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Church news, Tim Tseng update

Abusing Grace

August 24, 2012

Greetings Canaan EM’ers and friends,

After delivering a sermon, I always feel like I’ve missed key points. One that I wish I had elaborated on from last Sunday is this:

We should be careful not to abuse God’s grace.

Many of us are tempted to interpret God’s grace to mean we don’t have to work. We think that work is the opposite of grace. We point to Ephesians 2:8-9 where Paul says:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith —and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Grace becomes an excuse to do nothing, to avoid commitment and accountability, to seek to be fed rather than to feed, to expect people to reach out to us without doing likewise to others. We forget what Paul says in the next verse:

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

It is my hope that all of us disciples of Jesus will “walk to work” with a better grasp of a biblical theology of work. God worked AND rested, so this ought our pattern for life and faith after receiving salvation by grace. There is a time to rest, be fed, and be served, but God’s Holy Spirit also motivates, inspires, and empowers us to “work out our salvation” (Phil. 2:12-13).

Some of you may think that I’ve confused sanctification (which is considered a spiritual experience) with work (a secular occupation). Actually, the two are very closely related. If nothing is “secular” in God’s eyes, then our “secular” work is part of our spiritual growth!

So how do we find satisfaction at work? It begins by receiving the work that God gives us with gratitude. Our work is evidence that we are indeed, “God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works.” So work – whether in the secular world, in our family, or in the church – should not be avoided or shunned. It should be engaged with joy and thanksgiving!

Pastor Chris Liu will deliver this Sunday’s message in English worship. He will continue the theme of walking as disciples by encouraging us to take our Christian walk with seriousness. Indeed, I would say that being serious about our walk with Christ is another way to express our gratitude for the work that God has provided for us.

So be sure to come to 10 a.m. worship! Come early and enjoy refreshments and pre-worship fellowship!

Peace,

Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: PhD [email me]
Pastor of English Ministries
Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church
———
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canaanem.org
timtseng.net

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About Tim Tseng, Ph.D.

I am Pacific Area Director of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship's Graduate and Faculty Ministries. I'm also a historian, theological educator, and pastor.

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English Service 10 AM (Worship Hall 3)

Worship Location

Enter through door 1 from rear parking lot.

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