Monday, May 11, 2020

No Worries

There are numerous human frailties that the Bible deals with. Most of them rob Christians of the abundant life the Jesus promised. (John 10:10) One of these is worry. Jesus says it this way...
"Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25)  The first thing we see is Jesus dealing with human necessities which cause most people to worry. He finishes His statement with a question that we must truly consider, "Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?"

To answer that question, one must decide who it is that is master of their life. Jesus tells us, "No one can serve two masters..." (Matthew 6:24) Although Jesus is talking about serving God or wealth it still applies to each person when it comes to worrying. Worry allow one's mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles as well as excessive concern or uncertainty over actual or potential problems. Although the following statement will probably not go over well with some, the bottom line is, for a Christian, worry is sin. Why? It is an actual rejection of God's Word as the truth and the acceptance of what the world or the devil say is true. When we think about it, the world is filled with the ways of the devil and Jesus tells us that, "...there is no truth in him (the devil). When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44) Trusting in what the world has to say rather than what God's Word says, not only promotes worry but again it is sin. We may want to deny that worry is sin but Paul tells us, "...for whatever is not from faith is sin." (Romans 14:23)

Jesus uncovers the reason why worry takes hold of the Christians life, "...O you of little faith." (Matthew 6:30) Well you may say "I have faith" and you would be absolutely correct. The apostle Paul tells us in Romans, "...God has dealt to each one a measure of faith." (Romans 12:3) But what have you done with the faith that God has given to you? If you still deal with worry it is obvious that you have not permitted God's Word to take hold of your recreated spirit, to grow your faith, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) nor have you acted upon God's Word, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves...I will show you my faith by my works." (James 1:22, 2:18)

You may be thinking, "well how can I rid myself of worry?" It is a training process that every Christian (if you worry) must work through. We begin with the obvious, "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 12:2); "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind." (Ephesians 4:23) Renewing our minds with God's Word will cause us to speak about our circumstances completely different. The writer of Hebrews says, "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews 10:23).

Basically, a mind renewed in God's Word, changes what we think, what we think changes what we believe, what we believe is what we speak and what we speak is how we will act. By giving the Word of God the dominion over our life, we will learn to confess and stand on His Word not the circumstances of life. This will eliminate worry because we learn to let go of our ability and trust in God's ability. We learn to place our faith in and on God's Word. In doing so we will do as Peter tells us, "casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7) There is no sense in us worrying if God says that He is going to handle the problem.

Finally, Jesus also tells us that we are of more value to our heavenly Father than all the rest of creation and that the Father knows everything that we need. (Matthew 6:26-32) Take some time and meditate on this fact. You are of more value to the Father than ALL of creation. Mix this with faith and you will see worry flee as well as seeing the works of God manifest in your life. (John 5:20) .

Monday, May 4, 2020

Life That Is out Of This World

When you here the phrase "Living the Dream" it is mostly used to describe ones success or personal achievement(s) that has made their life what they had hoped (dreamed) it would be. The Bible reveals two kinds of life and although there are several Greeks words for life, we will look at the two that are used the most to describe the life of mankind . The first word is "psuche" which means "natural human life" and the other word is "zoe" which means "life as God has it; everlasting life or eternal life." Most Christians tend to only see life from the natural perspective. This is very unfortunate, because those who only see life from the natural are robbed of the truth that sets us free.

Jesus made some incredible remarks pertaining to life (zoe). Here are just a few; John 5:24 "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 10:10 "...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 14:6 "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." The apostle John tells us, John 20:31 "...these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name."

Observing these few scriptures we see that the believer is not to muddle through life here on earth struggling in the natural kind of life. Believers are to enjoy the abundant "life as God has it." What does this mean? It means living the dream. One day, before we let Christ enter our life, we were all living in the natural realm of life. We were spiritually dead and did not understand that we were partakers of the fallen nature that was ruled by our flesh. We did not understand that man's fallen nature is the very nature of Satan. (John 8:44) We did not realize that all sin, misery, sickness or as the apostle Paul reveals, the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21) were working death in us. But the time came when God began to draw us to His Son (John 6:44) and we confessed the Lordship of Jesus and received Him as Savior.

Even though many people have received Christ as Lord and Savior, a serious problem still exists in their life. Today, most Christians still equate sickness, disease, financial struggles, premature death and so on as a part of the Christian life. Many Christians blame God when these things come upon themselves, a loved one or someone they know? Many Christians see these things as part of God's sovereign plan for their life? Honestly, does this sound like "life as God has it?" Does this sound anything like what Jesus or John said in the above scriptures? Think about what they both said, "that they may have life (zoe), and that they may have it more abundantly."..."that believing you may have life (zoe) in His name."

When one confesses the Lordship of Jesus Christ and accepts Him as Savior, God immediately gives life as He has it, eternal life. Think about it from another perspective, "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." (2 Corinthians 5:17-18) Your spirit is made a new creation. This is an actual transformation of your old fallen, fleshly, satanic nature into the nature of God or "life as God has it." Now you can certainly allow the old nature to have place, but in God's eyes, it has been wipe completely out "old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (PTL)

As New Creation we are no longer sinners, beggars or even servants, but sons and daughter of the Living God. (John 1:12, Romans 8:16, 1 John 3:1) Look at what Jesus says, "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him." (Matthew 7:11) Now let's think about this logically. If you were a parent who had only one child, would you want your child to have a life of sickness and misery? If you were a parent and had two or more children, would you want one of them to enjoy a good life and the others to struggle with sickness or misery? What about if one of your children did something that you did not approve of, would you want sickness or misery to come upon them as a means to correct them or change their character? Absolutely not to all of these questions!!!

Our hearts should break when we hear church leaders talk about our heavenly Father as a loving God (He most certainly is) who allows sickness and misery to be upon His children. That He allows sickness and misery to come upon His children as some mysterious blessings. That He uses sickness and misery as a way to discipline His children. That sickness and misery is one of His ways to either draw His children closer to Him or some sort of training tool to grow their faith. Jesus said, "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." (John 8:36) So, if you have received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are free to live the rest of your life right here on planet earth experiencing "life as God has it", free of sickness, disease, financial struggles, premature death, misery and so on beginning now. "Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." (Mark 9:23) This means YOU!!! (Hallelujah)           

Monday, April 27, 2020

Making Covenant

Today I believe that most Christians have little understanding as to whether they are in covenant with other believers or have a contract with them. For all who are born again, those who confession Jesus as LORD and receive Him as Savior, automatically enter into the New Covenant that was established through the blood of Jesus Christ. But by virtue of ones covenant with Christ, believers also become covenant partners with every other believer. Many may be quick to say amen to being in covenant with the LORD and all believers, but is it true ? 

Covenant is defined as the mutual consent or agreement of two or more persons; to do or forbear some act or thing; to enter into a formal agreement; to stipulate; to bind ones self to another. Some of the differences between a covenant and a contract are; A covenant contain unlimited liabilities, a contract has limited liabilities; A covenant does not contain terms, a contract has terms; A covenant requires commitment between the partners to fulfill what has been stipulated in the body of the covenant and to see to the success of the covenant; The termination of the covenant occurs only at the death of one or both partners. A contract only requires the parties to fulfill the terms which have been stated in the body of the contract and at the fulfillment of such terms the contract is terminated.

An example of the two may look like this. A person purchases an automobile which requires them to have a loan to pay for it. The contract (the loan) stipulates that a certain amount of principle and interest must be paid on a monthly bases for a certain amount of months. When the amount required by the contract is fulfilled then both parties are released from what was required by the terms of the contract. However, covenant can be seen through the agreement that is established between a man and a woman binding themselves together in marriage. The stipulation set forth in the covenant may be something like this; I take him/her in marriage to love, honor, respect, care for until one or both depart from this life. Both partners have come into agreement and have committed themselves to uphold what has been stated in the body of the covenant which is terminated or fulfilled only  at the death of one or both of the partners.

The following are some components of a covenant; Agreement: Union of opinions or sentiments resulting in harmony and conformity...Commitment: The act of engaging; to pledge; or to pledge by implication...Stipulation: An agreement or covenant made by one person with another for the performance or forbearance of some act...Conditions: To make terms; to stipulate...Duration: Continuance in time...Exchange: To give and receive reciprocally...Bind: To tie together; To confirm or ratify.

Notice, these are not terms with limited liability, but unlimited liabilities binding the partners together to see the success of the covenant. Why have I spent so much time laying a foundation between covenant and contract. Because it shows us that unfortunately most believers today have a contractual relationship with other believers rather than a covenant relationship. How so? Have you ever broken off a relationship with another believer or have left the congregation that you said you were called to? Have you done this because you had a misunderstanding? Did someone say something that you did not like? Did someone say something to you about someone else and you bought into it?

No matter what the reason was, if you did not fix the problem, but turned your back on it and walked away, then you had a contract with specific terms. The terms were yours and the contract was terminated when something or someone rub you the wrong way. When a husband or wife end a marriage for any reason, they separate and then eventually divorce and break covenant. It is no different in God's eyes when a believer has broken off a relationship with another believer or they have left the congregation that they said they were called to? It is rooted in selfishness!!!

God is a covenant maker and a covenant keeper. Today, like always He still hates divorce. Aren't believers suppose to hate what God hates and love what God loves? It is apparent that most believers still miss the commandment that Jesus gave, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35) The word love refers to the God kind of love not the natural kind of love that all people have. The God kind of love for believers to live and operate by, is defined in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 which basically has no conditions (terms) and is spiritual, whereas the natural kind of love has conditions because it operates through the flesh, it is carnal. The God kind of love takes faith to live out, whereas the natural kind of love does not. So in a sense, covenant is rooted and grounded in the God kind of love and contract is rooted and grounded in the natural kind of love.

So if you have broken off any relationship with another believer or have left the congregation that you said you were called to and have not reconciled and restored the relationship, then it's time to do so. Why should you do this? Not only is it right in the eyes of the LORD but the apostle Paul when confronting the Jews who did not obey the law said this, "For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles (World) because of you, as it is written." (Romans 2:24) Look back at why Jesus tells believers to love one another, "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Could our lack of upholding covenant with one another in the God kind of love be one of the main reasons why the world rejects the LORD and calls Christians hypocrites? I think that it might be. So, let's reverse our attitudes, renew our minds and let the God kind of love dominates us now. 

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5) "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Galatians 5:22-23) The God kind of love is already in every believer. Let's choose to operate in it...

Monday, April 20, 2020

A Convincing Story

One of the most encouraging passages of scripture in the Bible concerns the patriarch Abraham and is found in Romans 4:19-22, "And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform."

Here is a man no different than any other man, and we need to keep in mind that he was not born again, he did not have a recreated spirit, which means that he was spiritually dead like all other men. He also did not have God's Word written in a book that he could draw from. Yet he did not look at the condition of his or Sarah's body in hopelessness. Why? Because he believe the Word that God spoke to him, more than he believed in the circumstances that faced him. Abraham was not denying the tangible evidence of his age and the age of his wife. He was not denying that his wife was barren and that she was beyond child bearing years. Instead, he believed the Word of the Lord and operated independent of the circumstances at hand. He did not let the things in the natural realm breed doubt, but in a sense, laughed at them and believed the promise of God. Because he believe the Word of the Lord he was strengthened in faith. Why is this so important for the believer?

The apostle Paul tells us, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) Unlike Abraham, believers today have God's Word written down an for most it is accessible, that we call the Holy Bible. It reveals God's will, nature, character, purposes, promises and plan. Believers should spend daily time reading, studying and meditating on His Word so that their faith can increase. Unfortunately, a large numbers of believers do not fill their spirit and renew their minds with God's Word so they very easily accept what they hear not knowing if it is true or not. For centuries due to this attitude toward God's Word many believers have not strengthened their faith, but the contrary, it has created much unbelief which is an enemy of faith.

Unbelief is a product of two distinct issues that many believers do not seem to understand. First, it is based on a lack of knowledge. Many in the church today do not believe the Word of God because they only know what they hear others tell them. Unfortunately, what they hear is either stolen from their heart by the devil, the Word does not take root, and or the cares of the world choke it from bearing fruit. (Marl 4:15-19) Hosea tells us, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge..." (Hosea 4:6) It is very difficult to know what to believe when Christians have a lack of knowledge of God's Word. The second type of unbelief is based on unpersuadableness which means, being unwilling to act upon God's Word even though one knows what the Word teaches. "Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief." (Matthew 13:28) Either way, unbelief is a disobedient attitude towards God's Word.

Abraham acted upon God's Word irregardless of the circumstances at hand which in turn strengthened his faith. Abraham was "...fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to perform." This goes beyond believing that God's Word is true. Many today will honestly say that the whole Bible is true but they lack in acting upon the Word and therefore what they believe is nothing more than knowledge that is stored in the mind. True Bible faith is simply believing that God is able to perform what His Words says and then acting upon it no matter what the circumstances may dictate. This is exactly what Abraham did.

So, has a lack of knowledge of God's Word or unpersuadableness caused you not to believe and act upon God's Word? Do you believe what a doctor says or what an auto mechanic says more than you believe what God says? If so then this is probably why you struggle with many of life's issues. However, this can all change today. It only takes one thing. You must come to the place where you are you fully convinced that what God has promised He is also able to perform and then act on it...  

Monday, April 13, 2020

Acting Out

The apostle Paul tells us, "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) In other words, believers are engaged in combat with forces not seen by the natural eye and must come to realize some things concerning this battle. First and foremost, although these forces in the spiritual realm are mightier than any natural forces or what man can develop, believers must always keep in mind that these forces have been conquered and dethroned by Jesus Christ. They only have power over man because unregenerate man does not recognize the fact that they have been set free from them.

When Jesus conquered Satan through His resurrection from the dead, He did it for humanity. His victory over the adversary was our victory. The believer is a conqueror today because of what Jesus did. Believers do not have to do a thing but simply uphold and enforce their victory in the Name of Jesus. Unfortunately, most believers, including many church leaders have never appreciated the fact that our enemy is defeated and that our fight is one of faith. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith..." (1 Peter 5:8-9) "Fight the good fight of faith..." (1 Timothy 6:12)

All to often believers have been taught that things like sickness, disease, financial difficulties and the like are all a product of God's purpose in their life and therefore are willing to live under the oppression of the enemy believing that it is from God. This is due to church leaders holding onto the Dark Ages and the old wines skin of the Protestant Reformation. They in turn teach people to say, as they do, that they believe the Word of God. However, their lack of acting upon it tells an entirely different story. James tells us, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (James 1:22) He is saying that if one does not act on God's Word, although he says he believes it, he is deceived and really does not believe it.

It is a fearless confidence or faith in the Word of God that actually does the conquering. Spiritual strength and courage are built up by our persistent confession of what God's Word declares and then acting upon it. James further tells us, "But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works." (James 2:18) James is saying again in a different way, that one cannot say that they believe God's Word or have faith if they do not act upon it. You see, demons know that they are defeated. When believers know it too and act on this fact, they will see the results of their actions.

My challenge to you is, dare to act on God's Word in the same manner that you act on the word of a doctor. Dare to act on God's Word the way you act on the word of a stranger who gives you direction when you are driving and have lost your way. Dare to act on God's Word when the circumstances of life and the world are speaking the opposite of what God's Word says. Dare to act on God's Word when you have absolutely zero evidence that things can get better. Always remember these words...
"So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11) 
"My covenant I will not break, nor alter the word that has gone out of My lips." (Psalm 89:34)  
"Forever, O LORD, your word is settled in heaven." (Psalm 119:89) "Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:10)

May we all grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, having the eyes of our understanding be enlightened as well as believe and act on God's Word, in Jesus' Name...

Monday, April 6, 2020

Let Us Exceeding Rejoice

The word freedom comes with a variety of definitions, such as; the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint; absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government; the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. Out of these definitions, "the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved," seems to best sum up what Jesus accomplished for humanity. When looking through the scriptures we find that God began the process of redeeming man as soon as man fell, promising that a Redeemer should come who would break the dominion of Satan and restore to man his lost dominion and standing. Some of the most compelling passages of scripture concerning this monumental event were foretold by the prophets, especially the prophet Isaiah.

In Isaiah 7:14, we have a declarative statement of the incarnation, "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel." Notice how this would come about, "The Lord Himself" emphasizing God's might and power shall give a sign or miraculous work and wonder for our benefit. What would this miraculous work be? "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son." She is to be a daughter of the House of David, (remembering that Christ would be of the House of David and that Joseph was not Jesus' father, God was) and she shall conceive and bear a Son and His name shall be called "Immanuel," that is, God with us. Hallelujah!

As we proceed forward, look at Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, (inspiring delight, pleasure, or admiration; extremely good; marvelous) Counselor, (the great attorney of God's family)  Mighty God, (all powerful) Everlasting Father, (having no beginning or end) Prince of Peace" (complete freedom from disturbance; complete quiet and tranquility). Yet, in all these glorious names, He would humbly come as the sin substitute for all humanity.

Turning to the four gospels, it is there we see Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane pouring Himself out in prayer as He was about to face the most horrific event that he would ever face. We see Him arrested, taken to the High Priest Caiaphas; insulted and struck; He is taken before Pilate, then Herod; He was mocked; see Him scourged, His back laid open, blood flowing, His flesh torn as the cruel blows fall mercilessly upon His bared back by the awful Roman lictor. His own clothes replaced with the mock garment of kingly authority; a mock crown of thorns pressed deep upon His brow; more mocking comes and His own clothes are placed roughly about Him, forced to carry the patibulum (a wooden beam weighting about 100 pounds) in which He would be nailed to. Heading to Golgotha, He staggering beneath the weight of the patibulum and fal1s to the ground. Rising from the ground, He again heads ever closer to Golgotha.

Weakened by the loss of blood from the merciless beating, He staggers blindly up the mountain side, surrounded by soldiers who encircle Him. He and the patibulum which He carried are laid roughly down upon the stauros (a wooden beam in which the patibulum was attached to form a cross). Next,  Roman soldiers with cruel hate drive the spikes into His hands; then He is lifted up naked, and the Cross is dropped into a hole to support it. Jesus the Nazarene is crucified! We watch the mob as it surges backward and forward about the Cross. We hear the chief priest's hurling their bitter taunts in the face of the suffering Son of God. We hear the mob in their bitter denunciation, led on by their priesthood. Such a horrific sight. It was not a sight for angels, or for men, but for demons only, and yet the worse was yet to come for the suffering Substitute.

In see this unfold, we now have a better understanding of the prophecy spoken by Isaiah, "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (Isaiah 53:4) In the Four Gospels we see Him only stricken of man, but Isaiah sees into the spiritual realm. He sees the Redeemer as He hangs there,"stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted." God is dealing not with Jesus' body, but with His spirit. Isaiah goes on, "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" (Isaiah 53:5-6) Here we see God taking our sin and laying every bit of it upon the spirit of the innocent Lamb of God, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us..." (2 Corinthians 5:21) 

Jesus, who is God the Word who became flesh (John 1:1, 14) is now man's sin Substitute. He has taken man's place. The whole human race is now represented in Him, as He hangs there under judgment on the accursed tree becoming a curse with every curse (Galatians 3:13). We also see that He becomes sick, with all of humanities sicknesses, "Yet it was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief and made Him sick..." (Isaiah 53:10 AMP) God takes your sin and mine, as well as every sickness and every curse and places it upon Jesus, into His very being. Jesus, nailed to the cross, suspended between heaven and earth becoming the outcast of heaven and earth. From the cross the Son of God cries out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me." (Matthew 27:46) Finally, the time had come when "Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last." (Mark 15:37) As mentioned before, when Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane pouring Himself out in prayer as He was about to face the most horrific event that he would ever face, it was finally here.

Not only was it the Father's plan for His sinless Son to die on the cross, that His blood be shed for all humanity, but he was to go to hell itself to pay the full penalty of man's sin. God in His justice could not have acquitted humanity so that mankind could stand in His presence until every charge against him had been wiped off the books. (Isaiah 43:25) Only then could man stand before God as clean and as free as though he had never sinned. God could not pardon man until an adequate sacrifice had been made. Jesus tells us, "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matthew 12:40) Peter quotes David the king, "For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption." (Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27)  The story unfolds.

Peter tells us, "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) Notice, Jesus was made alive in spirit. He would not have been made alive in spirit had not He died in spirit. As it was with Adam, so it was with Jesus. Jesus died in spirit on the cross, before He died in the flesh. Peter declares that Jesus not only died in the flesh, physically, but that He also died in spirit, spiritually, and therefore His resurrection was a double resurrection. He was made alive, first in spirit, and then in the flesh, His spirit being raised from the dead and re-united with His body. The Apostle Paul tells us, "He put off from Himself the principalities and the powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them." (Colossians 2:15) Here is a picture of Christ in hell, with the whole host of demons attempting to keep Him there, but when the penalty of our sin had been paid in full, when justice was satisfied, Satan had no power to hold Him.

Paul tells us, "Jesus was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification." (Romans 4:25) The very moment the sin problem was settled, the moment Jesus
Christ was legally justified, was made alive in spirit once more, He cast off the hosts of demons, and became the Master of hell by taking from Satan the keys of death and hell. (Revelation 1:8) Jesus died as our sacrificial Lamb, but He rose as Lord, as Master of death, of hell and of the grave. The matchless, mighty Son of God had gone into the strong mans house, bound him and took his spoils. (Matthew 12:29) Jesus has taken from Satan all his authority, his dominion and now offers it to fallen man through His matchless name and grace. What does this mean to humanity?

It means that every person who repents (express a sincere regret or remorse about their sin), confess with the mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and takes Him as their Savior, stands legally acquitted in the presence of God, free and clear of all charges against them. It means that God is vindicated, He has taken advantage of no one. He can now save humanity by His grace through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8), but also judge every person for rejecting His way to freedom. It means that Satan is defeated, and man can be free from sin, sickness, disease, poverty, death and all the works of the devil. It means that man is legally justified, declared righteous and is an heir of God and joint heir with Christ. (Romans 3:21 through Romans 8:39). It means that man, through faith in Christ receive the promise of eternal life. (1 John 2:25) It means that man can become a child of God and have all the privileges as sons and daughters. (John 1:12-13) It means that heaven is legally the home of God's children.(John 14:1-4)

Let us look beyond "Resurrection Sunday" and live in the abundant and the triumphant life that Jesus has given to us. "...I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) "Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ..." (2 Corinthians 2:14) Remember, we are no longer imprisoned or enslaved by the god of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:4) So, let us never forget what Jesus has done for us, "And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail" (exceeding rejoice) (Matthew 28:9) and every day, exceeding rejoice in our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. Have a wonderful Resurrection Day. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always...

Monday, March 30, 2020

The God Kind Of Love

With all the "do's and don'ts" that church leaders have developed over the years and have placed upon believers, it seems that we have forgotten the one most important "do's" that Jesus gave to the church. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34-35) Love is God's most potent characteristic, "...God is love..." (1 John 4:16) and it should be the same in the life of every believer.

As new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) believers have the God kind of love already dwelling within them. Now this might be difficult for some to believe, that believers can walk in the same kind of love that Jesus emulated in His ministry on earth as the Son of man. But let's look at what the apostle Paul tells us, "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (Romans 5:5) Do you see that? By virtue of being born again, God's love was instantaneously pour out in the heart (recreated spirit) of every believer through the Holy Spirit who dwells in the believer who is also God.

Next, we see something else concerning the God kind of love in the believer. The apostle Paul tells us, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." (Galatians 5:22-26) Love is a fruit of the recreated spirit. Again, as soon as one is born again, the God kind of love becomes a part of the believers recreated spirit through the Holy Spirit.

However, a closer look at this passage reveals some important things. First, And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Have you responded by faith to this statement? Have you crucified the flesh with its passions and desires? In other words Jesus said it this way, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." (Luke 9:23) Do you deny the flesh with its passions and desires on a daily bases? If not, then the God kind of love will not be able to take root in your heart.

Secondly, If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Unfortunately, most believers do not comprehend what it means to walk in the Spirit. Simply put, to walk by the Spirit is to yield to the influences of the Holy Spirit and not the influences of the flesh. To do this we must apply what the apostle Paul applied to his life as he followed Christ, "...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) You cannot escape this spiritual principle. You must live "By faith in the Son of God!!!" Believers will never live beyond the passions and desires of the flesh until they operate in revelation faith that is, unwavering faith upon the Word of God. The sad thing is, most believers operate in sense knowledge faith, which is natural faith that every person has. This type of faith relies solely upon what our five senses can comprehend.

Finally, if believers do not truly live by the influences of the Holy Spirit, but live by the influences of the flesh, that is the senses, they will do exactly what the apostle Paul warns not to do, "Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another." These things are the result of placing "do's and don'ts" upon believers rather than focus upon the one commandment that Jesus gave to the church, to love one another. The God kind of love is what brought forth the incarnation. The God kind of love is what motivated Jesus to love the people that He came into contact with as the Son of man even though they were constantly antagonistic toward Him. The God kind of love is what led Jesus to surrender His life into the hands of those who would kill Him. The God kind of love is what paid the sin debt accrued by humanity. The God kind of love has provided the means for humanities greatest need, redemption. It is the God kind of love that will destroy the denominational barriers and differences in the church which will show a lost world that believers are Jesus' disciples.

To walk daily in the the Spirit and exercise the God kind of love is a choice that every believer must come to grips with. I believe the Lord is saying to many believers today the same thing that He spoke to His people Israel on Mount Carmel through the prophet Elijah, "...How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; (walk by the Spirit) but if Baal, then follow him" (walk by the flesh with its passions and desires)." (1 Kings 18:21) So, let us do the former, ditch the flesh once and for for all and respond to what the apostle Paul says concerning what truly matters, " working through love."