Christian Training Center InternationalPosts

What should disciples do? Can I pass the mercy test?

What should disciples do? Can I pass the mercy test?

Can I pass the test? Let’s call it the mercy test. Jesus orders me to be merciful.

Am I? Jesus wants to know. Jesus is serious about this. Jesus calls me to love. That is it. Love is made real in mercy. I need to consider that in my actions.

Every orthodox statement of faith ends with a statement about the return of Jesus the Messiah and the final judgment. Not all disciples agree as to the details of these future events, but the certainty of them none denies.

Nor would any deny the importance of a final judgment. Both Jesus (John 5:24) and Paul (Rom. 8:1) assured us that believers will never be judged for their sins; but our works will be judged and rewarded (Rom. 14:10–13; 2 Cor. 5:9–10).

How do we find grace and mercy in our lives?

Grace

I don’t deserve God’s grace. In fact, that is what it means. It is a gift to me from Jesus the Messiah. Undeserved but given to me anyway.

χάρις, charis; it means “grace, undeserved favor, graciousness, goodwill”. It is the gracious or merciful behavior of a more powerful person toward another. Displayed by the Master Jesus toward humankind and by people towards each other in the Old Testament. Used to describe God or the Messiah in their merciful character or actions toward humankind in the New Covenant.

Spiritual gifts are described as “graces.” It is a literary device used at the beginning or end of many New Covenant letters. It is all over the place in scripture. It is a big deal.

Why is Jesus full of compassion and mercy?

Mercy - 02
God’s mercy

Nothing moves me to forgive like the stunning knowledge that I have myself been forgiven. Nothing proves more clearly that I have been forgiven than my own readiness to forgive.

To forgive and to be forgiven, to show mercy and to receive mercy: these belong indissolubly together, as Jesus illustrated in his parable of the unmerciful servant.

Interpreted in the context of the beatitudes, it is ‘the meek’ who are also ‘the merciful’. For to be meek is to acknowledge to others that I am a sinner; to be merciful is to have compassion on others, for they are sinners too.

A New Year brings renewed understanding we are a new creation in Jesus.

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Grace

I am a part of God’s “new creation”, and God continues to work in me to make me what He wants me to be. His purpose is to make me more like The Messiah (Rom. 8:29). Now that is some VERY good news as we start a new year!

From now on, then, we do not know anyone from a worldly perspective. Even if we have known the Messiah from a worldly perspective, yet now we no longer know him in this way. Therefore, if anyone is in the Messiah, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come! 

(2 Cor. 5:17)

“For we are His workmanship created in The Messiah Jesus.” The Greek word translated “workmanship” is poiema, from which we derive our English word “poem.” It means “that which is made, a manufactured product.” In other words, my conversion is not the end; it is the beginning.

For we are His workmanship, His own master work, a work of art, created in the Messiah Jesus reborn from above — spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used for good works, which God prepared for us beforehand taking paths which He set, so that we would walk in them living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us. 

Ephesians 2:10

But how does God work in us?

Through His Holy Spirit, “both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13). The Messiah finished His work of redemption on the cross, but He arose from the dead and returned to heaven. There He carries on His unfinished work of perfecting His church (Eph. 4:7–16; Heb. 13:20–21).

The Messiah is equipping us for our walk as a disciple and our work here on earth. To do this, He uses three special tools:

  • The Word of God
  • Prayer
  • Suffering

As we read God’s Word, understand it, meditate on it, and feed on it, the Word goes to work in our lives to cleanse us and nourish us. As we pray, God’s Spirit works in us to release power. And as we suffer, the Spirit of God ministers to us. Suffering drives us back to the Word and prayer, and the cycle is repeated.

Too many disciples think that conversion is the only important experience, and that nothing follows. But this is wrong. We can use the resurrection of Lazarus as an example. After Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He said, “Loose him, and let him go”. In other words, “This man is now alive. Get him out of the grave clothes!” Paul has this concept in mind in Ephesians 4:22–24 when he writes, “That you put off concerning the former conversation [behavior] the old man, which is corrupt … and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” Colossians 3:1 has the same message: “[Since] you then be risen with The Messiah, seek those things which are above.”

The same resurrection power that saved you and took you out of the graveyard of sin can daily help you live for The Messiah and glorify Him. At great expense to Himself, God worked for us on the cross. And today, on the basis of that price paid at Calvary, He is working in us to conform us to The Messiah. God cannot work in us unless He has first worked for us, and we have trusted His Son. Also, He cannot work through us unless He works in us. This is why it is important for you to spend time daily in the Word and prayer, and to yield to The Messiah during times of suffering. For it is through the Word, prayer, and suffering that God works in you.

The Bible shows many examples of this principle. God spent 40 years working in Moses before He could work through him. At the beginning of his ministry, Moses was impetuous and depended on his own strength. He killed an Egyptian and had to flee Egypt, hardly a successful way to start a ministry. But during those 40 years as a humble shepherd in the desert, Moses experienced God’s working in his life, a working that prepared him for forty more years of magnificent service.

There are other examples. Joseph suffered for thirteen years before God put him on the throne of Egypt, second to Pharaoh. David was anointed king when he was a youth, but he did not gain the throne until he had suffered many years as an exile. Even the Apostle Paul spent three years in Arabia after his conversion, no doubt experiencing God’s deeper work to prepare him for his ministry. God has to work in us before He can work through us; and this leads to the fourth work in our passage.

The purpose of the Law was, basically, to bring us to the Messiah. It is essential to start here. Once I understand the purpose of the law, I can move on.

What would I move on to? How about grace? That would be a good start.

Once I am saved and become a follower of Jesus, God desires to glorify Himself through My good works. Jesus is clear on this. Following Jesus means I will do good deeds.

Therefore, good works follow the decision to follow Jesus; they do not precede it.

Conflict between “grace” and the “Law” can arise when someone:

  • Misunderstands the purpose of the Law.
  • Redefines grace as something other than “God’s benevolence on the undeserving”
    • Paul makes this clear (a Pharisee himself). “But if it is by grace God’s unmerited favor, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace it would not be a gift but a reward for works.” (Romans 11:6)
  • Tries to earn his own salvation or “supplement” the Messiah’s sacrifice.
  • Follows the error of the Pharisees in tacking manmade rituals and traditions onto his doctrine.
  • Fails to focus on the “whole counsel of God”.
    • “For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose and plan of God.” ~Paul (Acts 20:27).

When the Holy Spirit guides our search of Scripture, we can “study to show ourselves approved unto God” (2 Timothy 2:15) and discover the beauty of a grace that produces good works.

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About the Christian Training Center

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The Christian Training Center International was founded in the early 1970’s as The Inn of the Last Resort. It is now known throughout the world for its outreach to families, Christian leaders, and young people. Our focus is to enable individuals – especially young men and women – to face and overcome the mounting issues and pressures in their daily lives. Learn more here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships. The foundation is an encounter with Jesus that leads to a radical change in living and relationships. Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

How do we show mercy as a gift of the Holy Spirit?

Tim Dailey has been a part of the ministry here at the Christian Training Center since it was founded in the 1970’s. This Sunday he continues our series on the gifts of the Holy Spirit by discussing the gift of mercy.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” Romans 12:6-8

“Mercy is not only required, it is also reciprocal and demands action. The mercy of God is demonstrated in this world by His people.” – Tim Dailey

What is mercy? How can we show more of it?

Image result for mercy of jesus

I want mercy in my life. Compassion is a wonderful gift from God. I am challenged by Jesus to replicate it in all of my relationships. I am to be a person of mercy. It will bring me happiness and mercy in my own life. Now that is some very good news.

“Happy (aka Blessed) are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” | Matthew 5:7

What is mercy? Why is it important?

God’s mercy

Mercifulness is an attitude of compassion and care, grounded in the nature of God himself, made manifest in the life and ministry of Jesus the Messiah, and expected of us as believers.

I want mercy in my life. Compassion is a wonderful gift from God. I am challenged by Jesus to replicate it in all of my relationships. I am to be a person of mercy. It will bring me happiness and mercy in my own life. Now that is some very good news.

Happy (aka Blessed) are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” | Matthew 5:7

What is mercy? How can we show it?

Jesus challenges us. Are we “sinless”?

If so, we get to throw the first stone.

Jesus challenged the elite religious leaders. They were right about “the law”. They were wrong about mercy.

None of them qualified to throw the first stone. They all knew it. They all walked away. Only Jesus is left.

What is mercy? How does Jesus show it to us?

Jesus has a requirement for me as I stand before Him, confessing I have missed God’s goal, I am a sinner. I don’t condemn you, He says! I forgive you, He says. I have mercy on you, He says.

Go and sin no more, He says!

I am loved. I can do that for my King Jesus.

Jesus famously said :

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7)

Here is the great news. We have found mercy in Jesus!

God is very, very patient with us. Jesus the Messiah is perfectly patient. I am so thankful for that.

Where would we be without that love and caring patience? God is amazing. God is stunning in His patience. That is good news. God is in a good mood.

We shout for joy. We dance before Him.

Here is the great news. We have found mercy in Jesus!

  • “Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus the Messiah might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.” | 1 Timothy 1:16
    • God is patient with me when I miss His goal (aka sin). Jesus perfectly models that for me. Jesus is my example. Jesus shows me the way. I can’t do it on my own.
  • Romans 2:4 says that God’s patience leads to my changing my mind (aka repentance). Romans 9:22 points out that only God’s patience prevents Him from destroying “the objects of his wrath.” Paul glorifies the Lord for His “unlimited patience” that saved him, “the worst of sinners” (1 Timothy 1:16).
  • Peter highlights the patience of God in 1 Peter 3:20, pointing out that God had immense patience with the evil people of Noah’s day, delaying judgment as long as possible (Genesis 6).
  • Today, “our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved” (2 Peter 3:15, NLT). Jesus wants me to change my mind (repent). Have mercy on me Master Jesus! Thanks be to God He does have mercy.
    • Regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you. | 2 Peter 3:15

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History the Christian Training Center

In the early 1970’s, Jay and Sally Fesperman had a vision to open a retreat center for businessmen.  It was from this desire that they founded the Inn of Last Resort.  In the simplest of words – “Life is Relationships” – Jay Fesperman defined the heart of the ministry. Since its inception, “The Inn” has been involved in training and giving counsel to numerous families, pastors and lay people. The “Inn of the Last Resort” aptly alludes to the condition of many people who have found their way to this sanctuary in the rural Smoky Mountains. As word of the ministry spread, our name was revised to Christian Training Center International. Learn more here.

Global Influence

In 1980, Larry and Susan Pons joined the Fespermans in the ministry. Before Jay’s passing in 1992, CTCI had grown to be more global in its influence. Expansion of the ministry’s impact began to reach overseas and has subsequently brought scores of fellow Christians here for training and renewal. During its existence, over 70,000 people from more than 60 nations have come through the doors seeking a deeper reality of God in their lives.

 Our Prayer

Our prayer and focus has remained the same for years. First, that Jesus be Lord over all, through all and in all. Secondly that healthy, Godly relationships will always be the driving force of this ministry. This is the heartbeat of the ministry that the Lord has given us, and it is one we trust the Lord will continue to lead us in until He returns.

Learn more here.

What if Jesus said this to New York City?

Tyre and Sidon

Tyre and Sidon – Repent and ask for mercy

What if Jesus said this to Dallas? What if he said this to New York City? I can imagine it.

Jesus is in our midst. He is performing great and mighty acts of God right now. Do we see it? Do we change our minds and ask for mercy?

We should ask for mercy. We should beg for forgiveness. Jesus challenges us to do so.

We need to radically change our mind and act differently. This is known as repentance. The Greek word is  μετανοέω mĕtanŏĕō — Meaning: I repent, change my thinking, change the inner man.

God is God. We may not fully understand His ways but we must understand in our heart and act accordingly.

He is merciful.

He has forgiven us.

“If Tyre and Sidon had been given half the chances given you, they’d have been on their knees long ago, changing their mind (repenting) and crying for mercy.” ~Jesus 

Luke 10:13-14



Come join us for our Backlot Barbecue Event at the Smoky Mountain Center for the Performing Arts on October 5, 2019. Learn more here.

Your ticket includes a delicious BBQ sandwich meal, a donut roast over an open fire, fun and games. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy DreamWorks “Madagascar” under the stars. All proceeds go to missions around the world.

DATES / TIMES:

Saturday, October 5, 2019

6:30pm – 8pm: Food, Games & Donut Roast

8pm: Outdoor movie featuring DreamWorks “Madagascar”

*BRING YOUR OWN CHAIR*

Learn more here.