Author Archives: ChrisEsparza

About ChrisEsparza

I'm a dude that loves Jesus. I like to write about Jesus. I like to play drums to Jesus. I am married to Stefanie Elaine Esparza and we have a little boy named Jason Christopher and beautiful baby girl named Hannah Grace. I am also the youth pastor at Living Waters Church in Grand Prairie, Texas.

When I was a child,

​When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

1 Corinthians 13:11 

This verse is in the context of 1 Corinthians 13, aka; the Love chapter. Think about that for a second. Love is what a man does.


Spurgeon on Mixture

spurgeon

We sing, and sing rightly too –

My soul, no more attempt to draw Thy life and comfort from the law,” 

for from the law death cometh and not life, misery and not comfort.

“to convince and to condemn is all the law can do.”

O, when will all professors, and especially all professed ministers of Christ, learn the difference between the law and the gospel? Most of them make a mingle-mangle, and serve out deadly potions to the people, often containing but one ounce of gospel to a pound of law, whereas, but even a grain of law is enough to spoil the whole thing.

-Sermon No. 531, “The Warrant of Faith,” Sept. 20, 1863


Not against the law, just not under the law

We don’t hate the law, we respect it for the purpose it was created; to show us our need for Christ.(Gal.3) (1 Tim. 1:9)

 

NiceCupOfFreedom

“Sin shall not be your master, since you’re not under law, you are under grace.”Romans 6:14

 

When will sin be your master? When you allow yourself to be under the law.

 
The law is what gives power to sin(1 Cor. 15). It revives sin (Rom. 7) and gives sin opportunity(Rom. 7). It condemns(2 Cor. 3), it curses(Gal.3), it enslaves(Gal.3:23, Rom. 7), and kills(2 Cor. 3) all who try to follow it.
The law can nullify Grace(Gal. 2:21) and it brings wrath(Rom. 4).
The law is not of faith(Gal. 3), and it actually arouses sin(Rom.7). Romans 14 goes so far as to say that anything not of faith is sin. Now THE LAW IS NOT SIN, but it will only produce sin in your life (Rom. 7). Actually, apart from the law, sin lies dead (Rom. 7).

“For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” – Jude 1:4

So what is perverting the grace of God? Could it be mixing a little law(the power of sin) in with Grace? Could it be cheating on Jesus by flirting with Moses? Could it be mixing the cold with hot forming lukewarm? Could it be putting new wine in old wineskins? Or ripping pieces from the new covenant of grace garment and trying to patch up the holes in the old covenant garment (Luke 5:36)?

Could it be denying the finished work of Jesus, and putting our efforts in place of His.

The law is holy, just, and good but it has no ability to make us holy, just, and good.

That would be grace. (Titus 2:11)


Practice Does Not Make Perfect

quote-Vince-Lombardi-practice-does-not-make-perfect-only-perfect-41781Practice makes perfect? No, perfect practice makes perfect. The longer one practices something the wrong way, the harder it is to correct. This is what I believe happened with the church at Ephesus in Revelation chapter two…

“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

The Problem

The Ephesians had abandoned the love they had at first, their first love. They had works, toil, patient endurance, couldn’t bear evildoers, tested and exposed false teachers and were bearing up for Christ’s name sake and hadn’t grown weary. But without love, this was all meaningless. John, who wrote the book of Revelation, also wrote 1 John where he says, “We love because He first loved us.” When a church has abandoned the love they had at first, they have actually forgotten God’s love for them. The root is probably more along the lines of them being so focused on doing good works, that they failed to pass the actual gospel of God’s amazing love and grace on to the next generation. Notice, the messages to the churches of Revelation are not addressed to individuals, but to whole congregations. (ie. “you have some there who…” Rev. 2:14) Much like today’s church, the previous generations haven’t passed the gospel down. I grew up thinking that my salvation depended on my efforts. “Jesus died for my sins, but now its up to me to stay saved. – Faith without works you know…

The Solution

Remember from where they had fallen, repent, and do the works they did at first.
The first step is to remember. Do you remember when you first believed? Do you remember the hope and the love you had, that overflowed from you like a gushing fresh spring when you first believed on Christ? What changed? We took our focus off of Jesus and put them on ourselves and our works. So remember, and repent which simply means, change your mind/thinking.

Next, do the works you did at first. Wait a second, do the works…? So many times, I’ve heard the “return to your first love” messages but the end hook was always, remember to love more, do more works, but with love. They are always passionate, but lack any lasting power, because they reset the cycle; Feel bad, apologize, receive “new” forgiveness, try harder and remember to love this time. But in the end, the focus remains the same, you.

“Do the works you did at first.”
What works did you do at first? Obviously we are saved by grace through faith, not of works, so what gives? Well, John the author, also wrote the Gospel of John. Imagine that. In John chapter 6, he records, “Then [a crowd] said to [Jesus], “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He has sent.

Jesus defined believing in Him as a work, and not just “a” work, but “the” work of God. Believing in Jesus is literally “the” work we did at first. Jesus’ message hasn’t changed, “Repent and believe the good news!” The key to returning to your first love, is to stop trusting in your own works and to throw yourself fully into the loving arms of Jesus, period.

The One Who Conquers

To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life…” Funny thing, all the messages to the seven churches contain this phrase, “To the one who conquers…” The word for conquer each time is the same as the word used in 1 John 5 for the word “overcomes.”

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God… For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 

So the one who overcomes/conquers is the one who believes in Jesus. If you study the messages to all seven churches in Revelation you will see one consistent theme; “Believe in Jesus! Believe in Jesus! Believe in Jesus!”

Romans-8_37_BW

So if we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us, let’s abide in His love and let it overflow through us to others. Because after all, its love that fulfills the law.

 

 


The religious pharisees rejected Jesus and said Jesus encouraged and promoted sin, and was a closet sinner.

The religious Judizers rejected Paul and said the Gospel he preached encouraged and promoted sin, and was a closet sinner.

The modern religious church rejects the Gospel of Grace (aka “the modern Grace message” that Paul preached) and says that those who preach Grace encourage and promote sin, and are closet sinners.

Looks like we’re in good company. 🙂
Preach Grace, be ready in season and out of season.

Gal. 4:29 ESV  “But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now.”


Confession, A License to Sin?

Art-Of-Confession-Day-Full-Hd-Images

Is Grace a license to sin? Ask most church people and they would say (based on my experience) that preaching “too much” grace gives people a license to sin. They say, “If we tell Christians they are totally forgiven of all sins, past, present, and future, then what will keep them from sinning?” This is based on a wrong mindset which thinks that we are still the same old sinners with the same old nature, thus freedom = sin. These same people, however, use 1 John 1:9 as the “Christian bar of soap.” They say, our past sins are forgiven, but now we have to confess each new sin in order to be forgiven or stay forgiven.” Some how, this is supposed to keep people in line.

But do you see what we’ve done (and I’ve done this in the past too)? We’ve taken the Blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin, and cheapened it. By the way, how is having to confess your sins to be forgiven not also a “license to sin?” All we have done is add to the equation of Jesus + nothing to make it Jesus + us. Rather, we have subtracted from Jesus’ work and Blood and replaced it with our confession (which in the greek, homologeó, means to say the same thing, agree, or admit). But can’t people still abuse this and sin as much as they want and just confess it away? I know, for me, confessing sin never deterred me from sinning. But knowing I am totally forgiven sure has ended sin’s power over me.

“We have taken the Blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin, and cheapened it.”

By using the same reasoning behind the “Grace is a license to sin” accusation, confession would also be a license to sin. Of course, grace is NOT a license to sin. People who think so haven’t taken into account that we are new creations with new natures. Plus, we have the Holy Spirit, Who would never lead us to sin.

Let’s take a quick look at the 1 John 1:9 sandwich, verses 8, 9 & 10.

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us. 
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His Word is not in us.”

These verses are NOT saying, “if we say we do not sin…” Both 8 & 10 are sin deniers who say “we have no sin, and we have not sinned.” They are saying they have never sinned. This isn’t talking about Christians who say their sins have been washed away. It’s the unbeliever who says there is no such thing as sin, therefore, they’ve never sinned.

And 1 John1:9 does NOT say “if we ask forgiveness and say we are sorry.” It simply says “If we (homologeó, say the same thing, agree, confess, admit) our sins…”

Verse 9 also does NOT say we confess our sins to be forgiven, it says if we confess, He is faithful and just…

Why is He faithful? Because of the Blood of Jesus mentioned in verse 7,

and the Blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Maybe you agree with me and maybe you don’t about our need to confess our sins as Christians, but don’t take my word for it, let’s see what the Apostle John says we should do when we sin. The very next verse, 1 John 2:1, says:

“My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins…”

Notice how the author of 1 John doesn’t say, “if you sin, confess it to be forgiven.”

He says, if anyone does sin, ITS ALL ABOUT JESUS, our Defense Attorney, our Advocate, Jesus Christ the Righteous! It’s already taken care of, He is the propitiation for our sins! TRUST IN JESUS! Trust in Him!

jesus-sign

So let’s stop taking away from the finished work of Christ and the power of the Blood. Let’s stop making it about us. It really is ALL ABOUT JESUS! Let’s stop profaning the Blood of the Covenant and insulting the Spirit of Grace. We are totally forgiven and cleansed because of Jesus! We trust in Him, not ourselves, not our faith but His faithfulness.

Be blessed and be transformed by the renewing of your mind in the Living Word!


Deny Yourself

deny_yourself

Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23

Many people who mean well will use this verse out of context as a means to control and bully people(it would seem) and put them back under some type of law(trying to earn God’s favor). They inadvertently take the focus off of Christ and His finished work, and put it on self and self efforts.

However, context shines light into this error.

Jesus foretells of His death, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” – Luke 9:22

Then after, 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it…”

26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My Words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

In the context of this passage, “deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me,” means to be prepared to be rejected and killed for the message of Christ, the Gospel.

“Deny himself” is not talking (in context) about denying “a sinful self,” but denying your own will to live as Christ did in the garden of Gethsemane. By the way, our sinful self is dead with Christ, and we have a new self that is sinless. Anyways, Jesus’ will was to live, nevertheless, He submitted and said “Not My will, but Your will be done.”

So a simply explanation of this passage is, “Be willing lay down your life to die and be rejected every day for the Gospel, if it comes to that, and follow Jesus’ example of laying His life down on the cross.”

Take_up_Your_Cross

“Not my will, but Your will be done.”

Again, it’s not about us, it’s about Jesus. We only love because He first loved us.

God has made us new creations in Christ, the old has passed, behold the new has come. And if you have Christ Jesus you are righteousness, sanctified, and redeemed according to 1 Corinthians 1:30. And just to hammer the point that we are completely new, we have what Ephesians calls, a new self, created like God, truly righteous and holy.

Be blessed, and be transformed by the renewing of your mind in the Living Word!