RECAP: GRACE VS. WORKS–based on Ephesians 2:4-9
First of all, a special thank you to John Wright for bringing the Word on Sunday!
“If I live a good life…then God will take care of me.”
Far too often, we fall into the trap believing that we are saved by works, or as the Puritan Rev. Marshall put it, “addicted to salvation by works.” As John pointed out, many different faith traditions, including some extant Christian traditions, place a strong emphasis on works. For everything you do right, you earn a point, and for everything you do wrong, you lose a point. But if works was placed in a ledger over and against sins, could we truly do enough good works to cover over all the payments due from our sin? We think that we might be a good person and doing good works, but in the end, the weight of our sin would always be greater. As Philip Yancey said, if you live by works, “you live in a state of anxiety,” wondering if you will have done enough to enter into heaven.
On the flip side, living by works can provide a false sense of security. But works cannot save, for all will fall short and those works are “merely human rules” as Jesus stated in Matthew 15:9. We will never do enough to impress God, to show that we deserve salvation or earn salvation.
But God has given us his grace, his favor shown to us as sinners. Grace is God’s love to those who do not merit love, like the prodigal son in Luke 15. Even though 57% of evangelicals in a Pew research poll believe that there are multiple ways to heaven, as does many progressive branches of the Christian tradition, John 14:6 is clear–Jesus is the only way. Why is he the only way? He was the only perfect one who can overcome sin through his death on the cross! And it is his grace that brings us the salvation we seek.
God has granted us grace in four areas:
1) Salvation from our sins
2) Ability to forgive others who wrong us
3) Freedom to truly live, free of bondage
4) Hope for the future, to walk in the presence of God
So where does works fit in? Think of grace and works like a train. Grace is the engine car, while works are the additional train cars. Without the engine, the cars would just sit on the tracks. Without grace, our works just sit. But when works follow grace as our way to show what God has done in us to glorify him, the works serve as a testimony to the grace bestowed upon us!
Questions for reflection
1) What are the limitation of works?
2) Why is it easy to fall into the lie that works bring salvation?
3) Which of the four areas of grace (salvation, forgiveness for others, freedom to live, future presence) do you need most in this season of your life?
Pastor Ryan will continue the Acts Church series with the sermon titled, “Discerning Through the Muck,” based upon Acts 15. Sometimes, when there are disagreements, it is difficult to hear the spirit of God. How did the early church discern the Spirit through an event that threatened its existence? And what can we learn for today? Come or tune in Sunday to find out!
Daily Bible Readings for August 4 – 10
August 4: Romans 3:21-31 Why do we need faith and grace? Why do works fall short?
August 5: Colossians 2:6-23 What is the relationship between works and grace?
August 6: James 2:14-26 What is the balance between faith and works?
August 7: Revelation 2:1-7 What happens when we put too much emphasis in works?
August 8: Luke 10:38-42 How can works get in the way of learning from Jesus?
August 9: Genesis 41:17-40 How did discernment save Egypt and Israel?
August 10: Numbers 13:17-33 How did disagreement doom Israel?
Call for Worship Leaders and Children’s Story
As we look at the ability to reopen in the coming weeks, we are in need of both worship leaders and children’s story. We are looking for one person each week, rather than a month at a time. If you would like to serve, contact Alice Over (worship leading) or Tammy Stine (children’s story).
We will take the month of July and August off from Bible study due to vacations and other scheduling conflicts. We will resume Bible study in September!
Before church closed for COVID, we had begun to announce a baptism and membership class (for transfer of membership). So for we have two that have expressed interest. If you are interested in either, or even if you recently became a member without the class and would like more of what it means to be a member of Beaver Creek, please let Pastor Ryan or Tess know you would like to take the class. Once there is enough interest, more specifics will be shared at that time. Classes will be on Sunday evenings at 7 pm in pastor’s office, beginning August 9 and ending September 13. If you would like to be a part, let Pastor Ryan know ASAP!
Call to Prayer
As we know, right now has been a time of unrest in our land. Our nation needs healing! Let us take five minutes every day to pray for our country. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, who are called by my name, would humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.” If we want to see our nation healed, it starts with us as the church in fervent prayer and leading the way of repentance. September 18-28 has been called as a ten day season of repentance. On Saturday, September 26, there will be a national day of prayer for our nation. Let us take that day and time to pray!
We will also have a special time of prayer set aside at the church on September 26. More details to follow!
Five Ways to Give! With the extended closure, this is greatly necessary.
1) Direct Deposit–form available on the website
2) Mail your tithe into the church office
3) Drop it by church office on Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, 9 am – 1 pm
4) New online giving platform: https://beavercreekchurchva.churchcenter.com/giving
5) Drop off in the offering plate at main entrance as you enter for church
Continue to Keep in Prayer:
Prayers for our Congregation–pray for those who have been unable to visit or spend time with family, those who have lost their jobs or seen furloughs, for those who have been discouraged, and those in our nursing homes, who have not been able to have any physical contact since early March.
Mary Batterman–recovering at home. If you want to help by providing a meal, you can sign up at this link: www.TakeThemAMeal.com/XHOZ8636.
Betty Miller (Roger & Nancy Simmons’ neighbor)–health
Rhoda Phifer (Dan Rhodes’ mother-in-law)–health
Tami Plaugher (health)–great report last week!
Dan Rhodes (health)
Lottie Ritchie (Sandy Bennington’s mother)–health, at Lifecare
Evy Kaye Sandin (health)
Chris Shirk (Reba’s brother)–health.
Louise Shirkey (loss)–in the passing of her brother, Andrew Brookman.
David Simmons–(health, good so far)
Grayson Whitmore (recovery)
Tom Wilfong (recovery)
Charles Wright (health)
John Wright (health)
Owen Wright (health–Charles Wright’s brother)
Pastor Ryan Cooper
Beaver Creek COB