FALLEN FROM GRACE!!!
Gal 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace".
Paul says you have fallen from grace when you live by the law! We have such freedom in God's grace why on earth would you want to go back to Law WHY!!! There is nothing but bondage and death under law!
I hear pastor and teachers all the time saying we need to follow the law, meaning the Levitical Law but we not under law but grace! We have no set rules for praying or tithing or Temple worship! We do not sacrifice animals for forgiveness nor eat certain foods, thank goodness! We do not need to go to a priest, nor do we have set dress standards OH NO, NO, NO!!!
Remember what Paul says here about "being a debtor to do the whole law"! If you want to live by the law, you must do it all! If you want to live by the law, you will die by the law!
Has Christ become of NO effect to you, Paul says! Don't listen to these so-called preachers of law but live in the freedom you have been given in Christ and that is only by grace!
The Believers Liberty in Christ!
Gal 4:22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. ... 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.
Abraham's wife Sarai could not have children, so Sarai told Abraham to be with her maid Hagar and have a child. This child was named Ishmael, but Sarai regretted it! Eventually Sarai had a child, and his name was Isaac! In this understanding Hagar is the bondmaid and Sarai is the free as the promise was made to Abraham and Sarah and their sons!
The promise of eternal life through Jesus comes through that promise to Abraham, therefore the freedom that comes from being in Christ comes through Abraham.
Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.
The believer has freedom in Christ and no longer in bondage to death. The Spirit is now alive in Christ and able to live for eternity. We now have the ability by faith to choose life and not sin and have Victory daily through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Never go back to living under Law and in bondage but live in the freedom that comes by the Spirit!
DO YOU NOT HEAR THE LAW!!!!
I think this is one of the greatest verses in the bible! DO YOU NOT HEAR THE LAW!!!!
Gal 4:21"Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law"?
So many non and denominational churches still have doctrine that hold onto the law! So many pastors still teach the law and demand obedience to it! WHY, WHY, WHY!!!
DO YOU NOT HEAR THE LAW!!! The law is harsh, and it only condemns it does not give life! It does not save, and it makes you "perform" and work! The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is in the law! Law puts you back under bondage and constantly hold you guilty! You can never ever "do" the law as Peter said in Act 15:10 "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear"? In other words, he is saying why tell the gentiles to do the law if we can't do it and we had it our whole life.
Run if your church teaches law and most of the time you can recognize a church that falls into this by some simple rules you might say.
1. Do they teach more out of the 4 gospels, Matthew-John.
2. Do they require or teach you to pay tithes.
3. Do they make water baptism an ordinance to do.
4. Do they want you to perform more or work more.
5. Do they teach covenant theology without rightly dividing.
6. Are they Calvinist?
7. Do they make you wear certain clothing or hair styles...
These are only a few that came to my mind but there are more. Just don't fall into the trap of being under law and not really understanding what that looks like. They don't have to "brow beat" you they can often be very nice while teaching law and works all at the same time. The pastor may be a nice guy but under law himself and doesn't even know it! Find out, what do they believe and not "just" teach from the pulpit. I know many Calvinists and law minded pastors that purposely don't tell their congregation what they believe but will filter it through their messages.
Walk by faith in grace and remember there are no works to be approved unto God! Jesus has fulfilled the works needed you just need to believe by faith!
Till Christ be formed in you!
Gal 4:18 "But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. 19 My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you",
All pastors should desire to see Christ formed in their church. A teacher teaches information, but our goal is to see Christ formed in the believer and not just have bible knowledge. Sometimes rebuking or correcting is needed. Being real with each other and not just a facade of faith.
Transformation and dependence on Christ for all things is part of this "forming" in Christ. I see a lot of church folk who do not have Christ formed in them even if they know a lot about the bible. The read and listen to teachers who may give good info, but they are still full of pride and arrogance and even want to show off this great new knowledge they have only to look like an arrogant no it all.
Being formed in Christ is a humble yet confident person in Christ! Being formed is a mature, respectful and loving person in Christ! Being formed means Christ is everything regardless of circumstances or issues in our lives. It means the word of God is of high priority and being obedient is important to the believer.
As a counselor I desire and wait to see if Christ is formed in the believer or are they just coming for help and get their issue resolved!
Grow strong in faith dear saint and be obedient to the Lord and the only way to do that is have Christ formed in you!
Angel or Enemy!!!
Gal 4:1 "I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. 12 Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all. 13 Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. 14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. 15 Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. 16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth"?
Paul once was received as an Angel, even as Christ but after certain Jews came in pushing the works of the law, would he now become their enemy.
This is what happens to those who walk under law. They actually believe that those who do not "do" the law are some sort of heathens and have no boundaries. They want to "see" those boundaries so they can justify their behavior and heart. That their behavior is righteous before God, but it isn't.
They miss the point of the cross! Christ works on the cross means we don't need to perform but receive. Today in the dispensation of grace we simply receive. Under the law program their faith was shown by works but today we show our faith by receiving and not working.
Whenever someone says and tries to force the law and ordinances on you, never ever give in to their performance game!
Walk by faith dear saints!
Sadly, in life we tend to look at the natural things first. We look for religious ordnances or something we can touch or see to feel closer to God! Paul says these things are beggarly and bring us into bondage!
Gal 4:8 "Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. 9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years".
They bring us back into a physical world instead of a spiritual one. They bring us down instead of raising us up into the heavenly vision. They become a "god" to us, and we serve them instead of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Don't look at the natural, earthy and physical things to transform you but look at the inward man, the spiritual man that changes you from the inside out!
Don't live in the "Beggarly Bondage" of this world, but focus on the heavenly, spiritual and our Lord Jesus Christ!
God sent Jesus to redeem mankind! To pay the price and to set us free! He came under the law to Israel first.
Gal 4:1 "Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. 6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. 7 Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ".
He then allows us to be adopted and to be His children and that is what we are! Sons and daughters of God! We can cry out "ABBA" which means "daddy"! He is our Father, and we belong to Him.
We all long to belong to someone and now we do as sons of the living God!
Never forget to "WHOM" you belong to Saints!
PUT ON CHRIST!
I am always asked "what was the point of the law"? Well Paul answers that here in Galatians.
Gal 3:19 "Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
It was to show mans "transgressions"! In other words the law only condems it never saves! It was put in place under Israel to show the world its sin, until the "the seed" meaning Jesus had come to save the world!
So the law was like a schoolmaster which disciplines and condems to the point where one must reach out to be saved! That salvation is found only in Christ!!!
... 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise".
Once we are save by faith in Christ we are called children of God and we are indentified into Christ which is what the word baptized means. Now there is neither Jew or gentile or male or female but we are one in Christ. By the way Jews come to Christ the same as gentiles today by faith in the cross of Christ alone!
So Put on Christ and walk by faith today!!!
NO MAN IS JUSTIFIED BY THE WORKS OF THE LAW!
NO ONE is justified by the works of the law, NO ONE!!!
Gal 3:10 "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. 11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree":
Why do so many churches and pastors and people want to live under law, WHY??? I don't get it, yet I do know that we all want to be approved and accepted by God. Even those that say they don't yearn to be loved by someone! We want to be right, and we lust for power! The Law will only where you out and when trying to be good enough fails then the idea that there is not God often comes.
There are no more curses as Christ has become the curse for us taking away that punishment. So don't get hooked into generational curses and such either.
Sadly, there are a lot of churches who still preach law and still want others to "do" it thinking they can control the sin issue. Sadly, the sting of sin is in the law!
1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
The only way to be "just right" before God is by Faith!
O FOOLISH SAINTS!!!
Gal 3:1 "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? 4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. 5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith"?
As I have said before Galatians is a rebuke and correcting book and Paul lets them have it right between the eyes! He does this with love and a great desire for them to be free!
Paul begins this with "O foolish Galatians", but we could apply and say this to the church today! "O foolish Saints" in Christ, WHY? WHY do you still want to walk after the law? Why do you still want to be in bondage to the law? After being saved by the spirit WHY do you want to go back and try to be perfect by your flesh, WHY, WHY, WHY?!!!
STOP listening to these teachers and churches that preach law and are trying to control you! These are false brethren who want you to jump through hoops and do ordinances that do nothing and mean nothing! STOP working so hard to be perfect and allow the spirit to do His job!
You are saved, secure and sanctified by the "hearing of faith" alone!!!!
NOT I BUT CHRIST!!!
This is one of the Greatest verses in all the bible!
Gal 2:18 20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. 21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain".
"NOT I BUT CHRIST"! You see the Christian life is easy IF we let Christ live through us! The hard part is trying to let Him do it! Our flesh that wants to work and strive gets in the way. We want boundaries and so we seek law instead of walking by faith. We want to fix the fix that has already been fixed by Christ cross! It is all in Christ and all I have to do is receive!
That sometimes is the hardest part of all because I don't want to receive, I want to take or give something so that I am worthy of His love, life and salvation!
"NOT I BUT CHRIST" means it is not my works that matter but His works. His work on the cross! His blood sacrifice for my sins! His power to transform! His life gives me eternal life! It is His love, peace and grace!
Remind yourself often that it is not "doing" something for God but rather receiving from Him that makes all the difference in your mental and spiritual life! Victory comes by receiving not "doing"! Peace comes from resting in Him!!
How easy it is to fall back into law!
Jews would not fellowship with gentiles that was against the law. They were clean and the gentiles were considered unclean as they did not have the law and covenants of God.
Gal 2:11 "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? 15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles",
It is so easy to fall back into law that even Peter did it. He knew that he was separating himself from the gentiles was wrong even after God showed him that nothing was unclean. Paul had to straighten him out and rebuked him and the others for separating themselves.
We too must remember that we can easily fall back into law. It may be our own law, but it is still "A" law that we have set. Now there are certain boundaries of righteousness that needs to be understood and followed but not a law in order to worship or be accepted or approved by God! Our only law today is the law of love!!!
Today we are justified which means to be in right standing with God! It means we are "just" which means innocent and right and righteous in Christ. Spiritually speaking we are righteous, blameless and holy because of Christ in us.
...16 "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified".
No man is justified by works of the law but by faith alone! So, walk by faith Dear Saint and tell yourself that you are "right" before God through Jesus Christ our Lord!!!
The 2 gospels but one Christ!
This may sound strange to some of you who are used to hearing your pastor say there is only one gospel, but there are many gospels throughout the bible. Now gospel means "good news" and it means the salvation message for that time frame in history. The writer of Hebrews says in 4:2 that "A" gospel was preached to them meaning Israel as well as to "us" meaning Israel in the future/present tense. Now there is only one gospel for today but back when this transition from Israel to the Body of Christ was being formed there was 2!
Gal 2:6 "But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: 7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; 8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) 9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision".
Paul says the gospel of the circumcision meaning to Jews and Israel under law verses the gospel to the uncircumcision under grace. Now the cross was not a good thing to those early Jewish saints, but it is A GREAT THING TO US!!!
Israel and that "little flock" were under law and the cross met a bad thing it met they had murdered their Messiah but for we gentile saints who were never under law and needed a Saviour we believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus for eternal life.
Notice Paul says James, Cephas and John who were with Jesus's earthly ministry are to teach the circumcised saints (Jews) while Paul taught the uncircumcised (gentiles). Also, if you look at the Hebrew letters you will notice that Hebrews is written of course to HEBREWS, followed by WHO? JAMES, then 1-2 PETER, that's Cephas and 1-3 JOHN all in a row and all addressing the scattered circumcision saints.
2 gospels ONE LORD!!! Amen!
FALSE BRETHREN, LAW AND LIBERTY!
Gal 2:1 "Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 2 And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. 3 But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 5 To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you".
The theme of Galatians can be wrapped up in this simple message, "false brethren, law and liberty"! Meaning that all false brethren or churches then as well as today want you to be under law and therefore take away the liberty that you have in Christ alone!
Nothing has really changed since Paul's time when they wanted them to get circumcised which means to be under law. Today we see the same thing as then only today it is "water" baptism mostly, but it can be any ordinance.
You see any church, pastor or teacher that puts you back under law is a false brother. Now you may say that sounds harsh, but the reality is that they are telling you to "perform", "work" for your salvation and to LIVE in "bondage"!!!
The freedom that comes through faith in Jesus only comes by grace! The freedom that is by faith has no ordinances or Levitical law to perform.
STAND STRONG IN THAT FREEDOM!!!
PAUL THE PERSECUTOR, NOW THE APOSTLE!!!
Gal 1:12 "For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: 17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. ... 22 And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: 23 But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed".
He received revelation from Jesus and the order of things had changed. Jesus saved and put Paul in the position of Apostle. Paul was to be the pattern for all others to come to Christ. He was the enemy and persecutor of the church but now the Apostle to the "heathen" which means gentiles. God's grace was given and shown to the enemies, gentiles and to all the world without Israel, law and works!
Paul is your Apostle by Jesus Christ and to reject that is reject Christ!
Perverting the gospel!
Mormon, Catholics, 7th day Adventist and many, many others pervert the gospel of Christ!!!!!!
Gal 1:6 "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed".
How do they pervert it by adding law or completely changing it as the Mormons have with their books!!! Anytime you add law to the grace message you have perverted it! Anytime you demand certain standards or ordinances you pervert it. You can pervert the gospel in so many ways. But the gospel is clear Jesus died for our sins and rose to give us eternal life through Him and we receive by faith, and it is given by grace!
Paul says that these who pervert the gospel are accursed meaning lost, excommunicated and without life!
...10 "For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ".
Paul is not a men pleaser, but a God pleaser and we should be also. He says that he did not receive this gospel by men but by Jesus Christ Himself and that is after His resurrection and taken up to heaven! Paul received this gospel by revelation from Jesus Christ!
Don't be a men pleaser and don't pervert the gospel either. Do you know what your church teaches, and do they pervert the gospel? You don't have to be a cult or one of these I mention you can be any non or denominational church that teaches and puts you back under LAW!!!
PAUL AN APOSTLE!!!!
Gal 1:1 "Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) 2 And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 5 To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen".
I just finished 2 Corinthians and now on to Galatians which is a great book! This book is a rebuke and correcting book! This book deals with the issue of faith without works of the law.
But first Paul says he is an Apostle by Jesus and God the Father. He was not appointed by man or some board but by Jesus.
His normal greeting of Grace and peace and then tells us a shorten gospel message! Christ who gave Himself for our sins so that we may be delivered from this present evil world. Oh, how we should be so thankful that He was willing to die for us! Oh, how we should be so humbled that someone would go through so much so that we can be with Him for eternity.
This world is evil, and it is not going to get better so instead of fighting it internally just know what it is, yet with a mindset that shares the message that Christ died for our sins, and we can have eternal life with Him! Try to bring as many as you can to the party above, in heaven with Christ!
Let us give Him the Glory for ever and ever and ever and.......... ......
Be thankful today Dear Saints!!!
The God of love and peace be with you!!!
I always tell everyone read ALL the book even that last chapter which may seem not to have a lot of doctrinal things in it. Here we read the last part of 2 Corinthians, and it is full of good things to know.
2Co 13:7 "Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates".
Do no evil Paul says to them so that they walk honestly. Not that Paul would get the credit, but they would be honest with others and themselves. Great thing for us to hear today. Humble Leadership that promotes the word of God in the people of God even when the leadership may fail.
8 "For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. 9 For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection".
Even if the apostles look weak or fail the church in Corinth the church is still strong, and this is what we should desire for all churches and saints. That even if the leadership fails in some way that the church would be strong in the word! This is how and why the Catholic church failed in so many ways early on (and still do) by controlling the word and not allowing the church to read the word both failed in life!
10 "Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction. 11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. 12 Greet one another with an holy kiss. 13 All the saints salute you".
Be perfect which means mature and find comfort in Christ and then be of one mind together as you live in peace! That the God of love and peace comfort and be of priority in your daily life!
Welcome one another and let the14 "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen".
WEAK vs POWER of GOD!
When Paul uses the word weakness here, he means meek! Meek means gentle and willing and in other words Jesus was willing to give himself to the cross without a fight. He was willing to submit to those who were wanting to destroy Him for a greater cause.
2Co 13:4 "For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. 5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates".
Jesus was never "weak" in power, but He just didn't exercise that power before going to the cross. He was obedient to His Father as we should be also. That is a hard thing to do at times because our ego and pride get in the way. I know for me that if I am challenged in some way it is hard for me to back down. I take it as a personal rejection as well as a personal conquest and fight in some way. But we are to be meek as Christ and that means not always exercising our power or authority in a natural physical or verbal way!
We are told to examine ourselves and to look at ourselves by 1. make sure we are IN the faith and 2. if I may add to check out our motivation and heart after being saved! We are to continue to recognize our sin and repent meaning to have a "change of mind" to Christ by faith!
Paul calls those who walk by the flesh, but saved or those who are not believers' reprobates! A reprobate can be one who does not "pass the test" or "be as they should be". One who either walks by the flesh or one who is not saved at all!
I trust that this finds you saved and not a reprobate. Examine yourself if you are saved and "IN" the faith and then examine yourself if you are walking "BY" faith!!!
As always love, grace and peace to you in Christ
The same old ways!
Here again Paul warns the Corinthians about being "the same old way" they were when he first came to Corinth. The way we read in 1Corinthians and were divided and fighting amongst one another.
2Co 12:20 "For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: 21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed".
He is concerned that they are not walking by the spirit but by the flesh. This is how they operated before and to be clear we all do this to some extent don't we.
It is easy to walk by sight and allow our flesh to dominate our behavior. It is easy to lust for something or someone. It is easy to be prideful and argue and think we are right all the time. We try to control people and everything around us, so we "feel" in control, secure and comfortable. Sadly, it is just fear that dominates our thinking.
Notice here we see the word repented which means "a change of mind". There are those that over emphasize the "turning from sin" type thinking as well as those on the other side of grace that say we don't need to repent, both are wrong. Repentance is being aware of our sin, admitting our sin and walking by faith. It is going from flesh to faith or putting off and putting on, but repentance is necessary to be saved and to walk by faith after being saved!
If you sin be honest with yourself after all God already knows and He just wants you to be aware, so you run back into His arms!
"MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT"!!!
One of the greatest chapters in all the bible! Paul tells us about being "caught up" to the third heaven. Now the third heaven is where God the Father resides, and the words "caught up" are a reference to being "raptured" as the same word is used in 1 Thes. 4:17 in which we are told of the rapture. Rapture is the Latin word for caught up.
2Co 12:1 "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
Paul says he was told about an abundant number of revelations and these revelations relate to our doctrine today. One of those was the understanding of healing which under Israel's program when there was prayer for healing, they were healed but now it is not with Paul or others.
... 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong".
Now we can understand why healing is not a sign anymore! Israel always wants signs, but we walk by faith alone. "Will you believe even if you are not healed"? You see what is important is faith and Jesus tells Paul "My grace is sufficient"! No longer are there signs to point us to Christ but we have the "Word" of God and the cross of Christ for us today.
God's grace is sufficient for us today and we can be comforted in His love alone and not by some sign that you will discard as soon as we get our way.
We walk by faith not by sight!
Are you following the wrong doctrine!
2Co 11:18 "Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. 19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. 20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face".
Paul rebukes this church for following those who teach bad doctrine. It is the same for today as many teach law and works based salvation and daily living! Those who would bring them back into bondage to the law which only brings more sin as the sting of sin is in the law. They follow the personality of the man instead of the word, dispensation and doctrine for today found in Paul's books.
They want to "feel" something or listen to the music that may be upbeat with flashing lights or dark like a concert! They want to be "in the presence" of the Lord not realizing they already have been!
Then Paul says "foolishly" that he will brag about himself because the false teachers were bragging about themselves.
...21 "I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. 22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches".
No Apostle suffered more for the gospel than Paul. No other was beaten, stoned, or looked down upon more than Paul except Jesus! Paul did so much work for the gospel to go across the world because he loved the church so much. The body of Christ owes so much to this man of God yet as he would say himself,
ALL BY THE GRACE AND POWER OF CHRIST!
Give God the Glory today!
Deceitful and False teachers!
2Co 11:8 "I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.
... 12 But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works".
Paul was defending his ministry against those who may have accused him of doing it all for financial reasons. He tells them he was supported by other churches, or he worked with his own hands if he needed to but either way, he was not a burden to them.
But there were those who came and did take advantage and defrauded the church. They were deceitful and false apostles and Paul says they acted like they were sincere and did some sort of miracle or healing, yet they did not teach the grace of God from a genuine faith or heart! They did it to get rich and when one person does it all the others that follow are now looked at with an eye of suspicion and are questionable, "are they real or false"!
Paul says even Satan acted this way and some are transformed into "ministers of righteousness"!
Sadly, we see this so much in the church today. We see pastor's and T.V. evangelist telling us that we need to sow more and in turn we will receive some blessing. I have seen folks go broke and lose their house over giving everything away, yet the pastor is a multi-millionaire. This happens in the traditional denominational or non-denominational church but also the more famous ones like Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis as well as women like Joyce Meyer and Paula White become rich on the backs of naive and innocent saints!
Here is a good rule of thumb to think about...If a church or ministry teaches prosperity, tithing or just talks about giving all the time they are probably the wrong church or ministry to give too. Their heart is the wrong place besides teaching bad doctrine! Leave it and find a new fellowship or give to a different ministry.
Grace to you all
The simplicity in Christ!
2Co 11:1 "Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him".
I hear all the time how we need to "do" this and "do" that in order to be saved or obedient to God! How we need to be water baptized, pay tithes, have communion or some "next steps" program for salvation, obedience or just to feel good about ourselves!
But really it comes down to the simplicity that is in Christ alone. That salvation is simple and there is no more work to be done and no more ordinances to do! We are "COMPLETE" IN CHRIST ALONE!!!
A different Jesus is preached because they make light of the cross and how faith is the only thing that counts. Not faith that is just knowledge of Christ existence but faith that is genuine, united and committed in Christ alone!!!
To many "false Jesus's" are taught even in traditional churches not counting the Mormons and other cults. Paul says in Galatians that if another gospel is taught that they are to be accursed!
Gal 1:9 "As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed".
Don't get caught up in all the "works" and things to do, but rather slow down, dwell on the love of God through Christ Jesus and rest in Him alone!
Stop comparing yourself to others!
2Co 10:12 "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 13 But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. 14 For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ":
Too often we compare ourselves with people who "seem" to be better off or popular or even those who seem be less fortunate than us. We either think we need to be "like" someone else or we are better than someone else and both are wrong. Let us only look at ourselves the way God does through Christ eyes and that is enough.
Paul was also saying he needed to share the gospel of Christ to those who have not heard so that they too may be saved! That they too would have the opportunity into eternal life. This should be our goal as well to share the gospel and teach how-to live-in Christ.
Paul adds that we should give the Lord all the glory and that it is not our works that should get approval, but it is HIS WORKS and HIS approval that matters!
... 17 "But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. 18 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth".
AUTHORITY FOR EDUCATION, NOT DESTRUCTION!
2Co 10:8 "For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed: 9 That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. 10 For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. 11 Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such will we be also in deed when we are present".
The authority of pastors, teachers and church leaders is for education, meaning for edifying the Body of Christ! Yet that education is not just information but also instruction on living out that information. Transformation is the key not just religious information that changes no one.
There may need to be correcting, rebuking and even separating if necessary. The leaders are to protect you while also protecting the Body of Christ from unrighteous and ungodly doctrine and behavior. Many come to church and want to take over with bad doctrine or personality. They seek self-centered reasons for sharing and controlling others.
Paul was weak in stature and physical presence but verbally and doctrinally strong and powerful.
We too need to educate, inform and edify the body and at the same time protect the Body from outside influence, people and ungodly doctrine! Be loving, compassionate and strong and at the same time, protecting the Body of Christ at all costs!
WE DO NOT WAR AFTER THE FLESH!
2Co 10:3 "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. 7 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's".
"Do ye look on things after the outward appearance" Paul asks! Yes, we seem to don't we and that is our problem. Most believers look at what can be healed or being blessed with money or a new car or some other material thing! We tend to walk by sight and not by faith!
Paul says that our war is not with what we can see or touch but with everything that we don't see and exalts itself against the knowledge of God! In other words, spiritual and mental things. Things that are within us and things that we lust for! That pride and thoughts that are constantly fighting within us! As Paul says in Romans 7 sin that dwells in my flesh "O WRETCHED MAN THAT I AM! WHO SHALL DELIVER ME!!!! WHO!
Christ is that WHO and you have been delivered but it is up to us to be responsible with what He has given us! We need to bring every thought captive, notice it says EVERY THOUGHT into obedience with our Lord's thinking! Every thought until Christ is formed in us!
The problem we have is that we don't want to "think" and work at "thinking"! We sometimes want the "spirit" to do ALL the work, but we must be willing to submit our "thinking" to the spirit and His word!!!
Don't be lazy with your thinking! Try to be your own counselor by analyzing your own thinking and then renew your mind and put on our Lord's mind and thoughts! After all you have the mind of Christ!
1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
2Co 9:5 "Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness. 6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver".
Once again Paul brings up giving but here, he says that they should have it prepared before he or anyone else gets there as he doesn't want anything to be looked at like he is coveting!
This is the thing that so many T.V. evangelist and many other pastors don't get and that is their coveting for money when they teach tithing or the prosperity message. They are coveting for more money, and this is sin and defrauding the Body of Christ. They hurt the real cause of the gospel to non-believers who can see through them. It is better to not ask then to keep teaching law and begging for more.
Now Paul goes on to say and just as important doesn't say and that is about tithing. Tithing is giving 10% and it is a number, a percent. Tithing was under the law, and we know we are not under the law. Gentiles never tithed to begin with so again we see the grace message and understanding being presented.
We can give to Who we want, When we want, as MUCH as we want!!! You are not under law to tithe and should give as you purpose in your heart, just be cheerful as you give!
BE HONEST AND LOVE!
2Co 8:21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
... 24 Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.
Being honest with one another is important. I have even seen pastors be dishonest with others and especially themselves.
We need to be transparent and vulnerable with one another. If we are hurting then just admit it, or if we are angry just say so it doesn't make it right to be angry, but we are being real. It doesn't change our relationship with God and hopefully builds a greater relationship with each other.
The body should be real and honest in all things and then a "proof of love" shown by one another. Listening, praying and talking with each other can be done at the very least.
Even though Paul is saying this as it relates to the church giving an offering to the other church this can be applied to us by the way we show love to others. We can say we love others but how do we prove it. First show up and be there for one another. Then listen, pray and talk with one another, and if needed give food, clothing, shelter or financially.
The Body is more than capable of serving to one another if we would just do it. Think of who you may be able to minister too as you go along in life this week than reach out and show the "the proof of your love"!
2Co 8:4 "Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
... 7 Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
... 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality":
Paul was proud that the gentile churches wanted to help the less fortunate Jewish saints. That they wanted to give on their own and to help those who needed it.
There was an "equality" among them meaning that they shared spiritual things with the gentiles through Jesus and that the gentile saints could give materially. They gave financially because they had received the message of salvation through their Messiah!
When one is given a gift, thank them for their giving. A word of thanks or a gift of some sort is a good thing to do. A gift is given voluntarily and not demanded then it would not be a gift any longer. Equality goes along ways and should be given when and if possible. Just as the rich give to the poor or a teacher to the student or the parent to the child and all should be thankful for what
God has given them and what the body has shared.
Buying and selling is the world's way while giving and receiving is in God's!
REFRESHED IN FELLOWSHIP!
2Co 7:13 "Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all. 14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. 15 And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how with fear and trembling ye received him. 16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things".
While we do not need a church fellowship to be saved nor do we need to serve or have a church "membership" to be in the "church" we can be and should be refreshed with likeminded believers!
Titus was refreshed by the church body, and they were comforted by him. There are those who say I don't go to church and I just watch so and so on T.V. but that is not fellowship.
We need each other for support, encouragement and building up in the word. No one person knows it all nor looks at themselves rightfully. We sometimes need someone to help us through a problem or correct us in our thinking. We may serve others or give counsel or give financially or meet some other need and at the very least we can pray for one another.
So go be refreshed in some sort of fellowship and that can look like a bible study, or it can be a church fellowship in a house or building and it does not need to be formal or big, it means spend time with likeminded grace teaching believers!
2Co 7:8 "For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. 9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter".
I am very aware that many of you have heard the word repent and believe it is to turn from sin, or to stop sinning, which is not true, while others do not believe in the word at all. So many "right dividers", "Pauline grace" folks would say which I wish they would stop saying is that we don't need to "repent" while the more traditional church goer would say "are you crazy of course you repent"!
The difference really comes from understanding what the word means first and then applying the word to daily life!
The word repent means "a change of mind"! It means instead of walking by the flesh we should walk by FAITH IN JESUS! It means to have a faithful mind not a sinful one, or from being self-centered to Spirit centered on Christ! It does not mean to stop sinning although when you walk by faith and by the Spirit you won't be sinning. Faith is the key and Faith in Christ alone is the point!
Now in applying that to daily life it is explained in scripture like this to "put-off and put-on"! To put off those dirty clothes and put on fresh clean ones you might say, but the clean clothes is not just "good behavior" OH NO, but rather Jesus! Put on the New man which has been spiritually transformed by the Holy Spirit BY FAITH!!!
Another way of saying it is to "renew" the mind by thinking what God has said is true in scripture. What he has done by His death on the cross and by His resurrection and that you are a New, regenerated saint in Christ! That you are deeply loved, totally accepted and completely forgiven! That you are a child of God that is redeemed, reconciled and righteous in Christ!
Repent is a great word if you know what it means and then "do" what it says with a zeal, desire and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ!
IN OUR HEARTS TO DIE AND LIVE WITH YOU!
2Co 7:2 "Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. 3 I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you".
Paul's Great Love for the church was so great that he put his life on the line constantly. Oh how I wish I had that attitude and heart and I would hope we ALL could have that attitude and heart!
It seems that so many church goers go to feel good for themselves or they are more consumed with their work and company they work for then they are about the church body. I relize that family comes first and that finacially the company supports them but we need to have a fire in us that puts a priority on the Body of Christ.
Paul would work as a tentmaker or take support from churches but either way the Body of Christ was always important!
He never took advantage or wronged or defrauded any one in order to gain personally. He had the heart of Christ for the Body of Christ and so I have to ask do I have that same heart for the church Christ Body?
2Co 7:1 "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Paul tells the church to "cleanse ourselves" but we know that we are cleansed spiritually by the Holy Spirit and that we cannot cleanse ourselves, so what is he saying?
He wants us to walk by faith and when we walk by faith and renew our minds, we will be cleansing our mind of the evil and lustful thoughts we have had. Our mind and heart will be on Christ and therefore our bodies will follow and then we will not "do" the "filthiness of our flesh!
Now Paul uses the word "spirit" here, but when used in this context he is saying the "spirit of our mind", or another word would be our thinking. Our Spirit is already saved and sanctified and therefore cleansed so he is talking about our Soul which contains our mind-will-emotions!
This process takes time but there must be a starting time. We may have a habit that controls us like smoking, drinking or drugs even, but slowly by renewing the mind and knowing that God's love is greater than the "love" for a smoke or drink or drug is greater, we can stop those things. By the way it can be different things for any of us, so we need to keep putting off and putting on
God's love and eventually we will have victory in those habits.
May God's love comfort you today!
BE YE SEPERATE!
2Co 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty".
We are told to not be like the world but to be Holy, Godly and righteous in this present time. We are to look different, not in dress necessarily but morally and behavior wise. We are to have a righteous standard not an unrighteous or ungodly one.
Are we perfect in practice NO but that does not mean we just say, "ok go ahead and sin either"!
I have heard pastors and Christian radio folks say that we are to separate from believers who walk in sin such as said in
1Cor. 5:11-12, and not separate from the world but that is not what Paul says at all! We are to separate from them and at the same time share the gospel of grace with them. We are to reach out yet keep our distance in thoughts and behavior. They will see the difference in our lifestyle if we keep our distance but lovingly help and talk about our Lord!
One last thing I have seen to many Christians who party or drink alcohol and think nothing of it and look and live like the world, and this is not separating from them but acting like them. If you look and act like the world, they don't necessarily see you as one of them they actually look down on you because they see you as a hypocrite and not faithful to what you say you are a "Christian"! If you can't stop drinking for God and the Body of Christ or for a witness to the lost, you just might be an alcoholic and worse not a believer in Christ at all!!!!
Think about it!
2Co 6:4 "But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things".
When I read this, I think WOW, WHO would go through this if they didn't believe it. Who would want to share a gospel at this sacrifice. In Acts 9 Jesus picked Paul and says he is a chosen vessel, and he will suffer...Act 9:16 "For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake".
And he sure did suffer but WOW what a witness for the world forever. Paul suffering was tremendous and all for us, so we would know the gospel!
I like the last verse here as sorrowful yet rejoicing and poor yet rich and that may be our situation. We may not have the riches of the world and we may be poor financially, but we can be the richest of all and rejoicing along the way!
You too may suffer for believing, sharing and knowing Christ but you are not alone, and HE IS WORTH IT!
GIVE NO OFFENCE!
2Co 6:3 "Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses",
It is funny how many times I have something on my mind and the scripture that I am going to use going verse by verse falls in line with my thoughts.
I often see those who understand the grace message given to Paul and who "rightly divide" be the most unloving, disrespectful and critical of all! Which just goes to show that you can know right doctrine but operate after the flesh! Always having to say something that corrects or teaches. Always having to point out the wrong or make sure the "i" is dotted or the "t" crossed with "right division".
Paul was trying to get across as he says in verse 3 "give no offence in WHAT, "ANYTHING"!!! Especially that the "ministry", the grace message, the law of LOVE message be not hindered!!! We are to be Ambassadors not dictators! We are to season our words not just vomit them out! While we may be right, we can still be wrong! Right in doctrine and wrong in attitude, sharing and love. We can be disrespectful while trying to bring others to the Lord which they see and feel the disrespectful attitude and it turns them away to the gospel.
We need to choose our words carefully how we approach and say things and even then, we will still offend but we should be quick to seek forgiveness. Don't be rude just because you know more than others or are trying to teach them something.
Be a minister which means servant not a god who demands!
2Co 6:1 "We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation".)
NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION!
Paul was concerned that the Corinthians had missed the grace of God. That it was in vain meaning not received and empty and as one who said they were saved yet without the fruit of that grace!
There are many that go to church today that are like this. There is no fruit to their lives and I am not talking about a ministry or teaching but rather a Christ centered attitude and heart. A selfless lifestyle and a devout heart for the Lord!
We are not promised another day of life. We never know when we may be taken from this world. Our granddaughter was only 23 when she died of a brain aneurysm. She had a 2-year-old son and was a single mom and full of life it seemed.
So "TODAY" is a good day to come to the Lord! "TODAY" is the day to embrace God's grace! "TODAY" is the day to walk by faith! TODAY, TODAY, TODAY!!!
Whatever it is that you need to do, do it TODAY!
AN EXCHANGED LIFE!
One of the greatest verses in all the bible! Jesus became sin meaning the sacrifice for sin, that we might be made righteous through Him!
2Co 5:21 "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him".
You see the exchanged life; He became what we were, and we became as He is so that we may be reconciled to God. That we can be blameless and Holy, before God. So that we may be able to come to God and approach His throne and be Holy as He is Holy! Only through Christ are we able to do this and only through Christ may we be perfect spiritually speaking.
So, when believers say they are still dirty rotten sinners they actually are spitting in the face of what Christ has done for us. They are not understanding this verse nor who they are today in Christ!
Stop thinking and calling yourself " a sinner" because you are a saint, since Jesus became your sin, and He paid the price and made you righteous before God in Him!
Thats like being adopted but still calling yourself an orphan without a father!!! AND by the way You were adopted, and you are no longer an orphan and you do have a FATHER!!!!
RECONCILED THEREFORE AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST!
By faith in Christ death and resurrection we have been reconciled to God! No longer do we need to fear God or work hard to be accepted by Him for we are accepted and approved through our Lord Jesus!
2Co 5:18 "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God".
Now there is a false doctrine that says we are ALL reconciled we just need to believe and have salvation, but that is false no one is reconciled to God without faith! Only believers are forgiven and are reconciled to God and because we are reconciled to God, we are then made ambassadors for Christ!
An ambassador is one who represents, stands for and spreads the word about the one who is in authority. Jesus is our authority and commends us to do His work.
You represent Christ Dear Saint, so do it in the purity, position and power you have in Him!
Christ died for all for all of were dead! How plain can it be that we were all dead in sin and that Christ must die for all!
2Co 5:13 "For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. 14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: 15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again. 16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new".
So then, the opportunity to come to Him by faith may be available to all, but not all will receive by faith! But those that do have become NEW! No longer dead but alive spiritually and therefore a NEW CREATURE, no longer a dead creature but one who is ALIVE IN CHRIST!
That is true of ALL believers and have received the very LIFE OF CHRIST within! Just as Jesus died and rose to life so we too have come from death to life in Him!
Being a NEW creature means all the shame of your past is gone, so walk in faith and in newness of life. When you do sin now the shame of that is on the cross and so Walk as a NEW CREATURE and STOP living in shame!!!
FAITH BRINGS CONFIDENCE IN OUR FUTURE!
The believer has the security of the Spirit, and therefore we can walk by faith and in confidence of our future.
2Co 5:5 "Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord".
The lost and unbelieving have not the spirit and therefore cannot walk by faith and must live in bondage to fear!
While we walk by faith, we can desire to be with the Lord yet be patient and minister to whoever we can and bring them to Christ! Our thoughts should be at peace, while anxiously waiting to be with the Lord!
OUR GREAT HOPE!
What hope we have that we will someday be able to be with our Lord in heaven.
2Co 5:1 "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life".
I sometimes don't know how unbelievers make it through the day without this great hope! What a sad thing to be laying on your death bed wondering where you will be soon. What fear, what misery, what sadness would overcome a person in that position. I pray for them!
BUT NOT US for we are saved and do have a home and a place with the creator of this universe, and we will SING and REJOICE with JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD AND SAVIOUR!!!!
Don't fear loved ones but look forward to it! Don't be wanting out of his life so bad for you have a ministry to fulfill yet looking forward to the new great adventure in our heavenly dwelling!
Inward and Eternal!
Since the beginning of time man has looked for "things" he can see to bring some sort of salvation and comfort. Some sort of justification from sin and some great feeling of peace and joy! But that comfort, joy and peace only comes from the Lord and only through the inward man! It is not seen and is eternal for it deals with the spiritual part of man.
2Co 4:16 "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal".
We need to stop seeking at things that deal with our senses. Sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch are our 5 senses that we tend to look for that comfort, peace and joy! We look at our spouse or kids or even grandkids for pleasure and joy instead of having it within from the Lord. We seek it through work, even ministry or financial security, but all this will be empty without the Lord Jesus!
Even in the church which still looks at water baptism or communion of food or some other ordinance for comfort, peace and joy instead of the Lord!
Keep your eyes on the things you cannot see like heaven, spirit and most importantly Jesus for only He is eternal!
MY LIFE VERSE!
If I am asked what my life verse is, I always tell them this is it.
2Co 4:15 "For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God".
Why you might say, well Paul says I do all things for your sake, for others sake, or for the body's sake! That God's grace is known and that those who know this great grace give thanks and bring glory to God!
We who are saved and know Christ as our Lord should always be thankful, for it is by His grace that we are saved and therefore always brings glory to God!
I minister because I am so thankful for His love and mercy and life that He has given me, and my hope and desire is that you will too! Always be thankful for what Christ has given you, which is His Life, that eternal life!
That Jesus may manifest in our body!
2Co 4:6 "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ".
Knowing that we have this light within us and that we too may have the power of God working through us, and that "treasure" in our "earthen vessel" meaning in our spirit that is in our body may manifest our Lord!
2Co 4:7 "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body".
While we might not suffer the way Paul had suffered, our goal would be that Jesus may manifest in our attitude, behavior and lifestyle! That His love would shine though us to bring salvation, life and hope to a dying world and that they may know our Lord Jesus Christ!
When you do suffer count it all joy that you may have an opportunity to share the gospel of Christ and through your weakness, He is glorified!!!
FOR WE PREACH JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD!!!
Paul's ministry which we are to know and follow says this,...we will not be dishonest or crafty or handle the word of God deceitfully!
2Co 4:1 "Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. 3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of
God, should shine unto them. 5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ".
So many today handle the word deceitfully and manipulate the word for gain! The T.V. evangelist use it to make money and to control! The churches and pastors that teaches that we are under law and they both misuse the healings to gain even more power, authority and money over the audience! Sadly, to many fall prey to these folks.
There will be those who will not hear and submit to the gospel but there will many that will so don't stop sharing with people.
So, keep preaching (proclaiming) Jesus Christ as Lord, and that salvation is by grace and accessed by faith alone! We add nothing to salvation and all that comes under the revelation of the mystery only!
FREEDOM BY THE SPIRIT!
Liberty means freedom and there is freedom by the Spirit of the Lord!
2Co 3:17 "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord".
Through the Spirit that abides in us we have freedom in our spirit. Our Spirit is now alive and free of death! Our Spirit is one with our Lord and Saviour and is Holy and Righteous because He is Holy and righteous!
Our flesh still sins but our Spirit is sanctified meaning set apart from our flesh and in Christ for eternity! OH, the freedom that we have through Jesus is so great! We are free of guilt, shame and fear through the Spirit and works of the cross of Christ! We are free from rejection as we now belong to Him! We no longer need to perform to be accepted or approved of!
We are the image of our Lord Spiritually speaking and we have the same value as He does as He is the one who makes us valuable!
Oh, how I wish all to be saved and made into His image and to know this great freedom in Christ! Give God the glory and pray for the lost and that live in bondage!
The Spirit is Glorious!
Paul says the law is the ministration of condemnation and it was glorious how much more the ministration of righteousness which comes by the Spirit be Glorious!
2Co 3:8 "How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? 9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory".
Glorious means "that which is Holy, perfect and worthy of praise"! It means the most just, pure right and true which is righteousness and all that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! It means that which belongs to our Most high God! It is His Majesty the King of kings and Lord of lords, and we have all that in us by the Holy Spirit!
Sadly, Paul goes onto to explain the sad fact that Israel is still blinded by the veil of unbelief!
... 13 "And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: 14 But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. 15 But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart".
Rejoice Dear Saint for you have the righteousness of God within you by the Holy Spirit!!!
Let us worship and give Jesus the glory, praise and honor He deserves today!
NOT BY LAW BUT BY SPIRIT!!!
Paul once again defends His ministry by saying,
2Co 3:1 "Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? 2 Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: 3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart".
You see how people get so jumbled by law things they can see and read! They want a law so they know what to do or not do so they can say they are just before God, but Paul says it is by the Spirit not law!
... 6 "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious"?
Now when Paul uses the phrase the "new Testament" here he is illuding to the Spirit that God said would come with the new testament but make no mistake that the "new" testament was given to Israel and was prophesied.
Jer 31:31 "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people".
Eze 11: "19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God".
The church today which is called the Body of Christ and to the gentile world was not known, it was a mystery remember but we receive the benefits of this new testament that is the Holy Spirit! Remember in Jer 33 He says I put my "LAW" in your inward parts, but we are not under law! We never had the law and while we benefit of the Spirit we are not under that same covenant!
God is the law giver and the law keeper and also, He who takes away the Law! Our salvation and life will always be by the Holy Spirit not by following the law!
Corrupting the Word of God!
There are many who have corrupted the word of God through History.
2Co 2:17 "For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ".
Satan started it in Gen. 3 by telling Eve she would not die and that she would be like God! He manipulated and twisted God's word just enough to make it sound possible, but it changed the world from that point on!
Throughout history we have seen many including the leaders of Israel manipulate the word for personal gain and to have power and control!
Then we know that many changed the written word by actually changing the bible to different versions, even changing the manuscripts at one point.
And now we have the prosperity, name it and claim it and Calvinist corrupting the word of Grace! We have many who continue to preach law and do not recognize the dispensation or mystery message given to Paul! The Catholic church teaches works, mysticism and transubstantiation which means that the bread and wine actually change into the body and blood of Christ! They over emphasize ordinances which are only a shadow instead Jesus Himself especially according to the revelation of the mystery given to Paul!
And many, many other church denominations corrupt the word of God instead of teaching and living in the freedom that we have in Christ! That freedom that comes from the revelation of the mystery given to Paul! That freedom that comes from Jesus and lives in us. That freedom that says simply Jesus + nothing! That freedom that says that you are a child of God who is deeply loved, totally accepted and completely forgiven in Christ Jesus alone!!!
Don't stray from the simplicity in Christ,
2Co 11:3 "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ".
You are a sweet-smelling fragrance unto God!
When we lived in the mountains of Colorado, I used to love the smell of the fireplaces burning. I can still smell it at times and miss the pines trees and smell and that part of that cold mountain air in the Rockies!
Well Paul tells us we too are a sweet savour which means fragrance or smell unto God through Christ! Because of our Lord Jesus being within us we reflect His very being and that is a pleasing fragrance to God! God sees Christ in us and that pleases Him!
2Co 2:14 "Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ".
Now God has given us the victory over death through Jesus and therefore we triumph in His life! And that triumph, that victory, that savour is within us and shows everywhere we go! We are a new creature and the light and fragrance of Jesus shines through us!
This is an identity truth so don't forget that God loves you and you bring Him joy because you are in His Son our Lord Jesus!
Yesterday I wrote on forgiveness and while separating is necessary, forgiveness is just as important! We are told in
Eph 4:32 to forgive as Christ forgave us. So, we are to "extend" forgiveness always, but we may still need to separate from the person depending on other factors! But now let's talk about what happens if we don't extend forgiveness even to those to whom we separate from!
Satan can use that unforgiveness to create bitterness and hate toward others. He can use it to allow pride to overcome us and then we become the judge that judges!
2Co 2:10 "To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; 11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices".
Don't be fooled by thinking we can't be sucked into Satan's devices as so many times we don't even realize it. Separating is ok but not in hate or malice toward others. Remember this that NOT forgiving is just as much a sin as the offence toward you by the other person!
Always no matter what forgive by going to God for He is "the judge" who can forgive and then discern what to do from there. Remember forgiveness is NOT accepting or approving of the person or the offence against you. It is simply being obedient to God and freeing you up to live victorious and righteously in Christ!
FORGIVENESS FOR A REPENTANT MAN!
Paul had already sent a strong rebuke and correction letter in 1 Corinthians, so now he is saying he does not want to do that again if it is not needed.
2Co 2:1 "But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness".
Now if you remember from reading my devotion and looking at scripture in 1 Corinthians 5 that the man was having an affair with his stepmom, and Paul told the church to separate from him. NOW he is saying to forgive and receive him back in as he had repented which means to have a change of mind! So, he admitted his wrong and had come to Christ by faith and now was a different man!
... 4 "For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. 5 But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. 6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. 7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;"
There is a lot to learn from this as we too should separate from believers who live an immoral, godless life but when they have truly repented and proven that out with actions then we should receive them back into the fellowship! We should always extend forgiveness and not be bitter but stay separated, until their heart and mind has changed with action as well as words.
You see if the man would have just said he was wrong but continued in the affair then he had NOT changed and repented by faith unto Christ! He would have still been the same man, prideful and arrogant and not humble and Godly!
While works do not save us they do express our faith and to "WHOM" we serve, ourselves or Christ!
Helpers of your Joy!
Paul was a "helper of joy" meaning he served and taught them about Christ, and they had the joy of being in Christ!
In Christ it is always a win-win issue! We always win when we receive, renew and rest in the Lord! It is a joy to be in Christ even when the issues of life may not seem so joyful!
2Co 1:19 "For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea. 20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth. 24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand".
All of God's great promises are found in Christ! Eternal life is found in Christ as well as a heavenly place for us today! We are Sealed, secure and sanctified forever in Him!
Give God the Glory saints and be a "helper of joy" to others!
Be Comforted in Christ!
When teaching or counseling I often ask folks what the theme of the book we are about to study. Every book has a theme of some sort, and the theme of 2 Corinthians are in the verses below, see if you can get it!!!
2Co 1:3 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation".
If you said "comfort" you got it!!! We are comforted by God in Christ Jesus and then we can comfort others! We allow the Holy Spirit to minister to us and make us secure so that we can serve others. We can comfort them by telling them about Jesus and how they too can go to Him and be saved and secure in Him!
Now that consolation which means to console and bring comfort too someone may look like and be just sitting with someone at the hospital or when they have chemo. It maybe consoling someone after they have lost a loved one or giving food and shelter to someone in need. It could be a thousand different things, but it is always to bring the love of the Lord Jesus to their hearts that is important.
Be comforted by putting on God's love on and then comfort others with that same love!
Grace and Love!
1Co 16:22 "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha".
Paul tells us that any man that does not love the Lord Jesus Christ is Anathema which means "cursed" and then Maranatha which means "judged by the Lord who has come"!
All men have the opportunity to come to Christ! They do not have to die and go to hell, but they can have eternal life if they will just humble themselves and receive eternal life through Christ by faith!
Each of us has a will to choose and no one else can make that choice for you!
Paul closes this book to the Corinthians with the words that touch our hearts so much!
...23 "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. 24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen."
Grace and Love to you all today!!!
Watch, Stand and be Men!!!
Paul tells the Corinthians to "watch" meaning be alert to our thoughts and what is going on within as well around us!
1Co 16:13 "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. 14 Let all your things be done with charity. 15 I beseech you, brethren, (ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints,) 16 That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to every one that helpeth with us, and laboureth."
He tells them to stand fast in faith which means to be faithful and immovable in Christ! To always put Christ first in thought and heart.
Then he tells them to act like men and be strong yet in love! Honorable Men can be firm, faithful and strong by being sober minded yet always with the concern for others! The concern should be for their spiritual being in other words are they saved and if so, are they grounded in Christ! Is Christ formed in them as it says in Gal 4:19 "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,"
We too should strive to be strong, faithful and sober minded! We too should watch and discern the times and behavior and ploys of the enemy that works in men!
We then are told to submit to those who lead as they submit to Christ! Don't forget that leaders are just men like our own fathers who are in a position to lead their families but are not always perfect!
As we continue through Corinthians we come to the last chapter, and it begins with issue of giving! Paul tells them to take a collection to give to the saints in Jerusalem.
1Co 16:1 "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. 2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 3 And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem. 4 And if it be meet that I go also, they shall go with me."
Now this is not a tithe but a giving of freewill! This is how we are to give today. We give "what" we can, "when" we can, to "whom" we want to give too! This can be to widows and orphans as well as the poor and needy and then to those who minister the word of God!
Now there are always those that say, "well we need to tithe so we can pay the church bills and keep the electricity on and so forth..."! Well to those I say were does it say in the bible you need a church building or to go into debt with a mortgage on some church building.
You see we have it backwards the church should meet where it can afford to by freewill giving not by compulsion or brow beating the law to pay for something. Don't use the law to pay for things and hurt people. I know some denominations tell their people they must pay a tithe and if they don't, they show up at your house to figure out why you haven't been paying.
This is why I believe in and love house churches. There is don't debt and 100% of what comes in can go to one of those 4 areas I mentioned above. Someone might say "what if you outgrow the house", well you can then create another house church with another leader or you can rent something that you can afford easily or like we have gone to a guy's barn which was a hanger for airplanes at one time.
The point is that we don't make financial giving a burden and we give in the freedom we now have in Christ!
Resurrection of the dead!
Paul had to deal with those who did not believe in the resurrection of Christ and the resurrection of the dead!
1Co 15:12 "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. ...17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."
There will always be scoffers who say when we die, we are just dust and that is all there is to life! But we have a better hope and believe that Jesus rose from the dead and that we too will be resurrected like Him!
...20 "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept,
...49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
... 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
If we are wrong, we have lost nothing but if they are wrong, they have lost everything! There is a resurrection, and we will be with Christ for eternity, so walk by faith in this great hope!
PAUL, BORN OUT OF DUE TIME!!!
Paul says that Jesus rose and then was seen by Peter and the 12and then 500 all at once!
1Co 15:5 "And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. 9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. 11 Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed."
Paul says he was like one born out of due time which means he was not following Christ as the 12 were yet he was saved and became an Apostle! Now Paul's ministry was different than the others as he had persecuted the church, he tried to destroy it, yet He came to the Lord and was the vessel unto grace!
Paul worked hard and his ministry was great and spread unto the gentile world, yet He was always humble about it. He knew how important it was yet also knew it was by God's grace and power!
As he says in verse 11 "Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed." so should we also! Preach Jesus according to the mystery, under grace so others may come to believe!
THE GOSPEL FOR TODAY!!!
If there is one thing you remember out of my devotionals this would be it, "The Gospel for today"! Gospel means "good news" and while there are several different gospels in the bible, this is ours for today!
1Co 15:1 "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"
We received, and believed and we are saved by this gospel, it is without works and completely by faith!
Christ died for our sins and was buried and then rose again, that's it! No more works, law, ordinances or anything else, just
faith + nothing!
Share this scripture with as many as you can! Share it with your kids, grandkids and neighbors! Share it at work, grocery store or doctor's office! Tell others they too can have life everlasting by this gospel! Preach it, Teach it and yell from the roof tops that Jesus loves them so much that He DIED FOR THEIR SINS and ROSE TO GIVE THEM ETERNAL LIFE!!!
A certain order is important in things. Discipline is important to keep order, but order should not be so regimented to the point that the spirit does not exist which is what you see in many orthodox churches!
1Co 14:34 "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 37 If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 38 But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. 39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40 Let all things be done decently and in order."
Here Paul address women in speaking in the church. Now Paul is not saying women must were tape on their mouths when they enter the church building but rather that they not be causing problems and trying to control nor gossip in church. That they should respect their husbands and church.
Now I have experienced folks who take this too extreme as all who walk in law do. We see this in the Amish and ana-Baptist fellowships where they sit separately and do not talk. I have had people who would not talk to me anymore after reading this verse and then "ONLY" will they talk to their husbands for advice and counsel. The problem is the husbands don't know the word in fact the wives knew it better than they did.
While the word of God has boundaries, we should not make a law out of everything to bring order.
THAT ALL MAY LEARN!
1Co 14: "29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30 If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."
The word prophesy here means teach and Paul was saying teach that all may learn! Teaching others the word of God by preaching Jesus according to the mystery is what is important today! Teaching and training others to live in the freedom that is found in Christ alone is what is needed today, not false religious or supernatural signs that only attract and stimulate the flesh!
Notice Paul says God is not the author of confusion, but we have so much confusion in the church today! There is confusion because churches do not teach according to the mystery but according to Law, tradition and both fall into seminaries!!!
We need more teachers who are willing to be taught and discipled by Paul's pattern and to bring unity to the Body of Christ by simply teaching the mystery message simply!
1 Corinthians is about unity and takes out all the legalism and differences by eliminating all the confusion!
Tongues vs Prophesy!
There are churches that believe in speaking in tongues as a sign of salvation and some who just practice it. BOTH are wrong and do not understand the scripture according to the revelation of the mystery.
1Co 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. 2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. 3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
Paul has already said in Chapter 13 that the gift of tongues will cease when that which is perfect has come meaning the word of God! Now there is no need for signs and especially tongues!
... 14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful. ... 19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
Tongues edifieth the person and is a sign to the unbeliever not believer. Since Paul's books address believers only there is no need for tongues, nor do they edify the Body of Christ! Prophesy is teaching and it edifieth the Body! Teaching builds the Body not signs! Teaching is needed for the believer to grow in faith!
... 22 Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe. 23 If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad? 24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.
Don't be fooled and taken in by those who say they speak in tongues nor those who say you must speak in tongues to prove you are saved! They are just seeking attention and are immature in faith!
Teaching is what is needed for the Body today and it builds up and matures the Body of Christ!
Oh, how it would be fun to be a kid again! To play and run and have fun with no real responsibilities! But eventually we all grow up and must deal with reality and that life is not easy all the time. We have responsibilities and need to love and serve others who sometimes don't want to help!
Paul says here in 1Co 13:8 "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity."
At first this does not seem important and in some ways, it seems not to relate very well but what Paul is getting across is things like prophecy meaning to tell the future as well as the gifts of tongues and knowledge and the other gifts will all stop, and all that matters is being saved in Christ and loving others!
Before the word of God was complete, he was a child but now we are adults and do not need signs to show us and save us and see our Lord Jesus! Signs can get in the way of faith! Signs were used to show the power and real Lord but now only the cross of Christ is needed.
Love is the key and the greatest gift we can give!
My Father is Love!
This is a great description of love, and we know that God is love!
1Co 13:4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
If God is love, then we could exchange the word Charity for "My Father" and read this way "my Father suffereth long and My Father is kind! My Father envieth not and my Father vaunteth not and my Father is not puffed up! You see charity and our Heavenly Father are the same!
Notice it says that Charity does not rejoice in iniquity but rejoiceth in truth and this is our Father's character too! Love is always righteous and always rejoices with truth!
Jesus is said to be "full of grace and truth" and the truth of charity is found in Jesus!
If you have struggled in life with your earthly father than look at your Heavenly Father and tell yourself the truth that is in this passage over and over, for HE is LOVE!!!
1 Cor.13 maybe the most popular scripture of all next to John 3:16. Why, because it talks about love, and we all want to be loved and as believers we want to love others as scriptures says!!
1Co 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
The problem I see so often in the church is that we mistake worldly love for Godly love! The word charity is different than our normal worldly love. We often cheapen the word love to mean anything I lust for like "I love ice cream"!!!
The word in Greek is "Agape" which is God's love after all the bible says in 1 John 4:8 "GOD IS LOVE"! God is love and God is righteous and so without righteousness it is not love!
Notice it says in the verse above in verse 3, "I give to the poor or I burn my body", these things look spiritual and sacrificial, but it does not mean it is love nor righteous because it may be self-centered and lustful!
Just like the Corinthians did in Chapters 4-5 they thought they were "loving" the man who was with his stepmom, but it was not righteous, and they were "puffed-up" with pride and not loving but selfish!
Love is God, and from God and it is never self-centered!!! The word of God tells us what is righteous and what is not, yet our "feelings and thinking" may twist things to make it seem right. Be honest with yourself and check your heart and motives to see if your "loving" others or yourself!
Do you ever say to yourself "I feel good for doing this thing" as if doing something to "feel" good is important and love!
Spiritually Baptized into one Body!
I have already shared about the issue of water baptism in the first chapter and here in 12 we see the only baptism for today! We who are saved are Spiritually baptized into one Body and that Body is Christ!
1Co 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.
We are all members of one body as it says Eph 4:4. No longer called sheep as Israel was called but rather members of Christ! We are His hands, feet and voice you might say. We are His Body that moves across this earth not as one nation but as a living organism that has no boundaries.
Now as members of one body we are all valuable and important. Paul uses the example of eyes and hearing and smelling because they are all important to the human body! And while the voice may get attention and credit for things the toes keep the body balanced you might say. While the heart is important to the body the kidneys, liver and lungs are just as important!
... 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
You are saved and spiritually baptized into Christ Body and therefore important so don't forget to do your part to keep this body in shape!
SIGNS, GIFTS AND SPIRITUAL STUFF!
Paul now goes to another issue of unity but is so often today misused as it was then, GIFTS!
1Co 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
The gifts were used to show "Gentiles" that were carried away by dumb idols, that there was a God! By the way they were also used to show Israel the same thing and this is why Paul tells them they Jews look for a sign!
1Co 12:2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
Now gifts and not a sign of maturity as these Corinthians were carnal remember from chapter 3. In fact, if you look at those who believe in and practice tongues you see a lot of immaturity! Anytime we look for an external sign of God we are acting fleshly and immature. No longer are signs needed as Paul says in
Rom 8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
If you notice that as revelation continued in the bible, it moves away from what you can see which are signs to faith in what you can't see! The cross of Christ can no longer be seen but we can read His word which tells us about the love of the Father to mankind and shown by the cross of Christ! (Romans 5:8)
... 4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
These supernatural gifts are no longer needed or used in the same way as then. Even Paul stopped healing as he could not heal himself nor other Apostles who were sick, but it is obvious that there are those who can teach, counsel, serve.... and minister to the body of Christ in different ways! All of us can minister to the body in some form and in some way and all it takes is our hearts to yield to the Holy Spirit and then to walk in love.
Paul is still talking about unity or divisions depending on how you approach it. Now on the issue of "communion" as it is called in some churches, we still see division. Now let me say this is a topic that some of you will not like and disagree with me but I hope you will get the full picture and at least think about it.
1Co 11:17 Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 18 For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. 20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. ...
Paul explains again that there are divisions when they come together in fellowship, but some were using it to "pig out"! They came only for themselves, and Paul uses the illustration of what Jesus had told him about the communion that they had back in the day with the 12 apostles.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
But this illustration is only for them to see the "bigger" picture. This is not about food or a "communion supper" oh no, this is about their heart! How do eat something that is unworthily and goes against "food"! You see the bread represents the Body and the drink represents the blood and they both mean the ONENESS IN CHRIST BODY, THE CHURCH!!! Communion actually is the Greek word "Koinonia" which means fellowship and intimacy.
We know that Paul has said there are no ordinances today from the book of Colossians and that the "Lord's supper was to Israel and the apostles before the cross and Holy Spirit upon man. Gentiles never were told to do this because there was no need to do this, we are in Christ! We have NO dietary restrictions, and we have no ordinances this is talking about UNITY! This is talking about the heart of man and the Body of Christ! This is about giving not taking and how we love one another!
... 33 Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
The word "tarry" means to accept and wait on one another! It means to think of others before yourself! It means to be in UNITY loving one another in the Body of Christ! So, when you come together in anything be aware of others needs not your own!
Continuing in Corinthians chapter by chapter and as I said before 1 Corinthians is about unity and has some hard issues. They are all easy to fix and bring unity if we allow our thinking to be open to what Paul is teaching.
In verse one Paul's says follow me and then says in verse
1Co 11:2 "Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you."
Now these ordinances he is speaking about has nothing to do with external ordinances that was given to Israel. These are ordinances about fellowship and sin such as fornication and things like this. These ordinances are not about Temple worship, priesthood or water baptism as we discussed in 1Cor. 1 and 12 as well as Eph. 4:5 but these are about the internal heart and mind and how we are to love one another!
The issues are things that divide based on law. for instance, head coverings!
...3 "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head. 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven."
Notice that a man that covers his head dishonored his head!!! Now a good Jew would never have his head uncovered would they! I actually had seen a Rabi in Atlanta after a shooting in a synagogue come out with his hand over his head to act as his hat, he had lost during the shooting! He was just getting shot at, but it was important to have his head covered, WOW!
So, men don't need to cover their heads, yet women do need to have a head covering!
...6 "For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. 7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man."
But guess what YOU ALREADY HAVE IT!!! IT IS YOUR HAIR!!!
... 14 "Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering".
So, men are not to have long hair and look feminine and women are to have longer hair and not look like a man. Now in today's time women cut their hair short but not necessarily to look like man but to have less hair and work. They still look feminine and that is the point!!!! To add some may lose their hair to chemo or some other problem.
Issue solved UNITY! Don't get caught up in the legalism that so many push on the church!
1Co 11:1 "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ".
Paul was not bragging here nor was he saying he was above Jesus, as so many like to accuse him of doing. I have people say to me all the time "I follow Jesus not Paul" but you see Jesus picked Paul and gave Paul the doctrine for today!!!
Jesus says this in Act 9:15 "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:"
Notice who said this "THE LORD" and He said Paul was His chosen vessel!
Paul also says this in Rom 11:13 "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:"
Paul is our Apostle, and that authority was given to him by Jesus!
I have a friend who was brought up Catholic and she says that they rarely speak of Paul and never in the same light as Peter or even Jesus earthly ministry but both Jesus earthly and Peters ministry was to Israel and both under law!
Without Paul's letters we would never know the gospel of grace or the revelation of the mystery. We would not know that we are saved by faith alone or that we are justified, reconciled and righteous in Christ! We would not know that we are loved and forgiven, and we would still be working to be accepted under the law and under Israel! So, you see Paul's ministry needs to be OVER emphasized and not overlooked.
So read Paul's letters and understand the doctrine for today! Read Romans through Philemon over and over and study them. Make these books of greater importance and follow Paul as he followed Jesus!
Remember this If you don't follow Paul, then you don't follow Jesus!!!
Give Glory to God!
Paul encourages us to do all things to the glory of God! This means in anything and everything we do God should be on our minds!
1Co 10:31 "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved".
Now we shouldn't think and have the idea that I have to do this thing right because I will be punished, but rather do it to bring God glory!
Then Paul says to "give no offence" to others! Now this is something that many saints miss, because they are either thinking they are in grace so they can say or act how they want, or they are so self-centered they don't have a clue! Actually, both are self-centered and have to do with acting independent of God and being their "own god"! If they are saved, they are carnal and most likely they are not saved!
Now why should we not offend so that we may "please all men" not being selfish but to bring them to Christ! Now this pleasing man is not men pleasing were we do things to win them over and are afraid to share the gospel but rather we don't go out of our way to offend. Freedom in Christ we have but don't misuse that freedom for selfish gain!
As you go about your day and work, be thankful and think about God and do all things to bring glory to God!
EDIFY THE BODY!
1Co 10:23 "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not."
This is one of the greatest verses in the bible that few believers know or understand!
Since we are under grace the tendency is to think we can do whatever we want, so if that means I have the freedom I can do it which is true, but does it "EDIFY" others!!!!!
Edify means to "build up, encourage, exhort and to help and promote others to walk in holiness, godliness and righteousness in Christ"!
You cannot do that if you're drinking, cussing or rude! You cannot do that if you're fornicating and living with another without being married, or a homosexual or hating. You cannot do this if we want the attention all the time. Today's church folks are even more self-centered than ever before while trying to look spiritual. The tattoos, hair, clothing and not to mention the plastic surgeries and body changes so many go through for "Attention"!
I believe one of the biggest misconceptions of most believers is that this "salvation I have" is only for myself therefore I am ok with what I am doing without regards to others.
This life that Christ gave you within is a Temple and to be treated respectfully to Christ, but it is also a way of building up and edifying the Body of Christ in Holiness! Let us not lose sight of serving others while we walk in the freedom we have in Christ!
The Union of the Body!
In this part of Corinthians Paul moves into another issue of unity. Most saints read these verses and think about the Lord's supper and food like juice and bread. If you remember as I have said before that there are no ordinances today so what is this about! Well, this is about the unity of the Body in the issue of idolatry!
1Co 10:14 "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. 15 I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? 17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread."
You see we are one bread meaning one Body and that is Christ! We are united and saved as one by the blood of Christ! We are one Body in Christ and do not seek to be united to some other idol! We are one body that does not need another sacrifice because Christ has been sacrificed for us!
18 "Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar? 19 What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing? 20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. 21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord's table, and of the table of devils. 22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?"
While giving food to idols is not as common as then we still can have idols. I know for me little things can be a great comfort and I find great pleasure in them and therefore they can become idols. Be aware of your tendencies to become comfortable in life to the point where those things become what you need and want more than Christ.
Time Past Example!
I am now into chapter 10 of Corinthians and remembering that the theme is unity. Paul moves onto addressing other things and chapter 10 begins with this,
1Co 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
Now notice he says they were baptized into Moses! That means an identification into Moses. It means they were immersed in that doctrine that Moses would teach from God. It was also a "dry" baptism by the way, and as I taught in 1Cor. 1 that Paul was told not to baptize but to preach the cross! I showed that there is only One baptism Eph 4:5 and it is Spiritual 1Cor. 12:13!
But what is important here is the things that were in "time past" as it say in Eph.2:11-12 were for our learning. We are not to live in law nor to identify with Moses, but we identify with Christ death and resurrection and to not lust as they lusted for evil things. Lust is sin and comes from our flesh and is trying to be our own god and not submitting to God!
We can lust for anything even love but we are saved and redeemed and can choose to renew our minds and walk after the Spirit that lives within us! Don't live in the past but live in the present by faith in Christ!
A SERVANT UNTO ALL!
Paul was free from all men in the sense that he did not answer to them, yet he made himself a servant to all.
1Co 9:19 "For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law."
In other words, he served those that were under law! Paul was a Jew and ministered to Jews under the law, but we gentiles never had the law and were not under law!
Rom 2:14 "For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:"
Rom 6:14 "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace."
In the dispensation of grace today there is no one who needs to do the law! The Jew comes to Christ the same way a gentile does and that is by the cross of Christ without works of the law and by faith alone!
We too want to serve as Paul did meaning to share the gospel of grace according to the revelation of the mystery. Share your testimony and share the cross of Christ to a lost world. Start with your family, friends or neighbors and gently and lovingly tell them about Jesus Christ death, burial and resurrection which is really saying Jesus Loves You!
Paul The Apostle!
Paul was constantly having to prove his apostleship!
1Co 9:1 "Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord? 2 If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. 3 Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, 4 Have we not power to eat and to drink? 5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?"
He is our apostle today to the Body of Christ!
Rom 11:13 "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:"
To add we are told that he had the freedom and authority to have a wife. Some churches teach that those who are in authority cannot be married. Which not only goes against scripture but nature and God's creation!
Paul also says shouldn't I be paid for sharing the gospel and spiritual things. A pastor should be if possible compensated for his work, but it should not be demanded nor should it be the reason for preaching the gospel.
1Co 9:11 "If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? ... 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel."
Paul was saying don't I have the "right" and yes, he had the right, but he did not exercise that right and was willing to lose in order for God to gain!
1Co 9:15 "But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void."
We all have many rights in life but that does not mean we need to exercise them! Be willing to lose in order to win!
Diet in the Christian life!
By now you would think that most believers today would say we can eat whatever we want and there are no dietary restrictions, but there are still those who live by the law! Paul says in
1Co 8:8 "But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse".
There are no dietary restrictions today for the believer. If you like pork then be free to eat it and if you don't like some foods, you are under no obligation to eat., as Jesus said it is not what goes in but what comes out of the mouth that defiles a man!
Mat 15:11 "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man".
Now if you have physical problems or just feel better eating vegetables or fruit and not meat there is nothing wrong with that as long as you don't make it a law and push on others. We who enjoy eating different meats should not push meat on others either if we know they don't eat it, so the idea is to be sensitive to others without making a law out of anything.
Now this chapter addresses food offered in sacrifice to idols and I don't know or think of any place or group that will do this, but we are told not to participate if we know of this going on.
But I do think that the last verse here is a good verse regardless of food and diet and that is the fact that when we sin against other, we sin against Christ!
1 Cor 8:12 "But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ".
Keep that in mind but enjoy eating as you please.
There are those churches and teachers who say that you shouldn't get married and make it a law, but then there are those who say you should get married and then have as many children as you can, they want them to build the "Kingdom of God", But neither should be demanded and made into law!
Paul says here in
1Co 7:28 "But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you".
So what Paul is saying is that it is ok to marry but yes you may have problems because you have another person in your life to deal with.
Now he goes on to say.
1Co 7:32 "But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: 33 But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife".
36 "But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry. 37 Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well. 38 So then he that giveth her in marriage doeth well; but he that giveth her not in marriage doeth better. 39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. 40 But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God".
So, getting married is good but staying single may be better if one does not want to marry and serve the Lord, but either way we should serve the Lord whole heartedly!!!
Abide with God whatever you do!
Too often believers wonder what they should do or what is their mission or work to be for God! But Paul tells us to stay where we are at, if we enjoy what we do and abide with God.
1Co 7:17 "But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. 18 Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. 19 Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. 20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. 23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God".
You see if we are in the Lord meaning saved believers than we are free! We are free spiritually and alive to give to others. We can share Christ no matter where we are or what we do. The slave can stay a slave if they want and still be free.
I used to go to the prisons years back and had witnessed those who were saved and walking with the Lord and were free within even though they were in prison!
It is not religious things like circumcision or water baptism or some ceremony that changes a man, but it is the internal eternal Holy Spirit that transforms us!
While divorce is high among the world it is high within the body of Christ also! Divorce is a hot topic within the church and often times the church has shamed and condemned those that are divorced. To the point that many won't get a divorce but will not live together either and even live with other people, which is called adultery as well as acting religious too!
It is sad too because if you rightly divide the word of truth and understand Paul's doctrine you will find that the key is not in law or control or demanding but that God has called us to peace!
1Co 7:10 "And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. 12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace".
You see if a person wants to leave the marriage, then let them leave. That does not mean that divorce is good but rather living in peace and love regardless is more important. Now I would always encourage biblical marriage counseling and help but if they still desire to leave and are set on leaving let them leave.
Now God does not desire divorce but even He had divorced Israel at one point.
Jer 3:8 "And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also".
Now the reason for divorce is the real problem and that is that one or both are wanting their own way! They are acting independent of God and lusting to get their way whatever that maybe, as if they are God! Sin is the problem not the marriage and I believe that every believer can walk by the spirit and love the other regardless of the circumstances.
Remember that all through Paul's books that believers can act just as carnal as unbelievers and we are told to sometimes separate from believers as well as unbelievers so it should not be surprising to anyone that in marriage some believer may act carnal or be unfaithful and want a divorce, but we are still called by God to peace!
Please don't mis understand me I am not saying divorce is good or ok, but it is not the unforgivable sin either!
1Co 7:2 "Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency".
We are told not to defraud one another. Defraud means to take, withhold or take advantage of one another. It is used twice in the bible for sexual matters, once here and in 1 Thes 4. Here it is used in marriage to not withhold from one another sexually, and in 1Thes it is used to not defraud outside of marriage which is fornication.
In marriage we should be willing to give ourselves to each other in love. Sex is always to be given and voluntary never selfish nor taken. Two different creatures giving themselves and becoming one physically. If both are saved saints in Christ then they are one in spirit, soul and body and this is how we should be. Now not every marriage starts out that way, but this is God's design for marriage.
I never thought I would have to say this every time I write on marriage but need to know. Marriage is between one man and one woman only and never any perversion of that.
Giving and receiving is God's way of doing things and it is to be done in the sexual area of marriage also!
ONE SPIRIT WITH THE LORD!
Today we see so many folks living together. Old as well as young are living together. We see all kinds of pervertedness today which is called fornicating which means anything outside of marriage between a man and a woman!
We that are saved are one with the Lord! We are one Spirit, united and whole in Spirit. We are a Temple which holds the Holy Spirit within.
1Co 6:13 "Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. 14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. 15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. 16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's".
Our bodies are the temple and because we have been bought with a price let us GLORIFY GOD in Body and Spirit!!!
Let us not defile His Temple!!!
BUT YE ARE...!!!
We were all in one of these categories at some time. In other words, we were all born sinners and in need of a Saviour!
1Co 6:9 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
"But Ye", meaning "you", are now washed which means cleansed! "But ye" are now sanctified which means set apart and holy! "But ye" are now justified which means made righteous in Christ!
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
And because we are now those things in Christ let us not have the mind set of "doing whatever we want, in sin"! Oh No let us be discipline and walk by the Spirit!
12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any".
Let us not be controlled by sinful fleshly things or attitudes! Let us not take advantage of our new position but rather continue to grow in love, doctrine and godliness and then edify others! Remember where you came from but live in where you are now in Christ and serve others whole heartedly!
Judging in Love or Not!!!
We often hear people say, "don't judge me"! We are often told in the bible to not judge but as I shared yesterday Paul judged and told us to judge in chapter 4-5. In other words, there is a difference in judging out of love and concern for another, verses not out of true love. Paul says here in chapter 6 that we are to not judge out of hate, and it is illustrated by taking a brother to court and suing him.
1Co 6:5 "I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers".
And to take this argument before unbelievers is sad and even worse! Unbelievers do not have the Spirit nor the love that we possess in Christ, do they? We should be able to talk things out and seek each other's forgiveness and be in unity.
We should at times want to take the loss, extend and seek forgiveness and admit wrong even if the other person doesn't. Let us not defraud and take advantage of one another.
7 "Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? 8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren".
Sometimes losing is winning in life so let us come to unity brothers and sisters in Christ!
The word puffed up means to be full of pride! The Corinthian church was full of pride because they did not take action and discipline on someone who was sinning.
1Co 4:18 "Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you. 19 But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. 20 For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 21 What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness"?
You see they were trying to "love" him back by allowing him to continue in this sin in the church. They did nothing and acted pridefully instead of righteously! This seems to be how most churches operate today with a "who are we to judge" attitude. If they judged others, then they would lose people. They want to grow but sadly they become more ungodly, until sin is rampant in the Body!
1Co 5:1 "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you".
Paul says to 5 "To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump"?
AND to do this
... 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat."
Yes, a brother or sister who is behaving this way! A sister or brother who acts this way should be corrected and shown and taught how to live righteously but if they rebel, they should be disciplined. Being humble and receiving from others is one of the hallmarks of being a believer!
Be aware and mark those who behave this way but also what does your church do in these situations or are they so big they have no idea what is going on!!! AND MAKE SURE you are not in this group either!!!
1Co 4:16 "Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. 17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church."
While many believers will say "we follow Jesus and not man", Paul was saying follow me! Jesus spoke and told Paul everything to say and write and Jesus was telling the world to follow Paul, as he is my vessel to the world now!
Act 9:15 "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:"
In order to follow Jesus today in the dispensation of grace we have to follow Paul's doctrine, pattern and example!
Now Paul was saying to the Corinthian church who were acting carnally to listen to Timothy, and he will tell you "My ways"! That means the "way" Jesus told me how to do things! The doctrine that Jesus gave Paul and the way to live daily by the Spirit are all found in Paul's books!
So read, study and over emphasize Romans through Philemon until it is ingrained in your mind. Until you know it so well you can teach it to your kids or others. You cannot study enough in these books so keep reading them over and over! Study the until Christ is formed in you!
Gal 4:19 "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you",
Stewards of the Mysteries of God!
1Co 4:1 "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God".
Paul is the Apostle to the gentiles and Christ made him a steward of the mysteries of God! These mysteries were not known before they were revealed by Christ to Paul!
Christ revealed the mystery of being in Christ as well as the dispensation of grace to the gentiles. The Body of Christ was formed and the reconciliation and redeeming work of the cross. He also has shown how the blood of Christ was also the propitiation for all times in
Rom 3:25 "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;"
There are so many things that were not prophesied and known until they were given to Paul by Christ! These mysteries answer so many questions and give us clarity into God's mind and heart for us today. It also gives us so much freedom that Israel did not have and want to stand in that freedom!
Always stand in the freedom in which you have in Christ and don't put yourself back under the beggarly things and in the bondage of the law!
The Spirit of God dwells in You Saint!!!
Most of us believe that Jesus lives in us, but did you know that God the Father does too!
1Co 3:16 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are".
Yes, the Godhead lives within you. God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit all live in your spirit! They are one and you are one with them. Your spirit and theirs are now one and complete! Therefore, your spirit is holy, blameless and set apart from your soul and body. Your soul is your mind, will and emotions while your body is your outward flesh which see's, touches, taste, smells and hears things!
Notice this verse in which describes the unity!
... 23 "And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's".
As I have said before 1 Corinthians is about unity and here, we see the unity that the Godhead has within us!
Ye are God's!
1Co 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building. 10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon".
Paul says we or rather "Ye are God's" meaning we belong to Him! He is our owner, master and boss we might say! He is our Father and authority and as that He gives us life and love! He supplies everything and can have His way in everything, and we can have assurance that His way is in our best interest in everything always.
Now Paul says we are God's husbandry which means field to till or plow! We are like a field that He tills and plants and grows in Christ. We are a field of possibilities if we allow Him to plant what He wants, when He wants for HIS USE! A field just lays and allows the farmer to do with it as he pleases and so will God do through the Holy Spirit.
Paul says we are His building in which he builds brick by brick, sturdy and steady and secure in Him! Spiritually we have everything given to us, but our soul which is our mind, will and emotions as well as our body takes time to mature as we dwell on Christ, and read and study His word.
Never stop being willing to be willing and allow God to till, grow and build you up, for "Ye are God's"!!!!
Spiritual vs Carnal!
1Co 3:1 "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men"?
While being Spiritual meaning saved Paul calls them carnal. That means that while they are saved, their behavior is sinful. They behave as though they are not saved and look like unsaved natural fleshly sinners.
As I said yesterday that 1Cor. is about unity and here we see Paul addressing another division. Self-centeredness always causes division and religion is self-centered and we find this in churches everywhere.
Sadly, this is just as true today as it was then. Many who would claim to be believers act carnally. I know many who claim to be believers who are not married yet live together or they drink and get drunk. They party, or do other things or cause problems in other ways. They are arrogant, selfish and prideful and do things their way instead of God's way! They are controlling, independent and self-seeking!
Paul says in Titus 1:16 "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate".
Now this may mean they are saved but it could mean they are not!!! While we do not base our salvation by works, our works, behavior and daily lives often show our heart and faith. Who do we serve, ourselves or our Lord Jesus Christ!
We have received the Spirit of God!
Did you know that you have the Spirit of God within you? We have the Spirit within us therefore our spirit is holy and set apart for eternity!
1Co 2:12 "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."
The Spirit is holy and righteous and allows us to know the things of God. Now that can't be said of those that do not know Him. That do not have the spirit for they are still spiritually dead, lost and walk in their fleshly natural state.
... 14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
BUT WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST!
... 16 "For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
But we who have the Spirit within us have the mind of the Lord! That means we are spiritually aware and motivated as well as understanding and sensitive to the spiritual things of God! We have the spirit of God, and we can therefore walk by the spirit, discern by the spirit and love by the spirit!
Stop trying to "get" the spirit and start telling yourself "I have the spirit" so you can freely receive the things of God!
Wisdom of God in the mystery!!!
Paul writes here in Corinthians that he speaks the wisdom of God in a mystery.
1Co 2:7 "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:
Now as I have said before the revelation of the mystery found in Romans 16:25 is the gospel for today. It was before the world began and Paul is saying the same thing here in Corinthians. He is saying the wisdom of God was before the world began and it is all about Christ.
Prophecy spoken by the prophets under law had been spoken about "since" the world began but the mystery dispensation was before the world began.
Paul then says.
1Co 2:8 "Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."
The leaders were blind to who Jesus was and Israel is still blind. They did not receive Him as their Messiah and finally rejected Him and killed Him. They were blinded by their own lust and pride and selfishness which was influenced by the prince of devils, Satan!
Mat 9:34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
Mat 12:24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.
The world is influenced and controlled by "the prince of the devils" so don't be surprised when they try to "lie, cheat and manipulate" you. Keep your eye on the heavenly wisdom and allow the power of God to work through you by His Spirit!
Remember that the wisdom and power of God that transforms lives was in Christ before the world began and it is in you too!!
As I continue to go through Corinthians and have already shared that Corinthians is about unity we now come to baptism! Now water baptism had been around since Israel was formed. It was called washings in Hebrew and baptism in Greek. Israel was told to wash the priest, people and instruments to make them clean. But Paul says this in
1Co 1:17 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God".
After further revelation from Jesus Paul was told not to baptize but rather to preach the cross! Water only cleanses the external man, but through the cross and by the Spirit man is cleansed spiritual for eternity! The cross is the power of God, and it is through identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ are we saved! We are saved by the Spirit as we are baptized spiritually into Christ and His body!
1Co 12:13 "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit".
As so many who want to hold onto religion say, "can't we do both"? And I say "WHY"? One is but a shadow and takes away from the cross, the other is pure, genuine and right unto the doctrine we have today.
Look at what Paul through Christ says in Eph 4:5 "One Lord, one faith, one baptism," ONE baptism, let me repeat ONE!!!
We can do ALL sorts of things but only ONE is being obedient to Christ!
Ye are in Christ Jesus!
1Co 1:30 "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:"
One of the great blessings we have as believers is that we are in Christ! Yes, spiritually we are in Him!
Eph 1:3 "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:"
Because we are in Him, we are saved, sealed sanctified spiritually forever. Because we are in Him, we have His very righteousness and holiness in us spiritually! Because we are in Him, we are complete, whole and alive spiritually!
Col 1:13 "Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:"
Col 2:10 "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:"
You see we tend to think about the natural, but we must look at everything spiritually! Spiritually In Christ, spiritually saved, spiritually alive and spiritually a new creature! We are Spiritually secure forever in Him!
Put your eyes and thinking on things above and think spiritually!!!
Preach the Cross!
1Co 1:17 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God".
As I said before 1 Cor. is about unity and Paul was dealing with it when it comes to water baptism. Baptism has to do with "being immersed in and to identity with", and so many started to say I was water baptized by and now a part of Apollos or Cephas (which is Peter) or Paul!
But through new revelation from Jesus, Paul settles the issue completely. 1Co 1:17 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect".
NO LONGER is water baptism needed as it takes away from the cross!!!
I have seen countless times were pastor's boast about water baptizing and say "we 10, 20,100 people today", "SO WHAT" I say! More than likely half of them are not saved and the other ones are already saved by faith alone before being dunked, right!
You see water baptism does nothing for the cleansing of the spirit and Christ knew this. This is why Jesus told Paul and he writes in Col 2:10-23... that all the ordinances and carnal, fleshly acts are a shadow but not Christ! This is why it says in
Eph 4:5 "One Lord, one faith, one baptism",
HOW MANY? ONE!!!
AND THAT IS SPIRITUAL,
1Co 12:13 "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit".
You see we are called to PREACH THE CROSS of CHRIST!!! It is the cross that saves, transforms and makes a new creature out of an old sinful and carnal one! It is the cross and Christ crucifixion that is the power of God, not some water and carnal act!
When you hear that someone was water baptized or some preacher telling you to do it or boasting in how many there were, just remember that it is not being obedient to the gospel and revelation of the mystery given to us today! It is not being obedient to God's will for today but rather they are trying to glory in your flesh!
Gal 6:12 "As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh".
All of Paul's books have a certain theme. 1 Cor. is unity, and he addresses divisions in this verse.
1Co 1:10 "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you".
The church today has so many divisions and it is in total chaos. Sadly, the church has said in a way "by grace we can do whatever we want" regardless of doctrine. Regardless of sin and righteousness and by doing so the church has become so orthodox, dead or emotionally driven it is no wonder it turns off unbelievers.
Unity is NOT in Christ alone. Unity is not believe how you want as long as Jesus' name is brought up, But it is unity in the doctrine of Christ for today. We are to follow Paul's doctrine as Jesus gave to Him. We are to be in unity in the revelation and fellowship of the mystery.
WHY? Because it is God's will for today! It is the understanding of the Spirit's work and not carnal law that changes and transforms the man. It is by faith in the work of Christ, His cross and blood work and not in the behavior of man's efforts to be good, approved and accepted!
Read 1Cor. and you will see that it is about unity in every area of life!
Mark and Avoid!
Rom 16:17 "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple".
As we continue in our study of Romans, we come across this verse. Paul says to mark and avoid those who cause divisions AND offences contrary to the doctrine that He teaches! Now the reason he says to separate is because of doctrine and we need to over emphasize that, and always remember by what you believe is how you will live your life! If by law and works, then you will live by fear, guilt and strive in life but if by grace and faith you will have rest and live in peace, joy and love! The works of the flesh and self-centeredness comes by law and works but if you live by the Spirit then you will serve God and others in righteousness!
The doctrine Paul is talking about is found in verse 25 and it is called the revelation of the mystery. It is the gospel of grace, and it is accessed by faith alone! It is called the fellowship of the mystery in Eph 3:9 and it contains the death burial and resurrection of Christ from 1 Cor.15:1-4!
Rom 16:25 "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith":
It is not based on law or Israel nor ordnances we can see and touch, and it is not by religion or works or ceremonial things.
This doctrine that Paul was given was given by revelation from Jesus Christ Himself!!!!
Gal 1:12 "For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ".
It is the only doctrine for today and it is the will of God for today! Don't confuse or mix with Israel's prophecy and law program.
Rom 16:7 "Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me".
Continuing in Romans we see that Paul speaks of Andronicus and Junia as being in Christ before him. Some take that to mean then that Paul was not the first nor the pattern in the Body of Christ but that is not what he says in Timothy
1Ti 1:16 "Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting".
He is first and the pattern for the gentiles who come to Christ under grace by faith!
Now the term "in Christ" is not really new. John says this in
John 14:20 "At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you".
John 15:4 "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me".
But the difference is "HOW" you come to be in Christ! By Prophecy under Israel's Kingdom message or by the revelation of the mystery message given to Paul! Notice that Jesus is speaking to Jews under law and in the prophecy program. There is no cross, blood or gentiles mentioned yet. No Body of Christ or under grace and by faith alone yet! Now the Spirit or Comforter is mentioned here but has not come upon all as in Acts 2 at Pentecost! Notice also that "IF you love, keep my commandments" or LAW!
John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; ... 21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him".
So don't be fooled by those who put doubt into Paul and the mystery message to us today!
Rom 16:1 "I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: 2 That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also".
Sometimes women feel like they are not as important as men and, "in the world", they fight and want to be "equal". But Paul always talks of how precious women are and that we are to love them as Christ loved the church. Phebe was important as she was the one to whom Paul entrusted with this letter to the Romans. While there were others who went she is pointed out for a reason.
3 "Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: 4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ".
Then Paul address Priscilla and Aquila who helped him in Acts 18 as they worked together as tentmakers. And they had a great ministry and ran it out of their house! House churches were common back in this time and today it is still a most powerful ministry worldwide. In China there are millions of house churches across China. There are lot more than most people know even here in the U.S., but we just don't hear about them. A house church is a good way to start a church and if you grow you can move to a new place or divide the church into 2 or 3 fellowships.
Many folks say they don't have a church that teaches the revelation of the mystery, so I say then start a house church and just read the Pauline epistles. Don't think you have to know it all, just read and discuss the word in your home with your family and grow in the fellowship of the mystery in Christ!
Rom 15:25 "But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. 26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. 27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things".
Paul had a great desire to go back to Jerusalem and help the poor saints there. They had been treated horribly by the Jews and gentiles there. They could not receive food like before and other things needed to survive as before they came to Christ. This can also tell us that the prosperity message today is a false one! Just because you come to the Lord does not mean you will prosper materially!
Now Paul knew that he would get it from all sides there in Jerusalem and ask for prayer. The Jews hated him, and the gentiles hated him but even some of those who had come to Christ for which he was bringing help might hate him. They were taught to not eat or socialize with gentiles and so some might question him on this too. So, Paul had lots of enemies and he ask for prayer.
... 30 "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; 31 That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;"
Just as Paul had enemies you will too. You will feel the sting of rejection by others even loved ones at times, but we can go to Jesus and pray and renew our minds and walk by faith even among the Lions mouth!
Rom 15:16 "That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost".
Paul is our Apostle and if you are saved then he is your apostle. It does not matter if you think or follow Peter or the 12 Apostles in your doctrine either, that is just following the wrong doctrine. The fact is that Paul was called by Jesus Christ to carry out the responsibility, leadership and authority of the Apostle to the gentile world.
Rightly dividing the word of God means understanding the difference between Israel, law and prophecy vs Gentile, grace and mystery! The 12 Apostles were for the 12 tribes of Israel and were under law. They were to keep the law and ordinances that came with being under the covenant system, but gentiles were never under law or the covenant system and were formed to be a New Creature called the Body of Christ!
Grasp it, dwell on it and let it get deep into your heart and mind! Pray for understanding and heart to grow in the mystery program to us today! The freedom that all Christians claim only comes from Christ in the dispensing of God's will for today!
Rom 15:13 "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. 14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another".
We do have the Spirit of Joy, Peace and Hope within our spirit, but we need to put it in our mind so we can function of the spirit and not out of our flesh.
Paul goes onto to say that the Body of Christ has all it needs to admonish one another. That means to teach, correct, rebuke, train and discipline one another. There is no need for worldly psychologist or counsel! The WORD of GOD is sufficient if applied by faith. I believe that knowing the word and then giving wise counsel from the word is the best tool to grow people in faith. You can attack the very problems and then replace with the truth of God's word! Yes, it is being vulnerable, transparent and hard yet necessary for transformation's sake. Pulpit ministry is important but let us never forget that one on one relationships are the ones that truly affect each other and corrects the lies that folks have bought into. Preaching and teaching the word from the pulpit is good for information and knowledge in doctrine but does not address the specifics of a person's problems in the pew.
Biblical Christian Counseling from the Body of Christ and using the Word of God is the fastest and most effective way to minister to people hearts. This is why Jesus himself spent time with 12 and mostly 3 people and they became the pillars of the "little flock"!
Rom 15:8 "Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people".
Paul once again distinguishes between Israel and gentiles. Jesus earthly ministry was to the circumcision which is Israel while His heavenly ministry is to the gentile's world. We gentiles received mercy and are able to come to faith by grace and not by law.
Now while it was always prophesied that gentiles would be saved it was not prophesied without Israel leadership. Israel was to lead but failed and denied the Messiah so NOW God is using the mystery to bring the gentile world to faith in His Son Jesus.
Never think that the revelation of the mystery is the same as the prophecy program to Israel. It is different and better for we are saved sealed and sanctified IN Christ NOW!!!
Rom 15:5 "Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: 6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ".
Sadly, one of the greatest failures of the church today is that is not one minded! The worldwide church has fallen just like Paul said and rebuked the Galatians for falling back into law and walking by sight vs by grace and faith! They push obedience unto the law so they can see your flesh working but that is not Spirit led nor by faith!
We are to know and be one in the revelation and fellowship of the mystery! We are under grace not law and walk by faith and spirit!
So many think we are one if we believe in Jesus Christ yet that really is not what Paul is driving at. We are to be one in unity of doctrine as well. To preach Christ under law is to preach the wrong Christ! It is not the doctrine for today.
Some may say we won't agree 100% on everything which is true, but to be 1% in disagreement is better that 99% in disagreement, and to be back under law is 100% wrong!
Let us grow in the mystery message given to Paul and be one mouth, one mind in one spirit worshipping the One Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
Rom 15:4 "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope".
Continuing in Romans 15 Paul says things written before were for our learning. Meaning we are not under the law nor are we the same as they were but we can still learn not to do things by their example. Paul says in
1Co 10:1 "Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
... 11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come".
You see we are in a different dispensation and time, but man still lust and sins, so we have their example of what not to do. We are a new creature in Christ! We are sealed saved saints in the heavenly places in Christ. We are different yet same as humans, so learn from past mistakes but always renew your minds in the love and grace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and walk by faith!!!
Rom 15:1 "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification".
I shared about the weak believer needing to see, touch and handle external things in order to "feel" closer to God, but now let's talk about the strong in faith.
The strong believer is not one who just goes to church regularly or even teaches Sunday school oh no, the strong believer is one who walks by faith and knows "who" he is in Christ! The strong knows all the blessings he has in Christ! The strong knows his position in Christ and renews his mind daily. The strong understands the work of the cross and the power of the spirit within him. The strong know the mystery message and does not need ordinances to remind him of the regeneration work of the Spirit with in!
Because the strong understands his acceptance in Christ he then can "please and edify his neighbor"! He has received from Christ and then gives to others!
Receiving and giving is how God operates, so receive today and give to others dear saints in Christ!
Paul tells us that whatsoever is not of faith is sin!
Rom 14:23 "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin".
Without faith it is impossible to please God as it takes faith to believe who He is and what He has done!
Heb 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him".
We can't see God so faith is needed but we can see His creation and works. We can see how He sent His Son Jesus to the cross. This is all recorded history, and we can trust in and believe what the Word of God says!
Walking by Faith is not "doing" religious things but receiving from Christ! It is not our works that show faith or obedience but rather allowing His Spirit to do works through us!
It is easy to walk by sight and that is what most believers do but we are told to walk by faith. It does not matter if you are the most moral person on earth if you do not have faith, you are in sin!
So, walk by faith always and know that God is pleased!
Don't stumble or judge!
Rom 14:13 "Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way".
... 23 ...for whatsoever is not of faith is sin".
Paul tells us to judge others other verses in the bible, so we have to balance what he means. Christians are to judge right and wrong, good and evil yet we are to judge righteously!
The weak believer walks by sight and has not matured or is being rebellious and walking in religion. Paul is saying not to judge in a harsh condemning way, yet we can acknowledge they are weak and not walking by faith. We need to be patient and if possible, teach them right doctrine. What stops them from walking by faith is 3 things, doctrine, ignorance or pride, and what fuels this is works of the law! Usually they want to "do" something that makes them feel closer to God or get approval and acceptance from God. The more they "do" the more it fuels their self-centeredness and continues to keep them on this continual spinning wheel and cycle of religion.
Don't be a stumbling block by being doing things that you know will hurt them but patiently minister with the right heart and attitude. Think "how can I help them grow in faith without offending them". Pray for them before you talk with them and then choose your words carefully even walking through what you would say and what may be gentile and loving without hurting them. Ask permission by appealing to them, you would be surprised at how they receive just by appealing to them. "May I share a verse from the bible with you" and "this really helped me" goes along ways.
Lastly remember anything that is not by faith is sin!
WE ARE THE LORD'S!
Rom 14:7 "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ".
All of us will face Christ some day! All of us will stand before the Lord and He will judge us according to salvation! Are we in Him, saved and alive or not! Those that are not will be judged to hell for eternity but for us who are saved it will be an eternal life in the glory of God!
We all are responsible for our own destiny as far as coming to Christ. It is our decision and ours's alone! You are not saved by your spouse's choice or belief. You are not saved by your parents, upbringing or by going to church nor are you saved just by a intellectual thinking or belief that Jesus was who He said He was, but it must be by faith alone!
Those of us that are saved belong to the Lord as it says, "we are the Lord's"!
THE WEAK BELIEVER!
Rom 14:1 "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
... 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
... 23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin".
The weak believer is not one who is mentally or emotionally weak or going through some tragedy although they may be weak in faith at the time. No the weak believer here in Romans 14 is one who does not walk by faith and is weak in doctrine! They walk by sight and seek signs and wonders and law and ordinances to feel closer, accepted and approved by God! They are religious but not spiritual. They deny the very power that comes from the spirit and transforms the inner man!
They want to see and make up laws to see if one is saved and need to hear their profession of faith. They want them to walk in front of the church or get water baptized or pay certain dues. They have to dress a certain way and eat certain foods and make certain days more special than they are. They taste not, touch not and handle not, things which are to perish or be in bondage to beggarly things that are just shadows of the Lord Jesus Christ!
The last words of verse 23 sums it all up "for whatsoever is not of faith is sin"! The weak do not walk by faith but by sight and this is why we should not get caught up in law and ordinances but rather walk by faith and in the Spirit! The strong in faith are not controlled by what they can see but rather focused on Jesus and walk by faith!
Rom 13:11 "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof".
I love this because it is direct and tells us what to do so strongly!!!
1.WAKE UP! Meaning don't act like there is nothing going on. Be aware of the times and of the deceitful things going on. Be awake and ready because Christ could take us very soon!
2.CAST OFF! Cast off or in other words stop puit off those thoughts of sin and put on Christ by renewing our minds daily!
3.WALK! The Christian life is not just a spiritual and mental [process but also a living out from that internal thinking. Live life as a child of God in your behavior and works.
4.PUT-ON! Put on Christ by renewing your mind! Think on, dwell on and walk in the power of the love of God! Putting on His love gives you the security and boldness to daily victory!
Don't just learn a new verse or some practical thing and then hide it in the back of your mind like some law that you know but rather dwell on the Love and Life of Christ and appropriating into your daily mindset and applying it to the rejection, failures and thoughts you have daily!
Rom 13:8 "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law".
Oh, what beautiful verses! The Law of Love is the only "LAW" we have today! When we love we fulfil all moral law and since we gentiles never had the law to begin with, we actually do the righteousness of the law through our Lord Jesus Christ!
Many of us only do things out of law but really, we should desire to do things out of love. For example, we often stop at stop signs because of law which we should do but the stop sign is to help us not crash and hurt others so we should desire to do the "law" of the land with a heart of love!
Those who always want us to follow the Levitical law do not understand the law for one, but you do not follow something that does give life! The law condemns it does not bring life but the law of love does bring life. Jesus died because God loved us and rose to bring LIFE!
God is love and so when we love we are walking in spirit as the word says in Gal. 5:22 for the fruit of the spirit is love! Love is always Godly, righteous and good so walk in love and you don't need to worry about any law!
Rom 13:1 "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake".
Authority is important and in today's times we don't trust authority. It seems that the law-abiding majority are being singled out along with the police as being villains and the criminals are being made into heroes! Then we see the homosexual agenda getting whatever they want along with pushing their sin down our throats and there seems to be nothing we can do about it. Our politics and laws are becoming more and more bias and changed to perversion while the fight for righteousness and even sanity becomes worse and worse by the day!
BUT let me say that it may not have been any better in Paul's days! Jesus was crucified for saying He was the Son of God! Think about that for a while, because today they would say to a person that said that "you need help" and give them a place to stay and comfort them. Peter was crucified upside down for being a believer as well as Paul had his head chopped off for merely stating they believe something different then the norm of the time. They weren't being immoral or wicked or anything they were just stating their religious beliefs and died for it! WOW! Today in the U.S. we would fight for their right to believe and worship whatever they want even they were Muslim, terrorists or some other anti-Christian group!
YET Paul tells us that God tells us to respect and honor authority and do what is right regardless for our conscience's sake! We are to do what is right no matter how our authorities handle the situation even unto death!
Rom 12:19 "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good".
VENGENCE IS EVIL!
Don't be vengeful even to your spouse. Vengeful doesn't mean you have to be mean or kill someone it can be much more subtle than that. Like a woman who may withholds herself from a man because she is mad at him for some reason. Or a man who acts independent and does not love or talk because he is angry at her for not giving herself to him. If we have been wronged, we should extend forgiveness and reconcile and serve one another out love.
In fact, we are to serve others despite them being our enemy. We are to care and love as much as we can which often times brings them to the point of seeing their wrong. It shames them to a degree and often shows them how love operates. It can really show them GOD!
As much as possible do something good for someone instead of trying to get back at them.
Rom 12:16 "Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. 17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men".
We are to live as one body and have the same mind set! That mind set is to be grounded according to the revelation of the mystery given to Paul! It is to be set in the cross of Christ and standing on the grace message!
So when you hear others speak of law you know that you're not one minded. You're not united in mind and heart as Paul describes here. You "may" be united in Christ but that does not mean united in doctrine as we should be.
We are not to think so highly of ourselves that we cannot mix with those that are poor and or hurting. We should have empathy and sympathy for those that are hurting in some way but also be willing to minister to their needs as much as possible. We do need to be discerning though and not controlled by our feelings just to give but discern the intentions of those that ask for help.
Don't take revenge and always be honest with others as much as possible and try to live in peace. Now that is not always easy and sometimes living in peace means leaving others alone. If you can't see eye to eye than just move on. Don't keep arguing over something.
These are sound words from Paul so keep them in your thinking and let us try to be one body as much as possible!
Rom 12:12 "Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep".
REJOICE, BE PATIENT AND PRAY!
These are things that Paul tells us to do and there allot of "to do's" in this chapter especially but if you notice they all point toward ministry work. They are saying first rejoice in hope which is to mean in Christ and then minister! Give to others such being patient, prayer and giving to other saints that are hurting. Blessing others just as you have been blessed by Jesus! If needed weep with them that are hurting or weep over a loved one's death and rejoice with others especially if that someone has come to be saved!
There is no "DOING" or "next step to be saved as so many say. There is no ordinance or law that needs to be fulfilled here but simply rejoice and give!
WORK AND WALK BY THE SPIRIT SERVING THE LORD!
Rom 12:11"Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord";
We are to work hard and do the best we can. Many folks don't want to work, and they often find excuses to not work. We are to work for our boss as we would for Christ! If we own our business which is something I always encourage, we should do it as if the CEO is Christ! It's His business and His employees so how can I minister to them. We don't want to take short cuts and cheat or do things that are illegal but be honest with our businesses.
In order to do this, we need to walk by the Spirit and by doing all that we will serve the Lord rightfully!
So work, walk and serve the Lord in the Spirit!
Love, Honor and Good!
Rom 12:9 "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another";
Paul begins to add practical things in chapter 12. Practical in the sense of "doing" things and one of the most important is to Love one another. Love should not be fake but sincere and genuine. I sometimes visit churches and they seem so fake in their approach to visitors. You don't have to go overboard with your politeness but just be yourself that is if yourself is genuine!
We should hate what is evil! This has to be one of the most important things we need to "DO"! Today what is "bad' is "good" and what is "good" is "bad"!!!! Everything is being twisted and changed. We are not to like the LGBQT agenda!!! Homosexuality same sex marriage and abortion is evil! Now there are other things that are evil that man will do on a daily basis that is evil also, but these are things that are now legally acceptable. Lust and greed are things that drive most things, yet they are considered good if you change the wording!
No, we should "cleave to that which is good! The Word of God is "good"!!! In the Word we find righteousness and godliness and Goodness! Cleave to the Word and what it says is right no matter what!
We should want to honor one another especially those that are brothers and sisters in the Lord! Prefer to be with those who have the same convictions and attitudes. The same morality and heart and desire to walk by faith instead of the flesh. Now at times you may have some who are saved but walk by the flesh defending themselves or who are weak in faith. We should try as much as possible to help and get along but not to the point of approving their behavior.
So, Love, Honor and do Good!
Rom 12:4 "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another".
Paul never calls the church sheep! We are "members" of " A Body" and that body is Christ! The church today is called "The Body of Christ" and His body is all over the world! It is not limited to a nation or particular group or land. It is not limited to a building or ritual or ordinances! It moves and breaths as it pleases to reach others for Christ! It is a living organism of Christ that touches every fragment of the world!
That also means like the human body we function as one! We are all tied together and if one organ in the body is sick we all can be affected. We all can be hurt but we also can help heal that organ.
At times one member causes trouble and it can poison other members! So, we sometimes need to take action in order to bring the body back into a healthy functioning body. There is no part of the Body that is not important!
1Co 12:12 "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many".
We are spiritually baptized into Christ! So just remember that you are not sheep, independent of the Messiah as Israel was
OH NO! you are a living, breathing member of Christ!
Rom 12:3 "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith".
We are to think soberly which means rightfully! We can often think less of ourselves meaning and saying to ourselves " I am so dumb or ugly or bad"! Now most people would say well that's not thinking to highly of yourself but really it is because the focus is on still on self!
OR we can think that we are really something and better than everyone else and that is pride and arrogance, but again thinking of self!
You see we are to have a proper understanding of who we really are. We are not a doormat nor are we "God" but WE ARE God's child who is deeply loved, totally accepted and completely forgiven!
We are to be humble yet strong, bold and brave! We are not above or below anyone and we are to comfort the weak and minister to others because we have been ministered to by Christ Himself. We know what it is like to be a lost, fearful and without hope, but now we know what it is like to saved, and with hope and love!
Don't forget you were a sinner once and can still sin BUT NOW you a secure, sealed, saved and sanctified SAINT!!!
A LIVING SACRIFICE!!!
Rom 12:1 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God".
2 Great verses everyone should take note and memorize. First Paul tells us to "present" our bodies which means to give, offer and provide. We are to present our bodies just like we do our mind and heart! We are to give ourselves whole heartedly to Godliness, righteousness and holiness! This really is our worship and serving God! While singing or fellowship can be "a" worship as they say it is not what is important to God! What is important is that your life represent Godliness every day in every situation.
Serving God is what you do at home, or at the grocery store. If you are single, how you live your life! Who you date and what you do in that relationship and or if you live with someone? These things are more important than even "going" to church!!!! Just because you go to church does not mean you are "presenting your body" unto God!
You begin this process of "reasonable service" and "presenting" by renewing the mind! Notice it say to not be conformed to this world which means to not be pressured from the outside to the inward part of you. That looks like the world crushing you with their hands until you change to their way of thinking! Homosexually is a perfect example of this going on in the world today. The homosexual agenda keeps pushing and demanding their way. They do this through government, laws, and even the media such as T.V. movies and social media things. Don't buy into it, what God has called sin is still sin regardless of what they say!
Paul then says to be "transformed by the renewing of the mind"! This means to tell yourself the truth by reading the word, studying the word and believing the word! It means to be changed from the inside out! It is like a worm who turns to a butterfly! They begin the metamorphous from the inside and transform into a beautiful butterfly eventually! You and I were once worms (sinners) but now beautiful butterflies' (saints) in Christ! That change was in the spirit and from the inside and eventually little by little our outward man begins to look like and represent and give itself in service to God!
Our normal way of handling life is from the flesh our outward man, but we need to renew our inward man until it becomes formed into Christ! Constantly evaluating ourselves and knowing our identity in Christ is how we become transformed. Our spirit has already been transformed but our souls and body need to follow what is true in our spirit. Being transformed is what it means to please God, because it is by faith! This transformation is what is "good, acceptable and perfect will of God!
So, renew your mind daily and tell yourself the truth over and over and be transformed today!
For "of, through and to" Him are all things!!!!
Rom 11: 33 "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? 35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? 36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen".
Glory to God for ALL things are "of, through and to" JESUS!!!
Paul has described in Romans how we are all sinners in need of a Saviour! We all are guilty and that God has shown mercy to all men! He showed how God first chose Israel to minister to the world but when they rejected their Messiah God moved onto the gentiles who Paul says will receive Him!
God's plan and purpose was always that all men "may" be saved by faith in His Son Jesus Christ! That ALL things were
"OF, THROUGH AND TO" JESUS! GLORY TO GOD AND OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST!!!
Give Him thanks Saints!
MERCY ON ALL!
Israel has fallen but God has said that He will save them. God has not and will not forget Israel, but their time comes after the fulness of the gentiles!
Rom 11:25 "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. 26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:"
Now the fulness of the gentiles is also a way of referencing the rapture of the Body of Christ! The gentile fellowship will be caught up in the heavens with Christ!
The whole point in chapters 9-11 is the fact God has mercy on all mankind! Both Israel and gentiles are condemned and therefore He can have mercy on both!
Rom 11:31 "Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all".
Praise God dear saints for God's great mercy upon us all!
Israel's fall, Gentiles saved, and Paul magnified!
Rom 11:11 "I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:"
As a nation Israel chose not to embrace Jesus as their Messiah and therefore, have fallen. Israel no longer has any spiritual influence in today's dispensation. Jews come to Christ just like gentiles and that by the cross work of Christ!
The church today is a gentile fellowship with the riches of Christ within it! That does not mean Jews cannot be saved but they are saved by faith alone under the grace of God just like gentiles. Their Hebrew blood line does nothing to help them, and they are "joining" the gentile church not the other way around!
Then we see Paul's ministry is magnified, meaning of more importance than ever before. Paul is the apostle for today's church and his books and doctrine are what we are to follow. Now always keep in mind when I say Paul's doctrine, books and teaching all come from Christ and the Holy Spirit's inspiration!
By Grace, no more by works!
Paul continues his teaching and his heart for Israel. Israel has rejected their Messiah, but God will not forget them.
Rom 11:1 "I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,"
Paul also addresses the understanding of grace vs works. Grace is something that is offered, and God has offered salvation to the gentiles. We cannot earn it by performance but must come by faith. Faith is not works as some would say because it is offered by grace and received by faith!
... 5 "Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work".
All throughout the bible men were broken to the point of crying out for the Lord and so salvation is offered by grace and received by faith!
Rom 10:11 "For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved".
Paul tells us that "whosoever" meaning anyone may come to Jesus and be saved! By faith and trusting in His death, burial and resurrection we may be saved!
The Calvinist would have you to believe that only a few are picked by God before time began but "whosoever" again means all "may come"!
Israel has no spiritual influence today as there are no longer a difference between Jew or gentile nor male or female, black or white! No nation is above another in terms of coming to God and all must come through the cross!
Are you a "whosoever"? If so, Praise the Lord and give Him the Glory!!!!
CHRIST IS THE END OF THE LAW!
Rom 10:1 "Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. 2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. 4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth".
Paul continues telling us his great sorrow and heart for Israel! His brethren have rejected the risen Messiah and he tells here their problem of having a zeal of God, but it is misplaced. Their zeal for the law and rules missed the relational part in Christ.
A good way of saying this is "rules - relationship=rebellion" but "rules + relationship=righteousness"!!! You should remember this for your own family dynamics also!
Christ is the end of the law means that Christ has fulfilled the law requirements in the fact that He is righteous and that His death was the requirement for all sin! As sin requires a blood sacrifice, His blood was for all mankind for all eternity.
Eternal Life only comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ! By faith we trust in His works and life and continue to relate with Him daily!
GOD'S MERCY ON ALL!!!
Rom 9:15 "For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. ... 24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles"?
Since Israel rejected Jesus their Messiah, God now shows mercy on the gentiles without the influence of Israel! This is what chapter 9 is all about!
Israel failed to be the priest to the world so God has said I will extend salvation, grace and mercy to the gentile world by the blood and cross work of my Son! So, the cross is not a bad thing to the gentiles instead it become the very thing for which God uses to reconcile the world!
Rom 9:30 "What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. 32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;"
As gentiles' believers we have attained God's righteousness by faith, but Israel tried to be righteous by doing the works of the law without faith in Jesus!
Remember that this chapter is sadly about Israel's fall and the mercy of God to the Gentile world!
Paul's great sorrow over Israel!
Rom 9:2 "That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: 4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;"
Paul was so sad for his fellow countrymen. His brethren in Israel had rejected Jesus as their Messiah. They had been given everything from God yet still lacked faith as a nation!
They had the covenants, law and promises yet would not come to Christ! Paul repeats this message throughout chapters 9,10 and11 in Romans, but he never gives up hope!
We too should remember that God does not give up on us, for we are sealed, saved and spiritually sanctified in Christ!
Israel will have their time but for now enjoy our time in Christ!
DELIVERED UP FOR US ALL!!!
Rom 8:32 "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things"?
Once again, we see that God gave up His Son for us all! While loving His Son, He was willing to deliver Him to death because He loved us so much.
Paul goes on to say in this same chapter,
WHO SHALL SEPERATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD. NO ONE!!!!
... "35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord".
WHAT SHALL SEPERATE US, NOTHING! NOTHING AND NO ONE CAN SEPERATE YOU FROM GOD'S LOVE DEAR SAINT! So, receive it, dwell on it and be content in that love for it is the security that you desire to have with in! It is the life you want internally and for eternity!
If God's love could be measured in water, how much have you experienced? Is it as big as a bathtub or swimming pool or lake or ocean or perhaps space! You cannot measure it, but you can grow in it forever!
God gave His Son because He loved us! God gave us His love, before we were even born and therefore died for all that all may come to Him by faith! He died for all sinners so that all will have no excuse.
God is love and God loves you!
Rom 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified".
God's eternal purpose has always been that man would be saved and worship Him through Jesus Christ! His purpose was predestined before time and that man would be conformed to His Son by faith and therefore be justified and glorified!
Eph 3:11 "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:"
1Ti 2:3 "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time".
The meaning of words is important in the context of ALL scripture, so then who was foreknown, ALL men! The word predestined means to decree before the creation of the world that man would be saved through Christ and "therefore conformed to His image".
The word "ordained" here in 1 Cor. is the same word for predestined!
1Co 2:7 "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:"
To be called means to be "invited" and then the 2nd time to whom he "called" again in this context means to be received and accepted. So those that are received based on faith are then justified which means to be made righteous just as Christ is righteous and just as Paul says in Romans 5:1! We then that are saved shall be glorified which means to be honored and worthy unto God!
Praise God for His eternal purpose in Christ Jesus!
SAVED BY HOPE!!!
Rom 8:24 "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? 25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it".
While many will argue that we are saved only by grace, and they won't even allow for the word faith to be used, but here we also see hope used.
Paul tells us that we a saved by hope, which is a form of faith. Hope is one side of the coin and the other is faith. By hope in and by faith we believe and trust in the grace message. By faith we receive the life of Christ and by hope we trust in that what we do not see is real and true!
1Co 13:13 "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity".
Walk by faith, always have hope and let God's love dwell in your heart!
IDENTITY IN CHRIST!
Rom 8:14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together".
Who you are gives you identity and your identity gives you meaning and purpose! By faith in the works of Christ and identifying with His death and resurrection we have become God's children and an heir and joint heir with Christ! We have everything that Jesus has within our spirit!
Therefore, we no longer are in bondage to fear as we were when we were lost and not in Christ. Everyone is born in sin and therefore fear comes upon us, but we no longer need to fear death, rejection or punishment from God! We no longer need to fear man or our circumstances!
So, renew your mind daily with your new identity until it becomes formed in your mind! When fear comes put it off by telling yourself "I am a child of God and will not fear"!!!
Flesh vs Spirit!
Rom 8:5 "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God".
All believers are "after the Spirit' even if they sin and do not "walk after the spirit" all the time. The verse above is about being "in the Spirit vs in the flesh"!
Rom 8:9 "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness".
Now the opposite of that is to be lost and not saved and therefore being "after the flesh"! All unsaved are "in the flesh" and no matter how good, nice or giving they are they cannot please God as they are still sinners spiritually speaking!
Then Paul addresses the saint that is "in the spirit" by saying this.
Rom 8:12 "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live".
Therefore, because you are 'IN" the Spirit and spiritually alive do not "walk after the flesh" but "walk after the spirit and Live"! We are debtors to the spirit because the spirit has made us alive and gives life! By the Holy Spirit and through Christ Jesus you are alive in Him, therefore do not live after the flesh but live, walk and put on the Spirit by renewing your mind daily!
The righteousness of the law fulfilled in us!
Rom 8:3 "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
In Romans 7 Paul has stated that sin is in man's flesh and yet Jesus coming as a man and in the likeness of that sinful flesh yet was without sin.
Now when His flesh body died on the cross He condemned sin, and thus fulfilled the requirement needed by the law for sin! Blood was needed by law and His blood was for all sin, for all men forever.
So, when we come to Christ by faith, we too have died with Him, and we receive the righteousness of the law by the Holy Spirit. So, we can give thanks and praise to Christ who paid the price for us according to the law, so we cannot be condemned by the law, and we can receive the gift of righteousness. Every believer has received this gift so cherish it with all your heart!
Rom 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
One of the greatest and most popular verses in all the bible! While some bibles do not include the last part of verse 1 were it says, "who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit", it does not really change the meaning.
There is no condemnation or damnation for those who are saved! The believer is sealed and set apart spiritually for eternity. In the Spirit lives the living God, our Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit! Our spirit is now one with the Holy Spirit as well as God and His Son Jesus, so we are one, whole and holy in spirit!
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ means that every true believer has the Holy Spirit and in Christ! It is a law meaning if you are a believer than that is a fact and those that are not believers are in the law of sin and death!
So, PRAISE GOD and give Him the GLORY and be THANKKFUL!!!
BUT SIN DWELLETH IN ME!
Paul understood the fleshly weakness that we all have. That sin dwells in our flesh and that "sin dwelleth in me"!
Rom 7:13 "Was then that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful. ... 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. ... 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."
He didn't try to hide the fact that he sinned, and neither should we. Part of the struggle of walking by faith is because we often walk by our flesh. Part of why the church needs the Body is because we all struggle with sin. Part of being transparent and vulnerable is because we sin.
When I hear the so called "holier than thou" people who say they never sin or that say, "if we sin, we are not of God", I just cringe! Their emphasis is on sin and not Christ as well as hurt people who are struggling and need help.
Part of being honest in life and with us is admitting when we do sin and not trying to defend or hide it!
After all look what Paul wrote in that same chapter... Rom 7:24 "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
Jesus has paid the price for that sin, therefore while not trying to sin, we may sin and then give thanks to Jesus Christ our Lord and continue to receive from Him His love, acceptance and forgiveness!
Married to another!
Rom 7:4 "Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God".
Paul starts this chapter 7 with an example of marriage. Just like a woman who is married must not have an affair or be married to another man while her husband still lives YET if her husband dies than she may remarry another.
And just like the husband who died so did the law, and the law being now dead has freed us to become married to Jesus! We then are delivered from the law and serve in the newness of the spirit. Now we belong to Jesus under grace and in the freedom that comes with that.
You are under grace and can walk by the Spirit not by the letter of the law!
(Ps: By the way this has nothing to do with being the bride of Christ but just a way of showing us to whom we belong too!)
WHAT A GREAT VERSE!!!
Perhaps the greatest verse in the bible!
Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord".
In a nutshell everything we need to know and to come to Christ! This verse tells us what we receive because we are in sin and do sin. The wages of being a sinner is death!
BUT the gift of being in Christ is Life! By faith we can choose to receive that gift and have eternal life in Him! Thus, making us a saved saint in Him, a New Creature and member of the Body of Christ! Much different than a sinner who will receive death!
No longer do we need to fear death but now we have eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!
We can use this verse to share with others who are lost. We can use this verse to remind us of what we have in Him. I encourage you to memorize this verse and to remember the simplicity and yet deep meaning of it!
Keep the main thing the main thing!
Rom 6:14 "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace".
The main thing in this chapter and perhaps in the bible is this, we are under GRACE! Gentiles never had the law to begin with yet God in His Great Love for us offered salvation to us by the cross and without Israel or works of the Law!
Sometimes I wonder if people actually understand that God could have required gentiles to come under Law too or He could have not let Christ die for sins or not used the cross to reconcile the world at all, but He did!
Grace from God is His extended hand of salvation to reconcile the gentile world without any performance on our part! We simply trust and believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ!!!
Salvation is by grace accessed by faith alone!
Rom 6:1 "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein"?
I probable hear this at least once a week from some church folk when I teach the message of grace! They want to stop everyone from sinning yet miss the mark. It seems we are so programed to walk by law and control people to the point of missing this great message from God!
Do we encourage and continue in sin NO, but will we sin YES! BUT Grace gives us the motivation to not sin and to walk by the Spirit! Grace means the way God extended salvation to the gentiles without Israel or Law! Grace is God showing kindness and favor to a gentile world by offering that salvation through Jesus Christ!
It is also the way we come to Him in that salvation meaning without works of the law. It never means go ahead and sin and then I will "grace" you and not punishing you! That is mercy for one and two that is taken away by the work of the cross and by the propitiation of Christ! God has already reconciled and forgiven us!
1Co 15:56 "The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law."
Law drives sin and death by sin but grace brings life! Law makes us perform to gain acceptance and approval while Grace is not a license to sin but a motivator to not!
BORN IN DEATH!
Rom 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
The bible teaches we are all born in death! We are born in sin which is death because of Adam! There no one that is born "sinless" nor alive in Christ!
I sometimes hear folks say, "I have been a Christian all my life", which sends up red flags for me. Now they may mean they were saved when they were young and meaning there "whole life", but if they mean they were saved when they were born that would not be true! No one is born a Christian! No one is born saved and alive spiritually speaking, NO ONE!
Because Adam sinned, his offence was put upon all men, But the "free gift" of Eternal life is given to those who trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! Those who by faith believe and have been received and forgiven are made righteous!
Rom 5:21 "That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
Oh, let us never forget where we came from and always give THANKS for where we are NOW, IN CHRIST!!!
The Big 3!
Rom 5:9 "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."
In these 3 verses we see 3 major things!We are justified, reconciled and atonement has been accomplished!
1. Justified is the dealing with the judicial issue and judgement of God on sin and the guilt of it, as well as it makes us right before Him! Justification deals with the failure of man therefore we no longer need to fear failure!
2. Reconciling deals with the relationship issue between God and man and the fact that we are no longer is separated from God. We are in unity with Him and He is pleased to be with us.
3. Atonement means we have eternal forgiveness and because we are reconciled to God we no longer need to worry about that relationship. Our position in Christ is complete and we do not need to look forward to a "Day of Atonement" like Israel but ours is now and complete through the cross of Christ!
WOW the Big 3 are truly BIG!Praise God today and walk in the justification, reconciliation and atonement position you have today!
God Loves You!
Rom 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us".
God showed His love for us before we were born! Before we even sinned, while even being born sinners He loved us!
Christ death shows the incredible degree that God would go to, to save us. He could have done it in a different way if He wanted to instead of making Christ pay for it. Yet that would go against everything He had set up through the law for the atonement of sin!
Blood was necessary and overcoming death was needed! To die for sins is unbelievable to rise again is even more so!!!
Give thanks and always remember that Jesus Loves You!
The answer to all your problems!
Rom 5:2 "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."
The biggest problem we all face is a spiritual one. Born sinners we need to be saved and have life spiritually, from that we can now draw from the life of Christ into our everyday life experiences. We all go through trials of some sort. Health, financial or relational, we all have some issues to deal with.
Paul tells us that when we go through a "tribulation" no matter how big or small we can persevere because we have hope we get that hope from knowing the Love of God within! That love tells us we are secure in Him and regardless of the outcome from this tribulation we are loved and with Him.
So, if you have a relationship problem, you are not alone! If you have financial problem and lose everything, you still have Christ and therefore you can get another job and as a new creature in Christ, it is not a identity problem or "what" you do for work but it is work and you can start over! If you are having a health situation the worst that can happened is that you die and go to heaven and can talk with the Lord face to face in His loving arms!
So, put on His Love daily and walk through those problems in Victory!!!
Justified by faith!
Rom 4:25 "Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."
Rom 5:1"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:" 2 "By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."
Paul tells us that are justified by faith in Christ and that we have peace through our Lord Jesus Christ! Justified means to be made right and to be Spiritually alive in Him!
We are born spiritually dead without God and therefore in sin! But as soon as we receive the Holy Spirit by faith and are saved we are then spiritually alive with God and made righteous! This is justification and it is the judicial word from the judge of the universe! It means we are declared not guilty and then made righteous! It is the action word needed by God who has condemned us and saved us through Jesus Christ!
Now this means our Spirit is Holy and blameless and in Christ even though our soul and body may still sin. So walk in this new justified and righteous Spirit that you now have!
Don't be weak but be strong in faith!
Rom 4:19 "And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb: 20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness."
Abraham was not weak in faith but stood strong in faith! He beleived God and walked in faith, which gave God the glory! By this he was saved and therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.
In other words He beleived, trusted and was saved by God and by that he attained the favor of God! Abraham was blessed and those that would follow by faith would be blessed with eternal life also!
So we must be "in" the faith, walk by faith and put on that faith daily! We need to renew our minds until peace and victory is manifested. As we are challeged by our circumstances in life, we can apply faith and overcome the issues we face. It maybe fear or rejection or some habit but the first step is always by faith!
Just as Christ told Paul that His grace was sufficient, Paul needed to recieve it by faith!
The Christian life and your daily walk is lived by faith in Christ Jesus alone!
Justified by faith!
As we travel through Romans, we come to chapter 3 which starts out telling us that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but then we come to this verse,
Rom 3:28 "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law."
And oh, what a GREAT verse it is too! That a man is justified by faith and not by the works of the law! That by faith a man can be saved and have life and be "just" before God! Just means to be made "right", not guilty and to be as pure, holy and innocent spiritually speaking! It means to be made acceptable and approved before God!
Spiritually speaking this is how we are as sons of God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Spiritually speaking this is our position in Christ! Spiritually speaking this how God see's us!
Salvation is by faith and accounted for as righteousness!
All under sin!
Rom 3:9 "What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; ... 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
In chapter 3 of Romans, Paul brings the first 3 chapters together in the sense that All mankind are sinners. Jew and gentile are all the same and both under sin. Both fall short of the glory of God!
No longer will the Jew hold a spiritual influence in this world and no longer are they the leaders for they have fallen. Jews come to Christ the same as the gentile and the grace of God is extended to the gentile world without Israel or works of the law. The fellowship of the mystery is a gentile fellowship as there is no more Jewish influence, traditions or ordinances.
Rom 9:30 "What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. 31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness."
Rom 11:11 "I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy."
... 25 'For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in."
So just as gentiles were called sinners by the Jews so now, they are included and must be saved by faith in the cross of Christ alone!
We are judged by heart and spirit not our flesh!
Paul says in short; we are judged by our spirit and heart that is to mean are we saved in Christ!
Rom 2:16 In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
Religion means to "do" things that "look" spiritual or in some kind of devotion yet miss the mark because they are not genuine from the start. The true belief of the person, doctrine or both is not true!
It is not the fleshly, natural acts that save us but the spirit being saved and alive in Christ. So, fleshly circumcision, law and ordinances helps no one for it is by faith and the circumcision of the heart that matters.
... 28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: 29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
You can act pious or spiritual but if you are not in Christ, it is dead works and disregarded by God!
Look at your own heart and make sure you're in Christ, by being saved by faith in the cross work of Christ!
Paul tells us that there is no excuse for a dead man to judge another dead man. In other words, all are born sinners, and all need a Saviour to save them from sin and death!
Rom 2:1 "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things."
Praise God for God's goodness that reaches us from the cross of Christ! That goodness, that love is shown to us and if we can grasp it, by faith, we will be saved! It leads us to a "change of mind" from self-centeredness to Christ centeredness and from flesh to faith we might say!
... "4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"
But it makes no difference to God today who you as He doesn't look at nationality anymore. He does not say that the Jew is better than the gentile. He does not care about the color of your skin or if you are male or female, He looks at our heart and if we are His by faith in His Son Jesus Christ!
... "11 For there is no respect of persons with God."
Fools worship the creature instead of the Creator!!!
Paul tells us in Romans 1:21-32 that those who worship the creature are fools. A fool is one who acts and makes unwise choices! They can't see the truth as they are blinded by their pride and arrogance!
Rom 1:22 "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,"
So many in this world are fools, and sadly many in the church have bought into the world's foolishness! They have believed a lie just as Eve had done in the garden. ... 25 "Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." They believe a lie instead the truth of God!
I laugh every time some new thing for our health comes out and a year later, they say the opposite, or they finally say this is "right" or "good" and the bible has said that all along!
Romans1:21-32 tells us that homosexuality is sin and those that support it are just as guilty. This chapter also tells us that the world is full of unrighteousness and believe the great lie also! Don't worship the creature but worship the Great Creator Jesus Christ!!!
Just because the world says it is ok does not mean it is. Walk by faith and don't believe the lies that the world pushes on you!
The Wrath of God!
While we love to hear about God as a loving God and He is by the way, He is also a just God! He requires Godliness and righteousness, and He desires faithfulness and holiness! Of course, that all comes through Christ, but He will hold accountable those who are not faithful in coming to Him.
Paul says this in Rom 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;"
Now this wrath will be in the tribulation and ages to come period and could have come right after the crucifixion of Christ, but God put that time on hold and created the age of grace to the gentiles. Now that time of wrath will come, and it will be a horrible time for those who go through it and not come to faith in Christ!
No one has an excuse for not coming to God, No one! Everything that you see, hear, touch and even breath was made by Him!
19 "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"
Just realize dear saint that you will not go through this time of wrath for you are in the Body of Christ and are spared it as Paul says in 1Th 1:10 "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."
So be comforted and thankful and rejoice in the Lord!!!
The Gospel, The Power of God!
Paul says in Rom 1:16 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
The gospel of the grace of God is the Power of God! If you want to have the power of God working in your life than get to know the gospel of God! The right gospel in the bible is important as there are several gospels in the bible.
Paul says in 1Co 1:17 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. 18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
That gospel that preaches the cross of Christ is the power of God! The gospel that teaches salvation by faith through grace is the gospel for today. The gospel that Jesus gave Paul and preaches Jesus Christ according to the mystery is the gospel for today!
Rom 16:25 "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,"
So, Paul says he is not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, and neither should you be ashamed to proclaim it either!
Paul begins the letter to the Romans with normal greetings and then says this,
Rom 1:11 "For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; 12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me."
Paul so longed to see them and spend time with them. He desired to minister to them as well as be comforted by them after being around such hostile enemies of Christ! Joining them was of great comfort to him as it is to all of us when we are around others that are saved and believe in Jesus Christ.
There is something about being with likeminded people and especially saints that are one in Christ. The same faith and hopefully the same doctrine and heart! Serving and praising Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery and knowing the freedom in the grace message brings such unity and closeness! Not looking at ourselves but something so much bigger, the God of all creation and our Lord and Saviour!
Spend as much time as you can with Jesus and then meet with other likeminded believers! Find those who teach and walk after the fellowship of the mystery and grow in the love and grace of Jesus Christ!
WHAT REALLY MATTERS!!!
The thing that so many Christians struggle with today is the outward, earthy and fleshly things that are traditions in the Christian church today. The ordinances that were unto Israel are now used by the church today. In other words, they seem to be more concerned with water baptism or ceremonial things as if they matter.
What really matters is the spirit, inward heart and faith in man! Paul says this in
1Ti 1:4 "Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. 5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
The fables, genealogies, questions mean nothing and just cause arguments. They do not edify and are not of faith!
BUT what really matters is a pure heart, good conscience and genuine faith do edify!!! It is the inward man they should be concerned about not the outward!
Paul tells Titus this in
Tit 1:16 "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate."
and although he was speaking about Cretians this could apply to believers today or should I say Unbeliever's!!!
You see we should look at what is important and really matters we would get past this formal, outward and worldly type of Christianity and get to what really matters!
Which Jesus do you preach!
I sometimes get feedback that says I shouldn't talk about doctrine and that I should just preach Jesus! The problem is that just preaching Jesus without context and doctrine brings false doctrine and even cults!
2Co 11:3 "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."
You see there are lots of churches who preach Jesus and even use the bible. They may use other books also, but it is the doctrine that makes the difference. For instance, every cult uses law to control, but many churches that are not cults use law also, both are wrong! Mormons, Adventist or Catholics all use the bible but live and preach law and distort Jesus to add.
Paul says here in 2 Cor 11, "another Jesus, another spirit or another gospel"!!! You see without explaining the doctrine you can end up with a false Jesus, false spirit and false gospel!!! These false churches are taught false doctrine and therefore JESUS becomes false!
Yes, Jesus should be taught and the simple plan of death, burial and resurrection but always under grace by faith and according to the revelation of the mystery given to Paul!
Are you a minister of Christ?
Paul said I am a minister of Christ! He was always being questioned about his authority and relationship with God.
2Co 11:23 "Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft."
He said he was a minister of Christ so that brings up the question, are you? I think so many believers see themselves as someone who needs help and just barely hanging onto Christ. They go to church to "get" some great feeling, or their conscience cleared for the week or feel closer to God but really, they struggle to do anything else.
But we are all called to be ministers! No, I don't mean minister as a position of authority such as "pastor" "teacher" or "director" as such but a minister that reaches out to others.
The word minister means to serve or to be a servant of a master! The master is Jesus Christ, and we serve others as He served us! He served us by giving His life on the cross and then giving us HIS LIFE for eternity! He loved and forgave us, and accepted and reconciled us to God! He redeemed us and made us righteous before God! He gave and gave and gave and given so much!!!
We are not to be sitting on the couch, lazy and self-centered but rather we are to be giving, working and serving others in some way. Get up and serve in some way and grow in faith, grace and ministry!
One of the biggest problems in the church today is that there is no discernment. Folks do not know or study the bible and therefore believe every preacher that has something "good" to say. They may be charismatic or good looking and able to give a good sermon, or the church may have good music or a great kid's program, but none of that means anything if the doctrine is off!
Paul says this in
2Co 11:13 "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
Paul is saying that these Corinthians need to discern these guys. They will look and sound good, but we need to look at doctrine not personality! We need to ask ourselves what this guy believes not what just comes out of his mouth. Part of being deceived is telling enough truth and fluff to grab you but underneath it all is deceit. What do they believe and actually stand for.
Some folks tell me when I tell them about their church, "well he never says too much about that" or " we never hear them say that", even though it is written in their church beliefs! You see they are caught up in supporting a pastor and church and not the word of God! They are comfortable in their church regardless of its belief and if it is taking them down the path or deceit and sin! Sometimes what they say is NOT what they believe!!!! Yet what they believe will bring you into bondage!!!
Spirit vs Flesh!
It is interesting that Paul wrote his letter this way. In the bible we put chapter and verses but when Paul wrote he did not break up with chapters and verses.
Chapter 7 ends like this,
Rom 7:25 "I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
And chapter 8 begins like this,
Rom 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Yes, we all still sin but PRAISE THE LORD, there is therefore NO CONDEMNATION for those who are IN CHRIST JESUS!!!
You see we need not be afraid of failure, yet we should not boast or take that for granted either. Because of grace and forgiveness, we simple acknowledge our sin and keep on "SERVE THE LAW OF GOD" WITH OUR MIND! In other words, we renew our mind, put off and put on and walk by the Spirit!
Maturity comes through repentance! A consistent "change of mind" until Christ be formed in us!
Gal 4:19 "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,..."
Free by the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus!!!
We are set free from the law of sin and death by the Spirit of life in Christ!
Rom 8:2 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
No longer are we in bondage to sin as our spirit has been made alive in Christ! Our God and Saviour Jesus Christ lives in our spirit.
The Holy Spirit dwells within us and gives us spiritual Life!
1Co 6:17 "But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit."
Before being saved we were spiritually dead in Adam and lived in sin because our spirit was dead! But now after receiving the Holy Spirit and being sealed, baptized and filled with the Spirit we now are free from sin and eternal death!
2Co 3:17 "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
You have LIFE in You saint, so live like it! Think and tell yourself the truth daily! That you are a child of the living God, and you are filled with the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus!!!
As I watched the highlights of the recent women's college basketball championship, I noticed a girl from the winning team taunting the other team. I thought "you may have one and been the better team today, but you just became the "biggest loser" in character!
We are called to be kind to one another. We are told to respect one another even when we defeat someone else in sports.
Eph 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Little kids brag, boast and taunt their opponents while adults respect and give honor to them! I remember to great athletes, Walter Payton and Barry Sanders who never spiked the ball or celebrated after scoring a touchdown, they just handed the ball to the referee. They were humble on the field and always spoke of the other team kindly for the most part. They taught their boys the same values and they corrected their boys when they celebrated a touch down when they played.
There is no place for name calling or personal attacks, just be kind, humble, respectful and honor the other person even if you disagree!
Are you ready to die for Christ!
When Paul wanted to go back to Jerusalem the saints warned him that the Jews would want to arrest him. But Paul said this,
Act 21:13 "Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
Paul not only wanted to go and face them but more importantly he would die for the name of Jesus Christ!
Now in this day and time how many of us today would die in the name of Jesus. Some might die for a child or spouse but for Christ I don't know. I would like to say I would, but would I really go to that point!
Many in China and other countries have died for the name of Christ! Many have been locked up and imprisoned for years in hard labor camps for the name of Christ! They understand the cost because they truly understand the power, forgiveness and love of Christ.
FLESH VS SIN NATURE!
No where, that I know of in the King James bible is the words sin nature. The NIV uses this wording to describe the flesh. If you have a NIV bible, you will even see that they tell you it is the flesh in the notes somewhere.
Rom 7:18 "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not."
I say this to bring attention to the fact that we have only one true nature! It is either "In Adam" or "In Christ"! You are either saved or not! You are either a sinner or saint and you cannot be both at the same time!
Nature deals with the Spirit of man! The believer has the divine nature! (2 Peter 1:3-4) That nature is God, Christ and the Holy Spirit within! The lost unsaved man has a dead spirit and does not have God within!
Sin dwells in my flesh NOT in my Spirit as a child of God, and God dwells in you Dear Saint!!! Stop trying to fix your flesh and start telling yourself what is true about you in your Spirit! That the living God and Christ lives in you and loves you! Walk by the Spirit and you will not do the works of the flesh!!!
The unbeliever is condemned and judged by God! All of start out life in this condition!
Rom 5:16 "And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. ... 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
But as Romans 8 says
Rom 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
The saved saint is not under that condemnation any longer! The believer is now in Christ and justified through Him. He is saved, sealed and sanctified spiritually forever.
So, stop walking around like a condemned, lowly sinner who always fails and start walking in your new identity in Christ!
DEATH VS LIFE!
As ECC. 3 says there is a time for everything and there is a time be born and a time to die. There is also spiritual death and spiritual life in Christ. To be a lost sinner is to be dead and to be a saved saint is eternal life!
The unsaved person will be carnally minded and in death, but the saved saint will be spiritually minded and reap life and peace!
Rom 8:6 "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."
An unsaved person cannot please God because he is dead spiritually speaking even though he is human and walks and talks just like saint would. Both survive and eat, work and perhaps have a family.
... 8 "So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
But a saved person is alive spiritually because the living God is in them. God lives in the spirit of the believer and therefore LIFE is within! It cannot be seen from the outside yet may be observed in behavior, deed and attitude. The spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ change the thinking and understanding of the believer and the believer then can now choose how he will go.
While the believer is now alive in Spirit he can still choose to think and behave sinfully which is a form of death! Not Spiritual death but mental and emotional death!
Rom 8:12 "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."
Choose to walk after the spirit and you will have peace and life no matter what situation you are in!
The heart of Apollos!
We should all have the heart of Apollos!! What I mean is that while being bold and energetic and wanting to speak and share the news of the coming Messiah, he was also limited in what he knew.
Act 18:24 "And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly."
Yet his heart was willing to receive from others and to grow in faith. He did not act like a "know it all" in his ignorance. This is something we can all do and grow in.
So many folks not only don't understand the word, but they preach out of arrogance and pride! Unwilling to receive instruction and help. Now some saints know the gospel and the difference in law verses grace doctrine BUT their attitude needs adjusting.
You can be ignorant but humble or you can be intelligent but prideful! Let us be as Apollos and be humble yet bold! Receiving and giving what we know with grace and love!
His Good Pleasure!
God is always a gentleman you might say. He never forces His will yet desires you and I to submit and yield ourselves over to His.
Phl 2:13 "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
It is His pleasure and joy to be in us and is according to His eternal purpose that we be saved in Christ and allow His spirit to move through us.
Eph 3:11 "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:"
Gal 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
As we give ourselves to God it gives God great pleasure as He then can work and do as He pleases!
How to deal with authority!
We all are under some authority, even those who are self-employed. It may be industry, town or police but we all answer to some authority. While we may not be slaves or servants in the same way as in the biblical times we still work for others in some way. Paul says this in
1Co 7:20 "Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. 21 Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. 22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. 23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. 24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God."
So how does this help us? How does this tell us to behave with authority no matter who it is? We are to "be not ye the servants of men" but rather be " Christ's servant."We are not to be self-centered and "victims", but we are VICTORIOUS" and more than conquers through Christ!!!!
Have the thinking and attitude that says "I am serving Christ" in all things regardless of who is in charge. Serve with ALL your heart and you will be free in Christ no matter what. Serve Christ with all your heart and you will not be a slave of men!
Why do I point out bad doctrine!
2 Cor 11:12 "But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."
I and others point out bad doctrine and name false teachers because it is just that bad doctrine and false teachers. Paul did the same and while I have heard some say to stop doing this and focus on the lost, you have to understand that while bringing others to Christ under the right doctrine we must also mature them in right doctrine as well.
Paul says that even "Satan is transformed into an angel of light", therefore we need to point out bad doctrine and teachers as well as teach right doctrine and the freedom that comes from it, until Christ is formed in the individual believer and the Body of Christ is in unity of faith and no longer tossed around with every wind of doctrine!!!!
Gal 4:19 "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,"
Eph 4:13 "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"
Don't be deaf or blind!
So many believers still are taught to follow the law. They are told to "do" this and to "do" that! They want to "DO" good and "be" good but are going about it all the wrong way, which creates burn out. They are performing the Christian life.
Paul says do you not "HEAR" the law?
Gal 4:21"Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?"
We need to hear the harshness of the law! We need to hear that we are under grace and to not do the works of the law! "Works and rewards" are important, but they come from receiving from God and allowing Jesus to do those things through us first, not doing them to "feel" good about ourselves.
The law does not make anyone perfect instead it shows the flaws and condemns. The law was good to show a "shadow" but not to "SEE" the very image of that which perfects us and that is JESUS!!!
Heb 10:1 "For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect."
We are not under law but UNDER GRACE in which that GRACE motivates us to think righteously, choose righteously and behave righteously.
At times certain words create confusion and often different theologies. Complete doctrines can be affected by a single word and even by using the wrong bible translation.
For instance the King James Bible uses the word ordained instead of appointed. Now I believe the KJB is the correct bible to use, and the word ordained in verse 48 means "set to receive" or "able to receive by faith"! The word "SET" in verse 47 is the same Greek word for "ordained".
Act 13:46 "Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed."
So, who was set or able to receive salvation, the gentiles! Salvation was now "sent" or "appointed for them to receive"! Notice the context in the preceding verses which Paul's says he went to the Jews first and judged themselves to be unworthy. "WE TURN TO THE GENTILES" and then in 47, "I have "SET" thee to be a light of the gentiles" that they "shouldest be for salvation...."!
Then in 48 again it says that they "the gentiles" heard this.... they were ordained to eternal life"! They were able to come to Christ now by faith just as Rom 10:17 says "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Reading the right bible in the right context and for the right meaning will keep you on the RIGHT TRACK!
Why do believers have such a hard time understanding the bible? Why do they tend to walk after law and make up different things to prove to themselves and others that their religion is correct. Why do cults arise only to mislead so many today?
The answer is simple and found in this verse, 2Ti 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."
All cults and religious beliefs come from not rightly dividing the word. They confuse Israel's prophecy program with the mystery program given to Paul. They mix the dispensation of grace given to the gentiles and the books that contain that doctrine, with the books written to Israel.
Paul's doctrine was given to Him by the revelation of Jesus Christ!
Gal 1:11 "But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ."
And given for the edification to the gentile world.
Rom 11:13 "For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:"
Which is why Jesus died for ALL so ALL may have a opportunity to come by faith!
1Ti 2:3 "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
Christ died for you and rose for you and offered all this by grace and accessed by faith! Learn to rightly divide the word of God by memorizing the books that Paul wrote, Romans through Philemon!
1Ti 4:12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. 15 Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. 16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.
Give attendance to...
Paul writes Timothy a letter how he should work and teach the church. We too can learn how we should walk, teach and relate with others.
Paul says to not let our age be a factor! Young or old we can be a example of the believers. A example in word, conversation, and charity. We should also be a example in spirit, faith and purity in all things.
We do this by reading the word teaching the word and exhorting the word. Now we probably understand reading and teaching but exhort is different. It means to appeal, encourage, correct or admonish the saint to walk by faith and to come to Christ. It really is the "doing" or practical part. It is the part that shows "good works" and actions and behavior. For instance, someone may be saved and a believer but live a lifestyle of sin. Perhaps having an adulteress affair or lying, stealing and a self-centered lifestyle. We are to help and encourage that person to have a change of mind and live a lifestyle that resembles what is true about them in Spirit and the life in Christ.
We should meditate on the word and to understand right doctrine and therefore edify the Body!
Read the word daily, meditate daily and live in Christ daily!!!
I hope you all had a nice Resurrection Day! We had nice quite one and as we tend to think, every day is resurrection day!
Now the word Easter believe it or not in the Christian community has great meaning and bad meaning! The good meaning of course is the resurrection of Christ, but the bad meaning is that some Christians want to call it a pagan holiday to a goddess or something along those lines. Now they say this because 1. don't see it in the bible they use, and 2. they go look up things on the internet! Both are wrong and if you use a King James Bible you will see the word Easter in it.
Act 12:4 KJV "And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people."
The word Easter means "Passover" and is used for the holiday and festival time of the year. Now Passover for Jews is at the same time we celebrate the Resurrection of Christ which has been called Easter. Now while for Christians it is not the Jewish "Passover", But it is the so called "Passover" of Christ. Just as the Passover in the Old Testament had blood involved so does the "Passover" for Christians!
1Co 5:7 KJV "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:"
Now I prefer to use the word Resurrection Day instead of Easter because it has become so commercialized and misused. It seems to be about bunnies and hidden eggs and so kids are not taught about the great sacrifice of Christ and His resurrection but let us not demonize the word Easter either!
There is enough division in the Body without causing more with lies, fiction and false doctrine!
When Jesus went to the garden, Judas brought the band of men to arrest Him. Jesus spoke and said twice "whom seek ye?"
John 18:4 "Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
... 7 Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth."
Now they were seeking Jesus to take Him into custody but can we sinners seek Christ? Can we seek Him prior to be saved?
Act 15:17 "That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things."
Some like the Calvinist say that men are so depraved that they won't seek after Christ. That they are so bad that they can't seek Him or come to Christ unless God says they were chosen to be saved.
The writer of Hebrews says Heb 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
He that cometh to God must believe (by faith) and know that God is a rewarder of them who seek Him!!! Man can seek God if he wants to, and man can be saved by faith in the finished work of the cross and man can make decisions!
Lastly Paul says for us to continue to "SEEK" Jesus after we are saved too.
Col 3:1 "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."
We now know through Paul's doctrine that all things were created by Jesus. Heaven and earth were created by Him and for Him!
Col 1:16 "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:"
We also know that all things work for our good if we allow them too. The issues we have and go through are to drive us to Christ.
Rom 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
The issues and circumstances we go through, whether good or bad are to encourage us to come to Christ and say THANK YOU!
1Th 5:18 "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
No matter what you are going through stop and give God the Glory and Thank Him for giving you eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Christ has been crucified and buried and Mary goes to check and to put fresh smelling spices in the sepulchre.
John 20:1 "The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. 2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him."
"HE ISN'T THERE SHES SAYS"!!!! Peter takes off running and John catches up and goes in the tomb first!
3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. 4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. 5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. 6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, 7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. 8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed."
"WHAT"! "WHERE IS HE"??? "HE'S GONE"!!! But they don't understand!
9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home."
They are sad that he is gone and thinking someone took Him, "now what do we do", they say?
John 20:15 "Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master."
"HE'S ALIVE"!!! "HE'S ALIVE" "MY MASTER IS ALIVE"!!!! She screams!!!
PRAISE THE LORD DEAR SAINTS, JESUS IS ALIVE!!!
YOU ARE EITHER ALL IN OR NOT???
When I read this verse, I always think in this way, "Your either all in or you're not!" There is no room for wishy washy saints in this verse!
1Co 15:12 "Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: 14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not."
If you call yourself a Christian, a believer that is saved and you don't believe this, then you are not a believer or saved! In other words, you either believe that Jesus rose and that the dead will rise, or you are a liar! Your faith is meaningless, and you are lost!
I say to you here and now that Jesus Christ rose again and the dead in Christ will rise also!!!!
Don't try to maneuver around or argue with me look at yourself, what do you believe!!!!
Liberal, licentiousness and liberty!
I was watching T.V. recently and I had seen the CMA award show. That means the Country Music Awards and I was shocked. It no longer is a more conservative music community but has become a liberal and licentious community. No wonder many of the old stars no longer go to it. Just to warn and say to you the ones that seem to speak out in country music are no longer the "rebellious looking" ones only but the pretty gals you might say, don't be fooled by their looks!
Many confuse the words liberal, licentiousness with liberty! Yes, they all start with "L" but that is where the similarly ends, and they are not all good. You see liberal means to accept ideas or opinions as well as Indvidual rights above all things. The liberal left accepts all things regardless of being Godly or not.
Which is where licentiousness comes in. It means to lust for what is evil and perverted. To lust for the forbidden things instead of Godly things!
Then there is Liberty which means to be free. To have freedom in Christ and Paul tells us we should stand in that freedom.
Gal 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."
Doing whatever you please and disregarding God does not bring freedom, in fact it will put you into a bondage!!! Think of someone who uses drugs. At first, they get the high but afterwards the "high" gets them and they have to have it, this is how all sin can be!!!
The only true freedom is found internally and that is an eternal relationship in Christ!
In this day and time, we see the church operating more and more as the world. It is a "work", "do" and "perform" type system. Satan uses anything to get us to not receive the love and grace, and the peace and power of the Spirit! It is a shifting back to a works under law instead of a rest under the grace of God!
Paul says this in
Rom 6:16 "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"
In Chapters 6-8 of Romans Paul is talking about our soul. Chapter 5 of Romans tells us about our Spiritual condition, which is justified, reconciled and righteous in Him. But beginning in 6 we see the change to our thinking which is in our soul. We are free from sin so we can YIELD in our thinking to righteous living. YIELD means to "submit, present and give ourselves over to"! We are to not work in our flesh to be accepted, approved or abide in Christ but we are to receive, rest and refresh by RECIEVEING by FAITH what we already have in Christ! This is called "BEING SERVANTS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS"!
There are 4 things in chapters 6-7 that Paul's tells us to be servants, serve or receive from.
1. Romans 6:18 servants of righteousness
2. 6:22 servants of God
3. 7:6 serve in newness of SPIRIT!!!!
4. 7:25 serve the law of God, which means the law of love in rightness and Godliness by faith!
The first thing that you need to do in order to YIELD will be to THINK! THINK BY FAITH before doing anything! Give yourself to Christ just as you did when you first came to Christ. You did nothing to be saved and you do nothing to "keep" that life in Christ except receive by faith!!!
Yes, it's that time of year again. Taxes are due and while no one wants to pay more than they have too we should pay.
I know one believer who did not believe in paying income tax and did not pay for over 10 years, and he lost his home, wife and more. He went from a million-dollar, 4000 sq. foot home to a rented 1200 sq. foot home in not good area in the city. Now this was a guy who took home over $10,000 per month just so you get the idea. He was very fortunate that he did not go to prison. He had a true change of heart, paid all he owed and reconciled with his wife and children and was back to a nicer home too!
Paul encourages us to owe no man but what is due him. The word tribute in the KJB means taxes and they were to pay them.
Rom 13:6 "For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law."
Paying taxes really can be a good thing too as many taxes help in many ways. Health aid for the poor along with the roads that you drive on. Children and others are helped by taxed based programs so we should not think that taxes are always bad.
BUT Paul says the thing we should give and owe others is LOVE! Godly, righteous love is the greatest gift we can give to others all wrapped up in the salvation message in Christ!!!
Have you ever seen a miracle, or someone speak in tongues, or someone raised from the dead, WOW we might say!!!
In the church today there seems to be a lot of attention on the miracles and the power of God through signs and wonders. Both the Catholic church and protestants seem to be looking to see the next exciting things so they can "see" and claim that there really is a God!
But sadly, that is not faith that is flesh. You see you can have a "form" of godliness without the true power of God as Paul says here in 2Ti 3:5 "Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
The true power of God today is found through the cross of Christ when an individual is saved, spiritually transformed and becomes a child of God! It is the cross, the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ that has the power and it is not by sight or superficial power!
1Co 1:18 "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
Paul says not to go back to weak and beggarly elements which brings bondage!
Gal 4:9 "But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?"
The weak and beggarly elements are in the works of the law and traditions of man. They are in the ordinances and things we can touch and see. They are those things that "look humble, godly and religious" but are not as they have no true power to change a human life from a spiritually dead sinner to a Spiritually Living Saint!!!
The vain jangling of the Rosary!!!
I once was invited to a lady friend's house for a get together. Now she is elderly and comes to our bible studies and she invited her friends from her church for a lunch. Now they call themselves Spirit filled charismatic Catholics who get together to sing together and prayer in tongues and so on. While we were eating around the table a few or more which knew we were not catholic started talking about praying the rosary and the spiritual power and things that have happened in history when it is prayed! Like always the Catholics are looking for a "spiritual experience" and to "see" some "sign" to talk about!
1Ti 1:6 "From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;"
But the rosary is no more than vain jangling by "religious" people! It is empty talk and rambling that religious leaders have told to "religious" people over the years. It is not magic, nor relational nor genuine to Christ but repetitious words, like Jesus told Israel Not to do!
Mat 6:7 "But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking."
These things like so many "works" are exactly why Paul said they are shadows and not the real thing which is Christ!
Col 2:17 "Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."
Satan uses "shadows" and "religious" things to get our thinking to be off and do anything but the "real deal" and that is
Peace comes when we are content in Christ!
Anxiety is the one thing we all have. Some more than others but we are born in fear and anxiety is fear of the future. We may know that our future is in heaven with Christ but that does not stop our day-to-day worries. We may get up thinking I need to hurry and get this done and hurry to work or does my spouse love me, so I better be good and do this or that! Will my kids be ok and am I being a good dad or mom to them and on and on......!!!
You see anxiety can be in the small things. Fear can be ever so subtle and isn't that what happened in the garden with the serpent and Eve.
Gen 3:1 "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
We all want to have peace of mind. Our thinking is usually running, and our emotions are all over the place so what we want is peace. A place we can focus on is what is needed, and the bottom line is where we find it.
The bottom-line deals with life and death, because it can't be worse than that. So, if we know where we are going when we die that's a good start, and everything else means nothing compared to that. We also know that Christ died for me because He loves me and if He loves me, I need not fear the rejection of others. I can rest in that love and can "feel" peaceful!
Renew your mind constantly and learn to discern your thoughts and feelings. Don't ignore them or do the so called "church" thing where they say, "don't live by your feelings" and so you do nothing! You may think your ignoring your feelings when really you are living by them.
Be content in Christ and take things to the bottom line what really matters in life! If you lose your job, find another, if you lose your house find another, if you are rejected go to Christ! ALL things are to be used to take us to Christ and only there will we find freedom from anxiety!
Here are some verses to read and study and really dwell on daily.
Eph 2:14 "For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;"
Phl 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
Col 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
2Th 3:16 Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.
What is that to you!
Jesus said this to Peter...
John 21:19 "...Follow me. 20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? 21 Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? 22 Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me."
After Jesus had asked Peter 3 times if he loved Him, Jesus told Peter to follow Him and then said it again. Peter was so concerned about himself and self-centered! He was jealous and was thinking of John!
Often, we compare ourselves to others and even get jealous of them. We may think how do they get so much attention and acceptance when they say or do the wrong things? Why are they so popular when they are so shallow?
Even pastors and teachers can teach bad doctrine or be shallow and yet have so many people listening to them. I have found that the big mega churches can be the shallowest of all, and the most elementary in their teachings. Not really teaching the bible but talking about feelings and how to "do" better and fix themselves. How they can be a better person and operate in this world.
But we are to focus on "following Jesus"!!! Even better we are to know we are "IN JESUS"! We are in Heaven with Him and He is in us here on earth. Letting Jesus live and work in us and allow Him to do His will through us! The word of God is about Jesus, and we should make it our focus. Jesus is the "fixer" and the one who has done the work.
We are to focus on who is in front of us! We are to be helping, teaching and serving whoever is front of us at the time. If you have 1 child at home love them and if you have 10 love them! If your church has 2 people great, if your church has 200 great love them, teach them serve them!!!
Forget about being great or popular or wanting what others have. Just receive from God and our Lord Jesus and give to whoever is in front of you!
I had a guy ask me recently, "do you believe all will be saved?" I said, "no that Christ died for all but not all will come to the Lord by faith!" He said, "that he could not be friends with me because he is only friends who believe the bible and it says that all will be saved!"
No where in the bible does it say ALL meaning everyone will be saved! There is no such thing as universal salvation for all!
Now the bible does say that Christ died for all.
1Ti 2:3 "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time."
As you can easily see here it says "who will have all men to be saved" means that God desires all men to tbe saved and then "who gave himself a ransom for all..." which means He died for all, but none of that says THAT ALL WILL be saved!!!
IF all would be saved there would be no need for hell!!! If all would be saved, then it does not matter if you have faith!!! If all would be saved then what did Christ died for!!!
Just as Calvinist believe God has already chosen the saved, this group believes ALL will be saved, Both are wrong!!!
2Co 4:3 "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:"
Salvation and justification ONLY come by FAITH, to those who BELIEVE!!!
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
I am amazed and ashamed at the Body of Christ sometimes. How we treat each other is astonishing to me. While we want people to come to Christ under grace and know the freedom that is in Him, we turn around and beat those that are weak in faith and don't understand to death! The only real and honest reason to do this is we want to be right!
Paul says this in
Rom 14:1 "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations."
We should always be respectful even if others disagree or don't believe what we believe. We should not manipulate, shame or misuse our freedom to degrade another.
Paul says this in
Rom 15:1 "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification."
We want to edify not demolish saints. Edify means to build up those who are weak while demolish means to take down, beat and crumble those who don't understand.
I recently read a post from a grace believer who copied and pasted a conversation/comment with another saint, only to point out how this guy didn't believe the same. Now while I get the discussion and actually agree with the guy on the issue, I would never copy and paste the conversation especially since it does not help the guy who disagreed, because he had already blocked him Yes, he was wrong and yes he is weak in faith, but don't paste it so everyone else can attack and put down. This guy had already blocked him, GET IT!!!!
It is sad that in today's times that copy and paste or recording others can be done so easily just to hurt others. In fact, in some states recording another person without their consent is against the law!
Let us be patient, encouraging and yes even correct others if necessary but let us stop and not misuse and abuse others!
We can be to nice to those who oppose!!!
I often hear believers say or in social media, that when they are opposed by someone who is obviously disagrees and uses law or are outside the boundaries of sound grace doctrine that they won't say anything. They just don't respond and ignore these folks. Sometimes that may be wise, but I like what Stephen did in Acts.
Act 7:51 "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye."
He has just given Israel's history and then WHAM!!! He hits them upside the head with "Ye stiffnecked"! Now most of us today would say "that isn't very Christian or that does not show love" does it!
YET Jesus himself shows approval as He stands up and stands with Stephen against Israel! Jesus' posture changes from sitting at the right hand of God to standing!!!
... 56 "And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God."
Stephen did not mix words and was straight forward! At times we too need to be straight forward with those who oppose sound doctrine. Those who are argumentative over everything. Those who still believe and walk in law and want us to do so. Those who take away from the cross of Christ by doing ordinances and performance-oriented Christianity! Those who are not of the faith and stand in this perverted world!
OH NO I SAY!!!! I WILL TAKE A STAND AGAINST YOU!!!
YET look what Stepehen said just before dying and being received into heaven.
... 60 "And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep."
All I can say is WOW!!!
Use and Misuse!
There are 2 ways to use or misuse verses in the bible. We can use it for how it was intended or misuse for our denominational and religious gain.
For instance, here is verse that has been used both ways for years.
John 16:2 "They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3 And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me."
The intended use was to tell the 12 apostles and the little flock what can and will happened to them. That the religious leaders will kill them and "say we did this for God"! But they really did it for themselves because they did not know the Lord Jesus as the Messiah!
Now we could use this for today's time too. There will be those who will call us names and be argumentative and say that we are "grace" folks who believe "once saved always saved" and tell us we are still to "do" and "follow" the law and so on! That we are to do this ordinance or jump through this hoop in order to belong to a church. I could go on forever with this, but you get it I hope.
BUT the misuse of this verse can come by those like Mormons or the "Koreshes" other cults who use this verse in a martyred way! They use it to control their people, and to say follow me and ignore these people who tell you we are a cult or wrong.
How can we know the difference? Well for one there should always be free will and freedom that comes from knowing the truth and only in the grace message is there that freedom. "NO DOING"!!! All cults or even denominational teaching are under law, ALL!!! They are teaching you it is Christ +++ something, but we see in
Col 2:10 "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:"
Don't let "religious folks" misuse scripture to move you back into bondage, under law, or their control and always take a stand in the freedom you have in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Let your speech be always with grace!
Sometimes when I hear those who claim to be believers share it saddens me. Their language can be so bad it embarrasses me yet doesn't seem to bother them, and this tells me they cuss all the time. Their comments on social media or the way they talk to people is just rude. They describe things in vulgar terms in order to get their point across. They can be controlling with attitude and remarks.
"How" we share is as important as "what" we share. Paul says Col 4:6 "Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."
No one is perfect but a cussing or dirty mouth is not a grace filled mouth, it is not seasoned with salt which edifies and helps others.
Take the time to learn how to talk to others. Look at how you communicate to your spouse or family. If you have heard others say things about how or what you say, listen to them. It may help you love, share and communicate the gospel better as well as not offend others.
Learn to speak with grace and love!
Are you ignorant of Satan's devices!
Many of you would say no I am not ignorant of Satan's devices.
2Co 2:11 "Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
Yet so many believers are and don't even know it. They are deceived by what seems normal doctrine. What seems to be normal teaching of the word. I have had many a saints say to me "well if we just teach the bible, it will be clear and right, right!"
But we can twist the scriptures for our own gain or belief. This has gone on for years and even churches and denominations have been built on bad doctrine. They have become ignorant of Satan's devices!!!
Here is what I want you to see. If Genesis through Acts and Hebrews through Revelation are under law and written to Israel why would you follow that program, but many do!
AND If Paul's books are written to gentiles and under grace and the will of God for today, why don't we follow it!
We sometimes think that we are fleeing Satan when really, we are cooperating with him!!!!!
Jas 4:7 "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
It is so important to understand right doctrine so that we think right, choose right, feel right and behave right!!!!
Rom 12:17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
Being honest with yourself is something we need to do in order to come to Christ. Looking at ourselves rightfully and saying we are lost and need salvation is the first step. But also, being honest with others is very important. I have seen time and again believers who would cheat or manipulate others! They don't pay the bill at the store or restaurant for whatever reason.
Now I am not saying to pay more although I would rather pay more if necessary to clean up a situation, it is always better to be cheated than to cheat others.
So be honest, don't cheat others and be responsible for your part in all situations!
Help, exhort, wait and note if necessary!
I was thinking as I read this verse how I could communicate to you how we should approach our brothers in Christ. What might be a good way in steps how to minister to others in a general way. Now always remember that each situation will be different and must be handled correctly if possible.
Gal 6:1 "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."
1Th 5:14 "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men."
Patient is the key here but keep moving forward! Be discipline yet kind! Be persistently patient but always exhorting!
Hopefully they will repent and have that "change of mind" and will walk by faith, with the mind of Christ and seek forgiveness from those they have offended if needed.
2Th 3:14 "And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed."
Wait a while to let them think about it or even respond and waiting can be hours or months at times but wait and note that man! That means if they do not respond and walk faithfully then remember that man and not keep company with him! That means to separate. That can be physically, mentally and emotionally if necessary! Some believers are more fleshly than faithful.
4.) and remember this too...
2Th 3:15 "Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."
Don't sit and do nothing for a carnal Christian can do harm to the church and to the Body of Jesus Christ!
Magic, signs and Wonders!
Have you ever seen a magic trick and can't believe it and then say, "do it again"! You see our minds can't wrap around how this could be, so we want to see it again. To add we love the stimulation and thrill we get from it. We feel and see something we can't grasp but if we can see something it takes no faith.
Rom 8:24 "For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?"
John 12:37 "But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him:"
Sadly, while showing His power through miracles Israel still did not believe. This is one of the reasons the sign gifts are no longer needed today.
People tend to be in Awe of a miracle and then turn around and say, "do it again"! They want to experience it over and over and say "look it's Jesus"! They are always trying to experience something because they are not content in what they have if they a saved! Catholics and Charismatics practice this as well as prosperity and healing ministries today! Seeing a miracle or feeling closer to God in some external way is how prosperity preachers can seduce and manipulate people.
Then to often these same people go out and tell everyone about this sign or miracle and they get the praise from others, while trying to act humble and saying it is of God, all the while not being content in Christ.
John 12:43 "For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."
Don't seek to see another miracle or sign or anything else externally for that is not faith but rather believe what God has done through the cross of His Son Jesus Christ, For it is the power of God!!!!
1Co 1:18 "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."
My dearly beloved son!
Paul called Timothy his dearly beloved son. He was not his biological son but as a spiritual father who led Timothy to Christ, he called him his son.
2Ti 1:2 "To Timothy, my dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord."
He taught him how to be a man of God in the doctrine of grace and I don't believe he did this from a pulpit, preaching and using notes. As they walked, rested and ate together, he would instruct him, and at times probably rebuked and corrected him but always in love as you would your flesh and blood.
1-2 Timothy are called the pastoral letters as they teach how to disciple others. How to fellowship with the congregation and train others for the ministry. Paul tells Timothy to train faithful men who will train others!
2Ti 2:1 "Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also."
4 levels are seen here, from Paul to Timothy and from Timothy to faithful men who teach others. You really know how faithful the ones that you disciple if they disciple others.
Are you teaching someone? Start at home and read the word to your family members. The best way to disciple someone is in a relaxed comfortable place. Teach them how to walk by faith, by you walking by faith then they will see it as you tell them. Tell them about the revelation and fellowship of the mystery and that Paul is their apostle. Teach them to look at themselves honestly and if you have not been discipled, get others to help you, you might be surprised at how blind you are when comes to how you really are.
Acts and Hebrews!
Both of these books are transitional books, meaning they transition from one dispensation to another. From one focus to another and then back again.
Acts moves from Israel and the messianic church in the first part of Acts to what is called the Body of Christ. It is a gentile church under grace by faith alone.
When Stephen was stoned Jesus stood up and that was a declaration against Israel. We might say Jesus said "Enough!"
Act 7:55 "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,"
Shortly thereafter in Chapter 9 Paul is saved and the Body of Christ is formed, and the transition now is moving. From Israel under law to gentiles under grace. From Peter to Paul and the gentile world is able to be saved by the extended hand of God by grace.
Faith without works or law is now the gospel being preached. Faith in Christ burial and resurrection is the way to salvation. Faith alone by the cross of Christ!
Then in the book of Hebrews we see the opposite taking place, from The Body of Christ back to Israel. We see that the rapture of the Body of Christ has taken place (1thes 4:16-17) and that the tribulation will begin. Hebrews is that book that will encourage Israel to follow their Messiah. The book of Hebrews is written to, you guessed it "Hebrews" as well as James, 1-2 Peter, 1-2-3 John, and finally Jude. Revelation tells us of that period of time and the wrath of God as well as the Kingdom to come!
Don't confuse these books nor their purpose under God's eternal will and plan!
Eph 1:9 "Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:"
Eph 3:11 "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:"
Jesus came to give Life!!!
While He was here in His earthly ministry to Israel Jesus spoke these words.
John 10:10 "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
They are still relevant for us today in the fact that Satan still wants to steal, kill and destroy! He will use any means possible to confuse or keep you in bondage.
While you cannot lose being a saved sealed saint spiritually speaking, Satan will try to make you weak by confusing you. When we walk by law instead of grace or mix the earthly promises and covenants to Israel with all the spiritual blessings you have now!
Don't let him confuse you and take away your freedom and joy in Christ! Don't let him take the fruit that is yours by putting you back under law and works!
2Co 1:24 "Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand."
Gal 5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
A big thank you to all of you who responded to yesterday's devotional. Everything went well and now after a year of chemo I will go back just for CAT scans and Dr.'s appointments every 6 weeks, unless something is found.
Eph 1:16 "Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;"
Thank you for your prayers and well wishes! Please keep praying the ministry as well as for our health.
Please know that we are praying for you all, always!
Col 1:3 "We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,"
Peace to you all and in His love,
I am heading out this morning for my last day of chemo. I will do blood work, see Doctor and then finish with chemo. A great day to praise the Lord as I see the sun come up while I am there and think about His wonderful love for me! Such love that brings contentment and comfort to me! Such love that over comes the fear of cancer or death that can come on me. Such love that over comes the sickness and death that can be seen in the hospital. The love that conquers all things while going through anything.
Nothing to do but rest in His love for it is His love and His work and His day!
Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!
Eph 2:4 "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,"
We have been baptized into Christ and His death! And we are raised with Him in Life!
Rom 6:3 "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"
Now this is a Spiritual baptism and identifies us into Christ Himself and His death, burial and resurrection! This is not a flesh cleansing or water baptism, but it is addressing the spiritual area.
The word baptism has to do with identity. We identify into His death and by that the power of sin through our old man is dead. We are then raised with Christ and receive eternal life spiritually! The old man which was controlled by sin is now dead. The Spirit is now alive and made holy by Jesus Christ Himself!
We are alive spiritually and our spirit is made righteous through the Holy Spirit! Spiritually speaking no longer in bondage to sin but must now "choose" to walk according to what is now within our spirit! That "choosing" is by our soul which contains our will! Our will then has the power to "choose" what we will think and do!
You are now free, to "choose" WHO you will serve daily, God or yourself, CHOOSE GOD!
Withdraw and not keep company!
2Th 3:6 "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
... 14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed."
As I was teaching in 2 Thes 3 yesterday we come across these verses. They are always hard to grasp because they say to separate from others. They say to "withdraw or not keep company" with those that are disorderly. "But Howard are we not supposed to love and tell others about Christ?" Yes, we are, and we are also to help others walk by faith and be obedient too. We should speak gently yet boldly with words that tell them what they are doing wrong and wait for their reaction. Hopefully it is a repentant reaction, and a good response but it may not be and those are the ones we separate from. Now remember to discern their age, their upbringing, and their understanding of the word. How mature are they in life and in the word and give it some time it may take a week or more for them to process what you shared with them. Be discerning and patient with them because what you are telling them may affect them in many ways. Sometimes the one thing they are doing may affect other things in life. It may be separating from someone in a bad relationship but that may also affect them financially or housing.... That doesn't mean they shouldn't separate but give it some time for them to understand then act on it.
Now in this case disorder means they were not working or being responsible in life. They were being a busybody which means gossiping and not being productive. It also means that are self-centered and not doing what Paul commanded them to do which was for one love others first. They were selfish and looking out for themselves only.
There are many verses that tell the believer to separate from sin of the world and these are just a couple, but we are to be Godly, righteous and not give into sinful behavior. We are ambassadors of Christ, so His righteousness is on the line so to speak. Don't join others in their sin, regardless of a brother or sister in Christ or if it is a non-believer.
Don't question the word but rather be faithful to it, even if you "feel" like you're doing something wrong, for that is most often your flesh crying out for acceptance from man!
Mar 16:11 "And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not."
These had been with Jesus this whole time, yet they still did not believe! Why didn't they believe after all they had seen Him perform miracle after miracle right in front of them? Why?
When we need miracles to prove something and put faith in the miracles, we will need to keep seeing and experiencing them in order to believe. In other words, we are walking by sight instead of faith! We are carnal and looking for something we can touch or feel! We are looking "FOR" Christ instead of knowing Christ! We will be looking for some experience over and over. This is why so many denominations do the oddest and weird things. This is why charismatics are always telling stories of great things that happened. They want to see it to believe it. They tell the story so that people can visualize it in their minds! This is not faith!!!
But the greatest miracle and the only one we should tell is this one!
1Co 15:4 "And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: ... 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
Christ has risen and you either walk by faith or not! Do You walk by faith? Or do you still need a miracle or experience to believe?
Walk by faith and be totally content in the Risen Lord Jesus!
Discern good and evil!
Can you discern between good and evil? How about life and death or light and darkness or are you still feeding on the milk instead of meat of the word?
Heb 5:11 "Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. 13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
We cannot always apply what we understood before coming to the Lord because it made sense. We have to apply faith and faith in the word. What may make sense before we were saved does not necessarily go with scripture anymore.
Some feelings are a form of death, yet we may think they are normal. Some actions seem normal to us, yet they are a form of sin, death and darkness!
I see believers continuing to live like they did before they were saved and thinking it is ok because of grace! Some things need to change!
We need to take an "honest appraisal" of ourselves and our thinking and if it goes with scripture. We may need to see if we are truly "in" the faith or are we walking "by" faith! Do we know the basics of "righteous living" or are we behaving the same as before but now we believe in this "Jesus"!
If you struggle with discernment, then get help from an older mature believer or fellowship. Talk with others that will tell you the truth not just what you want to hear. But more importantly read the word and read Paul's books, Romans through Philemon. Pray for discernment as well as be honest with yourself. Learning to discern is so very important to your spiriual,menatl and emotional health and walk in Christ!
Losing loved ones!
When I was 10 years old my older sister was dating a guy in high school. He was killed in an auto accident by two guys hitting his car. Now what I remember most at the funeral was that the parents of this young man were not crying but ministering to others. You see they were believers and were able to comfort others in that time of grief.
In the last week I have had 4 friends that have lost loved ones. This is always a sad time for the family and friends. We are told to comfort those who are going through this lost.
2Co 1:3 "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
Since God has comforted us with His love, we too need to comfort others with His love. We want to pray for them and help them with as much as possible. Even cooking can be a chore especially if the family comes for a funeral. So let me encourage you to first rest in God's love and allow the peace of God to fill your mind and heart and then comfort others. God's peace in such times can serve others more than you think!
2Th 3:16 "Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all."
Because they received not!
In the end time tribulation period, there will be those who will not be saved, because they "received not" the love of the truth.
2Th 2:10 " And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved".
They will be deceived by Satan and his antichrist partner. They will be tricked by all the signs and wonders that they can see and touch. They will worship the antichrist and celebrate the unrighteousness of that day!
Sadly, it does not sound different then today! Many "receive not" because they are too busy having fun and looking for excitement in all the wrong places. They are worshiping themselves or others who they deem worthy of praise. Sports news are always saying "who" is the GOAT, which means the "greatest of all times"!
I say to you "WHO CARES"! Whoever is the greatest at some sport cannot save you! Whoever or whatever seems exciting cannot give you eternal life!
Sadly, I see some of this in the church today where they are looking at the signs and wonders verses the word of God! They want the charisma of the pastor and music. They want to "feel" close to God in some sort of experience and music and excitement seems right to them. Yes, they may be saved but they are still in bondage to the flesh and excitement that tantalizes their minds!
Don't fix your eyes on the earthly things but look up unto the heavenly things!
Col 3:1 "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth".
We humans have 3 parts, our Spirit, which relates to God, our Soul which contains our mind, will and emotions and lastly our body which is made up of our 5 senses. The body's 5 senses are touch, smell, taste, sight and hearing.
1Th 5:23 "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ".
Now we often think our problems are spiritual, but really as a believer it is not. The Spirit has been sanctified meaning set apart in Holiness. The Holy Spirit is in our spirit! Jesus Christ is in our spirit! God Himself is in our spirit so it is not a spiritual problem but a soul problem.
The mind is such an important part of walking by faith. The mind thinks and the will chooses what to think as well as what to do. Our emotions follow our thinking unless we are led by our emotions then we are in trouble!
This is why we need to read the word so our mind knows "what" to think and then choose to think and do what it says! We have to renew our minds with God's word until Christ be formed in our mind! By the way Christ is already formed in your spirit so it is in our mind that He needs to be formed again and again until it is more natural to be faithful than unfaithful!
Gal 4:19 "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you",
Put on Christ and renew your mind and you will walk after the Spirit!
Doctrine over personality!
Too often as in yesterday when I was talking with a lady, people say I am going to go to this church because of the music and preaching. They like the "personality" of the church, and how it "feels"! Sadly, what they don't get is that while the music may be good and the pastor's personality may be exciting, the doctrine is bad! They want personality over doctrine and that is why they are so weak in faith and always looking for the next "feel good" moment!
Paul says this in Gal 2:6 "But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me:"
He was saying that these add nothing to his salvation, knowledge or position. In other words, he was not affected by their status or personality. Just because a pastor has charisma and "good" words does not make them more accepted before God!
Then he says this in Eph 4:14 "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;"
This is how so many believers are today, they are blown by every wind of doctrine, meaning whatever feels good type of doctrine. "Oh, what great music" and "What a great sermon" yet being deceived by the words of these pastors!
Now I know to some extent the way a pastor preaches, and their personality plays into how it is heard and received, but first and foremost the doctrine should be checked out. If they BELIEVE and teach under law instead of grace, they are teaching wrong doctrine. If they BELEIVE and teach Calvinist, prosperity and the "name and claim" message they are teaching bad doctrine. If they do ordinances, "...lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect" (1 Cor 1:17) it is wrong doctrine.
What does your church BELEIVE? Not just what you hear on Sunday morning for they may hide or teach on something else that day, but what do they BELIEVE? For what they BELIEVE will come through their filter in some way! Do you know what to BELIEVE and what your fellowship BELIEVES and teaches?
Agree to Disagree, can be dangerous!!!
I often hear folks say "I agree to disagree" when it comes to doctrinal issues, but that can be very dangerous. Meaning just because you disagree does not make it good or right, it just makes it your opinion! Now I know there are things that all of us disagree on or don't see the same but too often these things are easily fixed by "right division" of the scriptures. No matter what Law and grace don't mix.
Paul says this in
Eph 4:27 "Neither give place to the devil".
When we give place to the devil, we are submitting to his plan which is to keep us in bondage. Living under law and doing works is a bondage lifestyle. Knowing correct doctrine is vital so that we are not bouncing around in confusion and working hard and getting nowhere. Paul says this in
Eph 4:14 "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive";
Satan more than anything wants to keep believers deceived and confused and therefore working hard for acceptance and approval from God! He does not want you to have peace, victory or contentment! He does not want you to have FREEDOM OR LIFE IN CHRIST!
What doctrine do you follow? If there is one thing you live under law in, then that one thing needs to be addressed. Sometimes we only see that one thing but really there are many we don't see! You need freedom in that One thing! What is it?
No longer a mystery, But Now!
Robin and I love watching Dateline or a "who done it" type show. It is a mystery, and we try to figure out who did what! Then when it is told we can see if we were right or wrong and it is a fun time for us.
The bible had a mystery too until Paul came along and Jesus saved and revealed all the truths to him. Paul, like Moses in the Old, was the minister Christ used as we see here in
Col 1:25 "Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; 26 Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints":
Notice he says, "to fulfil the word of God"!!! In other words, God had certain revelation that had not been revealed yet and Paul was the agent to put on paper for us. Now all of this new revelation from Paul is given by the Holy Spirit working through Paul and Christ is the author!
With that said many of the old ways were done away with. The way God dealt with Israel and the Law were changed and done away with, now that God has extended grace to the gentile world. We are no longer under the bondage of the law. Most believers like and would agree with this part because they see the advantage and positive part of that. Yet many still want to "do" things that were under law in order to "feel" good about themselves and they don't want to "miss" something they think they "should" do in order to be obedient, after all that would be called sin, wouldn't it. So, the thinking goes like this "do everything I can, even though I can't save myself, I can still do something"!
This type of thinking still puts us back in bondage to a standard, even if it is our standard and Not God's!
Do you still believe and do things that God has said is not necessary to be saved, accepted, and justified in Him? Think about that for a second.... and if so then you truly are in disobedience!
The correct response!
Have you ever been in a really bad situation where you needed help? You needed food, shelter, clothing or money! You were in a bad situation, and someone comes along and gives you want you so desperately needed! What was your response to them? Was it an ungrateful and "Could you give me more", "It's about time", or "I can't receive this" type of thing, OH I hope not!
Well, the same goes for our spiritual life. Sadly, many saints "only" think about doctrine or "what the bible says" type of thing, and while what the bible teaches is very important how you respond to the word of God is just as important. If the bible says to love and you don't than you are not responding correctly! If the bible says to forgive and you don't than you are in violation of God's word!
The correct response is vital to how we think! In fact, how we think is how we respond to things. We need to know how to respond so we know how to think the right way.
Here is an example, how do you respond to sin? What do you do when you realize you have sinned? Well, most saints react by asking for and seeking forgiveness from God don't they! They are saying the "Could you give me more", "it's about time" or "I can't receive this" type of thing, which is a self-centered attitude and the opposite of what we are told to do! We are told to walk by faith and to be faithful!
Paul says this in
Rom 14:23 "... for whatsoever is not of faith is sin".
And here we see that God has forgiven us of all sin!
Eph 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you".
Col 2:13 "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses".
So how should we respond in faith to this, by saying "THANK YOU"!!!
1 Thess 5:18 "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you".
A truly thankful heart shows that we truly understand our sin and what Christ did on the cross. A thankful response is a faithful response, but an asking or begging reaction is one of fear and doubt! It is asking for something you already have in Christ! After the cross, the blood and the Holy Spirit baptizes you into Christ, we don't see Paul saying "ask for forgiveness' but rather he says by faith receive!!!
Be thankful for everything you have in Christ, and you will be responding in faith!
I beseech you all, be of the same mind in the Lord!
The word beseech means to appeal, encourage or entreat! Paul uses the word beseech here in
Phil 4:1 "Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. 2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord".
He is trying to appeal to Euodias and Syntyche to be of one mind in the Lord! We too need to be of one mind in the Lord. Now what is that one mind look like.
More than anything else it needs to be one in Christ and that means one in grace! We need to see and be one in the fellowship of the mystery which is the dispensation of grace. By being one in that we also understand salvation and the working out of our daily sanctification.
All of that includes the Love of God working through us to Love others and being obedient to Him! Being of one mind is critical to the Body working together in order to share the gospel, the gospel of the grace of God!
The One washing for today!
On social media I hear all kinds of wild crazy doctrine, and I recently heard this one. Someone was saying that water baptism is for today what circumcision was under the old covenant. Now that is funny since they did water baptism under the old covenant, and John the Baptist baptized Jesus under the old covenant! The word "washing" means the same as baptism, as we see the people and priest being sanctified, which means set apart, holy and consecrated unto God.
Exod 19:10 "And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes",
Exod 29:4 "And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water".
and here is an example from Hebrews verse 2.
Heb 6:1 "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment".
The word baptism here is washings, and while this is an outward washing and cleansing, we today only have ONE washing and it is by the Holy Spirit INTO Christ!!!
Eph 4:5 "One Lord, one faith, one baptism",
1 Cor 12:13 "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit".
This is another reason to rightly divide the word of truth as Paul says in
2 Tim 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth".
Don't confuse the Old or New covenants with the Body of Christ! They were written for Israel.
Jer 31:31 "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah":
but the Body of Christ is a New creation!
FALSE PROPHETS AND CHURCHES!
Matt 24:11 "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many".
This is what many false prophets will quote. when they are trying to convince their church to follow them. The scripture is not bad of course but their use of it is!
While watching the news today I had seen that the LDS, or Morman church was being fined for hiding $30 some Billion dollars of investments. That is an enormous amount of money to be hiding from the church as well as the government and their church. But my point is not just the money but the deceitfulness of it all. The LDS church was built on deceit from the beginning. They have always been deceitful, and they even admit to lying in order to protect themselves and their polygamy ways in the beginning.
ANY church that is deceitful in any way is a false church!!!!! Let me say it again ANY church that would lie, cheat or deceive in some way as an organization or doctrine and day to day living is a false church with false prophets!!!
We often hear of their different splintered sects like Warren Jeffs and others who believe in polygamy and marry underage girls and who use fear and intimidation to control, Yet the mainstream church will do the same thing in different ways if they can get by with it "in the name of God"!
Don't be fooled by them and do not give them the respect you might give other protestant churches as being Christian churches for this is another deceitful thing they try to do.
Rom 16:18 "For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple".
While there are other churches and preachers who I may disagree with, the LDS church is not a Christian church!
Faith and the Big Bang!
It is funny to me that those who believe in the Big Bang theory have such great faith, yes, I said faith as it takes faith to believe it. It cannot be proved, nor has it ever been proved, it is a theory. But that type of theory has been around a long time.
Acts 17:18 "Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection".
The Stoicks were a Greek philosophy and school that believed that the universe was an eternal self-created and self-destroying type thing. So just like the Stoicks school of thought so is the big bang in which it was created by itself. But both of these take a certain amount of faith as it takes to believe something that you can't see or prove. It may sound logical therefore they believe it but that does not make it true. Logic does not make things true because our logic changes just like our feelings. What seems logical today may not be tomorrow. I think it is funny how many times I hear the scientific and medical field say coffee or wine is good for you and then turn around and say it is not. One day it gives you cancer the next day it saves your life, HMMMM!!!
So, the point is that faith by itself does not make it true nor does it save you. What matters is what the faith is In, or better said, WHO it is in! Faith in a dead Buddha will do nothing, neither does faith in a dead Muhamad, Joseph Smith or anyone else! Only Jesus Christ died and resurrected as it says in the verse above!
Put your faith in the LIVING SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST!!!
When Faith grows, so will love!
Paul tells the Thessalonians that he is so glad and thanks God for their growth in faith and charity.
2 Thess 1:3 "We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth";
You see when you are walking by and growing in faith you will grow in love!
Gal 5:6 "For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love".
When we renew our minds and walk in the security of God's love by faith, we then grow in that security and confidence and then love others as Christ loves us. Now Christ gave His life for us so we too may need to sacrifice our life for another. Now we may not literally die physically but we may suffer emotionally in the name of Christ for loving that person.
For instance, if sin is dominating your family member, friend or brother in Christ you may have to speak with them and then separate from them. That separation may hurt and cost you that relationship, but it is in love if communicated correctly. Yes, you suffer but it is also a righteous thing to do.
Notice what Paul says in Rom 13:8 "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law".
Love is the only law for the Body today and when we love one another as Christ loved us, we would have kept the righteousness of the law. Again, righteousness would say to help, minister and serve others while at times it says to correct, rebuke or separate. ALL for the sake of righteousness and Godliness!!!
We are told to abound more and more in faith and love!
2 Cor 8:7 "Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also".
If you struggle to love someone, it is because you are not experiencing, feeling and putting on God's love! When you do experience God's love then you will love that person as Christ loved you!
Proud, Humbled and Conqueror!
When you go into the military there is a time of boot camp, and they break you down. They humble you and then build you up we might say. You become one unit and function as a team instead of self-focused. You become focused on the nation, duty and saving one another if the need should arise.
The same goes for the believer you might say, we are born prideful and arrogant, and we need to be humbled. We need to see that we are born sinners in need of a Saviour. We need to realize that we don't have all the answers to life and that life itself comes through Christ!
James says this.
Jas 4:6 "But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble".
So being humbled is a good thing and after being saved we become a New Creature!
2 Cor 5:17 "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new".
The old man and shameful ways are gone, and we are told that we have become an Ambassador for Christ.
... 20 "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God'.
Now an ambassador is one that represents and holds a high position to the one in charge. The believer represents Jesus the creator, King and Lord of all!
The problem I see is that too many saints want to continue to act in the early stage of being humbled and in a way stay self-focused instead of understanding who they are and that is a Victor. In fact, more than a victor, a Conquer!
Rom 8:37 "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us".
So, Stop living as if you are a no-good rotten sinner who needs to be humbled constantly and start walking in who you are in Him and being the solder and fighting the good fight for Christ. The church doesn't need babies but adults who know they are and take a STAND FOR CHRIST!
YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD AND BELONG TO THE KING, LORD AND MORE, SO ACT LIKE IT!!!
Doctrine does not prove salvation!
Doctrine does not prove salvation, but doctrine tells us how we are saved! Many will say that you can't be saved if you do works or law or idol worshipping or any other sin for that matter, but I say that is not true! There are saved folks that don't know correct doctrine and still do works or law or idol worshipping!
Let's look at what Paul says to the Corinthians!
1 Cor 3:1 "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men"?
They were carnal meaning fleshly and immature. They did not understand nor walk by correct doctrine, but they were saved. Paul calls them saints and the church of God at Corinth. This means they were saved they knew Jesus Christ and His works on the cross and they were saved by faith, but they still did things that were not faithful.
Paul rebukes, corrects and tells them they are acting like babies in Christ! Now with that said correct doctrine brings life, security and freedom. We are to teach them and help them see their sin and false beliefs. We are to help them come to Christ by faith and to bring that freedom in all points of life.
I have counseled many who still walk by law and works. They still do not understand the cross work of Christ and that they are completely forgiven but they are still saved! Let us not judge someone to be unsaved just because they are taught wrong by their church and pastors and do not know correct doctrine nor walk by the Spirit? Most of us come from denominational church teaching and had to re-learn the grace of God according to the revelation of the mystery!
The word says for us to edify and teach and be patient with all.
1 Thess 5:14 "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men".
There are basically 3 ways God uses to minister to us today!
1. By the Word of God!
Rom 10:17 "So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God".
1 Tim 4:13 "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine".
2. By the Holy Spirit!
2 Cor 3:17 "Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty".
Gal 5:16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh".
and last but not least,
3.The Body of Christ
1 Cor 12:12 "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. ... 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it".
Rom 15:14 "And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another".
Now the Body can minister in many ways. Preaching and teaching from the pulpit or a class or one on one like a friend or someone in church or in counseling and discipleship. The body can give financially or materially as in clothes or shelter. The Body can also be correcting, rebuking and exhorting someone, usually this last one is due to folks not reading or listening to the Spirit.
So, all 3 are important and we should be willing to listen and learn from each and then minister to others in the same way. We should edify them with the word, walk after the Spirit and as the body minister to one another.
Grace to you all.
SAD, DEPRESSED AND FEAR!!!
Often times we go through things and think it is ok to "feel" a certain way and to a point it is. But most often we don't understand that it is not by faith but flesh. Paul says in
Rom 14:23 "And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin'.
"Whatsoever is not of faith is sin" that means often times we feel sad, depressed or fearful and don't see it as sin. Now it is not necessarily overt sin like stealing, lying or murder but it is still sin. It is not victory but a form of death as Paul tells us.
Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord".
Death looks and feels like sadness or depression or other feelings that dominate our thinking. We may lose a loved one and yes that is sad, but we don't need to live in pity or be depressed in fact we can make this an opportunity to minister to others by first renewing our minds!
Rom 12:2 "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God".
And putting off that thinking and putting on Jesus and His love which brings victory, freedom and confidence.
Col 3:8 "But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him":
Even in the midst of loss and sadness we can have victory and minster to others that are hurting. Remember no matter how much pain or hurt or sadness you have it won't bring back the person and you may even see them again in heaven with Christ. Death is a part of this earthly life, but it is not the end but just the beginning!
Following someone is important in the bible and important for us in our daily lives. Knowing who, how and why to follow is just as important as anything else in life. Everyone has parents but many lose a parent or for whatever reason, grow up not having parents and therefore do not follow anyone. When that happens the person becomes very independent and will do whatever they please or do whatever THEY think is right, which is often ungodly. They are insecure and controlling and they trust no one and therefore are always being their own god, you might say!
Paul tells us to follow him WHO followed Christ!
1Co 11:1 "Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ".
Paul says to follow him as he had received the gospel of grace and the revelation of the mystery given to the Body of Christ. Now we don't worship Paul as God nor do we worship those we follow but we learn to watch and learn, submit and live life correctly with the right heart and attitude toward authority. We then learn how to pass that down to others as we mature under someone. We grow up in a more natural way and protected as well as how to set certain limits and boundaries. We become secure, and not need others attention or acceptance. We become steady, giving people, instead of self-centered, head strong and prideful.
Now we can become that self-centered person even if we have parents, because they don't teach the grace of God and they don't lead! We can also become that independent person because we don't follow either even if they do teach us but that is called sin too!!!
Follow Paul's doctrine and learn to follow, listen and mature under someone who teaches the grace message given to Paul! Remember this if you can't follow someone you can see you will never follow God who you can't see!!!
Not wrath but salvation!
1Th 5:9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,"
Over and over Paul tells the Body of Christ that they are not called to wrath! Why so many Christians can't get this is beyond me, but the point I want us to focus on today is the 2nd part of this verse. Paul says that we are not "appointed" to wrath, but we are "appointed" and have obtained salvation! You see it is saying that God never had in mind for the Body of believers to have wrath and that He always wanted to save us!
He wants to save us and be with us and to have that relationship with Him. He is not a God that just rules but He is God who wants to spend time with us. God has always desired for mankind to be with Him, but they must do it by faith in His Son Jesus Christ! God is Spirit and must be worshiped in Spirit. God is righteous and therefore we too must be righteous, and we are made that way by His son Jesus!!!
If you are saved don't run from God thinking you are going to be punished but run to Him even more and in the safety and love of His arms!
We are made up of a Spirit, Soul and Body as it says here in
1Th 5:23 "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ".
Our Spirit is different than our Soul and is Spiritually aware, motivated as well as sensitive and understanding of spiritual things. Our Soul is our mind, will and emotions and it separated from our spirit.
Heb 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart".
This is why the believers Spirit is saved and sanctified today. Our soul struggles daily, we are told to think spiritually and walk righteously. We are to think and choose to put on what is already true spiritually. Now our Spirit is alive, righteous and Holy as Christ is righteous and Holy and Christ is in us, and we are in Him!
God is Spirit and can only be worshiped by the Spirit, so renew your mind with the truth that lives within!
Rom 4:19 "And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara's womb:"
Abraham may have been old and weak physically; he wasn't weak in faith Paul says! He received what God said and believed even though he had no way of knowing the outcome. He had blind faith you might say!
This how we want to be to a certain extent in our faith. We should believe what the Word says regardless of when everything naturally says different.
How many times has science said this or that only to find out 10, 50 or 100 years later it wasn't that way at all, and it was how God said it was!
Be like Abraham, strong in faith even when the odds are against you!
TO LIVE OR DIE!
When you have cancer, it is easy to think of dying. Things are put into perspective even faster than normal. We all will die someday but for someone with cancer it no longer is just a saying it is reality.
Paul says this in
Rom 14:7 "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. 8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. 9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living".
If you're a believer, the hope that you have is in Christ. Dying then becomes not a scared or fearful thing but a great and rewarding thing! It is an opportunity to be with the Lord Jesus Christ and the peace that only comes from being in Him is now reality!
Yes, we will all die, but will you go in fear or peace! Will you go in the freedom and victory you have in Him or defeat and sadness! Oh, Dear Saints the difference between one or the other is in your mind! It is as simple as putting on faith and renewing the mind. It is repenting, which means "a change of mind", From walking in fear to walking by faith and having the victory a reality!
Don't fear death but welcome it and know that you will be in a far greater place. Don't morn for those who are saved and sleeping in Him for they are in the greatest place of all, the arms of Jesus!
How do you preach Christ?
We are all called to preach Christ! Preaching means to proclaim and as believers we are to proclaim Jesus as our Lord! But how we do that is most important too, so Paul says this in
Phl 1:15 "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel".
You see we can proclaim Christ out of envy, strife and contention. In other words, trying to be right and have power over others. We do it out of self-centered motivation and not out of love for others or Christ! I see this all the time in the church and even among rightly dividing grace believers.
Now I am not talking about agreeing with every doctrine and accepting everything everyone believes. No, I am just saying how our attitude and heart can show even if we share the right doctrine.
I know I have been guilty of preaching Christ in this way in order to win an argument or to be right and cause contention, have you?
The Stoning of Stephen!
All through the bible we see something happen so something else can be ushered in. The stoning of Stephen was just that, an ushering in so to speak!
Act 7:58 "And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul".
Luke quates an Old Test. verse to say what Jesus was doing after He ascended to Heaven. Jesus was sitting down at the right hand of God.
Act 2:34 "For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool."
Jesus's posture was to sit and wait for Israel's decision, but they rejected the risen Christ that Stephen preached about. So, after they stoned him, Jesus stood up and took a stand against Israel.
Act 7:55 "But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, 56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God".
This was then the fall and diminishing of Israel as spoken about in Romans 9-11 and the ushering in of the Body of Christ! Paul was saved as recorded in Acts 9 and made the Apostle to the gentiles. The dispensation of grace to the gentile world was beginning and still going today! No law, Temple or external things needed but all internal and by the Holy Spirit alone.
God did not give up on mankind after Israel's rebellion OH NO, He reached out and gave an even greater grace than before! There is always a new beginning in Christ! There is always a refreshing and resting time in the Lord. Stop trying so hard and just stop and be thankful and content in Christ!
God is the judge!
Rom 3:6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?
We should let God be God and therefore the judge of this world! Only God can say "your guilty" and sentence us to death as we say! Only God can condemn us to hell and only God can take vengeance and show His wrath against mankind. Only God can do whatever He wants and has given His word in advance.
Now since God can do all that can't He also judge us to be saved, righteous and reconciled to Him by faith. Yes, God can condemn but He can also save! God can take vengeance, but He can also forgive! God can take out His wrath on all unrighteousness but also give His righteousness through His Son Jesus Christ! God is Love and therefore He gives His love to those who are His children. We belong to Him and He is our protector, and He protects us by letting us be in Christ!
Don't ever forget that God is "the judge, jury and executioner" but He is also "the Redeemer, Reconciler and Rock" in which we stand!!!
Love, Evil and Good!!!
Paul encourages the Body to love! And we are to love sincerely not with a manipulative motive. Our tendency is to "love to get" or "lust for love"! But we are to love others as Christ loves us. Therefore, you need to know, put on and receive God's love daily.
Rom 12:9 "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good".
Paul then says to abhor evil which means to "Hate" or "detest" evil. The church today in many ways does not detest evil but actually tries to embrace evil in the name of love! We tend to entertain it instead of getting rid of it. We sometimes use the phrase "in the name of grace" I can do this instead of saying "OH NO! ABHOR EVIL"! When we entertain evil it will change us before we change it.
Then we are called to cleave which means to "join, attached or be glued to" good! Good means "righteous" and "Godly" not good as if the world would say. It means being faithful in all things and that is a good work unto God.
Finally, Paul goes onto to say these practical things,
... 17 "Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good".
Remember the 3 "W" s, which are your Worth in Christ, so you can Walk in Him and do the Work of our Lord!!!
All sin brings death, but not all death is eternal!
The bible says,
Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord".
All sin brings death but not all sin is eternal, let me explain that!
When we are born, we are born spiritually dead and lost and without being saved and having the life of Christ spiritually in us we are eternally dead! So that sin is eternal separation from God.
After being saved and having eternal life in Christ, we still sin and that sin is not eternal death, but temporary. Now what do I mean by temporary. For example, if I lie or lust for something a certain guilt comes across my mind, that guilt is a form of death, but it is needed to show us we sinned and how it feels when we do sin. That way we can put off and put on by faith the love and forgiveness of Christ and not lie again. We renew our minds and walk by faith.
So, we don't lose salvation, we don't lose fellowship or anything else we simply feel that sting of death but not spiritually or eternally!
When you sin don't deny it or defended just admit it! Who cares what others think after all they sin too; they just don't admit it. Funny to we try hard not to admit sinning when sin is already paid for!
Grace to you!
Grace to you is a common phrase by Paul to the saints. He uses it in the beginning of every book as a greeting and a reminder.
1Co 1:3 "Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;"
Its meaning is always God's love and kindness upon you! Everything about God's grace is in God Himself. God's grace is love, kindness and favor and He showed this favor by extending grace to us gentiles without the nation of Israel. He used the cross as the instrument and sacrifice to reconcile mankind therefore by-passing the need for any other sacrifices.
God's loving kindness is extended to you and received by faith! And while grace is sometimes used as not punishing us for our sins, and that meaning "we are graced" that really is His mercy being shown by grace.
So, remember that God's grace is His way of allowing you to be saved without law, works and Israel. It is His kindness being shown through His Son Jesus Christ!
The word love can mean so many different things these days. We see performers who want and say, "give some love" and people clap or stand for them. We hear folks say things like "I love my dog, or I love pizza"! We use love to mean things we desire or want but really love is much more than that!
The bible says God is love!
1Jo 4:8 "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. ... 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him".
Love is sacrificial even for those who don't deserve it or will not ever receive it!
Rom 5:8 "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us".
Sacrificial love means what is the best things for that person at the time, to bring them to Christ!!! Sometimes that means to correct, rebuke or even separate yet not in hate or to harm but to suffer long enough so they will come to Christ.
And because God is love those who have received shall never be separated from that love!
Rom 8:35 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord".
Now because we who are saved in Christ have this love, we do not need to be insecure, for we are loved by the creator and judge of this world. Because of this love we do not need to feel inadequate or inferior to anyone. We do not need to walk in shame or guilt or fear for He has accepted and forgiven us. We are His children, and He is our Father and He has given us life!
So, tell yourself the truth that God loves me, and I need not feel any rejection or condemnation from anyone including myself for I am deeply Loved by the God of Love!
1Co 16:24 "My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen".
Don't use your freedom in Christ to take advantage of others!
I recently had to deal with a guy taking my post for his own on Facebook. I think that is called plagiarism and I gently confronted him about it. He said "I was borrowing it" with smiley faces! Nothing more was said, then he did it again and perhaps more, but I don't know for sure. I then confronted him again and in short, he said "I can take and do whatever I want with them"! Now this is a Christian and claims to be a grace believer on top of that!
Now I am not as concerned about getting credit for them as much as I am that he had not thought of asking for them. I have had others that ask or want to share my post or devotions and I always say sure but to have no respect or love for his fellow brother or seeking forgiveness or some type of apology, after I said something is sad. He then blocked me and unfriended me!
You see he used his freedom in Christ to take advantage of another brother. He defrauded (which means to take advantage for selfish use) his fellow believer by just taking it.
Paul says this in
Gal 5:13 "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another".
AND THE THIS IN
Eph 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you".
Now I have went through the process of forgiving him and that is all I can do. I can choose to warn and teach others that another brother is continuing to be self-absorbed, fleshly and take advantage of the Body of Christ. Be aware of those in the Church that use their freedom to defraud you and don't you use your freedom to do the same!!
I write this devotion today in light of the recent news we see on T.V about a young man who died in Memphis. He died from injurious when he was stopped by policeman, and while I do not know what led up to that and I would like all of us to take that into consideration, what I am mostly concerned about is the disrespect and anti-authority issues we have today.
All unrighteousness can be stemmed back to a lack for authority. God is "THE" authority, and so we when we act like our own god as Gen 3:5 says we are trying to be the authority in life.
We then see even more anti-authority in leaders that fuel our rebellion. This is what I sense in our government leaders in all levels. Even if they do something good, how they say it or do things that can be bring on more rebellion and anti-authority attitudes. I am not saying we shouldn't hold offenders accountable, but we need to see the attitude in which do things. Paul says this in
Rom 13: "1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake".
Please dear saints never disrespect and misuse your rights under the law or take advantage of our freedoms, just so you can get your political or doctrine or whatever across! How you say things is just as important as what your actions are, and your actions should be Godly and righteous after all we answer to GOD, THE ONE TRUE AUTHORITY!
STEPS OF FAITH!
Rom 4:12 "And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised."
Abraham walked by faith, and we too are to walk in the "steps of faith"! While believing there is a God and that Christ was who He said He was and that He died for our sins, many believers do not walk by faith. They walk by their feelings instead of faith. Even many that are faithful in love for God will walk by their feelings. Many Charismatic folks love to sing and lift up their hands and shout and so on but when it comes to being obedient to the word, they don't even read it.
Read the word and renew your mind daily! Just like walking and taking steps to go somewhere you must also take one step at a time to grow in faith. "Steps of faith" is a daily putting on of the love and forgiveness of Christ and knowing the work is finished and the attitude is thankfulness!
BE SOBER AND WATCH!
1Th 5:6 "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ",
Sober in the bible can mean different things yet all can be tied together. It means to be awake, aware and of a more serious mind set. It is being discipline and doing what is best and righteous. This is why Paul speaks of NOT being drunk. Those that party and drink get drunk and are not thinking about God nor His church but focused on self!
You have heard me say many times that I don't believe in the Christian drinking alcohol as even one drink affects your mind. CAN a Christian drink, sure but what does it help! Even one glass of wine affects your mind. By the way Who will it edify and who will you offend? You're not building up anyone and your witness in my opinion goes out the door when non-believers see you act, and drink like them. Don't use grace as an excuse to do whatever you want as so many do!
To add the point in Thess. is that we be ready for Christ return and while waiting we walk by faith and love. Would you want to be drunk when He comes? Would you want to be slobbering all over Christ when He has come to take you away into heaven.
10 "Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him".
Christ died for you, and you will be with Him forever so be sober, so you don't miss anything!!!
OSAS stands for "Once Saved Always Saved"! And there a lot of folks who just can't believe it and even call it heresy. But the problem with their thinking is 2-fold.
1. They do not "rightly divide" between the Old/New covenants given to Israel verses the Body of Christ being formed. They use scripture that is used before the Holy Spirit's coming and do not realize we are sealed by the Holy Spirit and In Christ!
Eph 1:13 "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,"
We are also "sealed" unto the day of redemption which means until we are with the Lord!
Eph 4:30 "And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption".
They look at activity as a way of salvation verses salvation itself! You can go to church every day of the week and not be saved. Activity can be teaching, serving or even pastoring. It can be singing in the choir or teaching a Sunday school program, but it does not mean they are saved. You cannot be saved one day and lost the next! Activity means nothing as far as salvation is concerned.
So don't judge a man's salvation by his activity nor believe in the wrong doctrine. Wrong doctrine will take you down the wrong road eventually and you may still be active and driving but lost for sure!
What are you seeking?
It seems we live in a most self-centered world as it has always been self-centered! Yet sadly the church, those that are saved can behave the same way. They talk about themselves constantly and seek attention from others. They ask for prayer which sounds spiritual but it is always for themselves and their issues.
Paul says this in Philippians,
Phl 2:21 "For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's".
The church has become as self-centered as the world without much distinction because they seek their own instead of seeking those things above, which is Christ!
Col 3:1 "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God".
What you seek is what you will find! Life or death are found in seeking the right or wrong thing. Do you seek life or death?
Let me encourage you to seek Christ daily and set your heart and mind on Him and then you will truly have life!
Paul mentions "your faith" to the Thessalonians 5 times in chapter 3. He mentions " your" heart, charity and sakes also so clearly "your" is a theme here.
By using the word 'your" he is pointing out responsibility! Who is responsible for "your faith"? Well, YOU are!!!
Too often I see the blame game, or the irresponsible way of life take place and that is to blame others and even God for things. It started in Gen. 3 and continues till today. Some even put the responsibility on God for their faith. They say God gave me faith and God must continue to give me faith or else I have no faith. Now Jesus is the author of faith meaning He created all things including faith, but He didn't give you faith first and then save you. He gave man a free will when he created man. That is how we became sinners to begin with remember. He allows man by their free will to exercise faith.
Here are the 5 things Paul says about their faith.
1. He wanted to establish and comfort them in their faith!
1Th 3:2 "And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:"
2. He wanted to know their faith!
1Th 3:5 "For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain."
3. He was encouraged by their faith!
1Th 3:6 "But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:"
4.Their faith comforted Paul!
1Th 3:7 "Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:"
5. Edify their faith!
1Th 3:10 "Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith"?
We too need to be concerned about the faith of others especially if they are "in the faith". We can be encouraged, comforted and established by others we listen too. We can also edify and build them up and allow the Body of Christ to grow in unity by faith!
Walk By faith and take responsibility for "your daily faith"!
That sin that dwelleth in me!
Rom 7:14 "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."
Paul admitted to sin and did not try to hide it, as so many try to do today. All of us sin, even those that say they don't sin still sin, and that is just a function of our flesh. It is not "A" sinful nature as some say but our flesh which resembles our old sin nature.
Nature is who we are spiritually speaking, so we are either "sinners" or "saints"! You cannot be both at the same time. Those who are saved in Christ are called saints which means Holy! You must be a saint in order to be accepted by God because God only accepts those who have the "Holy" Spirit with in. So, we have the divine nature within us, yet we still sin because we choose to yield to our flesh instead of yielding to Christ and righteousness!
The battle is one of the "will" which is our "chooser". The mind is our "thinker and our emotions are "feeler", but the will is our chooser, and we have a choice every time in what we will yield too!
Yield to Christ and be content and allow His love to comfort you instead of someone or something else!
Ministers and Stewards of God!
1Co 4:1 "Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful."
You are a minister and steward of God!
We too should see ourselves as ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God! While Paul is our Apostle and he is talking about himself, we can apply this to ourselves, and as he said if stewards then we need to be faithful!
A minister is one who serves, and we are to serve Christ as He has already served us. A steward is one who manages, administrates or oversees something. We are to oversee and distribute the gospel which is the mystery of God for today!
We need to protect, guard and boldly share this gospel and not fall back under the law system given to Israel.
To many churches, pastors and leaders still teach law as the motivation and doctrine of the church today! Don't you buy into it for one second! Keep on telling yourself and others that salvation is by grace accessed by faith only! Maturity comes by faith day by day and by reading the word of God. We need to rightly divide so we under this mystery gospel for today. Even if you don't understand it all you can stand on that until you know and grow more in it!
Now our worth is in Christ and the book of Ephesians especially tells us our worth. Paul always starts out telling us our Worth then our Walk and finally our Work!
Col 1:10 "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
We are told to walk worthy of our Lord and of God! Worthy means to be upright in our behavior. It means to be faithful and allow the Holy Spirit to work through us. It is being Godly, righteous and doing things that are appropriate and edify the body of Christ!
1Th 2:12 "That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory."
While we have the freedom to do whatever we please we should not use that freedom if it is not worthy of God.
This "worthy" thinking keeps good boundaries for us. In other words, if we are outside of this we are to put-off, put-on and walk worthy. Walking in the Spirit and with a genuine, sincere faith is the key to walking worthy!
I once heard a pastor say that Romans did nothing for him until he started teaching it! Well Romans is the greatest book in the bible in my opinion. From Genesis to Revelation, we see the bible say man has sinned and is guilty! Everything in life is about being right or wrong, sin or sinless or to be punished or not! We sometimes punish others or ourselves as we want to be right and not fail. We all want to be right in mind, heart and even with people. We want a clear conscience and to be able to say, "I am right, innocent and blameless"! This is why we all struggle to admit sin to each other we want to hold onto our pride and dignity.
So, Adam sinned, and that sin went down through man and therefore we are ALL guilty!
Rom 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
And the wages of that sin are death, and the place is called hell!
Rom 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
BUT when we come to understand that we are guilty and take the responsibility for our sin we then see we need a Saviour and receive the gift of God by faith, we then are saved.
And then we are spiritually justified, which means to be "right, blameless and innocent"! It means to be as we were supposed to be before God!
Rom 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"
Our Spirit is now "Righteous" because Christ is there and has given us His righteousness. We are Spiritually "whole, holy and blameless! We are complete and alive in Christ!
Rom 5:19 "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
Realizing you are no longer to be punished for your sin nor held guilty for it and made right before God should give us a Great since of appreciation and love toward God! We should be very thankful and comforted in His love and forgiveness!
Thank God today and every day for that gift, that gift of LIFE IN HIM!
Teaching through Romans!
As I teach through Romans in church yesterday, I am always reminded of how twisted some churches can become. It is bad enough when Christians are not sure even though they have the word in front of them, but they are not confident in the word as the world and even some pastors pressure and teach that homosexuality is normal. BUT what is really bad is when the pastors', leaders and churches adopt this belief and allow a perverted pulpit!
Rom 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
Please take a stand against this sin, while it is no greater than other sins, it is the only sin that gets the approval of man!
Shrinking God's standard!
I continue to see "RD" (rightly dividing) or Pauline/grace folks whatever they identify with, make the same mistakes that other churches will do and that is to shrink the standard of God! In other words, they take God's standard and make it even harder or looser to fit their desired theology.
Satan deceived Eve and Eve did exactly that!
God told them Gen 2:17 "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die".
God said not to eat He didn't say not to touch! She added to His standard and so often we do too.
Gen 3:1 "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die."
Sadly, I see RD folks changing scripture to fit their particular theology, just the same as Calvinist or LDS! I had a RD guy tell me that Christians were "not" forgiven because Jesus died for all sin! Now I agree Jesus died for all sin but that does not take away from being forgiven!
Here are 3 verses that say we are forgiven...
Eph 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you'.
Col 2:13 "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses";
Col 3:13 "Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye".
So, while I teach to Rightly Divide, we should not divide, divide, divide until there is no gospel to "divide". RD saints can be just as guilty as any other group if we begin to change the Word of God!
Gal 1:10 "For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ".
Gen 3:1 "Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden"?
Satan is subtle, crafty and deceives us! He does not always use big billboard signs and say, "Hey I am going to deceive you now"! Oh No, he deceives us gently and quietly you might say. If he can get our great, great, great grandparents deceived he knows it will be handed down to us at some point. If he can get the church and its leaders down through the ages to preach law, works and guilt or anything else other than the gospel for today than he has won the deception game!
Notice what Paul here says about being deceived.
Tit 3:3 "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another."
All of us have been deceived Paul says.
And again 1Ti 2:14 "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression."
But this one is one I want to address today!
2Ti 3:13 "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
These can be in the church and its leaders down through history. If they can get us to believe in the jumping through hoops, works and performance-oriented things than we will be deceived for life.
Here is a quick example illustrated to see what I am getting at.
A couple will sometimes live together before being married. They eat, sleep and even own a house together. They are intimate and seem to care for one another just like any other couple but not married! They may look into each other's eyes and say, "I love you", but they have never said "I DO" legally, so they are not married!
While it looks like a normal marriage it is not. You see they are deceived into thinking that what they have is a marriage, without the commitment. They are not committed under God, and they have changed the standard to their own way of thinking a marriage should be. You see until you say, "I DO" and papers signed off you are not legally married! Everything looks like a marriage, but it is not.
The same goes for our relationship with Christ. We can go to church, get water baptized, do communion or be confirmed by the church in some ceremony and attend our whole life and not be saved. We have been deceived, by religion, church leaders and Satan!
You see until we say "I DO" to Christ personally we are not saved! Just like being married and saying "I DO" is a one-time event so is the Life and salvation of Christ in us a one-time event!
1Ti 4:11 These things command and teach. 12 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13 Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
Paul tells Timothy to command and teach! Teaching the Word of God is so important but teaching others how to live is needed also. What do I mean by this, well we must teach the word and then watch the believer "live out" the word, then help them when they struggle. We should exhort others which means to encourage and call to one's side, as well as train and correct!
Too often we don't train the heart and attitudes of others, we just feed them more info which just makes them more prideful.
A good example of how not to do this would be like telling your child to clean up their room and never show them how nor make sure they did it. You're just telling them information that does not transform into good, moral or practical living.
It is easy for a pastor to get up and give a sermon but never know or check on the daily living of the church he pastors! In fact, I have seen many pastors who themselves need to be discipled and taught what their own life and attitudes really look like.
There is more to teaching than just talking and giving info, this is why parents as well as pastors and leaders should teach, train, correct and discipline in love.
The so called Great Commision is not to us!
Folks like to ask questions in our bible study groups or after class. One recently asked about the great commission. I call it the "so called" great commission because it does not say it is the great commission in the bible, but man has called it that for years. Now with that said I always tell them that it is not "to" us but was a commission to the Apostles. Peter as head and the other "little flock" that followed Jesus earthly ministry.
Mat 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen".
Even from Matthew 10 nothing changed they were sent to the nation of Israel and NOT to the gentile world.
Mat 10:5 "These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:"
Jesus whole earthly ministry was to the "lost sheep of Israel" not us, gentiles!
Mat 15:24 "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel".
Now "IF" Israel had accepted and received Jesus as their Messiagh then the "world" would have come to God but they rejected Him!
SO, and NOW!
Since Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose again our commission is to bring the world to see what the fellowship of the mystery is, and the power of the cross and faith in His death, burial and resurrection
Eph 3:9 "And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ":
1Co 1:17 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect".
1Co 15:1" Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures":
Both commissions preach about Jesus, but Israel is looking for the Messiah, King and Kingdom under law! The other is preaching Jesus according to the revelation and fellowship of the mystery. It is preaching the cross, not as a curse as Israel sees it but as the "POWER" of God, under grace, and by the baptism and power of the Holy Spirit!
Rom 16:25 "Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,"
Just remember everything that was for Israel is good for Israel, but everything that is for us today is for the world!!!
Going to Church, Good or Bad habit!
Habits can be both good and bad! Some habits can be good to start with then turn bad as they become a obsession and law in the mind. Some habits like reading, studying and dwelling on the word of God daily are good. Being good and not smoking, drinking or fornicating are good too as well as not overeating or coveting things like money or cars and so on.
Now when it comes to church most believers and certainly every pastor will quote this verse!
Heb 10:25 "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching".
They want you to come to "their" church even if they don't say "their" church. And I would say to go to "A" church is a good also. Going to a "GOOD" church is a "good" habit too! But going to a "bad" church is not good either! What I mean buy a bad church is one that teaches bad doctrine, or a work base doctrine. One that teaches a different gospel than Paul teaches.
2Co 11:4 "For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him".
Paul said this to say to them "see you listen to those who teach a different gospel"! You are listening to the wrong people and accepting it. And if it is a different gospel then Paul gives then it is a different Jesus and Spirit! If it is a different Jesus and Spirit, then it is a false doctrine and a cult and it is accursed Paul says!
Gal 1:7 "Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed".
Just like any "BAD" habit you have to stop doing it! If you are an acholic you don't keep going to bars or buying booze! You may need to re-access where you go to church and to whom you listen to on the radio in order to hear the real, pure milk of the word. I am not saying to never go back to church but find a bible study, online ministry or those who teach the grace of God according to the revelation of the mystery and be a part of that ministry. It is better for your mind and heart to be growing in grace doctrine than to making church and Hebrews 10:25 another LAW!!!
Years ago, I use to watch a show called "Family Affair"! It was about a rich uncle who was not married and had no children take in his 2 nieces and nephew after their parents died. They had a butler called Mr. French who always had the right answers and things to say!
Families are important as well as all relationships. All lives matter and by "lives matter", I mean that we all need salvation. It does not matter if you are "family or friend", " or "red or yellow, black or white" or "male or female" we all need Christ. Paul says this in Gal 6:10 "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith".
Notice he says to "do good unto all men" yet "especially unto them who are of the household of faith" meaning believers in Christ. Those that are saved, sealed saints in Christ. Those that express their faith and are not ashamed of being called a child of God and walk worthy of the Lord, and by worthy, I mean with a genuine, sincere faith.
1Th 2:20 "For ye are our glory and joy".
Now those who are saved, Paul says "you are our glory and joy"! He is proud of them, and it brings great joy to him as it should to all of us also. We are to genuinely care for the well-being of others and by that, I mean their salvation and edification after that. We want to bring them to Christ as well as teach them how-to live-in Christ daily. We should want to see them succeed in faith until Christ is formed in them, Gal 4:19 "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you",
Now while relationships are important, they are not to become an idol or more important than Christ. The order is not family first than Christ but Christ than family and friends. To many saints make "PEOPLE BIG, and God small"!
Just remember the whole point of relationships is to bring them to salvation so that they can bring glory to God!!!!
The dispensing of God's Grace!
Most churches teach some sort of grace message. In other words, they will say "we are graced" but they teach that you should follow the law or teach the books that are under law as "our doctrine"! In other words, they teach and emphasize Jesus earthly ministry in the books of Matthew-John all under law but then say we are graced and by graced they mean forgiven.
BUT that is not the grace message at all, and the difference is huge! Paul says this in
Eph 3:1 "For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:"
The dispensation means God's will for today! It means that God has extended the gospel and salvation to the gentile world without Israel! That was never to be done as Israel was to be the nation that led all other nations and people to Christ!
So, it is not that we were sinners and forgiven that makes it grace but rather God has moved from Israel to the gentile world and that is the "grace" gospel for today!
The dispensing of grace is God reconciling the gentile world to Himself by faith in Jesus Christ!
(Oh, and before you say "Jews too" you should know Jews come to Christ today the same as gentiles by Faith in the works of the cross, as there are no differences. The Jews status no longer gives them privilege and they must come the same as a gentile and the grace message was offered to gentiles not Jews!)
Some habits bring bondage, confusion and insecurity!
You won't believe how many tell me after a class that they had never heard of the things I teach. I teach them the gospel according to the revelation of the mystery and that Paul is our Apostle. That we are saved by faith in grace alone and that there are no longer hoops and ordinances to jump through. I teach them what the bible says and who they are in Christ!
Now there are good habits and traditions to keep. Reading the word daily is a good habit. Renewing the mind is a good habit! But there are bad ones too.
Unfortunately, most of us grow up being taught the word of God under bad traditions. These traditions form our beliefs and even make the word of God of no effect! Many are consumed with their traditions and false understanding that has been taught them all their lives
Mar 7:13 "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye".
We tend to believe the teaching of a church rather than the word of God, and because we are young and don't know the word it is easy to be sucked into a false belief. This is why it is so important for parents to know the word of God and to train their kids to read and study the word.
Col 2:8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ".
It is easy to be deceived when we are young, but we need to mature and get off the milk and start eating the meat of the word.
1Co 15:33 "Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners".
The next thing we need to do is stop the bad habit and tradition. Now this one will hurt a little, but here is a example for to see. If you were a alcoholic and wanting to stop drinking would go to a bar or hang out with those that do!!!! NO I HOPE NOT! That just keeps you tempted and struggling. Make a clean start and stop going to bars and place that serve alcohol.
So, stop going to a church or bible studies that teach bad doctrine and begin reading, studying and seeking those that teach the pure milk of the word. The mystery message of grace is only found in Romans-Philemon! The doctrine for today is only in Paul's books! Form new habits and thoughts based on the grace of God given to us today!
Can man have faith apart from God!
Many teach that man can do nothing on his own. That he has no ability to have faith apart from God putting it into him first.
But the bible teaches that man can exercise faith without being in Christ. Look at Cain who could have exercised faith but didn't!
Gen 4:6 "And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? 7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him".
He would have been accepted had he been obedient by faith. There was NO Spirit in man nor was he in Christ at the time.
Let's look at these verses in Mat 9:29 "Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you".
notice it says, "your faith", in other words the man had to exercise faith, and this was before the Holy Spirit had come at Pentecost.
Now the same goes here in
Luk 8:25 "And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him".
Jesus says to them where is "your faith" and again no Holy Spirit and No cross or blood and not in Christ yet!
2Co 10:15 "Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labours; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly,"
If God gives faith, then they should have the faith they need but Paul says, "when your faith is increased"!
Now some will say that Hebrews says that Jesus is the author of our faith....
Heb 12:2 "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God".
And He is!
He is the one that created faith as He created everything! He is the one that created man to begin with, so in that creation is the Soul which contains the will! The will is the part of you that chooses and therefore exercises faith!
Notice in this verse it says,"to save them that believe".
1Co 1:21 "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe".
We have the ability to exercise faith before you are saved, and by doing so you are saying"not my will but yours God"!
Allowing and accepting Sin in the church!
I recently was looking for an old friend on Facebook. I put in his name and of course there are lots of people with the same name. One of them caught my eye and I looked at his page and had seen that he called himself a pastor. He has a church and ministry, and he posted a lot on Jesus and other scriptures, but then I looked at his profile picture again as well as all his other pictures and posts and noticed something, he was always with a guy. He was a homosexual and openly said so! He has perverted the word of God to his own agenda, and he does not understand the word at all!
God is not mocked it says in Gal 6:7 "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap".
and he has perverted the word of God and preaching another gospel!
Gal 1:7 "Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ".
Let me be as straight forward as I can, Homosexuality is sin! It is not an alternative lifestyle nor is it ok to do just because God died on the cross for all sin! That would be like saying it is ok to murder, steal or lie just because Christ died for those sins!
Paul says it this way in
Rom 6:1 "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein"?
AND ... 15 "What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid".
Let us STOP this sin from taking root in our church and leadership and take a stand against it. Stop giving into it in the name of "love" which it is not love and allowing the perverted lifestyle to take over. Speak up every time you can and tell those that say, "it is like all other sin isn't it", by saying "Yes, it is, and it is Un-Godly and Un-righteous and why do we allow it to be accepted and OK"!!!!
You don't let a child continue to misbehave by giving them what they want we discipline them and say "NO"!!!!
Our hope is in Christ coming. The book of Thessalonians is about His coming and tells the church that is the Body of Christ will be taken up before the tribulation period. We have our hope in being with Him.
In every chapter there is a reference to His coming. 5 times he says something about His coming and being saved from the wrath to come!
1Th 1:10 "And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come".
1Th 2:19 "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming"?
1Th 3:13 "To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints".
1Th 4:17 "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord".
1Th 5:9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,"
There are those that question and even say there is no rapture but clearly there is and to say otherwise goes against His Word! Don't get caught up in those that doubt for it is just unfaithfulness to believe otherwise.
Be comforted in the understanding that you will be with our Lord Jesus and stand firm in hope!!!
May your New Year's resolution be, to Abound!
Most people enter a new year with certain standards they want to set and accomplish although few follow through I am told. Mostly it is weight loss or financial things, but it can be anything.
I want to encourage you to make your New Year's resolution be something that will help you more than anything in life! May it be to abound in things that really matter and can truly change your life.
2Co 8:7 "Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also."
But especially grace! The grace that comes from knowing God's grace toward us today. The grace of knowing that Jesus died for your sins and rose to give you life! The grace that only comes from Paul's books and ministry and in the dispensation of grace today. The grace that comes through the cross of Christ! The grace that only comes through faith in response to God's extended reconciliation toward us!
2Co 9:8 "And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:"
He says to abound in "good work"! That means by growing in God's grace we will grow in sharing God's word, reaching out to others and being discipline in our own lives!
Phl 1:9 "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;"
That our love and devotion to God will grow also and therefore be discerning. We will know God word and therefore can make righteous judgements! That may mean with others as well our own behavior. The stronger we are and grow in God's word the stronger we are in setting boundaries with others. We don't look to others for acceptance or approval or what we can gain from them but rather we walk in God's righteousness regardless of others.
1Th 3:12 "And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:"
And again, we abound in love so we can Love the church which is called the Body of Christ and help those that are lost come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour!
So, abound this year in all things that are of God and make your resolution this year to read, study and rest in God's Word even more!