Friday, February 1, 2013
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God's way of dealing with sin is in the same way that light deals with darkness...it just exists. The purpose of light is to expose whatever was in the darkness, and then to expel the darkness (without even trying)...with the end result being to bring about life - very much like what the sun does. If one has actually thought about it and has endeavored to understand...God's way of dealing with sinners is to be around them like *Jesus was so that His light can do all the things that it does!
Using any kind of force by ostracizing (partiality or hatred) or publicly exposing their sin (unkindness) will not produce anything righteous. We cannot use the actions of the carnal nature to fight the carnal nature. We cannot be in sin as a way to fight sin! Only light can win over darkness. This is why Jesus ate with the worst sinners...because His light disarmed them just by being there. This is why we are commanded to love our enemies...for their sakes and so we stay in the light and learn to always fight from there.
If we act as though it is an inconvenience to have to deal with sinners...and how ungodly they are...and how they persecute us and get in the way of our rights...then WE had better do a humble re-evaluation of where we stand with God - more so, where we WANT to stand with God!
1 Tim. 1:15 "It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all"
St. Paul understood the whole purpose for Christ's coming was to reconcile the world to Himself....to bring all of us...as many as possible...back to God.
So, does it work to fight unkindness with unkindness? How about hatred with hatred? So many unbelievers, because they live in this fallen world too, have had many hurts which is why they have become angry and selfish. So, how does it help them stop sinning...or become believers...by giving them more of the same? It does not make any spiritual sense!
And if you are going to be like them...as well as what they are used to...then how will they see the contrast - the difference in YOU that would make them want to be what you are!?
For human anger does not produce the righteousness of God.
* Jesus did rebuke sinners, but only after showing His love and power, and giving them a chance to repent.
I've learned that God's love has some amazing attributes. Everything God does stems from His love. God's pure love softens hearts and gives sacrificially. Because He has no darkness in Him, His intentions are never-ever evil...or never even near it for that matter. He would not inspire anything that is not of the light.
God's love has no darkness, yet He can still be with, and love people in darkness - because love will set the limit of not participating in the things of darkness. In fact, His love has the profound capability to loosen the hold darkness has on sinners...because light expels darkness just by it's mere presence.
He would rather never have to dole out judgment...however, because He has no darkness in Him at all, He wants the same for His children. The things that reside in darkness are destructive, which is why He rejects them, and wants us to do the same.
Everything God does has strong intentions and purposes behind them...so when looking into God's written word this is the reason to never intentionally cut corners, but to take every word, every verse and every chapter in scripture seriously...and be diligent to understand what God is truly saying by making sure you know who is speaking to who, and about what, and why, so that your study and outcome can be approved by God.
Also, when He inspired the writers of scripture He would never have had them write something that would be out of His character. Therefore, we first must make sure we keep in mind that the actual author was not human, but God Himself. So when we are looking for answers it is important to realize they may not sound logical to what our human brain is used to!
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God has high ideals, so we are to humbly study, seek and learn to be good at hearing from God, so that we are never allowing our human nature to be in charge so as to try and bring God down to our level...but instead we are always reaching upward...higher and higher...to His!
God showed us His character when He came down and dwelt among us in bodily form. Jesus was the exact representation of the Father. He walked among sinners and ate with them...in fact He went out of His way to be with those who were hated, and His love softened their hearts and disarmed them.
So any rebuking of sinners was either after they had rejected Christ's determined show of God's love for them...or because they were abusers, who were in the way of people coming to know God's love and plan for them. Time after time after time Christ showed God's amazing love....which was why people followed Him in droves. Then later on, St. Paul explained in words what Christ had already exemplified...so that we can walk as He walked.
Yes, He rebuked others. He rebuked those that tried to keep children away from Him. He rebuked demons and the devil when he tried to tempt Him. He also rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith, or if they said things that those who actually spent as much time with Jesus as they did should never say, then He would.
God wants so much for everyone to be saved. Therefore He wants us to learn to live in the world without being of it...therefore to be as patient as we can with unbelievers before we decide to brush the dust off our feet. To treat them the way we would have wanted to be treated if we were in their shoes. They do not have the new nature and the power of the Holy Spirit to help them deal with sin. Please click on this URL to read 1 Cor. 5 -http://niv.scripturetext.com/1_corinthians/5.htm
I just recently wrote a post about walking with Christ...becoming yoked with Him. When we decide to do this, we also have to be willing to walk in the light. SO, what is IN the light anyway?
More to come....
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Everything has been met in Christ. Every requirement. Yes. Above are just some of the scriptures that tell us how Christ has satisfied and met the demands of each of the important areas of the Christian's life...
Then because this is true, there is only one requirement...one thing God wants from Christians such as you and I. Because everything is already satisfied in Jesus, then wouldn't it make sense to begin following Him? Yes, I know that you have already accepted Christ as your Savior and even your Lord as far as trying to trust Him with the various areas of your life. But have you begun following Him in the true sense? Have you begun this journey of walking with Him?
Following and walking with Him, and then after time you're walking like Him...and then in time you begin feeling right at home and find that you are not 'doing' anymore...no, you are being! You begin growing again, and even in how you see God. He has not only made His home in you, but you have in Him.
Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
He wants you to have an abundant life. He wants to teach you how to be a true "be-er" Christian...which is much much better than being a doer Christian.
1 John 2:6
Whoever claims to live in Him ought walk as Jesus did.
"14When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. 17Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God."
Can you understand how much God wants to be not just a part of your life...but to BE your life? Spiritually it has already happened if Christ is in you...but has it happened in how you live? You were created in His image, and this is why God wants you to mature in your walk...as you begin walking closely with Christ Who will help you to become much closer to who you were originally created to BE!!
1 Cor. 6:17
But the person who unites himself with the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.
If you notice up in the picture, under Gifts...that scripture tells us that the gifts and callings He has given each person cannot be withdrawn...or your bible might say, "without repentance". The gifts He has bestowed on you, you can't walk away from and then later ask forgiveness for doing something else instead. Why?
Because, when God created you He had a specific plan for your life that would fulfill you and make you you and make you whole...so you feel good in your own skin, and are vital and productive! But you will not "be made complete with all the fullness of life and power" until you make it your goal to actually begin taking steps to follow...putting His yoke upon you...and begin walking with Christ in all you do.
When you decide to walk closely along side Him, Jesus said in Matt. 11:30 that His yoke will be easy and His burden is light.
Enjoy your relationship with Him as you spend time getting to know Him in a closer way...as you open up your heart to scripture and Christ's words in the gospels, and allow yourself unceasing communication (prayer throughout the day that should come more naturally then planned) and letting Christ guide your days...keeping in step with His Spirit. (Gal. 5:22-23)
1 Thess. 5:17-18
Pray without ceasing. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will
for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
Christ, In whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
He wants to spend time with you and teach you what it truly means to "be crucified with Christ and it is no longer you who live, but Christ that lives in you" (Gal. 2:20)...then in so doing you end up finding you!
Live a life filled with love, following the example of
Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma
1 Peter 4:2
As a result you may spend the rest of your earthly
lives, governed not by human passions (Gal. 5:19-21), but by the will of God.
(If you have questions, let me know:)
If you think about it, what would you say are the unique and essential principles of the New Testament in particular? Principles, that if not there, would prove that it should not have been called a NEW Testament! 'New' meaning, not an extension, but an entirely original testament. Not totally unlike any other book that has sequels...where each sequel is completely separate and new, yet altogether completely related to it's predecessor in content with no intended contradictions...meaning, any and all contradictions are added by the readers, not the Author.
That said, let's focus on the essential guiding principles that make the Old Testament separate with it's own unique and very special purpose...which made it indispensable in it's relation to the New Testament. ~
~ The OT let us see the first two human beings make a choice that ended up ushering in the fallen world we live in now. This most significant event shows us some important things. Namely, that God did not create puppets that have only a limited will and humanness. Therefore because of our innate human will we were given, we made a choice.
~ The Old Testament made it very clear that there would be a sequel in it's content, from beginning to end. It 'begged' for a sequel as God showed us all the way through from Genesis to Malachi His amazing love, mercy and power in His determination to bring mankind back into relationship with Himself.
~ The OT is full of 'types'. Metaphorical situations and stories that strongly reflect what was to come, namely the once and for all shed blood of the Lamb of God - Jesus Christ. For one example; the tabernacle (video below)
~ The OT is jam-packed with shows of bravery, wisdom, faith, amazing power, miracles, as well as fear. For instance how God can bring down a giant by a little boy with a sling shot!
Note: notice what the people did immediately following recieving the 10 Commandments after God gave them to Moses. They had a party, but was it a celebration of graditute? Ah, I don't think so! What does this event show us?
~ The OT shows how the various segments of sinful mankind responds on a daily basis, and in various situations, to living by the law ....which in comparison helps mankind see our ultimate need for grace by showing us the specific ways in which we are not capable of working our way to heaven. As the law exposed our weakness to think and act unlike God, when we were originally created to be like Him. It showed us plainly our human nature's typical response (or lack there of) to viewing other's with the same importance we view ourselves...meaning, it showed us our sin nature, but without remedy.
~ The OT shows God's character, capabilities and judgments. God wants us to see "with our own two eyes" what He truly could do if He chose to, so we can better comprehend and appreciate the mercies He has chosen to pour out on us instead.
~The OT introduces us to great faith and great humanity....as God introduces us to the Prophets as they point to the Messiah to come. Who will totally fulfill...through His coming, ministry and death...everything the Prophets had proclaimed and taught. Referring back to their faith, proclamations and even their antics is inspiring....however, we must always remember that they would never want us to stop with them....but to always end up with our eyes, focus and awe back on Jesus Christ and what He did, as our ultimate destination.
The creation of the world - glimpse of what it was like to walk and talk with the God in a sinless world - then what the Old Covenant life would be like for us if God's Spirit did not live inside people and only came down at certain times - in a world where there were many meticulous laws that had to be put in place - which were instructions on how to either directly or indirectly treat people or animals - and how to keep oneself 'pure' before a holy God as a type of what Christ did for us - examples of people that had close relationships with God, as they were being used by Him to help prepare the world for the Messiah to come - to the celebrations - then to the tabernacle and the prophets - then Song of Solomon being a type of Christ and the church, and then Psalms. Everything...every single point...directed us to the need for a Savior so as to reconcile the world to it's Creator.
Acts 3 22Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen carefully to everything he tells you.’ 23Then Moses said, ‘Anyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be completely cut off from God’s people.’
24“Starting with Samuel, every prophet spoke about what is happening today. 25You are the children of those prophets, and you are included in the covenant God promised to your ancestors. For God said to Abraham, ‘Through your descendants all the families on earth will be blessed.’ 26When God raised up his servant, Jesus, he sent him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful
The Tabernacle...a type of Christ.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
“Beloved let us love one another. For love is of God and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God. He that loves not knows not God, for God is love. Beloved LET us love one another.” 1 John 4:7-8
We are a vessel and we are implanted with His Spirit when we accepted Christ. Then in due time we begin to see the evidence that He is there. If the Holy Spirit was a mere idea, or rule, then the only evidence would be if the person decided to have a shift in their behavior due to their idea or rule.
But it is different when He changes us…because He permeates us...and we become more like Him...then we begin bearing fruit because that is what the Holy Spirit does. In time His love begins showing it's face...or the person never had the Spirit of God in the first place…not really. Because, again, that Spirit IS alive within us and His whole reason for being inside us is to empower change and then bearing all kinds of wonderful fruit in every area of our lives.
Galatians 5: 16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with (imitate) the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
I know that there are folks who go forward at alter-calls because they see everyone else is doing it…or because the emotions are high. Then they mouth the words…but the seed falls on either shallow, or thorny ground…or out in the open where the birds gobble it up right away. (Matt.13)
I know of many people who intellectually accept the fact or idea of Christ…or even follow Christ as a good man or prophet. But the Spirit of God has never really entered their lives. 2 Tim. 3:5 “They have a form of Godliness, but deny the power that will make them Godly.”
It comes down to this….that at some point in our Christian life it is important to, “Examine yourselves to make sure you are in the faith. Test yourselves. If you cannot tell that Jesus Christ is in you, it means you have failed the test.” 2 Cor. 13:5
Immaturity can cause a person to act unlike they have the Holy Spirit...because even though the Holy Spirit enters and empowers, we do not at all become 'Stepford Wives' (or men:) when we are converted. We still have every ability to disobey the still small voice within us. So if we are choosing to keep our eyes on things not of God, then unfortunately our behavior will follow. Therefore if the Holy Spirit is inside, the disobedience cannot go on for very long before God must discipline or the person must accept Christ if they realize they really hadn't accepted Him before.
However, when we do decide to let the Holy Spirit be in control, we must take that step of obedience and "fix our eyes on Jesus", then thankfully our behavior will follow and then the Holy Spirit empowers us to live there in His light. So, to imitate, as the following scripture states, we must have our eyes 'fixed' on who we are trying to imitate...correct? So, what actions and characteristics come from God and which ones do not? Eph. 5:1-14 -
1Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. 2Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved usa and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
3Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. 4Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. 5You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
6Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. 7Don’t participate in the things these people do. 8For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! 9For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
10Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. 11Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, let your light expose them. 12It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14for the light makes everything visible.
Part II to follow soon...
Continue to click on video if it won't start...it is not a Christian made video, but I love the pics.
Luke 18:17 - "I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."
Matthew 18:1 - "At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
Matthew 18: - "I assure you," He said, "unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven".
The above scripture in Luke is speaking about eagerly accepting and trusting Christ as an innocent child would. An adult would worry about words, about the theology and if they 'did it right'...when a child just opens their heart to God.
Then in Matthew it is fairly obvious that God does desire that those who are converted be encouraged to keep the attitude of a child afterward. This verse is very similar in all translations "unless a person is converted and become like children". Therefore, if one looks at the whole picture, God wants for us to come to Him as a child (In Luke)...stay that way for a time and then desire the pure milk of the word to grow on! (Not the heavy theology...but instead the very basics. Steeping them in the gospel and learning about taking Christ's yoke upon them and walking with Him...obeying the New Commandment...prayer and fellowship, and etc)
Click on the following URL to see the whole chapter of Mark 4, which shows the importance of helping the 'soil' of the people we are sharing with to be receptive. > When the unsaved person is shown the love of Christ while they are yet sinners softens and prepares the soil to receive Him. And then new converts stay receptive when caring and adequate discipleship is given...then what happens when the soil has not been cultivated. Sadly I've seen this happen all too often, especially at an alter-call where people are going up to the alter alone, and then there is no sincere follow-up afterwards.
Baby Christians need to be encouraged to not rush through the process by those who are discipling them and are familiar with what the bible says...as this stage of Christian growth must be important or God would not have included it. Successfully walking through this process with a baby Christian will help their walk with Christ and their productivity immeasurably!