Monday, September 18, 2017

The Everlasting Covenant

The Bible records eight covenants established between God and man. However, of these eight covenants, there are only two contrasted throughout the Bible, the Abrahamic Covenant and the New Covenant. It was from the Abrahamic Covenant that Israel and the Mosaic Law was established. Keep in mind that when the Israelite's were delivered from Egypt they had no government nor laws to govern them, so God gave them the law. It is the Covenant Law, with its priesthood, sacrifices, ceremonies and offerings. Within the law, God provided atonement which was needed, for not much longer after the law was given it was broken. The word atonement means, to cover. It is not a New
Testament term because the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses, instead of merely covering.

The First Covenant did not take away sin, it merely covered it. It did not give eternal life or new birth but only a promise of it. It did not give fellowship with God, only a type of it. However, due to the covenant between Abraham and God, it gave protection to Israel as a nation, it met their physical
needs. God was Israel's Healer, Provider. and Protector. The Holy Spirit through the writer of Hebrews tells us, "For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect." (Hebrews 10:1) So, we see that the Law and the First Covenant was a shadow of the good things to come. The animal sacrifices could never make perfect the man under the First Covenant, "For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins." (Hebrews 10:2)  

As we can clearly see, the blood of bulls and goats did not cleanse the conscience. It did not take away sin consciousness from mankind. The inference is that there is a sacrifice that takes away
the sin consciousness so that man can stand in God's presence uncondemned. The First Covenant was sealed by the blood of Abraham through circumcision. (Genesis 17:10-11) The New Covenant is sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ, God's own Son. "Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." (Hebrews 9:12) "Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens." (Hebrews 8:1) 

Everything centered around the High Priest under the Old Covenant. Without the office of the High Priest, the people of Israel had no approach to God. Today, everything centers around our New High Priest Jesus Christ, under the New Covenant, "But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises." (Hebrews 8:6) To see these things from a greater perspective, we look at the Book of Hebrews, which has several vital contrasts; Moses and Jesus; Aaron, the High Priest, and Jesus the New High Priest; the blood of bulls and goats and the blood of Christ; the tabernacle of Moses and the tabernacle in Heaven. 

The Priest under the Old Covenant could only stay long enough to make the Atonement. We see in Hebrews how the tabernacle and all the vessels were cleansed with blood, "Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry. And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. 
Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. Next, we see the climax of it all. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us" (Hebrews 9:21-24) This lets us see the contrast of the high premium that God places on the blood of Christ verses that of the blood of bulls and goats. As we come to value the blood of Christ as God values it, there will no longer come into question our standing and relationship with the Father. 

Because the Father accepted Jesus' blood when He carried it into the Heavenly Holy of Holies, He has become, by that act, the Mediator of the New Covenant. "For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus." (1Timothy 2:5) The reason man needs a mediator is because he had lost his standing with God when Adam sinned. Due to Adam's act of treason, mankind has no ground on which he can approach God. " that time you were without Christ...having no hope and without God in the world." (Ephesians 2:12) Jesus is now the Mediator between God and fallen man. Although the blood of bulls and goats did not take away sin, it merely covered it temporarily, when Christ came, He redeemed all of those who had trusted in the blood of bulls and goats. "And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance." (Hebrews 9:15) 

Under the New Covenant our sins are not covered, they are remitted, it as though they had never been, "not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another, He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." (Hebrews 9:25-26) The expression "end of the ages" means where the two ages met, the Old Covenant met with the New Covenant. The thing that stood between man and God was Adam's
transgression, but Jesus settled the sin problem, made it possible for God to legally remit all that we have ever done, make us new creations and give us eternal life through faith in the meritorious work of redemption in Jesus Christ.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of  reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) PTL

The Old Covenant had the Levitical Priesthood. The New Covenant has Jesus as the High Priest, and we as a Royal and Holy Priesthood. (1 Peter 2:7-10) The first priesthood had a temple in which God dwelt in the Holy of Holies with the Ark of the Covenant. (Exodus 40) In the New Covenant our bodies are the temple of God, and the Holy Spirit dwells within them. (1 Corinthians 3:16) As God was the surety of the Old Covenant, (Hebrews 6:13), now, Jesus stands as surety of the New Covenant, backing every Word in the New Covenant. He is the great Intercessor of the New Covenant. (Hebrews 7:25) 

Strong faith should be built into every believer upon the foundation of these facts. All the resources of Heaven are backed by Jesus in the New Covenant in His Blood. So, let us never forget, that under the New Covenant, "to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:26) "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2) "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all...

Monday, September 11, 2017

Who Is Doing That

Through a good part of the 1980's the doctrine of spiritual warfare became a major part of the teachings and music in a large portion of the church, especially in the USA. Its focus was mainly tearing down the strongholds of the devil. Like many doctrines that enter the church, this also had many flaws when compared to what the Bible teaches, as a whole, concerning this matter. For instance, many believers were taught that pretty much everything that is wrong in life is the work of an evil spirit, when in fact many of the problems are really nothing more than works of the flesh. When the Word of God talks about keeping the flesh under the dominion of the believers recreated spirit, it not only refers to keeping sexual desires under control, but everything that is associated with the flesh. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul reveals the works of the flesh, "Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like..." (Galatians 5:19-21)

What many believers have been calling the works of the devil, the Bible calls the works of the flesh. Again, we see the Holy Spirit reveal to us through Paul some of the traits of the old man (old unregenerate nature, the works of the flesh), "Therefore, putting away lying...Be angry, and do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor...Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:25-32) So, let us not be quick to blame the devil on the problems of life when it may be the old nature that has not been brought under the dominion of the believers recreated spirit.

God's Word tells us how to deal with the body and soul (mind, will and emotions) which were not recreated when one is born again. Believers are to, "put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness." (Ephesians 4:22-24) Who is to put off the nature of the old man or the works of the flesh? The believer! God is not going to put off the old man for you. However, God has given us the way, His way, to put off the works of the flesh, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:1-2)  

God's way of putting off the old man and put on the new man is devoting your body to the service of the Lord and by renewing your mind with His Word. Putting off the old man and putting on the new man is part of your reasonable service or your spiritual worship. If you didn't have your flesh and its carnal nature to deal with, there would be no problem. However, as long as you're in your body, you
will have your fleshly, carnal nature to contend with. For example, if someone physically hits you or says something hurtful to you or about you and your flesh is not in subjection to your spirit, it will want to retaliate in some way. That's the way the carnal nature acts apart from God. Not only does it want to seek retaliation, but it also wants to hold bitterness, resentment and even unforgiveness against the person. Why?

The Apostle Paul tells us, "For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law." (Galatians 5:17-18) There is a war, so-to-speak, going on in your members that wants to let the works of the flesh have control. But the writer of Hebrews tells us, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) Notice, God's Word is living and powerful. It exposes that which is of the flesh and that which is of the spirit. This is why it is of the highest importance for every believer to read, study and meditate on God's Word daily. It does not matter how much you have done these things in the past, it matters that you are daily about God's Word.

Look at the advice, command, that the Lord gave to Joshua, "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." (Joshua 1:8) The Holy Spirit through Solomon reveals, "My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh." (Proverbs 4:20-22) Through David the Holy Spirit reveals, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." (Psalm 119:105) These are but a few scriptures that shows us the transforming power of God's Word. 

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle James tells us, "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, (to embed; rooted in the heart) which is able to save (make whole; rescue from danger and destruction; to make well; save from evil; preserve) your souls (mind, will and emotions)." (James 1:21) In other words as believers receive God's word, give it complete access into their life and let it take hold, it transforms the soul. The realization of the Word that Jesus spoke is no longer simply a nice scripture, but a life changing event that believers now embrace. "It is the Spirit Who gives life [He is the Life-giver]; the flesh conveys no benefit whatever [there is no profit in it]. The words (truths) that I have been speaking to you are spirit and life." (John 6:63 AMP)

Therefore, putting off the old man and putting on the new man is a choice. Believers do not have to give in to the dictates of their flesh. Paul tells us, "Walk in the spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." (Galatians 5:16) However, if you let the flesh dominate you, you can get out of control and do and say things you will regret later. Many people want to blame the devil when they let the flesh have its way. But the truth is, they are simply giving in to their flesh and letting it dominate them. By not keeping their flesh in check, they are opening a door to the devil. The Apostle Paul warns, "Do not give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:27) 

So, before we blame the devil for all the problems of life, let God's Word do its job of dividing the soul from the spirit and revealing the thoughts and intents of the heart to see who is really behind what is going on. The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all...

Monday, September 4, 2017

Grace to the Humble

One of the most amazing characteristics of Jesus as revealed in His life on earth as the Son of Man is the ability to live in such deep humility. Although the Bible records the temptations of the devil towards Jesus in Matthew and Luke chapter four, the reality was, His three years in ministry was a series of temptations almost daily. We see this as revealed in Luke 4:13, "Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time." The devil sought opportunity after opportunity to work at discrediting Jesus, yet Jesus humbly walked in pure grace. (John 1:17)  

So, what is this grace that Jesus walked in? Grace is defined as, divine favor; good will; kindness; the free unmerited love and favor of God; the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from God; divine influence; God’s strength, ability or energy at work in the believer to do His will; the influence of the Holy Spirit in renewing the heart and restraining from sin. We see this defined in the scriptures, "For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure." (Philippians 2:13 AMP) "Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us." (Ephesians 3:20 AMP)  

Wow, think about that for a moment. The living God is effectively at work in every believer, our recreated spirit, strengthening, energizing, and creating in us the desire and the ability to do His will for His good pleasure. This is the amazing grace that Jesus walked in and we can too! Now, let us look at the word humble. Humble or humility is defined as, Lowly; modest; meek; submissive; opposed to proud (pride), haughty, arrogant or assuming; to mortify; to make humble or lowly in mind; to be meek and submissive to the divine will; freedom from pride and arrogance; humbleness of mind; act of submission. The following are some scriptures reveal the contrast between humility and pride...

"Though the Lord is exalted, He regards the lowly [and invites them into His fellowship]; But the proud and haughty He knows from a distance." (Psalm 138:6 AMP)..."A man’s pride and sense of self-importance will bring him down, But he who has a humble spirit will obtain honor." (Proverbs 29:23 AMP)..."Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be raised to honor." (Matthew 23:12 AMP)..."But He gives us more and more grace [through the power of the Holy Spirit to defy sin and live an obedient life that reflects both our faith and our gratitude for our salvation]. Therefore, it says, “God is opposed to the proud and haughty, but [continually] gives [the gift of] grace to the humble [who turn away from self-righteousness]." (James 4:6 AMP)... "Likewise, you younger men [of lesser rank and experience], be subject to your elders [seek their counsel]; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another [tie on the servant’s apron], for God is opposed to the proud [the disdainful, the presumptuous, and He defeats them], but He gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:5 AMP) 

As we can clearly see, it is very important that believers desire to live the life of Jesus not only in His teachings and actions (miracles, signs and wonders), but also in His humble character. This is the place where God can manifest His great grace in our lives where we can move in miracles, signs and wonders. When looking at the lives of the twelve disciples, we see how Jesus exposed their true character of pride and selfishness to bring them to the place of humility where grace could abound in their lives.  Let us look at a few of the incidences, revealed in the scriptures, where we see in the lives of the twelve disciples the lack of the grace of humility. 

Once they had been disputing which of them should be the greatest. (Luke 9:46-48) Another time the mother of the sons of Zebedee asked Jesus for the seats on His right hand and on His left hand for her sons. (Matthew 20:20-23) Then, at the Last Supper, there was again a contention concerning who should be the greatest. (Luke 22:24-27) Not that there were not moments when they humbled themselves before the Lord. For example it was Peter who cried out to the Lord, "Depart from me, O Lord, for I am a sinful man." (Luke 5:8) We also see the disciples humble themselves when they fell down and worshiped Jesus when He spoke "peace" which stilled the storm. (Mark 4:35-41) However, as we see in the examples above, such occasional expressions of humility were far and few, which had often given way to their natural and spontaneous expression of the power of self. Like the disciples, though they lived with Jesus for three years, many believers today respond in the same manner. Although there may be an earnest and active religion in one’s life, for many, humility is still sadly lacking. 

We see in the disciples a fervent attachment to Jesus; the Father revealing to them that Jesus was in fact the Christ, (Matthew 16:16-17); we also observe, they believed in Him, they loved Him, they obeyed His commandments; they had forsaken all to follow Him. (Matthew 19:27) When others went back, turned away from Him, (John 6:66), they continued to walk with Him to the point that they were ready to die with Him. (John 11:16) But deep down there was a dark power, the existence of a hideous nature of which they were hardly conscious, which had to be slain and cast out. It is even so for many today. 

We may find professors, ministers, various Christian workers, missionaries, teachers, etc., in whom the gifts of the Spirit are many and manifest, and who are the channels of blessing to multitudes, but of whom, when the testing time comes, it becomes a painful reality that the grace of humility is scarcely seen. We can all agree, humility is one of the chief and the highest graces yet one of the most difficult to attain. Although this may be true, walking in humility must become one of our first and highest efforts. We must permit the Holy Spirit to have His way in us causing us to realize more and more every moment of every day that we are partakers of the indwelling Christ, and He lives within us. (1 John 4:4) 

For three years the disciples had been in the training school of Jesus. He had told them what the most important lesson was, "Learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart." (Matthew 11:28-29) Time after time He had spoken to them, to the Pharisees, to the multitude, of humility as the only path to the glory of God. (Matthew 18:1-5) He had not only lived before them as the Lamb of God in His divine humility, He had more than once unfolded to them the inner most secret of His life, "The Son of Man came not to be served, but so serve" (Matthew 20:28). He had washed the disciples feet, and told them they were to follow His example, (John 13:1-17), and yet, as mentioned above, at the Last Supper where this took place there was still the contention as to who should be greatest. 

It is only by the indwelling of Christ (the Holy Spirit) in His divine humility that we become truly humble. The pride that we deal with came by way of the fall, from Adam. Pride is a part of our old nature and if we let it, it can rule us. On the other hand, humility is in the new nature which must be permitted to displace all pride so we become who we truly and newly are, new creations in Christ. All Christ's teaching of His disciples, especially that of humility, was in preparation for His entering into them, His divine nature. In His death He destroyed the power of the devil. (Hebrews 2:14) Jesus put away sin, and provided an everlasting, perfect and complete redemption. 

What shall we say to these things? Let us pray to God that the pleasures of the world may not satisfy us; let us us mortify the old nature; let us grasp the fact that the absence of this grace, humility, is the cause as to why the power of God is not manifesting in mighty works. Let the Holy Spirit reveal to us deep within, it is only when we, like Jesus, truly know and show that we can do nothing of ourselves, but the grace of God released will do it all. (John 15:5; 1 Corinthians 15:10) It is when the truth of the indwelling Christ, the Holy Spirit, becomes such a reality to us, and that we permit Him to takes His place in and through us, that the church will become the most beautiful and desirous living thing on planet earth. So, "Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you." (Isaiah 60:1)

Monday, August 28, 2017

Anointed to Destroy the Works of the Devil

One of the strongest Scriptures on healing is Romans 8:11, "But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." This refers to physical healing. This is the Holy Spirit taking the life of Jesus and manifesting it in our physical bodies releasing in it health, strength and life. The same Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead (Ephesians 1:19-23) is now working in our mortal bodies, making them free from sin and sickness. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle John tells us, "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8) 

Jesus did His part of destroying the works of the devil. After the resurrection when He left the earth to return to heaven, He gave us the Holy Spirit, (John 16:7), His Word (the Bible) and the ability to use His Name (Mark 16:17) that we, His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) here on the earth, might go on destroying the works of the devil. The reason why sin, sickness, disease and poverty are in the church today, is because of our not taking our legal place in Christ. They exist simply due to a lack of training to do the work that Jesus said we were to do. (John 14:12) Our work should be the continuation of His earthly ministry and that of the early church, destroying the works of the devil. 

The weapon we are to use is found in the next two verses in the gospel of John, "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." (John 14:13-14) The word "ask" in these verses means, to demand something due. The name of Jesus is to be used in the way we see it used by Peter who spoke to the lame man at the gate of the temple, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk" (Acts 3:6) This is not prayer. This is casting out demons in Jesus' name. This is not demanding God to do anything, but simply demanding something due that Jesus has provided through His death and resurrection. It is like going to the bank where you have a thousand dollars in an account and you want to withdraw five hundred dollar from the account. You are not making a demand on the bank teller, per se, but simply making a demand that which is already yours.  

There is healing for the sick in His Name, there is power to break disease and sickness in the hearts and lives of all people in His Name. Can the Name of Jesus keep us from sickness? Can it keep us from want? Can it keep us from fear, and dread? Can His Name be used today just as He suggested in Mark 16:17-18? "And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." If  Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, and we are His ambassadors, His instruments to do His work, then yes, we too are to destroy the works of the devil in His Name. 

The fact that Jesus bore our sin by sacrificing Himself and that He provided the remission of all sin, that is, He has taken away every bit of sin as though it never was, proves that we should not be in bondage to sin or sickness, because they come from the same source, the devil. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17) "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." (Romans 6:14) "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:1-2) Every believer in Christ is free from sin, free from disease and free from condemnation. 

Therefore, if sin cannot lord itself over the believer, then disease cannot lord itself over the believer either, because, again, they come from the same source. The nature and life of God that has come into you will give you life and health. "With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation." (Psalm 91:16) Salvation means; deliverance, help, prosperity, save, security, victory, made whole, healing. This puts us into the realm of the supernatural because we are linked with Christ, "I am the vine, you are the branches..." (John 15:5) The life in the Vine is in the branch. As soon as the branch is wounded, the Vine pours life into it, so it can continue to bearing fruit. 

Therefore, Jesus' very life is poured into His body, healing the members of sickness, disease, and want, so they can go on bearing fruit to the glory of God. So, let us arise, take our place, and go out and carry this message of deliverance and victory to others. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

As He Is, So We Are

With all the struggles that believers may face in this fallen world, our trust should never be placed in what man can do, no matter how good it seems. The Holy Spirit through the Prophet Jeremiah tells us, "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited." (Jeremiah 17:5-6). For the believer, our trust should be wholeheartedly in the Lord, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit." (Jeremiah 17:7-8)  

I have highlighted two things in the above scripture that we should fully understand. The believers trust in the Lord keeps us from fear and anxiety. It is fear and anxiety that holds believers from experiencing the fullness of Christ. Jesus tells us, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father." (John 14:12) Believers will never experience doing the things the gospels reveal that Jesus did, and even greater, if they trust in man, rather than God. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "My speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God." (1 Corinthians 2:4-5) In other words, believers are to put their faith, their trust, in God alone. 

The gospels reveal numerous examples of the things that Jesus did. Keeping in mind that Jesus was as much a human as we are, let us consider the following. Jesus lived above natural laws. He spoke "peace" to the storm; (Mark 4:39) Food came when it was needed; (Matthew 14:13-21; 15:29-39) Money came when it was needed. He had no sense of the need of righteousness, that is, the ability to stand in God's presence without fear, guilt, or inferiority. He simply walked into the presence of the Father calmly and quietly. (John 11:42)  Time meant absolutely nothing to Him. He was never in a hurry, though He had the greatest work of any human being on His hands. (John 3:16-17) 

He faced the cross and its awful consequences with a strength that staggers us. He seemed to belong to humanity and lived in the realm of time, but in reality, He belonged to eternity. (John 18:36) He never reasoned, nor did He ever make a mistake. He always said the right thing in the right place at the right time. (John 12:49) He chose twelve men, and each one of them fitted into His program perfectly. No general in the history of man ever had such wisdom and such great insight into mans character as He. (John 15:16) He never lived in fear of contagious diseases. He laid His hand upon the lepers and the ones filled with fever and disease without a hint of apprehension. (Matthew 4:23-24) 

Jesus was and is all that God is. (John 14:1-11; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:3) He had perfect wisdom and perfect peace. (John 7:46) He had perfect self-control. He had perfect dominion over the laws of nature. He read the hearts and minds of men as an open book. (Mark 2:8) He stood absolutely alone, a Master, and yet He was utterly one with humanity. He sympathized with our weaknesses. (Hebrews 4:15.) He felt our limitations and the difficulties that we may face in this life. He was utterly holy, and yet the most vile person that comes to Him in faith will instantaneous "become the very righteousness of God." (2 Corinthians 5:17) He was perfectly just, and yet the criminal who hung on a cross next to Him seem to have a sense of peace as he asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom. (Luke 23:42) He had no sense of limitation as He faced the needs of humanity and now through His meritorious work of redemption has answered every cry and need of humanity, especially to those who come to Him.

He has made Himself approachable for all people. By grace through faith, that is, ones complete trust in Him, He invites us to come boldly to His throne of grace without as sense of guilt, unworthiness or inferiority, to receive mercy and find grace for help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16) The Father through Christ has given us every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3); He has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness as well as exceedingly great and precious promises; (2 Peter 1:1-4) He has given us His name to use to cast out demons and heal the sick. (Mark 16:17-18) and as the Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostle John, " He is, so we are in this world." (1 John 4:17) So, let us give Him unending praise!!!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Fear Not For I Am With You

I believe the greatest stronghold that people face on a daily bases is fear. This unfortunately includes many believers. Webster's Dictionary 1828 defined and describes fear in two way. The first, "a painful emotion or passion excited by an expectation of evil, or the apprehension of impending danger. Fear expresses less apprehension than dread, and dread less than terror and fright. The force of this passion, beginning with the most moderate degree, may be thus expressed, fear dread, terror, fright. fear is accompanied with a desire to avoid or ward off the expected evil. Fear is an uneasiness of mind, upon the thought of future evil likely to befall us." This may be considered normal for most yet, it is an unhealthy fear that promotes worry, anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia and can lead to constant health problems and even death.

The second type of fear defined and described by Webster's Dictionary 1828 is taken from scripture. "Fear is used to express a filial (respectful, affectionate) passion. In good men, the fear of God is a holy awe or reverence of God and his laws, which springs from a just view and real love of the divine character, leading the subjects of it to hate and shun every thing that can offend such a holy being, and inclining them to aim at perfect obedience." This type of fear is healthy and is able to withstand fear that comes with dread, terror and fright. The Holy Spirit revealed to David, "You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday." (Psalm 91:5-6) The Holy Spirit also reveals to Isaiah, "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)

However, for believers to escape the bondage of unhealthy fear, and live on this planet in the rest and freedom that Jesus has provided, they must stand firmly on these three things. First, we must know who we are in Christ; who Christ is in us and how the Father truly sees the believer. Second, we must stand, without wavering, on integrity of God's Word knowing that every Word of God "shall not return to Him void, but it shall accomplish what He pleases, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." Third, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." In other words, believers are to live by faith, "the just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17) Believers are to live in the realm of faith, irregardless of the circumstances that oppose, knowing that our Heavenly Father is greater than all and that no one is able to snatch us out of the Father’s hand.

Keeping in mind that Jesus was every bit a human as you and I are, yet without sin, let's look at some aspects of His life as He walked this planet. Jesus had no sense of inferiority in the presence of God. He spoke of Him as a loving son speaks of his loving father with whom he has been in business with for years. The Holy Spirit reveals to us through the Apostle John, "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God..." (1 John 3:1) Believers are God's sons and daughters and can approach the Father in the same manner that Jesus did. Jesus never needed forgiveness. He never grieved over His past. Believers must realize that the day they were born again, the Father had completely forgiven us and has blotted out our sin as though it never happened. (Isaiah 43:25)

Jesus had no fear of Satan. Unhealthy fear finds its origins in Satan (2 Timothy 1:7) and that fear has kept believers in bondage, has robbed them of joy, and filled them with worry, anxiety and oppression. Therefore, man's struggle for freedom, even for many believers, has actually been a struggle against fear, that is to say, the many aspects attributed to the unhealthy type of fear. The scriptures reveal, "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." (Acts 10:30) "(Jesus) Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2:15) "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Hebrews 2:14) "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:8)  PTL...

So, let us shed ourselves of unhealthy fear and live on this planet in the abundant life that the Lord Jesus has provided us, exercising faith, knowing, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7) "...If God is for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31) "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (1 John 4:4) The grace of our lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with you...

Monday, August 7, 2017

Our Great High Priest

After the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we see that He "sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High" (Hebrews 10:12), because He accomplished two tremendous feats.  First, He made redemption both eternal and available for all; second, He now sits as Mediator, (1 Timothy 2:5), Advocate, (1 John 2:1), Intercessor, (Hebrews 7:25) and Great High Priest. (Hebrews 4:14) Much time is spent studying what Christ has done for us, but it seems that very little time is spent on what He does in us, and even less on what He is now doing in His High Priestly office at the right hand of the Father.

His entire ministry from birth to sitting down at the right hand of the Father was certainly a tremendous feat, but now, praise the Lord, He ever lives to make intercession for us. Jesus died as the Lamb of God, (John 1:29), He arose as the Great High Priest. (Hebrews 4:14) He is a merciful and faithful High Priest, not in things pertaining to man but in things pertaining to God. The claims of justice had to be satisfied and the needs of man had to be met. It was necessary that as a High Priest, Jesus should make propitiation for the sins of the people. The Holy Spirit through the writer of Hebrews tells us, "But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption." (Hebrews 9:11-12)

From where did Christ come to become High Priest? Out of hell. The place where He had gone as our substitute to satisfy the claims of justice that was set against rebellious humanity. He had to carried His blood into the heavenly Holy of Holies and seal the document of our redemption with it. (Hebrews 9:12) Now His blood is the guarantor of the integrity of our redemption. Just as the high priest under the first covenant carried the blood of animals into the Holy of Holies once a year and made a yearly atonement, Jesus carried His own blood in and made an eternal redemption once for all.

Under the Old Covenant to the Israelite's, atonement simply meant to cover sin. However, it was not the sins that man had committed that needed to be dealt with, it was mans sin nature, spiritual death, the nature of Satan that had to be ultimately dealt with and be put away, "...But now, once for all time, he (Jesus) has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice." (NLT) Mans sins were small things that could be wiped out or covered as we see under the Old Covenant. But our sin nature required God's own beloved Son to become sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) He became sin with our sin that we might become righteous. He took our spiritual death that we might have eternal life. He took our outlawed nature, that we might become the children of the Father. (1 John 3:1) Oh, the unmeasured grace of God unveiled in the sacrifice of Jesus.

It can be said that Christianity is a confession of the finished work of Jesus. It is a confession that He is seated at the right hand of the Father having perfectly redeemed us. It is a confession of our sonship, of our place in Christ, of our rights and privileges. It is a confession of our supremacy over sickness, disease, weakness, unworthiness and over Satan, all in the name of Jesus. Hebrews 4 reveals another wonderful aspect of Jesus' ministry at the right hand of the Father as our Great High Priest, "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrew 4:14-16)

He does not have a chance to take a vacation. He has no opportunity to step aside for a moment. No one else can act as High Priest, Mediator, Advocate and Intercessor but Jesus. He is a High Priest and the surety of the New Covenant. (Hebrews 7:20-22) In other words, every Scripture from Matthew to Revelation is backed up by the Lord Jesus Himself in the same manner that God became the surety of the Abrahamic Covenant. (Hebrews 6:13) Jesus is able to do this because He abides forever and His priesthood is unchangeable. (Hebrews 6:20, 7:24)

So, let us continuously consider Him in all His grace, His beauty and His overflowing love. Jesus our Great High Priest will forever meet every need of the believer from the moment he is born again until he is ushered into the presence of the Father at the end of life. PTL