Beholding Jesus in His Amazing Grace, Session 9: “Jesus, Our Access to the Riches of God’s Grace”

 

Beholding Jesus in His Amazing Grace, Session 9, “Jesus, Our Access to the Riches of God’s Grace” from Parresia on Vimeo.

Romans 5, verse 1 and 2 tell us that because we have been made right through faith in Jesus, we have peace – eternal reconciliation – with God, and because of that union, we now have access by faith into the riches of God’s grace. We are standing on grace ground! In this message, hidden secrets in the Old Testament shadows of Jesus reveal the blessed resurrection life that we have in Him. (See transcript of teaching below)

Watch it on Vimeo or listen on SoundCloud!

 

Transcript of “Jesus, Our Access to the Riches of God’s Grace”

Introduction

Welcome to session 9 of Beholding Jesus in His Amazing Grace. This session is entitled, “Jesus, Our Access to the Riches of God’s Grace.”

As I was reading through my notes yesterday, the thought occurred to me that someone listening to this might think that I have my head in the sand, and that I don’t realize the world is falling apart, and people are suffering. And I thought, “Lord, how do I answer that?” And this is what I heard: “When everything in the natural is going against My promises, preach them even more strongly. Never compromise on My promises, no matter how long it takes and no matter how many of them you are waiting on.”

2 Corinthians 1:19-20, TLB – He [Jesus] isn’t one to say yes when he means no. He always does exactly what he says. 20 He carries out and fulfills all of God’s promises, no matter how many of them there are… [That’s what I believe, so that’s what I’m going to speak]

Peace with God

We have been talking about the peace we have with God from Romans 5 –

Romans 5:1-2 – Therefore, having been justified by faith, [made right with God by faith] we have peace [eternal reconciliation] with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through [Jesus Christ] whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. [Now we will get back to verse 2 in a few minutes because that’s our key verse]

As I said last week – because of this peace we have with God, we are like Abraham, and we can say, “I am a friend of God.” And that friendship has benefits! It’s called the benefits of the cross.

Romans 5:10, TLB – what blessings he must have for us now that we are his friends and he is living within us!

We are forever friends with God, not because we will always be a good friend to Him, but because He has proven through the blood of Jesus that He will never break our friendship, no matter what. This friendship we have with God is based on His unconditional love for us. 

After the message last week, Von shared her testimony of the condemnation she felt at one time for thinking she didn’t love God enough – until the message of God’s grace was revealed to her. 

The message of the gospel is not about how much we love God, it’s about how much He loves us and proved it by sending His Son:

1 John 4:9-10, NLT – God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

1 John 3:16, NIV – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.

1 John 4:19, NASB – We love because He first loved us.

When we begin to understand the extravagant love of God for us -demonstrated by the cross – we change. 

When the finished work of Jesus is revealed, it’s the most humbling and overwhelming truth. “Jesus, You died for ME? You washed MY sins away in Your own blood? You gave me Your very nature? You made me righteous? How can this be?! This is so unfair!” 

Nothing floods your soul with the love of God more than a revelation of the cross! And the more you receive that love, the more you love Him in return with that love that overflows from our hearts – no one has to tell us to love God more. We can’t help it! 

And no one has to tell us to forgive others. We want to! We can’t wait to reconcile with others! And no one has to tell us to love others – including the ungodly – because we can’t but love others with the love of God that fills us and compels us.  This is the grace life!

This grace life is life of peace. It’s a life of love. It’s an abundant life. It’s a life of blessing. It’s a life of promise and hope. It’s a life of living each day eagerly expecting the goodness of God because we trust in His faithfulness.

So with that as a backdrop, I want to share with you from a passage that have shared many times over the years, but it’s been on my heart this week. Now when I got into preparing this message, I realized that it needed to be two messages, so once again, I’ll do this in two parts. I’ll start with John 20 today and circling back to Romans 5:2, and then I’ll move into John 21 next time.

Mary Magdelene, John 20

I want to begin by sharing a very precious story –  the story of the first person to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection. 

John 20:1 – Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, [Mary Magdalene – this is a woman who loved Jesus with all her heart because she had experienced His love for her so extravagantly. In Mark’s gospel we learn that Jesus had delivered her from seven demons. (Mark 16:9) So Jesus meant everything to her. But when she got to the tomb she – ] and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 

In Matthew’s account we learn that an angel rolled the stone away.

Did you know that the stone wasn’t rolled away so Jesus could come out? It was rolled away so everyone could come in and see that He had already left the grave because His glorified body could transcend matter.

John 20:2 – Then she [Mary] ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved…

That’s what John called himself in the book of John. Isn’t that beautiful? What an example for us – boasting in Jesus’s love for us instead of our love for Him – which incidentally was Peter’s story. Right before Jesus’s arrest, Peter had proclaimed:

John 13:37 – “I will lay down my life for Your sake.” [And – ]

Mark 14:29 – “Even though all may fall away, yet I will not.” [Of course later on that night, he denied Jesus 3 times and abandoned Him, but we know, of course, that Jesus restored Peter later.]

John 20:2-4 – [back to John verse 2 – ] and [Mary] said to [Peter and John] them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” 3 Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple [John] outran Peter and came to the tomb first. [The one who knew he was loved by Jesus outran the one who boasted in his love for Jesus. There might be a lesson in that! Like from the Peace Offering message – Maybe feeding on the love of Jesus gives you power and strength!] 5 And he, [John] stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; [this is what Jesus’ body had been covered in for burial] yet he [John] did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, [John] went in also; and he saw and believed. [John saw condition of the linen cloths lying there – that Greek word means “undisturbed, lying precisely as the body had lain in them” and the napkin was folded – indicating that His body had not been stolen or carried out] 9 For as yet [in other words, until then – ] they did not know the Scripture, that He [Jesus] must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes. 

So Peter and John went home and left Mary Magdalene there weeping because she still did not understand.

Angels sitting

Whenever I go through my list of accounts of Jesus that have most affected me, this account of Mary Magdalene is one of them.

John 20:11-12 –  [Verse 11 -] But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. [And she saw something that Peter and John didn’t see – ] 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

I think this touches me so deeply because this is one of the many hidden gems in God’s love letter to us. I love discovering these treasures!

The angels were sitting – one at the head and one at the feet of where the body of Jesus had lain. This is the first time in the scriptures that you see angels sitting. What does sitting mean? The work is finished!  This is a fulfillment of a shadow in the Old Testament.

There is another place that we see two angelic beings. It’s in Exodus 25 – this is where God is giving Moses the instructions for the Tabernacle. 

Exodus 25:18-19, NASB – [God instructed Moses to put the ark of the covenant in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle and construct a Mercy Seat to put on top of it – ] “You shall make two cherubim of gold, make them of hammered work at the two ends of the mercy seat. 19 Make one cherub at one end and one cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim of one piece with the mercy seat at its two ends.” [Now these cherubim were not sitting, because the work was never finished in this tabernacle made with human hands]

Once a year on the Day of Atonement the high priest would sprinkle the blood of the spotless lamb on the Mercy Seat which sat on top of the ark of the covenant: the box which held the two tablets of stone, 10 Commandments which Paul called the ministry of condemnation and death because the law made everyone guilty. It shined a light on sin, but could do nothing to remove it. But thank God – 

James 2:13 – Mercy triumphs over judgment. [The Mercy Seat and the blood covered man’s sin and law breaking]

The eyes of the golden cherubim represented the eyes of God as the guardians of God’s holiness and righteousness.  They looked down on the Mercy Seat and saw the blood of the spotless lamb. What they could not see was the sin of the people because it was covered by the blood.

Today as it was in the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle, the eyes of God look at us and see the blood of the Lamb of God – His own Son – which not only covers our sins, but has washed them away forever.

Hebrews 9:12 – Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He [Jesus] entered the Most Holy Place [with His own blood Jesus entered – not of the tabernacle made with hands – but of heaven itself it says in Hebrews 9:24, and He entered -] once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.

Hebrews 8:12 – [In the New Covenant in Christ’s blood, God says- ] “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”

So the reason Jesus wasn’t in the tomb was because He was on His way to heaven to sprinkle His very own blood on the Mercy Seat, which today is called the throne of grace. But on His way, He stopped because of the cry of His beloved.

Why are you weeping?

John 20:13-16 – Then they [the angels] said to her [Mary], “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? [Jesus asked the same question, but she just couldn’t see Him. If you can’t see the truth, you can’t believe it. But how are blind eyes opened? The secret is in this passage. Jesus said – ] “Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” [This is not logical. She can’t carry a dead body. Sometimes love is not logical. Then something happened and her eyes were opened to Jesus. One word out of His mouth changed everything – ] 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher). [He said her name and all of a sudden she knew who He was]

That’s the part that always brings the tears to my eyes. I believe this is what Jesus does EVERY TIME He opens the eyes of the blind – every time He awakens someone to the reality of His existence, to the reality of His resurrection, to the reality of His His grace: He calls their name. 

He reveals Himself personally. That’s why I always pray for encounters with Jesus for those who are spiritually blind.

John 20:17 – [Next verse – ] Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, [because she wanted to worship Him and hold on to Him.] for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father …” [He was on His way to sprinkle His own blood on the Mercy Seat in heaven.]

Why was it important for her not to cling to Him? Because He Must be the first fruit of all who would be born again and all who would enter into His resurrection in the harvest of the new creation.

Before Jesus could be received by us, His blood had to be received by His Father on our behalf.

Romans 11:16 – If the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy.

In the resurrection God demonstrated His acceptance and pleasure in what Jesus accomplished by removing our sins. 

If Jesus didn’t rise from the dead and didn’t go ahead of us to sprinkle His blood on the Mercy Seat, we would still be in our sins. 

1 Corinthians 15:17 – And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 

But the opposite is also true: if Christ HAS risen, then we are no longer in our sins, and we are holy with His holiness.

Feast of First Fruits

Now I want to share another hidden treasure in the Old Testament, this one foreshadowing Jesus as our First Fruit.

There were 7 Jewish feasts that the Israelites celebrated, and just like the 5 types of sacrifices, every feast depicted Jesus in types and shadows.

The Feast of First Fruits was three days after the Passover which depicts the crucifixion of our Passover Lamb of God.  So the day that Jesus rose from the dead just happened to fall on the same day as the Feast of First Fruits.

What did Israel celebrate on the Feast of First Fruits? 

In Ancient Israel on the 17th day of the 1st month, they would gather the firstfruits of the barley harvest and the priest would wave it before the Lord in celebration and thanksgiving. 

They were declaring that just as God had blessed the first fruits of the harvest, the rest of the crops would also be blessed.

This offering was made in remembrance of Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt and their possession of “a land flowing with milk and honey” on the other side of the Red Sea

Their deliverance through the Red Sea was a picture of resurrection. 

The feast of First Fruits celebrates, through the priest waving the sheaves before the Lord, the glorious resurrection of Jesus.

  • Because Jesus was accepted, so are all who are in Him.
  • Because Jesus was resurrected, so will those who belong to Him. 

1 Corinthians 15:20 –  But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

In the context, Paul is reminding us that Jesus’s resurrection is a guarantee of our resurrection and the promise of new bodies that will never die! But this doesn’t mean that we have to wait until we receive our new bodies to thrive in our new life today.

We are a new creation now in our spirit. Yes, we live in a fallen world in fallen bodies, but we have been given eternal God-life now by the gift of the Spirit of Jesus who lives inside of us.

Romans 8:22-23 – For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

One day we will receive new resurrection bodies, but in the meantime, we have the Holy Spirit inside of us as a firstfruit of our inheritance to provide for us today with everything purchased for us by the blood of Jesus at the cross. For example:

  • We won’t need healing when we get our new bodies, but we have healing today by the power of the Spirit of resurrection who dwells in us and gives life to our mortal bodies.
  • In heaven, We won’t battle with jealousy and anger and bitterness, but we have the fruit of the Spirit today to enable us to love unconditionally, to experience joy unspeakable, to have the peace that passes understanding,  to be patient, and so forth.  And you could go on with other examples. of what it means to be a new creation and have the Holy Spirit on the inside.

Ararat and Noah’s Ark

I want to share yet another hidden treasure from the Feast of First Fruits which unveils Jesus as our access to the riches of God’s grace. 

At around the year 2348 BC, thousands of years before resurrection day and about 900 years before God gave the instructions for the Feasts to Moses on Mount Sinai, on the very day which would one day become the Feast of First Fruits and subsequently Resurrection Day, God gave us a picture of resurrection.

Genesis 8:4 – Then the ark [Speaking of Noah’s ark after the floods began to recede] rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.

Now, what was at one time the 7th month on the Hebrew calendar became the 1st month.  In Exodus 12, before God instituted the first Passover, He instructed Moses to make a change on the Hebrew calendar.  

Exodus 12:1 – “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.”

So when the ark rested on Mount Ararat, it rested on what would become the 17th day of the 1st month: the Feast of First Fruits and ultimately Resurrection Day.

The deliverance of Noah, his family, and the animals from the flood waters of judgment is a picture of resurrection. Noah and his family were the firstfruits of what would become a whole new life!

The ark itself is a picture of Jesus. All who were held safely in the ark were delivered from the judgment that came upon world.

And – there was only one door on the ark – only one way to be saved – just like Jesus.

John 14:6 – [Jesus said] “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 10:9 – “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved…”

Then according to Genesis 7:16 – God Himself shut the door to ensure that all who were in the ark would be totally safe and secure – a picture of all who are in Christ. 

Genesis 7:16, NLT – Then the Lord closed the door behind them.

Then the rains came down and flooded the earth for 40 days and nights. Then after they had been in the ark for 150 days, the waters began to recede and – 

Genesis 8:4, again – Then the ark rested in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, on the mountains of Ararat.

The ark rested. Did you know that the name Noah means “rest”? And Genesis 6:8 says that –

Genesis 6:8 – Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

Rest always finds grace in the eyes of the Lord. When we rest – cease from our works as God did from His – we always find God’s unearned, undeserved, unmerited favor.

Hebrews 4:10 – For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

The ark rested on Mount Ararat – “Arar” in Hebrew means the curse. “Ararat” means the curse is reversed to blessing! This mountain of blessing represents the grace ground that everyone who is in Christ rests upon.

After the flood, the Bible says that –

Genesis 9:1, NLT – Then God blessed Noah [God blessed Noah whose name means “rest.” God always blesses rest – We rest, and He works. And not only did God bless Noah, He blessed Noah’s – ] and his sons… [God’s blessings never stop with a generation. Blessing is generational because God Himself is generational. He’s “Father” and Jesus is “Son.” And Jesus was the firstborn among many brethren, so the blessing flows down to us]

If you read on in Genesis 9, you will see that this blessing was accompanied by words of restoration – the same verbiage as in Genesis 1 – be fruitful and multiply, subdue the earth, have dominion over it. God truly started over with Noah. God truly  started over with Jesus with a new creation with a new everlasting covenant.

Genesis 9:11-13, NLT – [God said – ] “I am confirming my covenant with you. Never again will floodwaters kill all living creatures; never again will a flood destroy the earth.” [This is all a picture of the New Covenant. Isaiah 54:9, NLT – “Just as I swore in the time of Noah that I would never again let a flood cover the earth, so now I swear that I will never again be angry and punish you.”] 12 Then God said, “I am giving you a sign of my covenant with you and with all living creatures, for all generations to come. 13 I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth.”

Think about this – God would not have needed to put a rainbow in the sky if there was never going to be another storm.  God never promised that there would be no trouble.  Rainbows only come during storms. They are there to remind us that we are under grace – even with troubles of our own making – and that He is on our side, and He will see us through and take care of us.

John 16:33, AMPC – “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence.  In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” 

Conclusion – Romans 5:2

The ark resting on Mount Ararat –  the mountain of blessing – is a picture of the grace ground on which we stand. Back to Romans 5 – 

Romans 5:1-2 – Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, [Jesus was the ark that took the blows for us so that we could be saved and reconciled to God, and it is through Jesus that – ] 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand…

“Access” is the Greek word prosagōgē [pros-â-gō-gā’]. It is a compound word from two Greek words (prosagō and agōgē) which together mean “freedom to come towards and approach God with intimate (face-to-face) interaction; having an audience and direct access with God.” 

Another definition is “the relationship with God whereby we are acceptable to him and have assurance that he is favorably disposed towards us.”

Where is this place of access? What is this grace ground? Our mountain of blessings is the mountain of God – the heavenly places in Christ. 

Ephesians 2:4-10 – But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [All of those verbs: made us alive, saved us, made us to sit – are aorist Greek verb tense – one time action never to be repeated. And why did He save us and raise us up to heaven? So – ] 7 that in the ages to come [literally – from that moment on to eternity – ] He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus

What is included in the “riches of His grace”? To begin with –

Ephesians 1:7 – We are forgiven according to the riches of His grace. [Not according to the confession of every sin!]

And because we are forgiven, we have access to all the blessings of heaven – the floodgates of heavenly blessing are opened up for us.

Ephesians 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who [Through Jesus, God -] has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.

Every good gift comes from the Father of Lights in heaven. How do we discover what those blessings are? We just read the scriptures with New Covenant lenses and find as many as you can. And if you doubt,  just ask the question: does Jesus deserve this? If He does, then so do we.

Those blessings include: eternal life; abundant life; celebration of life; intimate friendship with God; joy; peace; laughter; dancing; healing; prosperity; safety and security in our homes; protection and deliverance from evil; strong families;   growing families;  a thriving body of Christ that is growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus; and we can all add to this list. 

To end I want to read Romans 5:1-5 one more time, but this time in The Message, and I want you to think about why it’s worth our while to persevere through any hardship and to never give up on God’s promises and never give in to hopelessness.

Romans 5:1-5, the Message – By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise. 3-5 There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!

The best is always yet to come!

Copyright info: All scriptures in the New King James Version unless otherwise noted.

  • (NKJV) New King James Version. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.
  • (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
  • (NLT) Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
  • (NASB) Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
  • (TLB) The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
  • (AMPC) Amplified Bible, Classic Edition, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
  • (WUEST) The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest © copyright Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1961. All rights reserved. 
  • The Message, Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson
Parresia Ministries

Parresia Ministries

Parresia [pär-rā-sē'-ä]: a Greek word that means "boldness." Boldness before God to receive... Boldness before men to share... His scandalous grace with others! To read more about Parresia and the founder, Tricia Gunn, click here.