Receive Grace Like An Advance Reservation For Heaven They think that since they have been “saved” they need not live in Christ’s Kingdom until later. The reality is that the recipient of Grace is in the Kingdom of God RIGHT NOW. The Scripture says …

Colossians 1:12-14 (NKJV) …. giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

Others Receive The Grace Of God Like A Raft On A Lazy River They think that now they are saved that they may drift carelessly on soft mat of ease on the stream of time to Heaven. “Now that I’m saved” think these “I need not concern myself of His Lordship. There’s time enough to serve Jesus in Heaven when I get to that sweet by and by!” What does the Apostle say?

1 Corinthians 15:10 (NKJV) But by the grace of God I am what I am, and HIS GRACE TOWARD ME WAS NOT IN VAIN; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

If the Grace of God is in you it should make you WANT TO LABOR FOR HIM, the One Who saved you. Grace is given to the Child of God to make us workers for God. You were not saved to rot on the vine, but to be attached to Christ, to make a difference for Him and for this world NOW.

We are workers together with Christ.
We are workers together with Christ.
We are workers together with Christ.

Receiving His Grace we are to work for Him to the glory of our God in the NOW. TODAY.

What Is Our Example Of The Grace Of God?

2 Corinthians 6:2 (KJV) (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I [helped] thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

After warning us not to receive God’s Grace in vain the Apostle speaks in parenthesis, beginning with “For He saith”. This tells us that what is in parenthesis is from the Old Testament. The Apostle loved to quote the Old Testament, just as Jesus loved to quote the Old Testament. His quotation is a portion from …

Isaiah 49:8-9 (NKJV) Thus says the Lord: “In an acceptable time I have heard You, And in the day of salvation I have helped You; I WILL PRESERVE YOU AND GIVE YOU AS A COVENANT to the people, To restore the earth, To cause them to inherit the desolate heritages; 9 That You may say to the prisoners, ‘Go forth,’ To those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves.’

I preached a similar text about the Promised Messiah Jesus Christ a few Sundays ago:

Isaiah 42:6 I, the LORD, have called You in righteousness, and will hold Your hand; I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people.

Jesus Christ was sent from the Father to be the New Covenant of the people. Jesus is the sum and substance of the Covenant. We are to receive Him and only Him if we are to be saved. We recognize Christ alone as the Covenant Maker when we partake of the Lord’s Table:

Matthew 26:28 (NKJV) For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

The Apostle quoted Isaiah, who looked forward cto the Coming of Christ. The Scripture says that in the fullness of time – when it was appropriate – God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons (Galatians 4:3-5). The Father prophesied through Isaiah that Christ would come. When God opened the door and said “Go” the Son went. He did not hesitate, but went to release the prisoners from sin and the blind from spiritual inability. Christ came doing His Father’s business, even when that business was difficult.

We see in Christ that Grace is not easy.
Grace is difficult.
But Grace is in partnership with God.
Christ went forth from Heaven when the Father sent.
And Grace stayed the course.

Jesus never quit. He never gave up. He always moved forward to glorify His Heavenly Father no matter how difficult the task. If Jesus did not shirk His duty, and we are workers together with Him, we must not shirk our duties. What would Christ have us do?

We are to live in the NOW for Jesus. NOW is the accepted time. The Apostle said:

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV) I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I NOW live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Christ did not live for Himself but for the will of the Father. His every moment of every day was “What is My Father’s will? What would He have Me do?” Christ worked in the supplied power of God, and so should we. In everything we do, we do as children of Christ, saved by faith in His Blood.

Ephesians 2:13 (KJV) But NOW in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Ephesians 2:19 (KJV) NOW therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

We do not live in fear of standing for Him. We do not live procrastinating because of this fallen world. We step out boldly, serving our Jesus in the NOW. Now is the accepted time. I remember when I was first saved, very new to the faith, when I saw my first Church fight. The Pastor and another member got upset in the course of a business meeting. The Pastor asked the member to step outside so they could settle the problem, and they did. From that day forward I lost all respect for both Pastor and member. No matter who was right or who was wrong, neither had the right to take the NOW of Christ and toss it away, going back to the old man. The Lord tells us in Scripture:

Romans 6:6 (NKJV) … knowing this, that our old man WAS CRUCIFIED with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

Ephesians 4:22 (NKJV) … that you PUT OFF, CONCERNING YOUR FORMER CONDUCT, THE OLD MAN which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,

We WERE enslaved to sin and the flesh. But the day we were saved our old man was crucified with HIM. We no longer belong to evil, but belong to God. We are children of the Most High. We are not to take off Christ and slide back into the filth of the flesh. We were not saved for this, but for His Glory.

I heard of another person who was provoked by someone at Church, who took off his coat and threw it to the floor saying “there is the Christian, lying on the floor. Now we can fight!” Beloved, a salvation that can be put on and taken off like a coat is no salvation at all. It is not your dress nor your current location that makes you Christian, but the fact that NOW WE ARE THE SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF GOD.

We WERE in darkness, but NOW are children of the Light.
We WERE of Adam, but NOW are of Christ.
We WERE lost, but NOW are FOUND by Him.
We WERE blind, but NOW we see.

And our primary concern as Christians is to share the NOW of salvation.

NOW is the accepted time.
NOW is the day of salvation.

If you die right this moment where would your soul be? If you do not have Christ and the Grace only found through Him then you will be in Hell. That is the testimony of Scripture. No one is promised tomorrow. Seize His promise NOW.

John 3:16-19 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

With Christ, no condemnation. None. I beg you, receive Him, the Covenant of God. Receive Him and be saved!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
This entry was posted in 2 Corinthians, Following Disciples, Following Jesus, obedience, Sermons Preached and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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