Archive for August, 2011

Faith in the Promises of God by Pastor Melissa Scott

I’m guilty of assuming that everyone knows what Faith is. If you ask people why or what they believe, you will encounter a lot of people that have not learned the basic principles of Christian Faith. For that matter, if you went into their homes and could ask them “What is Faith? Define Faith for me,” you would probably not get a complete answer.

I confess I love digging into God’s Word and pulling it apart. I love grammar, I love history, I love God’s Word. Today you will hear a basic Faith message.

Let me start with this. We read in the book of Acts 16:25, Paul and Silas are praying. They’re in prison, praying and singing to God at midnight. Now my guess is that at any given time you could read that passage and not focus in on the same word that I’m going to focus on right now. Midnight. At midnight, in a dark cell, probably rat-infested, at midnight. In your life whatever your midnight is—and it can last a minute, it can last an hour, it can last who knows how long…. What I love about Paul is that if we look and analyze his Faith, you will never see it waver. His Faith is always at the same level. “I’ve learned in whatsoever state I’m in…” a solid not-moving expression of a state of being.

That prompted me to think, from my vantage point, that most people have equated Faith with some emotive hope. When things come, when trouble comes, when tribulation comes, when your midnight comes, do you get pushed around? You may have faith in faith, or faith in something else, but Faith in God and what He said is what we are going to talk about.

Forgiveness Of Trespasses by Pastor Melissa Scott

Now, when we fight as human beings, we have this innate ability to say, “Okay, I forgive you.” But we are never really forgiving the person, because most of the time, if it’s something so egregious, even though by speaking the words you say, “I forgive you,” you never have the ability to loosen what has been done. In other words, you can say, “Well, I forgive somebody for something,” but if it’s in your mind and you still keep it in your mind, you never released it. For example, if we now work together and I see you every day, and then we have another fight, and then a year down the road I say, “Well, remember what you did the last time?” You never released it. When people talk about forgiveness, and certainly of forgiveness of trespasses, thank God we serve a God who did the twofold action! He didn’t say, “I’m only going to do this and not do that.” “Well I’m going to shed my blood to appease and propitiate God,” and leave out the other side, which is expiate and cleanse.

When we say to somebody, “You’re forgiven,” it is not in our capacity. Only God can put that in us to release something. When we look at these words, again, it is not simply to say forgiveness, but a release that basically says, “It’s all gone!” I said this a year ago, man remembers everything. But, the God whom I serve and the God whom you serve, He forgets, He wipes out. I know there are people who don’t yet understand. Not you; you’ve been taught. But there are people out there who do not yet understand. That picture of the clay on the wheel that Dr. Scott so eloquently taught out of Jeremiah 18, you’re a person put on that wheel.

When you first were put on that wheel, you might have been in really bad condition, butchered up, cracked, marred by life. His blood, the power of His blood, and your life, which is your life being on that wheel that God is shaping you and forming you in, is that which basically, when He’s done shaping that pot, He takes it off and puts it in a place where it says, “This is a finished product.” It’s not going happen here; it’s going to happen over there, but the process has begun. And it’s by His blood that He looks at me now and He doesn’t see that dirty, stained, wretched person that I was. He looks at me and says, “You look like My Son Jesus.” God help the people who don’t understand that is the message of salvation and grace.

The Good News by Pastor Melissa Scott

In fact, the animal had to be emptied. It follows in the Levitical code and the Kashruth, even Kosher laws today, where they kill an animal. If they kill it, they hang it to let the blood drip out. I’m sorry to be so graphic, but that’s part of what we believe. You cannot take the blood of Jesus out of the Gospel. This is part of the Good News that He laid down: He emptied Himself for me. Not just that He laid down His life. He emptied everything that was in Him. And then He rose again. Let’s go to Leviticus 17:11. We’re familiar with the first part, but when you read the last part of Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls.” What?

The blood. Not the animal, the blood, “for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” The animal didn’t have any power. The power to propitiate God, to please or appease God, was in the blood. There are a lot of people that would like to take the blood out of this, but it’s in there. And if you read through the Old Testament, it starts off right at the beginning. You’ve got the very first act of God killing an animal to cover Adam and Eve, and it goes right through the Bible, clear through to the Paschal, the Passover, the slaying, the killing of an animal, right into the law.

God our Father by Pastor Melissa Scott

Although He was Man-God and God-Man, while He was here, He was Christ Jesus, but He was also Jesus Christ. I don’t want to confuse people, but if you understand Jesus: the name given, Christ: the Savior, the Messiah. On that authority, he says, “I’m a sent one,” not on the authority of anything else. And lest people think, am I trying to divide the God and Man of Jesus Christ? Absolutely not.

But based on that authority, it’s very subtle, because you read in every letter, he says, “I’m an apostle; I’m sent.” That’s his authority, the Highest Authority. So that’s a good little footnote to point out. You can make the corrections in your Bible. It does not change the essence of the text. “By the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.” If your Bible reads like mine, they did it right. The translators translated it “Christ Jesus.” So, we know two things: Paul was writing to those set apart for God and faithful in Christ. Now, I traced through all of the “in Christ” passages in the Bible. If people are confused or unsure, just five minutes or ten minutes of reading these passages where we have “in Christ” and “in Him” will direct you.

If no one else is directing you, this will direct you: “in Christ.” If you are in Christ, He’s in you. How do you get in Christ? Christ is formed in your heart by faith. “Grace be to you.” We know grace is “unmerited favor.” We did nothing to get it. If we worked to get it, it’s not grace. “And peace,” which is “cessation of againstness.” Quit fighting God. This is Paul’s greeting, but I would look at the key words as he’s saying “the saints,” “the faithful,” “grace,” – charis. That word by the way, charis, appears in the New Testament 156 times; 110 of those times are in Paul’s writing. That’s an awful lot grace in one place; that’s pretty good. “And peace, from God our Father,” and there are some subtle little things in here that I’m not going to pick at.