( All scripture is from the KJV)
Discernment means to distinguish and judge. We are to discern right from wrong. A mature believer is said to be one who can eat meat verses a baby who is still on milk and cannot discern rightly.
Heb 5:14 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.
The problem that I see in the church today is that many cannot discern. They may even have good sound doctrine. They may be able to tell you the difference in Paul's grace and mystery message from Peter's prophecy to Israel, but they cannot discern the difference in everyday life. They have a knowledge of what is right but do not exercise it in life!
For instance, they read in the bible that the world is bad. That the world is a problem and spiritually speaking it is. But not everything in the world is bad. Jesus ate bread and it was in the world. He drank water and wine and that was in the world. He healed folks and that is the natural fleshly part of man. We have food, water and clothes and homes, cars and money and none of that evil, is it. It is what we do with those things that makes them good or bad.
Take for instance in the medical field, we have been given shots to people for years. Most of you have had a polio, measles or mump shot from when you were a baby. Now some people get sick and even have some problems with those shots, but the majority are fine.
When you get sick you go to the Doctor, and he says take this or do that and you are healed most of the time. I recently had surgery and as I went through all that I just trusted in the Doctors and surgeon to do what they do best. You see we trust in Jesus for the big things, and we trust in man, Dr's or meds for small things. Small is our life here on earth, and big things are eternal!
Don't walk in fear of medicine, or doctors or sickness, but trust in Christ, walk by faith and give up control so you can be healed physically and SPIRITUALLY!
Phl 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
Paul did 2 things in the verses above. He first thanked God for the fellowship in Christ that was in Philippi. He then Prayed for that fellowship and had great joy for that unity and body.
Now this word fellowship means 4 things in the bible. All "C" words and help us know how the body functions.
1. Communion- Communion is being one for a certain and particular cause. They were in communion with one another Spiritually. They were one in unity in Christ!
2. Contribution- They contributed to one another in thoughts, prayers and body life. They understood the idea of giving to one another. The different and uniqueness of everyone in the Body can minister to one another. Everyone has something they can contribute. Sometimes it is just the most vulnerable person who actually contributes the most.
3. Communication- mush like contribute but more in line with sharing with one another verbally. Talking and listening as one and in love. Listening is more important than talking. Listening with an ear of sincerity and genuine love is just as important in communication as talking. The idea of being willing to listen intently.
4. Collection- This means to give financially or materially. While many preach the prosperity message which is false, believers still need to pay bills or get things done and at times that takes money. This is not to be misused but rather to stimulate and sustain the ministry of the gospel and each other.
These 4 definitions are important to know and have if we truly want to have fellowship with one another. Just coming together and talking about golf or knitting is not this kind of fellowship. This fellowship is always to bring Glory to God and Joy to the Body!
Rejected and delivered unto Satan for their own good?
As a Christian counselor I see some very tough situations in people. They are not your average pew sitter. They have deeper mental and emotional as well marital and physical problems. They struggle in life and my job is to teach the word and to have them come to Christ, and sometimes for the first time and at other times they are saved and living carnally.
Now that being said many folks come for discipleship and never have a heart change. I can meet with them for years and still they have the same heart. They are like Esau who was rejected even though he cried because he never truly repented.
Heb 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
The goal is not just to know scripture nor to have your circumstances change but to have a transformed heart that serves Jesus Christ whole heartedly! One who has a genuine love, sincere faith and good conscience unto Christ.
1Ti 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
When there is no change, then separation is needed because the person will not listen. They continue down the path of self-centeredness. The only way to help them is to let them go their own way. Paul says in 1 Corinthians to deliver that person over to Satan for the destruction of their flesh SO THAT THEY MAY BE SAVED!!!!
1Co 5:5 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.
Paul is not saying he wants that person to follow Satan although they already are, Oh No! He is saying let that person be broken by their own carnal flesh and circumstances, Until that person is broken and truly comes to repentance, which means "a change of mind"! It means to come to Christ with that sincere faith and genuine love!
We often try to rescue folks instead of letting them suffer. Christ learned obedience by suffering Hebrews says.
Heb 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
And if Christ learned by suffering don't you think we should too.
Just so you know, I love you so much that I will let you suffer until you come to Christ!
We often see on T.V a show that worships angels. They make it sound so spiritual. We see folks in the Christian community worshipping angels. They may say you have your "little angel" by your side or some other thing that brings some sort of comfort and feeling. But the bible says something different. Paul says NOT to worship angels!
Col 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
Now this looks spiritual and humble, but it is not. It is not humility but prideful and a arrogant thing because it is a work of our flesh. It is trying to "BE" religious and spiritual without faith! It is not faith in the cross of Christ, but it is a shadow only. Shadows are not the real thing, and take us away from the real thing.
Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
All religions work hard to "look" devout and humble but that is a work that is trying to "get to God". True Christianity is that God has already come and reconciled us through Jesus! He has already done the work. The more "things" we try to "do" and "look" humble and get "closer to God" is showing our pride and insecurity.
We are to hold on to Christ alone, for He is the Head! He is where we get our salvation, strength and comfort. Never is it found in angels, candles or anything else!
... 19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. 20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
Angels are important to God as He created them but Christ is the Head and all things are created to worship Him!
Col 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 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: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
Turn your job into a pulpit!
I once had seen a sign going out of a church parking lot that said, "you are entering the missionary field", isn't that great.
Now perhaps you are one who wants to do more for Christ. You wonder what God's will for your life is. Is it being a pastor or missionary? This is something many saints struggle with but let me tell you what Paul said.
He said we are ambassadors for Christ. That means we are representing Christ on earth, and we are to share the gospel of grace. We are His voice to a lost world. We are to edify the Body and tell others about His cross, love and grace.
2Co 5:20 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.
He then says to abide in the same calling in which he was called. Now that means stay right where you are in the work or circumstances you are in and minister from there.
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.
You see it does not matter what you do for a living or if you're in the hospital or what your circumstances are, you are to serve others by telling them about Jesus. Turn your job into a pulpit! No I don't mean get up on the break room table and start yelling but you can talk to others about Christ "around" the break room table. Your "ministry" is right where you are now.
Now you might say "I am a farmer and in the fields all day so I don't see anyone all day". You that time to renew your mind and read the word when you can and when you go to town for supplies or to dine then you're ready to share your faith with them. The ambassador of Christ is a student of the word so study and then make a pulpit for Christ where ever you are!
SHEEP, DISCIPLES AND MEMBERS!
There are distinctives in the bible that are important and need to be known. Now one of those distinctives is what we are called. After Acts 21 Paul no longer uses the word disciple. You see we have become something new and different. We are a new creature in Christ and A New creature is formed called the Body of Christ. We have become "members" of that Body!
Rom 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
No longer are the words sheep used as that pertains to Israel. No longer disciples as that is one who is just a follower or pupil and student but that does not mean apart of Christ! A student can just listen in school but it does not go any further necessarily.
Members are important to get the function and meaning of "being a part of Christ"! His actual Body moving and sharing the gospel. The agent is no longer "A" teacher and student but literally Jesus himself in the form of His Body!
So we are members not sheep nor disciples. Now the word disciple meaning student can be what a member also will do but the identification of the saint is now a "Member In the Body"!
The negative and positive!
In Romans Paul explains the negative and positive of being saved of the wrath of God. Read 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.
Now what do I mean by negative. Well knowing that we are sinners from birth and knowing that we need forgiveness of our sins, we then see the death of Christ. We know He paid the penalty for it. Now "IF" He had just done that it is still a great thing but that would mean we are still in our sins, and they are "just" forgiven. In other words, we would still be considered unrighteous in the sight of God. We would be considered sinners "still" instead of saints. While being forgiven of sins is great it is the negative view from God's point of view.
Perhaps an example for us would be good. It would be like you forgiving someone who broke into your house and stole from you, while forgiveness is good, they still go to prison and pay for that sin. They are forgiven but that is all.
Notice the wording in that Romans 5:9 verse "Much more than" and "much more", "AND not only so, but we also".... You see God didn't stop at forgiveness and just a "GREAT" negative view but gave us even more!!!
He gave us HIS righteousness! He imputed His righteousness to us, by justification by His blood! Justification is the judicial term used by God. God's is righteous and the judge of mankind so He can judge man any way He wants. He has chosen to offer eternal life in Christ to all men who are willing to come to Him by faith. He has imputed His very righteousness to us. You are made righteous by God dear saint.
Rom 5:18 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.
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.
Now I know most of you are saying that sounds like a WIN-WIN situation and IT IS!!!!
Psa 50:6 And the heavens shall declare his righteousness: for God is judge himself. Selah.
God is the Judge of mankind. God is just and right. Only God can say who is righteous and not. Man is not born righteous.
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
God's love encompasses His Righteousness. Which encompasses His justice. So He shows His love by showing His judgement on mankind. Because Adam's sin was imputed to all and therefore all come short of the Glory of God, God also had to judge that sin. God judged that sin on the cross of Christ, by Christ becoming sin for us.
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.
By God's judgement on one man, He also judged on another, named Jesus and made ALL men righteous by faith. Now it takes faith to have that righteousness but it is by God's judgement that we have the opportunity to be saved from God's condemnation and wrath.
While God is Love, He also is Just! He also is the judge and jury and has made His righteous judgement clear. Come to Christ and be saved or go to hell, it is our choice!
Eph 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Here are 3 things we can do by "walking and being filled with the Spirit".
Sing in our heart, which means to have a joyful spirit. Singing brings out our emotions in some way. If it is a sad song, then we are sad or an upbeat song we may be glad. But we are to sing with the melody of praise to our Lord! This begins with our thinking and heart! It is a praise and worship type of thing but not an emotional based only type of thing. To many people in church today only "feel" praise when listening or singing music that "touches" them. They "feel" the "beat" instead of praising the Lord! This is about God not our flesh. This is a joy from the internal not external fleshly and emotional type thing. This is something we do can do alone and with others. This is something we can do with two or more and does not need to be a big production and concert type of thing. Also sing the old hymns which are timeless. Sing when you come together, and it does not need to be pitch perfect but with a joyful heart unto the Lord!
Give thanks in ALL things. By giving thanks in all things, we are saying to God the Father "not my will but your will be done". This is what Jesus said and we are to have the same mind set as Jesus. By giving thanks we are also saying and submitting to God that regardless of the circumstance we will honor, glorify and worship you, Lord. We are thankful Lord for being in You Jesus regardless of the outcome. "Life is in You Jesus" should be our thinking and then peace follows this and is actually one of the greatest things a believer can do, So, give THANKS in ALL things!
SUBMIT TO ONE ANOTHER!
Submit to one another. Now I am not saying to go do everything everyone tells you to do. If someone ask you to sin by lying or to cheat or steal or murder.... don't do that. If your husband, ask you to do something you feel uncomfortable doing you can still "submit in heart and say, "I don't feel comfortable doing that and don't want to do that, but can I get you some tea or coffee"! Your heart is submitting to authority and each other but you're not doing an unrighteous or uncomfortable act. Submission is always a righteous thing to do but starts with the heart. It starts with agreeing with God and then with each other regardless of our flesh.
The key is to Walk by the Spirit and you will do these things! Don't try to do these things "to walk" by the spirit but walk by the spirit first and these will come naturally.
The Body of Christ has to many schisms!
When we are saved we become a part of the Body of Christ. We are Spiritually baptized into His Body. We then are a part of the world wide Body of Christ and seen as one in Him.
1Co 12:27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
But sadly there are problems in this body. There are what the bible calls schisms. Schisms are divisions or gaps. It is a breakdown of doctrine and the misuse of it.
1Co 12:25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
What causes schisms is lust filled desires to be religious and pious with God! It is a independent thinking of man trying to be spiritual without the Spirit. What comes down to is still the same old thing called SIN!
Now we should be able to come together and see these divisions but we don't causing to many schisms in the Body. To the point that in many ways they will never be fixed. But we are to continue to strive to bring unity of doctrine to the Body of Christ. Because without this unity of doctrine we will have fleshly attitudes that may look normal or godly but are not.
Paul was constantly teaching and fighting to keep the unity of GRACE in the church. Teaching the unity of the Spirit, faith and grace doctrine. It will always be a up hill battle but it must be done. In this age of grace we have no ordinances or outward, natural things to do but by a internal, eternal Spirit within we can love one another, and that is the unity in which we are to function in!
ARE YOU READY!!!!
Most of us have heard the song by Hank Williams II on Monday Night Football,
"ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL"!!! I enjoy football but we should be "READY" to share the word of God and His salvation through Jesus Christ.
The bible tells us to " be ready" in season and out! To "be ready" for every good work and "be ready" to give an answer to every man.
2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.Tit 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,
1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
Are you ready? The way to be ready will depend on your willingness to read and study the word. You desire to know more and to sit down daily and get into the word. It also will depend upon your wanting help. That can come from different sources but mainly you have to study! The more you know the easier it gets to share and "be ready".
Now one of the most important things you can do at any stage of maturing is to be willing to share your testimony. How you came to Christ and what that looked like in your life. No one can say to you that it is not true because as they say today "it is your truth". Now being willing to share the basics is good and continuing to grow in faith is even better. Share what you know and be willing to say, "I don't have the answer to that question, but I will find out". Then be sure and do it. Find out and get back with them for it may be a life and death situation!
We all who drive have seen the yield sign in traffic. We are to pull back and allow the other to go ahead as they have the right of way.
Well, that is what the word submit is like. The word submit is a yielding of one's personal desires for another. It is a voluntary thing of the heart. Submission is never a forced thing but a yielding and voluntary putting under of oneself. We are told to yield to God.
Rom 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
and to yield to righteousness and holiness...
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? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. 18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. 19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
Paul says in that yielding is the obeying from the heart to the form of doctrine which was delivered to them. In order to submit we must yield from the heart. This is what is meant by submitting to another as it says in
Eph 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Now even though the word submit is not in this verse the idea is that Husbands yield to Christ and submit to Him and then lead the wife to Christ.
If we do just what we are told without a true yielding to God and to the other person, we are not truly submitting ourselves. But we then are just doing a work and what we are told to do and that is not a righteous heart but a sinful heart.
Yield to God and submit to Him in all things and you will be able to voluntarily submit to others.
When God created Adam, he was perfect. He then rebelled and became independent of God instead of following God's orders. When that happened sin was then imputed to all mankind.
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:
Imputed means to be charged with, to be accounted too or given to. It therefore means that Adam as a man passed on the sin filled gene. The man passes that gene on to the woman who has a perfect cell waiting.
13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Now before the Law was given there was sin, yet the law gives clear distinction to what sin looks like. Now there is no excuse for not knowing. The Law condemns and shows the inner workings of man. The motivation, attitude and lust that man has within. Therefore, the law was good and did what it was supposed to do, show sin and point to the redeemer.
Adam's sin was passed down to all men before they were born. You and I had no say so in that and some might say "why do I have to pay for Adams sin"? Well by Adam, there is one man's offence, so be by One man's obedience it was corrected! Jesus Christ died for all by dying for Adams sin.
Rom 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 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. 17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 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. 19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now we all have personal sin but the original SIN by Adam which is passed onto all men has been paid for and therefore we can be free through Jesus Christ our Lord!