The Philosophy of Grace
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 5:1-2, Colossians 2:8
Sunday 15th November 2015
As we round up the series, ‘The Power of Belief’ today, let’s recap what we discussed from the message ‘Overcoming Doubt’, last week. We’ve agreed that doubt is the doorway to unbelief, and shutting the door on doubt is vital to our faith. Every trial we go through has the ultimate intention of shaking our belief in God, and His promises for our lives. John the Baptist had a clear revelation of who Jesus was, but soon lost his confidence when the trials he faced overwhelmed him. In rounding up, here were the five things we highlighted that we must do in order to overcome doubt, namely: (1) Lift up the shield of faith (2) Do not be afraid (3) Do not entertain the enemy’s suggestion (4) Align your thoughts with God’s word, and lastly (5) Anchor your soul to the word of God.
Today, let’s round up this series with the message titled ‘The Philosophy of Grace’. Each of us has a perception of life that shapes how we see the world. Philosophy refers to our thinking, attitude, viewpoint, values and way of life. Here is today’s scripture reference in Colossians 2:8; ‘Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ’. Notice that this verse began with a military term: Beware! St Paul admonishes us to be on our guard against ideas and principles that could cheat us from imbibing the teachings of Christ. Many atimes, Believers are too casual about the promises of God until things begin to deteriorate. Hence, we must be vigilant against every attempt of the devil to rob us.
Christ has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness as highlighted in 2 Peter 1:2-4, including our healing, victory, deliverance, prosperity and so much more. However, the devil usually employs the traditions of men to dissociate us from our blessings – philosophies based on the thinking and system of the world. Consequently, whenever the philosophy that is based on Christ is not embraced, the flow of grace is denied. It must be stated that each of us can choose to live our lives based on one philosophy or the other – either the philosophy of the world or the philosophy of Christ. Our personal philosophy choices could either deprive us or enable us to obtain what grace has made available. Eventually, the outcome of our lives will be as a result of our personal philosophy and world view. So then, what do you think about your life? The philosophy we decide to guide and shape our lives will convey us from our present location to an ultimate destination.
Moses was called by God to deliver the Israelites from captivity as recorded in Exodus 3 and 4. Exodus 3:10-11 reads: “Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt. But Moses said to God, "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” Exodus 4:10 reads: ‘Then Moses said to the Lord, "O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since you have spoken to your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue." Moses concluded, as we can infer from these scriptures that he was not gifted to speak to Pharaoh. Exodus 4:11-13 gives us a bit more on this dialogue: ‘So the Lord said to him, "Who has made man's mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say." But he said, "O my Lord, please send by the hand of whomever else You may send’. Many atimes, we have mirrored this same stance with God in our personal lives.
Jeremiah exhibited the same disposition in his debate with God in Jeremiah 1:4-7: ‘Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations." Then said I: "Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth." But the Lord said to me: "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' For you shall go to all to whom I send you, And whatever I command you, you shall speak’. So did Gideon in Judges 6:14-15; ‘Then the Lord turned to him and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?" So he said to Him, "O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house."
Moses, Jeremiah and Gideon had made a conclusion about themselves that was in contrast to what God had already declared regarding their lives. As Christians, we must also be careful not to contradict what God has prepared for us by our complexes and inhibitions. The primary cause of struggles in life is the inability to see ourselves just as God sees us. Whatever God has given us is ours, whoever God has called us to be is who we are! More so, the word of God must be our standard.
Here are some truths that we should imbibe, namely: (a) Our background does not nullify what grace has already provided to us (b) Our physical limitation does not invalidate what grace has already made available to us, and (c) Our negative experiences of life do not invalidate what grace has made available to us. We are much bigger than whatever circumstances life throws at us. In other words, our circumstances have no power over our worth. It must be understood then, that our philosophy ought to be based on God’s word. Hence, we must model our lives in accordance to what God’s word says about us.
Here are four things you need to do to align yourself to God’s word:
(a) Be a consistent student of the word of God: It is important that we make time out to study and meditate on the word of God. It is the means of reprogramming our minds. Since our minds have the tendency to be swayed by the opinions and the system of the world, it is vital that we make this a regular and consistent practice. Our attitudes and beliefs are reprogrammed as a consequence of this. Invariably, our actions will be aligned with what God says as a result. We cannot afford to set our lives on a ‘drive-thru’ mode, as this bears no indelible mark on our hearts. God’s word must not depart from our hearts. Here is Joshua 1:8; ‘This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success’. As Christians, it ought to be clearly stated that we cannot live our lives successfully without studying God’s word.
(b) Don't be intimidated by the size of the obstacle that stands in your way - only believe: One of the reasons why our philosophy of life is different from that of God’s word is usually because of the intimidation that we experience from the challenges of life. However, if David was not intimidated by the size of Goliath, in the same way, we should not be overwhelmed by our circumstances. God is with us and He is greater than the situations that intend to upset our lives.
(c) Don’t look at your future based on past negative experiences: The word of God is true irrespective of what we may have experienced in the past. God’s word is forever settled (Psalm 119:89). God’s word has never been designed to submit to our experiences, but our experiences ought to submit to God’s word.
(d) Worship: Our worship is an act of faith. We worship God based on what He has already done for us, whether we have seen it physically or not. Furthermore, our faith should now be exercised in withdrawing from the invisible realm that which God has already concluded. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah was besieged by enemies, as recorded in 2 Chronicles 20. He decided to seek God’s face and find out what to do. God gave a promise of victory and Jehoshaphat decided to unleash his faith by worshipping God. Verse 21-22 records this and the victory that ensued. ‘And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.” Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated’. Let’s make worship an integral part of our lives as we engage our faith and see how God will turn our difficult circumstances around.
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