First Mennonite Morton



  • Oct21Wed


    October 21, 2020
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    Matthew 7:21-23   “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’



    From the time we are born, we measure ourselves against everyone else. Our birth weight and height are recorded and compared to the “norms.”  We go to school and receive a grade compared to others in our class. There are standards to pass to receive a driver's license or qualify for a mortgage.  These may be good things, but they can also prompt us to wonder about our ongoing relationship with God.  Our confidence in God’s love for us gets measured by our current performance.  We can worry if God will bless us or not, so we behave our best and watch our every step. 

    Many at some time in their life say to God “if only you would send me an Angel and tell me…”  The good news is that He already did!

    Luke 2:10   And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

    John 1:17 “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

    Grace is Jesus; Grace is God with us; Grace is Heaven's cure for our tendencies to compare or condemn ourselves in hopes of securing God’s love.  The truth is that we can not impress God with our goodness, yet God always wants His goodness impressed upon us!

    As we see in Matthew 7:21-23, all the right words and works that we may do can tempt us to work harder and be proud of efforts. This is a self-deception from a wrong focus on performance and prevented them from receiving the unconditional loving relationship with Christ.

    “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

    Grace is not about what we did, but belief in what Jesus has done! Grace is stepping off a performance-based measurement life and admitting you are loved because of God’s grace and grace is found in believing in Jesus. Period.

    Colossians 2:21-23  “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them.   These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.”

    When we receive God’s grace, confident in His unconditional love, it’s called faith. A life of faith will continue to look different, it will look more and more like Jesus. When we respond negatively, questioning His love, hoping to earn it by our performance, it’s called unbelief.

    Walking in God’s grace keeps our focus on His love for us.  The alternative is to focus and measure ourselves by what we have done.  To believe we have to “do” something to earn the free gift of grace is like telling children to pull out their piggy banks on Christmas Day because you expect them to reimburse you for a free gift!  The gospel Is not and never has been an invitation for you to do better; it's an announcement of what God has done through Jesus!

    Try for at least one full day to constantly remind yourself that right now God loves you unconditionally. It might surprise you how you’ll actually respond.  It has for me!

    Pastor Tom

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