Welcome to Wednesdays In The Word Bible Study at Grace Covenant Church! Father bless our study and time together breaking bread of life. Holy Spirit we invite your presence as always. Do what only you can do in our midst.
To review, we started the study last week with an overview of what we’ll be studying in the upcoming weeks. The live Bible Studies have already happened. But I felt led to post videos, podcast and blogs of the earlier lessons for our online audience. Our study series is called ‘Starting With The Basics Of Christian Faith’ based on the list from Hebrews 6:1,2. The writer is actually issuing a rebuke to the church about how they shouldn’t need to be re-trained in the basics of faith. They should be maturing and growing from practice of these principles already instead of having to be re-taught.
Anyway, I’m not rebuking anyone or not intentionally anyway. We are using this list as a starting point at Grace Covenant Church for study, laying upon and building upon the good foundation of Christ. The list includes Repentance From Dead Works, Faith In God, Doctrines Of Baptisms, Laying On Of Hands, Resurrection Of The Dead and Eternal Judgment.
So, let’s dive in. I start with my testimony of repenting from my own dead works. Years ago, in 1985 or 1986 I was living in New Orleans. You know they call New Orleans, sister to Sin City. There’s a reason for that. Anyway, I was a backslidden daughter of God. I moved there on a job assignment and to get away from an abusive husband.
At that time, I used to go see fortune tellers and the physic shops to get my fortune told and my cards read. I was even thinking I could be a fortune teller. (Ha!) Little did I know Father God had other plans. So, one day I rushed in this little shop to get my cards read as they called it. You know all this is sin big-time in the eyes of God. All of that stuff is against God and grouped with witchcraft and sorcery.
This woman began to lay out my cards and she asked, “Are you Catholic or something? For I keep seeing you praying for people. Every few steps you are stopping to pray for someone and something’s happening to them. I said, “No, I’m not even Christian.” She kept seeing the same thing every time she would lay out the cards, according to her. Then she saw the cards burst into flames. She stacked her deck and put the cards away. She said, ‘That’s o.k.’ I said, “That’s o.k., what?” She said, “That’s o.k. I can’t do yours. And you can go now.” She really looked frightened. So, I left.
A couple of months later, through a friend leading me in prayer, I repented of my sin and re-committed my life to Jesus. I was born-again and received the gift of the Holy Spirit. I always thought back to that little session with the fortune teller, thinking God was trying to tell me something back then and her too. Because, shorty after being re-united with my Lord Jesus and being filled with God’s gift of the Holy Spirit. I became that person, she saw. Some days, every few steps someone was coming to me for prayer. They had heard about me praying for someone and God worked a miracle for them…I’ll finish my little testimony at the end of this teaching.
Repentance Is Good
Repentance has a bad rap. Repentance is not a bad word. We start talking about repentance and many folks get nervous. They start trembling. I understand it used to make me nervous too. For one thing the flesh does not like to repent. For many, they can barely get an apology out. For some, they can’t bring themselves to say the words, I’m sorry. They just become apologetic in their actions.
The Hebrew word for repentance is metanoeh (me-ta-noe-o) It simply means to change one’s mind for the better. Some seasons, I repent daily. Meaning, I change my mind for the better on a daily basis. I hear some of you saying there’s not that much repenting in the world. Besides that, we’re under grace and we don’t have to repent anymore. I hear you. I can only say, you know it takes humility to repent. So, here’s another way to say what I said earlier, when people can’t bring themselves to say, ‘I’m sorry.’ It means they can’t or don’t humble themselves enough to say I’m sorry.
When we renew our mind to the word of God and begin to think correctly about the act of repentance, we realize repentance is a weapon in God’s kingdom. Remember the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds and every imagination and vain thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We can take that all the way and say it’s a matter of bringing every thought captive to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
The Grace Age And Repentance
Yes, we are living in the Grace Dispensation. Jesus cried from the cross, “It is finished!” Through Christ and his finished work, we were made righteous, we were redeemed, sanctified all in the same holy transaction. It was all paid for by him who knew no sin but was made sin for us. It is a gift to us, lest any man boast.
Yet we are God’s treasure in earthen vessels. We must still renew our mind and pick up our cross daily and follow Jesus. We are no longer slaves to sin or the sinful lifestyle. But we are not perfect, and we still miss the mark from time to time. But Father God has made provision for that. When we confess our sin and repent, he is faithful and just to forgive us. And not just forgives us but cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Unrepented sins hinder us and even blocks our prayers and blessings that Father God promised and is always faithful to send.
What Are Dead Works
Dead works are the opposite of life works. Dead works are works of the flesh, works of darkness and works of the evil one and his co-horts. To get a better understanding, Jesus said, “Satan comes only to steal, kill and destroy. But I have come that you may have life more abundantly.” So if there’s any stealing going on, killing going on or destroying going, we can know who the author of that work belongs to.
Remember when Jesus and his disciples were on their way to Jerusalem. Jesus knew his time was near and his destiny was in Jerusalem. So the word of God said, he set his face like a flint toward Jerusalem. On the way, a village came out to the gate shouting, “Don’t come here Jesus! You’re not wanted here…” A couple of disciples, the ‘Sons of Thunder’ to be exact were upset and said to Jesus, “Do you us to call fire down on them like Elijah did the enemies of God?” Jesus replied, “Hush now, you don’t know what spirit you’re speaking in. I didn’t come to destroy the world. I came to save the world.”
- Another mention of dead works is in Hebrews 9:13 …purge your conscience from dead works.
- Again in Ephesians 5:1-11
- The Romans writer in chapter 13 verse 12 says, ‘The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off (repent) the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light.
- Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them.
- Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident which are; adultery, fornication, uncleaness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentious, jealousies, outburst of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions…
So now that we are clear about what dead works are, there’s a principle in life when you stop something as in kicking a habit or breaking an addiction or just plain old changing our evil ways, one must replace it with something better.
Jesus told a story that illustrates this principle really well. He said, when an evil spirit is cast out, the vessel or man is swept clean and in order. The evil spirit will come back and discover the man or the house has been swept clean and in order. But if he finds it empty, he will go and get seven more spirits that are more evil than he. The man ends up worse off than before. so, it is with this principle and repentance.
When we repent of something (dead works), we must replace it with the opposite, life more abundantly. It becomes the antidote. In my little testimony. I repented and kicked sin out of my life. I prayed and received the gift of the Holy Spirit. In essence I was filled with the Holy Spirit. So when sin came back around to see if I was empty. I was swept clean, in order and full of the Holy Ghost. No place for Satan or his imps. It doesn’t mean he won’t try.
Remember Jesus said to Peter, “Peter, Satan has desired to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail. And when you have come through, turn and strengthened your brethren.” It’s the same for us. Satan desired to sift us too. But Jesus prayed for you and me. And we came through just fine. Now it’s our time to turn and strengthen our brothers and sisters. Won’t you join me on the journey? Pray with me or partner with me at Grace Covenant Church online or when you’re in the area, visit us.
END OF BLOG
Earma Brown, 12 book Christian Author and Co-Founding Pastor at Grace Covenant Church
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(Wednesday In The Word Podcast coming soon!)