The Blood, Sweat and Tears of Grace

By Dr. Tim C. Kernan

“But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:22-24)

Dear family, welcome to “The Year of Grace” – the theme of the SoldOut Movement in 2018! Grace makes us citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, members of the Church and allows our names to be written in the book of life! Grace is freely given, (Ephesians 1:6) and yet it was not free. Unlike the blood of Abel, Jesus’ blood – which was sacrificed on the cross – paid for our sins. As such we are all “…bought at a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20) – the ultimate price.

How did Jesus set an example and sacrifice for us – not just with his words – but with his blood, sweat and tears?

 

THE BLOOD OF GRACE

 

“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1: 18-19)

Every disciple is grateful for Jesus’ sacrifice. Yet, when we gaze upon the cross, we see both the cost of grace and the model Jesus has set for us. We must always remember that Jesus is not only saviour, (1 Timothy 4:10) but He is also Lord. (2 Corinthians 4:5) If every disciple must imitate Jesus, then we see in the cross, an example we must follow. One cannot look at the cross and say we do not need to be fully committed, we do not need to sacrifice everything, we should not love one another or we should not give our lives for the lost. Indeed we see the opposite! For Jesus Himself said, “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27)

As God’s Movement this is who we are! We are disciples of Christ who are willing to follow Jesus all the way to the cross. Yet at this years Winter Workshop, I believe the Holy Spirit spoke through so many preachers urging us to renew our commitment to God, to the mission, to sacrifice, to one another and to the Kingdom. Without this profound spiritual commitment to carry our cross and follow Jesus all the way to the spilling of our own blood, then everything else we do is utterly useless. This is a decision made in the heart of every disciple and it gives power to everything we do.

 

THE SWEAT OF GRACE

 

“For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them – yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.” (1 Corinthians 15: 9-11)

According to this Scripture, the grace God gives us is not without effect. The impact of grace on one’s heart is that it motivates us to work harder – sweat more – for God.

As a church we set prayer goals for ourselves every year and work at them with all of our hearts. Here are this years’ prayer goals that we are setting before the Lord.

THE 2018 CITY OF ANGELS ICC PRAYER GOALS

 

That every disciple meets someone who becomes a disciple by baptism or restoration.
That we go from 121 Bible Talks to at least 150 this year.
That we appoint at least 5 Evangelists and 5 Women’s Ministry Leader this year.
That we fully implement our Fallaway Defeat Plan in every Region.
That every member makes a weekly contribution and missions pledge and keeps them.
That we are well represented at every Missions Conference around the world.
That we raise up WebJournalists in every Region and Sector, posting and “liking” local good news and “Good News Email” stories on Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn and other social media.
That we implement the new security plan for Kingdom Kid’s in every Region.
That Every Region finds a local charity to build relationships with for our Day of Mercy.
That every member is trained in basic disaster and emergency preparedness, including Prepare U, First Aid and CPR certification – at designated Regional midweeks.

 

THE TEARS OF GRACE

 

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

‘But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’” (Luke 18:9-14)

Because of a hardened heart, the Pharisee cannot produce tears of brokeness, and yet, the tax collector cannot stop crying. One received grace because he was broken and he asked for it while the other did not. Where do we need mercy? Have we asked for it?

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.” (Hebrews 3:13-14) Sometimes we do not even know what we need to repent of. As disciples we must be taught to “…obey everything [Jesus] commanded [us]…” (Matthew 28:20) We can all be deceived just like this Pharisee. So we must seek encouragement, discipling and friends who will not let us be deceived or lower the standards to where we have drifted to. Rather, they will call us to have tears of repentance and change where we are at to meet the standards of Jesus’ teaching. Grace compels us to seek and to give regular encouragement and discipling on our quiet times, evangelism, giving, relationships, responsibilities and the condition of our hearts.

I have been so grateful to Kip and Elena who have provided Lianne and I with inspiration and gentle urging, especially in the area of evangelism. Without it I would not have been fruitful in 2017.

As a family let us “…hold unswervingly to the faith we profess…” (Hebrews 10:23) and imitate the love of Jesus, as He gave His blood as a sacrifice, his sweat to raise up leaders and his tears which call us all to repentance. 2018, “The Year Of Grace” is going to be incredible because all 959 disciples of the City of Angels International Christian Church are going to give our blood, sweat and tears to the mission of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers (and sisters). Amen.” (Galatians 6:18)