GRACE THAT WORKS
This week’s message is an important one in that we need to know both that our Salvation is secure in Jesus and that the efforts that we put forth for the kingdom of God are bringing eternal rewards.
I again want
to welcome some new readers of “The Encouraging Word.” I continue to add people
to my e-mail list and I understand that many of you are forwarding these
messages onto others that you feel need the encouragement. And that is the
purpose of this ministry; To encourage and give hope to all of us. I know that I
am a sinner in need of a savior and I have found Him. Like a beggar showing
other beggars where there is bread, I have found in Christ Jesus the entire
So if you are reading this
for the first time, Welcome. And if you have been enjoying the blessings that
come from God’s word given through this humble ministry than praise God for His
continued outpouring. We have not even begun to know the great things that God
has in store for us. Before I go any further I want to invite you all once
again to visit the web site that Peter is building for us. The domain name has
been registered and the hosting service has been purchased, it will not be long
and you will be able to go to
for your encouragement. For now we are still borrowing Peter’s site at the
I also wanted to thank you
all for your responses to these messages. I know that God will richly bless any
gifts you send in as well as the time you take to give back to God just a
portion of the abundance He pours out on us. Let’s continue to keep one another
in prayer believing the promises of God and knowing that All things work
together for the good to those who love Him. With all that said let’s go before
the throne of God in prayer and call upon Him who is able.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit; Come upon us now. I call upon your name dear Lord and ask for your blessing. Please forgive me for falling short of who you have called me to be. I surrender my will to you right now and give you my life as a living sacrifice that you might be glorified in me. Thank you Father for your word, which is truth. Thank you Jesus for your instruction, which brings wisdom. Thank you Holy Spirit for your presence, which gives me strength. Father your word tells me that you reward those who diligently seek you. I am seeking you Lord. With all my heart I want to know you. With all my mind and strength I want you dear Jesus to be real in my life that the world may know that there is hope, there is joy, there is love and it is all found in you. Bless now these words that I might know better how to serve you Father.
In Jesus name; Amen.
Scripture: Ephesians 2:
8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from
yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast. For
we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which
God prepared in advance for us to do. (NIV)
God has got a
plan and purpose for you life. I know that sometimes you might find that hard to
believe. I was talking to some friends tonight remembering years ago when we
would play fooz ball at Jigg’s Saddle Shop and listen to Freddie Fender sing
“Wasted Days and Wasted Nights.” That was my theme song. I would not have
believed for a million years that God or anyone else had any plans for my life.
I know I sure didn’t have any plans. And that was the problem. You may have
heard the saying that if you aim at nothing you will hit it every time. For so
many years I went through life without any goals or plans or direction. Oh I
would have them all-important short-term goal. You know like, ah- getting up,
going to work, ah, eating, ahhh oh yah paying my bills, and well, surviving.
Sometimes that’s tough enough. Now that I have the opportunity to look back at
my life I see a lot of wasted days and wasted nights. Do I have some regrets?
You bet I do but I know that the whole time God still loved me and kept me from
doing anything so stupid that His purpose for my life could not be carried out.
God is not taken by surprise by our falling into sin. You never heard God say “ Oh No, I didn’t know you were going to go and do anything like that.” God knows the beginning and the end. He is omnipresent. That means He is everywhere, including both space and time. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. And while we were still sinners; even before we came into this world and God knew all the bad stuff we would do, Christ died for us. He died so that we could find out the truth which is, that God loves us, all of us, and wants the very best for us. We, And that includes you and me, We are a part of His plan for the redemption of the world. The whole idea is to help as many people as possible come to the realization that there is so much more to live for than self pleasure. God’s love is eternal and is never selfish. That’s what “grace” is all about. Giving. Grace bows itself down. Grace extends a hand to lend a hand. Grace expects nothing in return. Grace is getting what we do not deserve.
There might be one or two of you out there that do not think you ever did anything so wrong that you deserve the wages of sin which is death. You might also think that because you have done so much good in your community or with in your church that you deserve to go to heaven. The truth is we all are guilty. All of our righteousness is as filthy rags. We can never measure up to the perfection which is in the presence of God. And think about it, if we being imperfect were allowed to be in God’s perfect kingdom it would not any longer be perfect now would it. Sin can not exist in the presence of a Holy God. The kingdom of heaven is without spot or blemish. That is why the price had to be paid for us. God himself freely washes away all our sin. All our addictions, all our compulsions, all our selfish desires, all our foolish mistakes, all our failures and shortcomings. From the most malicious to the unknown, all our sins are washed away as we live by faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. But in order for us to live by faith we have to live. Look at this;
Let’s say you are an actor and you are asked to play the part of boxer. The first thing you would want to do is to learn how to box. In order for you to fulfill your obligation to play the part of a boxer or anyone else you would have to do the things the boxer did. Now if you are going to play the part of a dead man than all you would have to do is to lie there. Jesus is alive! If we are to live by faith in Christ Jesus then we need to learn what He does, how is does it and do it.
Here is the good news. No matter what you do it is acceptable to God. God sees your heart. The main thing is that you seek His will for your life then do it. So many people use this passage of scripture as an excuse for sitting back and not doing anything for the kingdom of God. Yes we are saved by grace and not by works. Because if we were saved by works people would be bragging about how they did this or that to get into heaven. And then it would end up like so many fish stories and evangelists salvations. It reminds me of a story./ There is this man at the pearly gate. He asks St. Peter how he can get in and Peter replies that all it takes is 100 points. The man thinks this should be easy so he tells him that He was a faithful husband for 50 years. “Great!” says Peter. “That’s 5 whole points.” “Ok, I gave over and above my tithes to the church for the last 10 years.” “That’s 2 more points.” Peter tells him. “How about my volunteer work at the homeless shelter?” “1 Point.” Caring for my children? 2 points. “That’s only ten points at this rate the only way I’ll get to heaven is by the grace of God!”
BINGO !!! It is only by the grace of God that you inherit eternal life but there is so much more than that mansion over the hilltop. The eternal life that Jesus was talking about begins right now. It is a river that flows continually. It is yours for the asking. Seek and you will find, Knock and the door will be opened., ask and you will receive, give and it will be given pressed down, shaken together and pouring over. The answers are sometimes so simple that we miss them. God puts people in our lives every day that we have the opportunity to share the living water with. If we are ashamed of the gospel the well dries up. If we decide that this person or that person does not deserve to be given anything then the well dries up. If we say no to God when he tells us to go and visit the sick or call the lonely or help the homeless or support a ministry then the well dries up. Oh it is an eternal well of living water but sometimes we throw our own dirt back into the well and cover it up. In order to keep the waters flowing we need to clean out all our selfish garbage and be not weary in well doing.
You see you are God’s craftsmanship. And God don’t make junk so turn everything back over to Him and He will reveal the great things He has in store for you. The creation has been trying to be the creator for too long. That was were Satan lost it. He wanted to be like God. Satan wanted to do things his own way and receive the credit for it. Sometimes we forget that we belong to God. Sometimes we take our eyes off the creator and start thinking that we can do it ourselves. Other times we fall into false thinking and think oh well God made everything He does not need me to do anything. I’ll just sit back and wait for my mansion. We have been created with a purpose. Do you want to feel total fulfillment? Do you want to leave a legacy? Do you want all the blessings that God has for you? Then know the truth, Faith without works is not faith at all. But when you accept the free gift of salvation, which includes deliverance and authority and power and responsibility and a calling, you are given both the will to do and the strength to carry out all things for the pleasure of God. Are you saved? Do you know that you have eternal life within you right now? God wants you to have it all and He has a plan to get you even more as you give it away. Find abundant joy in Christ Jesus give it to someone who needs it and receive a 100 fold return. Joy, Peace, Love, kindness, prosperity in all things are coming your way. Seek ye first the kingdom of God.
Are you ready?
God is going to let the waters begin to flow through you. As you learn the truth
of the abundance of God you will be able to accept the free gift of real living
and do your true job of giving that life to others. Look for it this week. Look
for your opportunity to share. Look for your calling. Look for the purpose that
God has for you. God is going to use you to change the world. He already has.
Let’s give him praise;
Ah Lord God, Thou hast made the heavens and the earth by thy great power. Nothing is too difficult for thee. Thank you Lord for using me. Thank you Lord for giving me direction and purpose. Thank you lord for giving me eternal abundant life. I accept it right now in the name of Jesus. Lord Jesus live through me. Teach me what to do and how to do it for God’s glory. Help me to leave behind me a better place. A better family, a better community a better world. I wait expecting to hear those blessed words from you dear Lord, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” Forgive my unfaithfulness. Change me even now from the inside out into the very likeness of my Lord and savior Jesus; For it is in His wonderful name I pray; Amen!!!!!!
Thank you for all of your prayerful support;
Pastor Bob Richardson
700 N. Garden Ave.
Clearwater, Fl. 33759