Monday, February 18, 2019

What a Miracle

For everyone who confesses Jesus as Lord and receives Him as Savior, there will be no Judgment like there was for Jesus; there will be no suffering in hell like there was for Jesus, and yet all the glorious things that the Father did through Christ from the incarnation to His seating at the Father's right hand, opened the door to what I believe is the greatest miracle of all, which is, when a person receives Christ as Lord and Savior, they instantly go from being a child of the devil to becoming a Child of God. "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love." (Colossians 1:13) "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name." (John 1:12)

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. 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)

This became a reality the moment Jesus carried His blood into the Holy of Holies and sat down at the right hand of the Father. These things are not progressive or future events, but a current reality. Now a person can accept Christ and know that the moment he or she does, they becomes a New Creation. The o1d things of their life have passed away, and behold all are become new; and all these things are of God, who has reconciled that person to Himself through Jesus Christ. Do you see why the New Creation is a miracle? A person upon receiving Christ in a single moment goes from convict, to an acquitted redeemed child of God. Not only that, but notice verse 21, “He who knew no sin, became sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." A person upon receiving Christ in a single moment also becomes the righteousness of God in Christ.

The Apostle Paul also reveals, "Therefore, since we are justified (acquitted, declared righteous, and given a right standing with God) through faith, let us [grasp the fact that we] have [the peace of reconciliation to hold and to enjoy] peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).  Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2 AMP)

As it is in 2 Corinthians 5:21 we also see here, that upon the confession of Christ as Lord and receiving Him as Savior we are declared righteous by God. Next we see, "Who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised up because of our being declared righteous." (Romans 4:25 YLT) In other words, after three days and nights of unimaginable suffering in hell by Jesus our Substitute, the very moment the claims of justice were satisfied, in the Father’s mind, sin was dealt with, mankind was declared righteous, and then Jesus was raised from the dead.

Yes, in the mind of God, all of mankind has been given right standing with Himself. There is no problem with sin in the mind of God. Sin was dealt with in Jesus. However, there is still a problem with sinners. Though mankind has been declared righteous, it only becomes a reality to an individual when they receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus when speaking to Nicodemus tells us, "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18) God does not condemn the sinner, they condemn themselves for not believing on Jesus as we also see in the same conversation, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (John 3:17)

In the natural sense, it’s like a person having a debilitating disease that is life threatening. Someone has freely paid the price to provide the cure. Because someone took it upon themselves to provide the cure for free, in a sense the disease is already cured. However, there are people who know what needs to happen for the cure to become a reality to the diseased person. However, due other types of diseases that maybe attached to those who have received the cure, such as, fear, doubt, unbelief, guilt, unworthiness or a sense of inferiority, they do not tell the diseased person what makes the cure a reality. Eventually, after much suffering, the disease ends the person’s life. Unfortunately, this happens all the time because most believers do not know their true born again identity in Christ. They do not have an assured confidence as to who they are in Christ, who Christ is in them and how the Father truly sees them.

Nevertheless, the reality of the born again person still stands as the greatest miracle that could happen to any person. So, if you would like to be a miracle worker in Christ, go and let people know the good news that you have just viewed. In doing this, you are participating in throwing a party in heaven, "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance...Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." (Luke 15:7, 10)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Right Standing

Scripture reveals that forty days after His resurrection from the dead that Jesus ascended to heaven and sat down at the right hand of God indicating humanities redemption was now eternal, complete and available to all who put their faith in Jesus Christ. (Acts 1:9; Hebrews 1:3; Romans 10:9-10) This also indicates that Jesus, after being made sin, sick and a curse as man's Substitute left the dark regions of hell completely righteous, or He would not have been able to enter God's presence in heaven. Therefore, if Jesus was made righteous after being made sin and satisfying the claims of justice that was against man, then every person who confesses Jesus as Lord and accepts Him as Savior, receives eternal life and is instantly made righteous. How can this be? I have been taught in the church my entire life that I am no more than and will always be a sinner saved by grace. Well if this is true, then let us weigh that thinking with following scriptures. 

"It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time (in the now season) that God Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:26 AMP) "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) "For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live]." (Ephesians 4:10 AMP)

As God became the righteousness of Jesus, so He becomes the righteousness of every believer. As He became the life of Jesus, He becomes the life of every believer. Now consider this, "And (God) raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6) "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16) If believes are not made as righteous as Jesus is righteous, then there is no way that we can be seated together in the heavenly places in Christ, nor would it be possible to come boldly into the presence of God! These truths will revolutionize the church if we take hold of them. However, these truths only become reality by faith. 

Another tremendous key to unlocking these truths has been spoken to us by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul, "For sin (Satan) shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." (Romans 6:14) Two thing that we can take away from this one verse. The first part, "For sin (Satan) shall not have dominion over you..." Why? "...for you are not under law but under grace." It is God's superior favor in Christ, that is, grace, through faith that gives us the freedom to live in the fullness and abundant life of Christ. This means we have been given the mastery over all the works of Satan; It means that we are expected to continue the works that Jesus began during His earthly ministry; It means the end of defeat and failure; It means it is time that we appreciated what God has done for us in Christ; It means it is time that we appreciated being a member of the body of Christ; It means it is time that we appreciate our position in which the Father has placed us and the authority He has given us in the Name of Jesus; It means we are now the righteous victors over sin and Satan; It means Satan cannot lord it over us any longer; It means disease is under our feet because we are new creation sons and daughters!

So, let us rejoice and thank Him and enjoy the fullness of this marvelous redemption. Let us take hold of the reality of the two-fold oneness that we have with Christ. First, His oneness with our sin on the cross; Second, our oneness with Him in His glory on the throne. He became one with us in death, that we might be one with Him in life. He became as we were, so that we might become as He is. The reality of the wonderful work of redemption that the Father worked in Christ shows us, Jesus became weak to make us strong; He suffered shame to give us glory; He was made sin to make us righteous;
He was made sick in order that healing might be ours; He was made a curse to make us blessed; He was condemned in order to justify us; He died so that we could live; He was cast out from the presence of God in order to make us welcome there; He went to hell in order to take us to heaven; His triumph over Satan, death and hell, is ours to celebrate; His resurrection from the dead gives us newness of life; His seating at the right hand of the Father is our position in Him; He has given us His name in which every knee will bow; His authority is ours over all the works of Satan; He has given us abundance of grace to carry out His will and purpose; He has given us His Word that is as powerful today as it was when He first spoke it; He has given us the Holy Spirit to go forth in His anointing and power!

So, never again confess that you are no more than and will always be a sinner saved by grace. Say goodbye to guilt, unworthiness, shame, condemnation, inferiority and failure and confess the truths that are revealed above. "...If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32)

Monday, February 4, 2019

Look What He Has Done

We cannot begin to fully understand what Jesus had experienced from the cross to the sitting down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. We can however see what scripture records to give us some idea as to what He suffered as our Substitute. On that awful cross, He not only became sin with our sin, but He became sick with our sicknesses and He also became a curse, "Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses) and carried our sorrows (pains); Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all…Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief.” (He has made Him sick) (Isaiah 53:4-6, 10) "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree).” (Galatians 3:13)

Is it any wonder that the Father turned His back from Him? Is it any wonder from the cross Jesus cried in agony, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46; Psalm 22:1) He was our sin Substitute. He had taken humanities place in judgment. Sin was not reckoned to Him, it was not set to His account, He took on humanities fallen nature and became sin. If believers could only take this in, the fact that He was made sin, he was made sick and a curse and that we were identified with Him on the cross, then we could grasp the reality of His substitutionary work. This truth of His identifying with us and we identifying with Him has been a doctrine instead of a reality to most believers. In every sense, not only did the Father lay these things on Jesus, but He laid us on Him, "I was crucified with Christ.” (Galatians 2:20) If we would only let these things be implanted in our heart, it will be the end of the dominion of sins and sicknesses among believers.

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "For sin (Satan) shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:14 ) The fact that Jesus was made sin with our sin and sick with our sickness in our place as our Substitute means, Satan has no legal right to put sin or sickness on any believer, and in the Name of Jesus we can stay free from Satan's power. True, we have mortal bodies, but our mortal body is filled with the life of God, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" (1 Corinthians 3:16) The Holy Spirit lives inside of each and every believer!

The Apostle Paul also tells us, "even when we were dead in trespasses, He made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)." (Ephesians 2:5)  "Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses." (Colossians 2:12-13) This is the heart of redemption. These are some of the wonderful works that our glorious Substitute, Jesus has done for us.  (Please take some time and read Psalm 22 and Psalm 88. In these two Psalms we get a picture of Christ's suffering on the cross and in hell.)

While in hell we see the remarkable work of God in Christ, "who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised up because of our being declared righteous." (Romans 4:25 Literal Translation) "We having been declared righteous, then, by faith, we have peace toward God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1 Literal Translation) "For Jesus who did not know sin, in our behalf, God did make sin, that we may become the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21 Literal Translation) "God was manifested in the flesh, justified (declared righteous) in the Spirit…" (1 Timothy 3:16) "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit." (1 Peter 3:18) "And then having drawn the sting of all the powers ranged against us, He (Jesus) exposed them, shattered, empty and defeated, in his final glorious triumphant act!" (Colossians 2:15 Philips) "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death." (Revelation 1:18)

Notice, in the depths of hell Jesus was justified, made alive in His spirit by the Holy Spirit and in the mind of the Father, we were made alive with Him. The moment that He was made alive, the Father justified Him, declared Him righteous. He was declared righteous because He had satisfied the claims of Justice. He had met every demand that the Supreme Court of the Universe held against humanity. He was made righteous with the life of God as we are made righteous in the New Creation.
"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 ) He also shattered, emptied and defeated the powers and forces of Satan as well as taking away from Satan his trophies of hell and death.

Jesus was made so righteous He left the depths of hell and could enter the Fathers presence without a trace of the sin or the sicknesses that were placed upon Him. He was made so righteous, that He could enter into the presence of the Father without a sense of sin, guilt, unworthiness or inferiority. He was made so righteous it was as though sin, sickness and becoming a curse had never been placed on Him. Finally, we see, "God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: You are My Son, today I have begotten You." (Acts 13:33 ) This verse is not referring to the incarnation, but Christs’ resurrection and man’s liberation in Christ through His resurrection. The Apostle Paul tells us, "And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence." (Colossians 1:18) Jesus is the first firstborn from the dead, or put another way, the first one born again.

Now, grace through faith opens the doors to a freedom that only believers can experience in Christ. So, when we have good times or difficult times, let us never forget what our wonderful Lord and Savior has accomplished and given to us, abundant and eternal life!!!

Monday, January 28, 2019

Crucifixion Means Freedom

One of the big misunderstandings that many believers deal with in the Apostles Paul's epistles is fully understanding the difference between law and nature. We need to understand the difference between the two so that we can experience the freedom that comes through Christ. Nature is defined as the particular qualities, temperaments, affections, appetites, passions, or disposition of a person; that is, who a person is. Whereas law is defined in this sense as the controlling “influence” of sin; what a person does. When we look at Romans 7, Paul is not telling us the struggle that he has as a born again believer who has a new nature, (Ephesians 4:24; 2 Peter 1:4), but what the Jew under the law constantly dealt with. (Romans 7:1) They were not born again and still possessed the old fallen nature. Believers who still deal with ungodly or sinful habits simply need a revelation of who they are in Christ; who Christ is in them; and how the Father sees them. They need to stop identifying with the old nature and live by faith in their new nature and identity in Christ.

We will see this unfold even greater as we begin looking at the Apostle Paul’s revelation of identification. He tells us, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Galatians 2:20) Several times the Apostle Paul uses the preposition “with” in connection with the revelation given to him in his teaching of Christ substitutionary work. Here Paul tells us that “he was crucified with Christ.” This gives us the key that unlocks the teachings of the believers new identification. The question arises, "How is it possible that Paul was crucified with Christ, when Jesus is seen on the cross alone and that He died (depending on various historic records used) one to three years before Paul’s conversion? For some, this seems to cause a dilemma.

However, we must keep in mind that we are dealing with spiritual realities that can only be understood through faith. When Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ” it meant he had been judged, condemned, cast out, stripped naked, and nailed to the cross with Christ. Paul is not speaking theoretically, metaphorically nor is he presenting a fantasy, this is absolute truth; as real as the air we breathe. The very thought of crucifixion to a Jew, and especially to a Pharisee, brought a sense of shame and horror. When Saul of Tarsus confessed Jesus as Lord, he was instantly identified with Christ. Now, like most people when becoming born again, Paul may or may not have had a complete revelation of this at the moment of his conversion, nevertheless, he immediately became a crucified man, an outcast, not only to the Jews but to the entire world.

Paul also tells us, "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." (Galatians 6:14) The world had been stripped naked to Paul. There was no longer any delusion in regard to it. He remembered the stoning; the sleeplessness; the hunger and thirst; the cold and nakedness. He remembered that in every place he went, he faced the anger, bitterness, and jealousy of men. For most believers, there is a lack of truly seeing themselves crucified with Christ in reality. Paul saw his identification with Christ in His crucifixion. Christs' crucifixion did not merely mean His death. It means every person who confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and takes Him as Savior is immediately in union with Him in His disgrace and suffering.

The Apostle Paul says, "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin." (Romans 6:6) When a person receives and lives in the revelation of our crucifixion with Christ, verses of scripture such as this become liberating. The Holy Spirit through Paul concerning our identification with Christ tells us, that our old man, the hidden man of the heart, our spirit, the real man who was filled with spiritual death, the satanic nature, was nailed to the cross with Christ. The reality of the meritorious work of Christ reveals that Christ went to the cross, not for Himself, not as a martyr but as a Substitute. When Christ was nailed to the cross, we were nailed to the cross with Him. Although the objective behind crucifying Jesus, in the mind of the hateful, anger mob, was to get rid of Him, in the mind of God it meant Jesus’ identification with humanity in its sin and suffering, as well as humanities identification with Him in His crucifixion.

The moment that Jesus was nailed to the cross, justice began to do its awful work behind the scenes.
Keeping in mind that the people who surrounded the cross were not born again, they could only see the physical man, Jesus, nailed to the cross. However, God could see His spirit. Angels could see His spirit. Demons could see His spirit, that is, the real man, hidden in His body. Here is the good news to end any dilemma that you may have concerning who you are in Christ; Who Christ is in you and how the Father truly sees you. "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection. Again, "Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin."" (Romans 6:4-6) PTL 

Finally, the Apostle Paul shows us the freedom that every believer can walk in if he/she will apply faith to God's Word. "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who  do not walk according to the flesh, (law) but according to the Spirit. (new nature) 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) Never again confess that you are a sinner saved by grace, but that you were a sinner saved by grace and now you are the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:21) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all...

Monday, January 21, 2019

Born From Above

The fall of man through Adam left humanity devastated. However, at the fall of man God the Father began His work of man's redemption (Genesis 3:14-21). The extreme measures that He took to redeem man are recorded in the Bible and evidenced throughout man's history. His brilliant plan of redemption would be worked out in and through Jesus Christ. Deity would become humanity for man’s redemption. (John 1:1, 14) But, what does God’s plan of redemption mean to us today? What has the resurrection of Christ given to us today?

We see recorded in Scripture that Jesus would be beaten, suffer and die on the cross, (Matthew 27:26-50), be made sin ( Isaiah 53:6), be separated from the Father (Matthew 27:46), His body placed in a grave (Matthew 27:57-60), and His spirit descend to hell (Psalm 16:10; Psalm 88; Acts 2:2:31), as man's Substitute. Only God knows what He truly suffered. In hell, He satisfied the claims of justice, had been made Righteous, made a New Creation ((Romans 4:25; Colossians 1:18;1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 3:18) had conquered Satan as well as all demons and evil spirits striping them of their authority (Matthew 28:18; Luke 10:18-19; Colossians 2:15; Revelation 1:18), resurrected, reunited with His body bursting forth from the grave shouting, "All hail," (that is rejoice exceedingly) (Matthew 28:9), Why? Redemption had come, the Abrahamic Covenant, the Law and all the prophecies concerning Christ  were fulfilled. 

This progressive revelation of God’s brilliant plan of redemption is seen throughout the O1d Testament.  We see a portion of this in Ezekiel. "For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them." (Ezekiel 36:24-27)

Though this is the Word of the Lord to Israel’s renewal, it is a prophetic Word concerning the New Covenant and New Birth. Becoming born again is at the heart of Christianity. From the fall of man to Pentecost every plan and purpose of man’s redemption is centered on this. This is the reason for the incarnation, death, burial, resurrection and glorification of Christ. Now, this wonderful plan of redemption is eternal, comprehensive (meeting every need of man) and available to anyone and everyone who confesses Jesus as Lord and receives Him as Savior. Knowing these things, believers need to come into the revelation knowledge of the Scriptures and apply faith to who we are in Christ, what Christ is in us and how the Father sees us or Christianity is nothing more than one of the religions of the world.

Becoming born again, becoming a new creation in Christ, is not simply a conversion to new concepts or a theory. It is not rules and regulation to live by, but a reality. It’s the transformation of one’s life into the image of Christ from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18) Though Jeremiah and Ezekiel spoke prophetically concern this, Jesus is the first one who speaks in specifics of being born again. This is revealed in His conversation with Nicodemus where Jesus explains what being born from above is and the need of it.

"There was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him. Jesus answered and said to him, most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus said to Him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? Jesus answered; most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, you must be born again. The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:1-8)

Some things to notice, "No one can see or understand the Kingdom of God except he is born from above…No one can enter the Kingdom of God except he is born of water and the spirit." Interestingly enough, Nicodemus, a teacher of Israel, cannot understand it. Unfortunately, the same is true for many believers today. They have not found on their own or have been discipled into the depths of the tremendous reality of being born again. Jesus shows us the difference between the natural and the spiritual man. He tells us, one is born of natural means and the other is born of the Spirit. Looking into this passage, it is evident that Jesus fully understood the state of man. Jesus, in speaking to the Jewish leaders as recorded in John 8:44, tells them they are of their father, the devil. In other words, they are partakers of satanic nature.

Jesus also tells us, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24) It is apparent that Jesus believed man to be spiritually dead, a child of the devil, and that the born again experience is to be a change of nature, which also will mean a change of relationship. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)

Here we see that man is by nature a child of wrath. He is spiritually dead. The Apostle Paul also tells us, "...that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world." (Ephesians 2:12) The Apostle John tells us, "In this the children of God are manifest and the children of the Devil." (1 John 3:10 ) There are only two families and all of mankind is either a part of one or the other. They are either children of God or children of the devil which means they have either the nature of God or the nature of the devil. They are either made alive, born again, a new creation or spiritually dead, having the satanic nature. Although there is teaching in the church, Scripture does not reveal man having a dual nature, the sin nature and the divine nature, when one becomes born again. Prior to being born again, man’s spirit was dead, but now, being born again his spirit is made alive. It does not say one half alive or partially alive or that he is dead and alive, but that he is made alive. We see this revealed through Jesus, as well as the Apostles' Paul, John and Peter.

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." (John 5:24)
He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:12)
This is not a future possession but a present tense possession. "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) I labor this point because to many believers live under guilt, condemnation, unworthiness and or inferiority and not the life that Jesus’ substitution has so abundantly provided through faith in Him. "Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever." (1 Peter 1:23) "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins." (Ephesians 2:1 ). Believers are not illegitimate children, nor hybrids or half breeds, but are legitimately and legally born of God.

These things are crucial for every believer to know and completely understand. Believers do not have to live a life here on planet earth with the struggles that the unsaved face day to day. We do not have to live under the burden of religious laws that are unscriptural and create unworthiness, condemnation, guilt and inferiority, for we are saved by grace through faith. This is the very key to live the abundant life that Jesus has provided as we wait in hope for our glorious arrival in heaven. I pray for you as the Apostle Peter stated, "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." (2 Peter 3:18)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Where Are The Pupils

At the end of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus gives His disciples very specific commands, "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20) The Greek word that’s translated "make disciples" comes from the root word which means "learner" or "pupil." In ancient Greece, this word typically denoted someone who was an apprentice to a trade like masonry or shipbuilding.

For believers, discipleship communicates the same sort of idea. The disciple is a believer who’s learning to obediently follow and serve Jesus as their master. Discipleship emphasizes more than simply accepting Jesus. It’s an enduring, long-term commitment to uncovering and discovering what it means to be devoted to Jesus. We do this through constant exposure to Scripture, commitment to communities of faith, and the direct involvement of mature believers, mentors, in our lives. This does not happen by simply attending a couple of classes, conferences or a Bible study. It is a daily lifestyle with a heartfelt desire to be like Jesus.

Making disciples is not as difficult as many believe. The question is, have you become a disciple or simply a convert? The Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul tells us, "And He Himself (Jesus) gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." (Ephesians 4:11-16)

Through these gifts, believers are to be "equipped for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Ministry, faith and the knowledge of Jesus is an on going process. If believers continuously work on perfecting these skills they will see fruit in their lives. Sometimes believers can grow weary as they work out their salvation because they may not see immediate results or they may fall prey to the lies of the devil which ushers in discouragement. Paul tells us, "Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9) So do not let discouragement have place, but let faith arise and walk in the grace of God knowing that "Jesus is with us always."

Next, we see the great importance and fruit which comes through discipleship, "that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love." This is our destiny. This is our inheritance. This is what Jesus was expressing to His disciples (and all believers) to go make more disciples. But unless disciples go and make disciples, we may find ourselves with congregations doing a lot of work, but not having having any lasting results.

In Marks gospel, Jesus says, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 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.” (Mark 16:17-18) Remember, He is with us, so we simply live in His grace, apply faith and we will see these things happen regularly. If we question as to whether or not these things will be so, simply look what happens when disciples "go" and make disciples, "So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs." Amen. (Mark 16:19-20)  

I believe as days go by, the grace of God will abound like never before and we will see a move of God that is second to none. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul tells us, "...But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more." (Romans 5:20) As we see, this is not about us per se, but by grace through faith. So, as Jesus said, "Go make disciples" let us do so all for His glory...  

Monday, January 7, 2019

Choose Your Words

Choose your words is an expression that many parents with young children say to get their children to express what they are feeling and or trying to convey. Basically, they are asking their children "to think carefully about what you are saying, before you say something." This is true with all people not simply children. Jesus warns us, "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:37) This is a very important word for all, especially believers. Our words do three things. First, the words you speak identify you; The words you speak set the boundaries of your life; and the words you speak affect your spirit (the inward man of the heart).

If a person truly desires to know what manner of person they are, they just need to listen to the words they speak. Jesus, giving us a lesson on faith tells us, "For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says." (Mark 11:23) Notice, the word "says" appears three times and the word "believes" only once. This in itself shows us not only the power of our words but the power of our faith, or our doubt in speaking things. The thing that defeats a lot of people is their double confession. One time they will confess one thing in faith, and the next time they will repudiate that confession with doubt, for instance, "By the stripes of Jesus I am healed" to "Oh well I guess its not my time to be healed."

According to the writer of Hebrews, believers are to, "...hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23) In other words, never give up. Hold on to and confess the Word of God because God is faithful! Yes, sometimes it is not easy, but we must believe "that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6) The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul to Timothy tells us to, "Fight (preserver against opposition and temptation) the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:12) The Bible tells us to "fight" and have a "good confession."Why? "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)

The devil works hard at trying to "sway" believers from faith to doubt. He does this by deceiving people into making a negative, faithless confession. He knows that life and death are expressed through the words that we speak. (Proverbs 18:21) Faith confesses life, doubt confesses death. In the fight for faith, believers must fight. Not in the physical sense, but by applying faith in our confession of God's Word. Paul exhorts us to, "...stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving (laboring, making great effort) together for the faith of the gospel." (Philippians 1:27) The Holy Spirit through Jude tells us "...I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend (to struggle for with intense force) earnestly (with sincere and intense conviction) for the faith..." (Jude 3) 

As we can see, faith filled words will put us over and doubt filled words will hold us down. So, let us purpose in this new year to change the way we speak. Let us grab hold of the amazing grace of God, fight the good fight of faith, having a good confession and, "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." (Ephesians 4:29)