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Monday, July 1, 2019

Cheap Grace - Part Two


Cheap Grace – part two
By Richard Maffeo



This is part two of the message I preached at a local 55+ community. You can find part one at this link: https://tinyurl.com/yyljkenn

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I closed part one of this message with a reference to the Fifth Column in the Church. For those of you who do not know the term, a fifth column is a group of enemy sympathizers within a larger group who undermine that group from within. The actions of a fifth column are secretive and often involve sabotage and the use of disinformation to ultimately destroy the larger group. 

Satan has had his Fifth Column in the Church since the first century. St. Paul talked about the destructive clandestine group in his second letter to the church at Corinth: 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

God help us – you and me – to not fall prey to the fifth columns not only in our political and educational structures, but also and perhaps especially in our churches where clergy and other church leaders tell people what they want to hear and not what they NEED to hear; Who walk arm in arm with those who persist in living in sin and call it normal, who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and bitter for sweet. 

Do you think that is not happening in many of our churches across America?  Then let me say it gently but firmly, you are not paying attention. 

Lord! Keep us all – even we in the pews – from becoming ourselves fifth columns, spreading that scandalous heresy of cheap grace, teaching others, and being content ourselves, with a one-time confession of faith, but never praying and agonizing to make Jesus not only our savior, but our all-the-time Lord, King, Ruler, and Master over every nook and cranny and corner of our life. Oh God!  Help us! Shake us up. Remove the chaff from our hearts that we may live fruitfully for you, bringing honor and glory always to you. 

Salvation is not simply a transaction; It’s a transformation. Here is what the Holy Spirit tells us through St. Paul: 

“I beseech you, therefore brethren, but the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living and HOLY sacrifice to God which is your reasonable service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind . . . . (Romans 12:1-2) 

As I prepared this message, I thought of an incident I had years ago with a spider’s web. I didn’t see the web until I nearly ran into it. The thing was virtually invisible. If sunlight hadn’t suddenly glistened off its strands, I would have walked right into it. So, there I stood, inches from the biggest, ugliest, hairiest spider I’d ever seen. I was glad I wasn’t a hapless bug flitting through the air, totally clueless about the spider’s trap in front of me. 

Like a spider’s web, the supernatural world of Satan’s subtleties are invisible to the natural eye – which is why it’s so incredibly easy to get caught in his web. And most of the time we don’t even realize we’re in his web until he has devoured our health, wealth, homes, and families. 

Sometimes even our lives. 

There is no better way, there is no surer way, to avoid Satan’s web than to see the light of God’s word glisten off its strands as a warning: Danger! Don’t go any further. 

Certainly, that’s one reason the Lord Jesus said during His Sermon on the Mount: (Matthew 7:24ff) “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.  Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”

Whether or not we obey the Scriptures and the historic exhortation of the Christian Church, Satan remains patiently waiting in his web. Problem is, we won’t see it unless God’s light glistens off the web. 

So, what will we each do with this message? I hope at least three things: 

1. Pray that the Holy Spirit will give to you a hunger to obey God in every area and corner of your life. The grace of God that sent Jesus to the cross to pay the penalty our sins deserved was not cheap grace. That grace required of God an immeasurable cost. And our response to His grace must also cost ‘us’ something – that being an ever-growing obedience to His commandments, even and perhaps especially when we don’t want to obey. 

2.  Determine again to faithfully and prayerfully read God’s word, to be single-minded in your pursuit of Christ and to seek godly and Christ-honoring teachers to answer your questions as you seek Him through His word. 

3. Hide God’s word in your heart – even if it is a verse here and there. Hide it in your heart so you will know when the fifth columns around us whisper their subtle lies to sabotage your eternal soul. As the Lord Jesus warned in Matthew chapter seven: 

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits . . . “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ 

Spiritually dark days are falling across the length and breadth of the land and over the Church. Please! I urge you! “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith . . . .” (1 Peter 5:8-9)

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