Monday, December 5, 2022

No Admittance

Houses are built with doors to gain access from the outside of the house to the inside and vice versa. Doors also keep things on the inside from getting out, but more important they keep unwanted things outside from getting in. The same holds true for in the lives of every person. Although people do not have literal doors in their life, the term is used as a metaphor for opening ones life for good or evil to enter in. Jesus tells us a story concerning this...

"When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.” (Matthew 12:43-45)

For us to understand what Jesus is saying we have to look at what has transpired. First, the Pharisees once again were looking for something to accuse Jesus of, namely breaking the Law. His disciples were plucking heads of grain and were eating them, it was the Sabbath. Basically, the Pharisees were accusing them of breaking the law by working on the Sabbath. (Matthew 12:1-2) Jesus puts them in their place by referring to what King David, one of their most respected patriarchs did, in that he took the showbread that was for the priest only, ate it and gave it to his men to also eat. Jesus also quotes Hosea 6:6, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice." (Matthew 12:3-8) 

Next, Jesus heals "a man who had a withered hand" and again it is on the Sabbath. The next thing that occurs is "a great multitudes followed Jesus and He healed them all." (Matthew 15::16) The people, "...brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw." (Matthew 16:22) The Pharisees, who refused to accept anything that Jesus said or did as anything from God said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” (Matthew 16:24) Jesus then gives the Pharisees a some food for thought concerning any kingdom that is divided and even gives them a prophetic word concerning what He would eventually do, "how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house." (Matthew 12:25-29) (Jesus went into the devils house, bound him and plundered hid goods) 

Jesus warns the Pharisees of "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit." Although the Pharisees have seen the Father working signs and wonders through Jesus, it wasn't enough to soften their hardened hearts, so they ask Jesus for a sign to satisfy their unbelief. Jesus' then reveals their spiritual condition. (Matthew 12:38-42) Finally Jesus uses the above illustration to expose what was going on in the lives of the Pharisees.

Jesus speaks about an unclean spirit who, for some reason, has gone out of a man. He wanders around and after a certain period of time, he then comes back to the house (the man) from which he was thrown out. He sees that the house (the man) is empty, swept and put in order.  The Greek word for "put in order" is kosmeo, from which we have the word "cosmetics." It basically means decorated, tidied up or embellished. We notice that the evil spirit  does not move into the house and take possession of it, but he goes away and finds seven other spirits more wicked than himself to come with him to enter the house. Why would he do this? He was cast out the first time, so by bringing seven stronger evil spirits more wicked than himself, he is not going to be driven out that easily. Jesus finishes this illustration by saying, "the last state of that man is worse than the first." At the beginning, he was possessed by only one evil spirit. Now he is possessed by eight evil spirits. This is why the spiritual condition of this man had become worse.

This illustration show us that humans are thought of as a house, a house which is either going to be the house of God or the house of the devil. In other words, there are only two possible situations: we live under God’s power or we live under the power of Satan. (Acts 26:19) There is no neutral ground between these two. The Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign as proof of who He truly was. Even if Jesus showed them a sign, their belief in Him would only last for a time, because their unbelief and wickedness would once again prevail over them and they would soon return to their former ways and even become worse than what they were before. Wickedness was at home in them in the same way that an evil spirit made his home in the man in this illustration. If driven out by seeing a sign, it would seek another place to take up residence but would find no other place as comfortable or peaceful as what it had in the Pharisees.    

Here is an important point of this passage. The fact that a person has been set free from the power of Satan does not mean that he will automatically remain free. A half-hearted repentance, the point that Jesus was making concerning the true condition of the Pharisees, and or unrepentant sin will leave a vacuum that the devil is able to exploit. Paul tells us, "do not give place to the devil." (Ephesians 4:27) So, if you are struggling in an area of your life that you seem to be lacking victory, just turn to the Lord with a heart of godly sorrow and receive His forgiveness and deliverance. " If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) The devil is defeated (Colossians 2:15), sin no longer has the dominion over you (Romans 6:14) you are a New Creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), you are more than a conqueror (Romans 8:37) and you can live in victory everyday (1 Corinthians 15:57) through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. So close the door to the devil and open it up for the King of Glory to come in. PTL    

Monday, November 28, 2022

By The Grace Of God

The Apostle Paul says of himself, "But by the grace of God I am what I am..." (1 Corinthians 15:10) Paul tells us that it is by the favor of God that he is all that he is. All of his success; all of his ability; all that he is can be traced to God alone. In other words, Paul no longer identifies himself as Saul of Tarsus, his old nature, but as an Apostle, not called and appointed by man, but by God himself, the new nature. (Galatians 1:1) Paul was in tune with God. He further 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)

This is a very powerful scripture and it is important for believers to comprehend its fullness.  As it was with Paul, it is the same for the believer. How we formerly identified ourselves no longer applies. We are to identify ourselves with Christ. For instance when a person is asked to describe themselves, they usually mention race, religion, cultural background or social distinctions. But Paul was not associating himself with those things anymore, although he did mention these things to show where he came from. (Philippians 3:5-6) This did not mean that he was not a Jew in the natural sense, but now the overriding factor in his life was his identification with Christ. His identity was no longer determined by his physical heritage, social standing or racial distinctions. It is the same with every believer. Our identity lies in the fact that believers are all children of God, we are in Christ and Christ is in us.

Although we can be thankful for our physical heritage, we must be far more grateful for our  spiritual heritage in Christ. The significance of this highly essential truth cannot be overstated. When a person becomes born again, they are completely forgiven and are immediately given a new nature, the very nature of God (Ephesians 4:24; 2 Peter 1:4) Furthermore, Paul tells us, "For we are His workmanship, (masterpiece) created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10) Believers are now citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20) Peter tells us that believers, "...are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy." (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Unfortunately, many people have had a very difficult childhood. Many are raised in a dysfunctional family. Their identity and perception of themselves were formed and programmed into their minds through the natural orders of this world. But for many, even when they receive the gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ, and are elated with this good news, generally, are never led away from associating with the old self. They are never brought to a place of seeing themselves how God the Father truly sees them. They tend to struggle in this new life as a Christian not knowing this simple but very important truth, "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) They are no longer products of their past, but made completely new in Christ. Note, "...old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." Not renovated, not patch up, not a hybrid, but are completely made new, a new creation like Christ Himself.

So, how can one come to the place of being set free from their past and live a victorious life in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us, "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) Believers are to be transformed (metamorphosed) by the renewing of their mind. Renewing the mind does not come naturally. There is no delete button that erases the past programming of the mind. We have to consciously come to know God's Word so that we can truly understand and know who we are from God's perspective. This does not come by-way-of intellectual knowledge, but by applying faith in the integrity of God's Word, that is, believing and acting on what God says in His Word. Of course to believe and act on God's Word requires revelation.

The renewing of the mind is a process. Changing the old way of thinking that has been constantly rehearsed in the mind does not go away because we wish it away. Knowing who we are in Christ and knowing how the Father sees us is not theology or theory nor the power of positive thinking. It come by-way-of a revelation of truth (God's Word) through the Holy Spirit and then exercising faith in this new revealed knowledge. Reason being, a persons faith will not exceed the revelation that they have. 

If you are struggling with your past, who you were before you became born again, then all you need to do is, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 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 7:7-11) God has some wonderful things that He has for you. All you need to do is believe and receive them, "Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." (Mark 11:24) PTL   

Monday, November 21, 2022

Getting Seasonable

This year, Thanksgiving fell on November 24, 2022. Thanksgiving Days is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the USA and is a national holiday of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Thanksgiving has its historical roots in religious and cultural traditions. Thanksgiving also sets the tone for the season of Advent.

Advent is the beginning of the Church Year for most churches in the West. It begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30, and ends on Christmas Eve. However, if Christmas Eve is a Sunday, it is counted as the fourth Sunday of Advent, with Christmas Eve beginning at sundown. The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival." The Advent season (also considered the Christmas season) is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his first Advent. However, also celebrated is the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. In fact, Advent is actually celebrating a truth about God, which is, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God.

Throughout the Old Testament the coming of Christ was foretold by the Prophets. They announced the time of His coming, the place of His birth as well as the manner in which He would be born, the  miraculous virgin birth. The fact that the one true God would put on human flesh to save humanity from the tyrannical power of Satan is the apex of human history to date. The scriptures declare, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16) and "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8) This reveals the unfathomable love that God has for humanity even though all people were completely antagonistic toward Him. (Romans 6:23) Yet, through all that God did for humanity, a vast majority of westerners still have disdain towards Him.

The Bible further tells us, "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) It does not matter what one has done in their past, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth to save all mankind. His miraculous birth was only the means for a horrific end to His life which He freely gave for mankind. (John 10:11, 18) Although, Jesus died for us all, it is a new beginning, a new life for all who call upon His Name to be saved. (Romans 10:9-10, 13) For those who are believers, let us be mindful throughout the year, especially during Advent, that though many people either celebrate Christmas for the wrong reason or do not celebrate Christmas at all, and who may not believe in Christ, that many hearts are softened due to the season. So, let them know about our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ and His great love for them. Amen?  

Monday, November 14, 2022

Desires Of The Heart

Out of all the people of the Bible, there are three men that stand out who had an insatiable desire to know God. Moses, who met God at the burning bush and spoke with God face to face, "So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend..." (Exodus 33:11) He desired to know God more intimately, "And Moses said, “Please, show me Your glory." (Exodus 33:18) The second of these three men was David. David was also a man who loved God and had an insatiable to know Him. We see this reflected in the Psalms that he wrote as well as what God Himself said about David, "I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will." (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22) The third is Paul. Paul was willing to all for Christ. He walked out his Christian life through great success and yet most likely with more trials then any other believer in the history of the church. (2 Corinthian 11:24-28) However, even through his continuous trials he said, "that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death." (Philippians 3:10)  

Unfortunately, for most believers, there initial encounter with God, the day they receive Christ as Lord and Savior, was the most intimate encounter that they have ever experienced. But, believers cannot be content with only their born again experience. We must know Him. God is and has so much for us. Sadly, believers miss out on divine experiences and encounters with His presence. They are satisfied with the theory, theology, and knowledge they have, but that should never be enough. Jesus promised that He would be with us always. (Matthew 28:20) Affirming this truth should not be just a doctrinal declaration on our part, but see and receive this promise by faith every day, knowing that He is indeed with us.

For instance, Jesus tells us, "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you."..."But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you." (John 14:16-18, 26) If you are born again, the Lord Jesus through the Holy Spirit dwells with you and is in you! He is our Helper; He is our Teacher; He gives us revelation through God's Word. Although this is true, how many believers truly rely on the Holy Spirit for these things?   

The church today has many resources such as, study Bibles, books, teachings on CD's and DVD's, computer programs, the internet with Bible studies, and the preaching of the Word. Basically, believers have access to countless resources to help them grow and mature spiritually and even though for-the-most-part this is good, all it has provided is intellectual knowledge that has not transformed lives. We have so much knowledge that we have become selective to the point that some of us place our personal interests above the living and transforming Word of God. As a result, many church leaders often reject revealed knowledge from God and adopt beliefs that seem to be more acceptable to their own lifestyles or worse yet, the lifestyles of the world.

Proverbs 27:7 declares, "A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet." That is to say, that we have become so self-satisfied that we "loathe the honeycomb" that is, reject God's Word, especially the revelation that the Holy Spirit brings. The proof of this is seen in the church today, regardless of denomination. In order to justify a lack of faith and revelation of truth, church leaders develop doctrines and creeds as disclaimers that disagree with God's Word. Jesus experienced the same in His day as the Son of man, "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men."..."making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down..." (Mark 7:6-7, 13) 

The good news is, there is a generation of people of all ages and nations who genuinely hunger and thirst to know God more intimately. They are no longer interested in the ritual of church as usual nor the church programs that are focused on training the natural person and do nothing for ones spiritual condition. They are not satisfied with teachings that only please the flesh and tickle the ears, nor doctrines of men that are contrary to God's Word which do not build faith, but actually erode it. These believers yearn to learn more of Him through revelation by the Holy Spirit and not the knowledge that come through the five senses that only increases the intellect. This hunger to know the deep things of God, to have daily encounters with Him, has made even "that which is bitter a sweet tasting thing."  In other words, those who hunger and thirst after God may face ridicule and even persecution from other believers, but to them it is worth it, it is "a sweet tasting thing" because they are receiving the wonderful things of God which come by being in His presence.  

Jesus has made us promises as to what we can expect if we truly desire Him above all else, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8) "He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." (John 6:35) "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you." (John 16:13-15) Of course this takes faith in the integrity of God's Word. Hebrews 11:6 declares, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently (make a pain staking effort) seek Him."   

So, let us no longer seek for knowledge that only increases our intellect, but let us have an insatiable desire to know Him like Moses, David and Paul. Let us pray everyday the prayer that Paul prayed for the church and receive it through faith, "that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge (Epignosis; precise and correct knowledge) of Him." (Ephesians 1:17) Let us desire to have an encounter with the Father everyday. Let us no long put God on our schedules, and try to fit Him in, but let us "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness..." (Matthew 6:33) "For man does not live on bread alone, but every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Matthew 4:4) Grace and peace be with you

Monday, November 7, 2022

Right Standing With God

Since the fall of man, the desire within him has been to have right standing before God. This is evidences through the world religions of paganism, metaphysics, as well as all the philosophical religions of today. Basically, people want to feel good about themselves, when in fact none of mans best efforts to appease his conscience from sin will ever bring him to the place of right standing before God. There is only one way for man to have right standing before God, "...having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1) Man is justified, made righteousness, given right standing only by faith in Jesus Christ.

Righteousness restores to man all that was lost at the fall of man. It restores his standing before God giving him the same ground that Jesus enjoyed with the Father during His earth walk. (1 John 4:17) Being made righteous through faith in Christ takes away sin consciousness, that is, the feeling of guilt, condemnation, shame and inferiority that has robbed man of coming with confidence into God's presence. (Romans 8:1) It assures man of his standing before the Father, because in Christ he now has a legal right to come into the Father's presence. (Hebrews 4:16) It positions man as the master of Satan and all his forces. (Luke 10:19) It gives man boldness to stand in the presences of sickness, disease and even death without fear. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Righteousness restores to man his lost relationship and fellowship with the Father. It gives him the same confidence to approach the Father in the same way that Jesus approached the Father. We can approach the Father with the freedom that a child has approaching his own parent(s). (1 John 1:3) It restores to man his lost faith, not the faith that Thomas exhibited after the resurrection, which was rooted in his five senses, (John 20:25) but the faith that pleases God and moves mountains. (Mark 11:23; Hebrews 11:6) It restores peace with God. (Romans 5:1) It restores quietness and rest to the spirit. (Philippians 4:6-7) We are no longer afraid of bills, no longer afraid of circumstances. Faith rises unconsciously and we face the most adverse conditions with unwavering resolve.

Righteousness restores freedom to man. (John 8:36; Galatians 5:1) It is the freedom that is only found in Christ. His freedom gives the courage never to fear Satan again as well as freedom from the fear of man because we trust in God with all our hearts and do not lean on our own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Righteousness give us one of the most incredible things, it restores sonship with God. (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1) God is our Father and we are His sons (and daughters). We are His children. We are in His family and we know that our Father loves us. (Romans 8:38-39;1 John 4:10) Knowing these truths in our heart releases unspeakable joy and we come to truly understand what it means to walk in freedom.

But we must keep in mind, this all comes about only one way as stated above, "...having been declared righteousness by faith...through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1) In other words, God made Jesus sin with our sin (2 Corinthians 5:21) He was made unrighteous with our unrighteousness. As man's substitute for sin, He suffered until every crime against humanity had been met and justice had been satisfied. It was Deity suffering for humanity because this was the only way that man's sin debt could be paid. When God declared that man's sin had been paid in Christ, and every demand of justice was satisfied, Jesus was justified or made Righteous. (Romans 4:25) He was "justified in the spirit" (1 Timothy 3:16) He was "made alive in the spirit" (1 Peter 3:18) He was "the first born from the dead." (Colossians 1:18) 

When a person confesses Jesus as lord and receives Him as their Savior, God then declares that one to be righteous solely on the grounds of what Jesus did. This is called being born again and what scripture calls the "New Creation" in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) The believer also becomes a partaker of the divine nature of God. (2 Peter 1:4) In this, the believer becomes righteous by nature and by faith. God declares that we were made righteous freely by His grace through the redemption that He made possible through Jesus Christ. Now we can stand in His presence without any sin consciousness. When believers come to truly understand and act upon these truths, they will experience tremendous growth in their faith and will step into the Father's presence without any trepidation, because we fully know that "there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus..." (Romans 8:1) Therefore, let us stop looking for what is right and put our faith in Jesus Christ the righteous and be free of guilt, condemnation, shame and inferiority. Let us make our confession sure. Let us make our confession bold, "I am the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ." (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Monday, October 31, 2022

I Am Identified With Christ

Identity theft is defined as the fraudulent acquisition and use of a person's private identifying information, usually for financial gain. Although this definition describes what is taking place in our world today, identity theft has actually been taking place since the fall of man. Jesus tells us, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) From the Garden of Eden the thief has been stealing from humanity all the God has freely given him.

For centuries, man has been working hard to regain his standing before God. The religions of the world as well as the so called Christian cults, such as Russellism and Mormonism have worked to no avail to correct what Adam's act of disobedience had brought upon humanity. Naturally, it begins and ends with the person of the God man, the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This also includes the various sects of Catholicism and the many denominations within Protestantism. Although Catholicism and Protestantism have a similar fundamental belief of the incarnate birth of Christ as well as His vicarious death, resurrection, ascension and glorification, the majority still present a beggarly redemption in Christ.

For the most part, the church in all of it divisions has been very strong in teaching man his need of righteousness, but has also taught his weakness and inability to please God. It preaches the denunciation of sins, against unbelief, world conformity, and lack of faith, but has been sadly lacking in presenting the truth of what and who believers are in Christ. It has lacked in teaching how righteousness and faith are available to all who put their faith in Christ. This type of teaching puts redemption off until after death and therefore raises many questions.

  • Is it after death and in heaven when we will find rest?
  • Is it after death and in heaven when we will have victory?
  • Is it after death and in heaven when we become overcomers?
  • Is it after death and in heaven when we will have peace with God?
  • Is it after death and in heaven when we will have no more failings?
  • Is it after death and in heaven when we are complete? 
  • Is all we have to look forward to on this side of heaven, failure, misery, disappointment and weakness?
Unfortunately, today, most have never come to understand the distinction between saint and sinner. Many have come to believe that as long as a believer lives on the earth in these bodies, he will always be a hopeless sinner that does not have the ability to please God. They acknowledge the fact that God has provided a "new birth" but that His new birth only provides eternal life and forgiveness. But is this a Biblical perspective of redemption? Will relief only come when we pass from this life to the next? Scripture is very clear that we live in His presence now and if God cannot present us before His presence now, in this life, then what the Bible teaches concerning redemption is all future and physical death is where one finally experiences redemption. However, if it requires death to cleanse us from sin and make the believer free, then we are left in quite a dilemma, because death is of the Devil. (Hebrews 2:14; Revelation 1:18)

This would indicate that God in His plan of redemption was unable to give us victory, but that He needed the devil to complete His redemptive work. This sounds far-fetched, but when you think about how redemption is presented in most of Christendom today this would be the conclusion. The truth is, God Himself is now our very righteousness, and that we are the righteousness of God in Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21) We also are partakers of God's very nature. (Ephesians 4:24; 2 Peter 1:4) Therefore, the believer does have rest (Hebrews 4:3); victory (1 Corinthians 15:57; 2 Corinthians 2:14); is an overcomer (Romans 8:37); has peace with God (Romans 5:1); is no longer a failure (Philippians 4:13); and is complete in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10); which means that believers no longer have to live this life in failure, misery, disappointment and weakness. PTL

The fact is "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..." (2 Corinthians 5:17) A person cannot be in Christ and have the devil's nature in him at the same time. He is either in the family of God or in the family of Satan. There is no dual nature. It's one or the other, "In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest..." (1 John 3:10) There can be no real development of faith, no strong, victorious Christian life with this mixed conception of the believer in Christ. We are either new creations or we are not. We have either passed from death into life or not. (John 5:24)

When Paul says, "For sin shall not have dominion over you..." (Romans 6:14) he means exactly what he says. If you live a life of weakness and defeat, it is because you do not know what and who you are in Christ and how the Father see you, which, I believe is the greatest need of the church at this hour. Look at this incredible truth, "And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight." (Colossians 1:21-22) Does this sound like failure, misery, disappointment and weakness? Absolutely not! This is a present reality. Believers stand before God complete in Christ.

If God was unable to take the sin nature out of us when we are born again, if the blood of Jesus was not sufficient to wipe it out, then preaching from the Bible gives no hope in this life and God's Word is reduced to nothing more than philosophy, which enlightens, but does not bring life. Also, keep in mind that unrighteousness prevents one from coming into the presence of God, yet God's Word tells us, "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 4:12)

Remember, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." (John 10:10) Jesus came to bring, not only the after life (eternal life) but life now to those who can believe. It has been the devil who has and is constantly working at stealing the believers identity in Christ and leaving him with a sin consciousness, that is, the feeling of guilt, condemnation and inferiority before God. But thanks be to God who has justified us freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus and Who is the Justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:24, 26) PTL  

Monday, October 24, 2022

Life In The Spirit

Before the fall, man had perfect fellowship with God. He lived in the realm of the spirit, but when he disobeyed God's command, he was driven from the presence of God and became dependent upon
his senses for his protection and 1ife. His spirit became the slave of his senses. When this happened man lost all real knowledge of spiritual things. As the history moved forward and although the senses gained supremacy over man, we see recorded in Hebrews 11 that there were people who did have spiritual discernment. One in particular was Abraham, because He believed God. (Genesis 15:6) Abraham's faith is one of the greatest example of the true type of the faith that believers can and should have. When I refer to the phrase "true type faith or true kind of faith" I mean the type of faith that pleases God. (Hebrews 11:6)

When Jesus left eternity and broke into time, all men lived in the realm of the senses. When reading the four gospels carefully you will notice that all the people (which includes the religious leaders) were not discerning of spiritual things. They believed only what their senses could comprehend. Jesus said to them, "...You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times." (Matthew 16:3) . Their spirit had no place in their daily life. In Jesus' encounter with Nicodemus He says, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God...That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:3, 6) Unless one is born again from above, they are unable to discern or understand the spiritual things of God.

Faith comes by getting acquainted with the Father through the Word. Not in studying the Word alone, but by actually living the Word; doing the Word; practicing the Word, and letting the Word live in us. James tells us, "...receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls." (James 1:21) God's Word is able to save (to keep safe and sound; to rescue from danger or destruction; to make well, heal, restore to health) the soul (the mind, will, emotions and intellect). We see in John gospel the people asking Jesus, "...What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do?" (John 6:30 ) Interestingly enough, that generation is not any different than our generation. Like that generation, this generation does not believe God's Word either unless it sees signs and wonders and even then as Jesus said, "...neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead" (Luke 16:31) will most hardly believe.

I have come to believe that if one spends time in fellowship with God in His Word, under the illumination of the Holy Spirit, they will not require a sign to believe. In fact, they will actually live the Christian life used of God to perform signs and wonders. (Mark 16:17-18; John 14:12) God's Word is the food and life of the spirit. (Matthew 4:4; John 6:63) Through God's Word, we can come to know His will, nature, character, purpose and plan. His Word is the only avenue that we can come to know and understand God's most potent characteristic, love. (1 John 4:7-8, 16) If we walk in love, the spirit has perfect freedom to guide us because faith and love are a product of the recreated spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Faith grows through God's Word (Romans 10:17) as we practice love. (Galatians 5:6) As we practice love the Father becomes more and more real to us, because again, He is love (1 John 4:16). The reality is, God's love is already in our recreated spirit. (Romans 5:5) It is no longer something that we ask for, but simple act upon. But like everything else, the things of God come by revelation to our spirit, not knowledge through the five senses.

1 Corinthians 2:12 declares, "Now we received, not the spirit of the world, (the spirit of the natural man) but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given us by God." The believers recreated spirit, is able to know the things of God, while the natural mind that is dominated by the senses, is unable to know the things that are freely given in the Redemptive work of Christ. The natural man cannot understand the expressions "in Christ" or "in Whom" because their sense driven mind will not grasp the full meaning of such which prohibits them from receiving with joy their legal position in Christ.

Now we can understand why the Apostle Paul tells us "to renew the mind." (Romans 12:2) This is most likely the greatest need of the present day church, renewing of the believers mind through God's Word. It is God's Word which renews the mind and develops the recreated spirit to have dominion once again. Let's be honest, the average Christian today is carnal, that is, ruled by their senses. The sad thing concerning this, is, they are babes due to a lack of spiritual food given to them by church leaders who should be mature. (Hebrews 5:11-14) Although most say they believe God's Word is infallible and that scripture is the authority of the church, yet they are not doers of the Word, therefore never growing their faith, but remain completely dependent on their senses. They are ever striving, but never arriving. There is only one way to help these people (those who are mature and skilled in rightly dividing the Word of Truth, should) is to teach them how to take their place in Christ and do as James tells us, "be doers of the Word, and not hearers only." (James 1:22)

This can seem simple, but at the same time be a difficult task. But we must believe that God's Word is just as powerful today as it was when it was first spoken. Paul tells us, "And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And 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 2:1-5) Let us help others in the faith as Paul, through humility, not relying on the wisdom of man, not trying to prove how much we know, but by letting the Holy Spirit do the work through us so the people we help will not place their faith on the senses, but on the power of God.