A Red Letter Church vs a Grace Based Church
What is the Difference between a Red Letter Church and a Grace based Church?
The Christian Church has Jesus as the Foundation. It is built upon the Red Letters of the Bible, the words that Jesus Christ Spoke Himself. Build upon that, are the many pillars of Scripture, revealed through Prophet’s, Apostles, Kings, Priests, ETC
The Pillar of GRACE
The Pillar of RIGHTEOUSNESS
The Pillar of JUDGMENT
Altogether these pillars build up the teachings of the Church.
But in many Churches, a problem arises when, the Red letters of Jesus are removed as the foundation of the Church & the Pillar of Grace, is set as the new foundation.
With GRACE being the new foundation of the Church, Some pillars fit nicely on that.
Love & Mercy
Forgiveness & Blessing
Peace & Joy
But other pillars don’t fit so nicely on this Foundation. Therefore those subjects need to be de-emphasized, and rarely brought up.
While other pillars of Scripture don’t fit at all on this foundation.
The Fear of God
Those subjects need to be ignored, disregarded or just briefly mentioned. Those subjects were from the God of long ago, who no longer exists. (Edit: This part as per hyper grace teachings is basically saying the Lord has changed his behaviour in the New Testament times, but reality is that the Bible never says the Lord God has become permissive of sin because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ)
The Sermon topics of the Grace based Church are VERY important topics, that need to be thoroughly covered. But as many people have discovered, it wasn’t that those topics were being covered, it was that other topics were just being ignored. The problem is that anytime you ignore parts of Scripture, it distorts the image of God.
The Grace based church presents the congregation with a Path of Salvation, and a Doorway to go through. The problem is that the path presented is Wider than the Narrow path depicted in scripture. This will result in a rude awakening for some people, who feel secure, yet are not on the RIGHT path.
Jesus taught that the House built on ROCK, does not fall. Therefore if we ignore parts of Scripture when building the Church, then the Church becomes less stable, because it’s missing part of the foundation.
Because Jesus is the Cornerstone of our Faith, His teachings demand greater focus over the teachings of any other. As Jesus even said, “My testimony is weightier than John’s”
But in many churches we see that the Greater Focus is given to the Teachings of the Apostle Paul, over that of Jesus. Which Paul even warned us NOT to do.
In scripture we are told to behold the kindness and severity of God, and God is revealed as both a Lion and a Lamb.
But in the teachings of many Churches, we see this Principle is changed to. Behold the Kindness of God.
The LION is de-emphasized, and most sermons only reveal God as the Lamb. And this causes an imbalance in doctrine.
Put back the Words of Jesus, as the Foundation of the Church. Where the teachings of the Apostle’s and Prophets are built upon the ROCK. Not ignoring any portions of scripture. This is the Church that Jesus Built.
– By Robert Brownell
My note about teachings/letters of the Apostle Paul (call it a disclaimer if you wish):
Generally I wouldn’t put in a note at this point but I felt since the above quote somehow makes a distinguishing mark between the teachings of Jesus Christ and those of the Apostle Paul, so I felt it’s best to clarify this out for you.
To be clear enough; the letters of St. Paul in the Bible are fully part of the Holy Scriptures and are fully inspired by the Holy Spirit. However some people have tried to use that justify elimination of certain key doctrines of the Bible, in fact the very things that Jesus taught! The teachings or letters of St. Paul are not of his own but are of the Lord God who spoke through the Holy Spirit and inspired his letters.
Like I said the letters of St. Paul are inspired by the Holy Spirit, this means that they are to remind us of things which Jesus Christ taught during his ministry on earth and even more revelations of God without undermining the truth of the Gospel.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14: 25-26)
13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16:13-15)
Good works, Bad works and Grace
Your good works don’t earn you into Heaven, but your bad works CAN disqualify you, if not repented of. From Scripture we know that grace comes to those who repent, and God’s love comes to those who are surrendered to Him (the cross). Teaching people that Grace can come by other means than repentance is irresponsible, and it’s a dangerous doctrine to tell others that God’s love is not dependant on surrendering to Him. (quote by Robert Brownell)
This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10)
Do great things for the Lord Jesus
O believer in Christ hear this loud,
Leave behind vanity, do not be proud.
Focus on things for God that matter,
Let not in odd things your mind scatter.
Strive to enter by the road that is narrow,
Worth are you more than any sparrow.
Open the door of your heart for sure,
So that God’s word in you does endure.
Heal those in affliction and despair,
Give them divine grace beyond compare.
Pray for those in need, pain and tears,
Rescue those tormented by evil and fears.
God’s spirit will guide you in truth strong,
Hold onto your faith and don’t do wrong.
Be an example noble and not wild,
Live holy for you’re now God’s child.
Visit orphans and widows in their affliction,
Give them respite and hope with true conviction.
Pray for those in prison and those mistreated,
Be as if in their place you are seated.
Provide for your relatives, especially of your household,
By this do not give faithlessness in you a stronghold.
Preach the Gospel to all and without any guile,
Let your testimony unto Christ be worthwhile.
- I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me. (Psalm 101:3)
- Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. (Proverbs 4:26)
- Because narrow is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:14)
- Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:7)
- What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? (James 2:14)
- Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (James 1:27)
- Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:3)
- But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)
- Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.(Ephesians 5:15-16)
- For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.(2 Corinthians 2:17)
- For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
When praying do not focus too much on your problems and needs
In prayer we express to God our praise and love of him. We also bring forth our needs and petitions unto him. It’s wise to cast your worries and anxieties unto the Lord Jesus Christ for he cares for you.
Now the aim of prayer always must be to give glory to God. Some people however are way too focused on their problems and needs that they miss out on the essence of prayer, which is to give glory to God. For them prayer is just a transaction instead of a sign of a relationship with God. One cannot have a wrong focus like this if one wants to worship God in spirit and in truth. This does not mean that you never bring your problems and needs before the Lord God. What this means is that your focus on these must never be the whole and sole reason you pray to God.
Problem or Problem Solver
Are you going to keep worrying about your problem or look up to the Problem Solver in heaven above? If you are going to keep worrying about your problem instead of trusting God for such situations then you are not exhibiting the faith that you need to have in God. Never get too emotionally overwhelmed that you are crying about your problem but are not expressing your faith in God. It’s normal and reasonable to acknowledge your emotions about the problem. However, making your emotions the central point of your prayer will make you focus on yourself instead of looking up to God to help you.
Healing or the Healer
When it comes to healing what is more important, your sickness or the One who can heal you? It is God indeed who gives cures and healing. He can give cures supernaturally or by way of a physician who give dues medical treatment. It is right it ask for healing but what is not right is that you make a drama about your sickness. Trust me there are a lot of people who are sick but face their illness without making themselves or others miserable. Some of them face terminal illness and yet are calm for the sake their family, friends etc. And now knowing this, one must not worry so much on their healing that they see past the Healer. One must know the will of God for their healing and move forward in faith then.
Comfort or the Comforter
There is no true comfort without the Comforter. The Holy Spirit comforts us with the peace of Christ in this fallen world that we live in. He gives us hope within when the external conditions look hopeless. It is unwise, then that a person desires comfort so badly that he doesn’t want to honor the Comforter but only sees him as a means to an end. If you seek the Holy Spirit who is the Comforter from God, you will have his comfort for your own.
We live in an age where instant coffee is highly coveted. Because people do not want to wait for it being prepared the normal way. However, these very people will waste hours chatting over cups of instant coffee in some downtown cafe. One wonders why do they hurry to get the coffee then. And then we have the issue of instant gratification. The world puts a premium on instant gratification. Like taking a loan for an overseas luxury vacation and then pounding your way at work once you’re back so that you can pay off the loan. This approach applied to prayer will make you look impulsive instead of discerning. You may have instant coffee from a coffee vending machine but don’t ever treat God like a miracle vending machine. He is NOT a machine but a loving, powerful, merciful and wise God. Don’t let your desire for instant gratification of your needs get the better of you when praying to God then.
A suggested prayer:
Dear Lord God, I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ your Son. Forgive me of all my sins, including the times and occasions when I focused more on my problems and needs instead of focusing on you. I desire to say a firm and solemn yes to your will for me all times. Guide and comfort me by your Holy Spirit who brings forth the peace of Christ in those who believe in you. I surrender all my worries and anxieties unto you, knowing that you are Lord of all and nothing is greater than you. I trust in you for my health in all aspects of life, be it physical, mental or spiritual. You have made me the head and not the tail by the saving grace of Christ. So then let not evil nor sin reign over me but you O Lord God always reign over me and protect me from all dangers.
Amen and amen.
The abundant grace of God does no where in the Bible ever permit abundant stupidity nor abundant heresy. Any teaching that shows the grace of God as merely ‘say a prayer and get your ticket to heaven’ without being clear on all the points of the Gospel is surely out of sync with God’s will. Do not listen to teachers of falsehood who corrupt the Gospel’s true meaning. The Gospel is about being in a relationship with God through Christ Jesus. The Gospel is about loving God and your neighbor. And you are not going to be able to live the Gospel right if you exclude genuine repentance from your sins. You cannot earn your salvation but people can surely give it up by their faithlessness to God and this faithlessness is visible even by their actions.
Let’s read the following verses from the Holy Scripture:
These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved. For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire. (2 Peter 2:17-22)
It is vanity of vanities to come to unto the throne of grace only to turn and head back to your pit of immorality. It’s vain to preach the Gospel to others and then not follow what it teaches. O lovers of God, be faithful unto the very end. Let Christ be your hope. Let the Gospel be ever in your heart and mind.
Let your walking and talking never deviate from God’s will. May all your work be holy and acceptable in the eyes of God. This is possible by faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now it may have chanced that you could have sinned after coming to Christ. Do not fear as our Lord is the patient with us. He bears up with our faults. That being said, knowing that he is merciful do not hesitate to repent of your sin. The world might say ‘O look a person who claims to believe in Christ and yet sins’ but you can make the world’s logic look stupid if and if you truly repent. Your aim here is not to take revenge against the world. The world is full of sin and when they condemn you, O lover of God, they will simply generate more judgement for themselves by the Lord Jesus himself. Instead, your aim should be to value your relationship with God by honoring Jesus’ death and resurrection for your salvation. Respond to his love by being truly repentant of every sin and living for Christ alone.
Christ be with you!
Psalm 67 (A call to all people to praise God)
Let read Psalm 67 which is a call to all people to praise God. Here we go:
1 May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah 2 that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving power among all nations. 3 Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! 4 Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for thou dost judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Selah
5 Let the peoples praise thee, O God; let all the peoples praise thee! 6 The earth has yielded its increase; God, our God, has blessed us. 7 God has blessed us; let all the ends of the earth fear him!
When reading the above Psalm you must have seen the word ‘Selah’ and then wondered what does that mean. It’s not an English word so it’s hardly used when talking in general. It’s a Hebrew word which in the context of the Psalm means to pause and praise. There are things in life which we must not skim over and let it go. These are things to be valued and cherished. Though there are many ways to do appreciate things, one of the ways is to pause for a moment and think of it.
In the same way when you think of the things of God like his grace, blessings and saving power you just don’t do a blink and a miss on it. You take time to relish the Lord’s goodness towards us. So that is why you must pause and praise God for his revelation of love for us.
People love their blessings from God and want to be blessed even more. Who wouldn’t want their families to be prosperous in all aspects of life? However, that’s not where it ends. One of the reasons God blesses us is that the people of the earth are made aware of his saving power. Let’s therefore, not ask to be blessed only to keep it within our loved ones but also so that God’s gracious nature is manifested through us to a world of people who live in despair.
The Lord is the God of justice. Many a times people try to take revenge, sometimes they succeed and sometimes they don’t. Yet true justice eludes them. There are the oppressed poor who have no one to speak for them. Very few care about their existence. It’s true that, we live in a fallen world and evil things do happen. The Lord God, time and again raises up men and women who strive for justice and peace for the poor and oppressed, even though not all of them know Jesus as their savior. These agents of justice have their season on earth and then pass away into eternity. The work of justice still goes on even as more people are called by God to help others. Besides, the Lord God himself executes judgement against the powers of darkness and those who love it, so that there is justice done. May the people of the world realize this truth and turn their hearts towards the Lord.
Our Lord God is not limited to judgement alone. He is the God of true and lasting blessing. He blesses his people on earth. He rewards their good deeds in this life and in the next. Even our ability to good works ultimately comes from the Lord. No doubt a person must be willing for it, and surely he or she shall be rewarded, yet we must realize that it’s mostly God’s grace in the midst of it all.
By our own works and merits we do not deserve his grace. It’s only by faith in his Son our Lord Jesus Christ, can we approach his throne of grace in times of need (see Hebrews 4:16). God’s loves those who love Christ. But he has a heart for sinners too. He also cares for the lost sheep who are still in the darkness. No wonder though they are not seated in heavenly places like us who believe in Jesus, he still let’s it rain on them too (see Matthew 5:43-45).
The harvest of the earth though has human effort and wisdom applied but it is the Lord God who protects it from dangers when we are least aware. He is the one who prevents the workers of the Evil One from doing their vile deeds against you. It is the Lord who blesses the farmer with good health, so that there is an abundant harvest. No wonder in this light of the revelation of his grace and love towards us, we must praise and thank God for his mercy and for his blessings towards us. Give thanks to Christ Jesus for the salvation that you have received from him.
A few scriptures to reflect on:
- I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work. (Ecclesiastes 3:17)
- Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. (Isaiah 1:17)
- For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:4)
- Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor. (Proverbs 31:8-10)
- Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:18)
- Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures.(James 1:17-18)
- And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Cor 9:8)
- Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
God’s favor through Jesus
So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:46–47)
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield. (Psalm 5:12)
To be blessed with God’s favor, you don’t need to climb hills or resort to ardent fasting. You need to believe in the Lord Jesus. You need to believe that Jesus is able to do great things for you. Stuff that the world yearns for but can’t receive because they reject the cross of Christ. For Jesus by his sacrifice of his body and blood on the cross, has bridged the gap between you and God. Your faith in the Gospel attracts the favor of God. For those who confess Jesus in their life on earth, Jesus is not ashamed of them in heaven in front of God’s angels in heaven.
Jesus intercedes for you at the right hand of God. He doesn’t get tired nor fed up of interceding for you. It’s his delight to come before his Father for your needs. Happy are those who depend on Jesus for their true and lasting happiness.