The Fruit of the spirit Study

Some time ago I did an in depth study of the fruit of the spirit, and made several posts about each fruit and how they are used in our lives. So when this site crashed and I started rebuilding it instead of posting 9 new blogs to be sent out I decided to put a link to them via PDF all in this one spot.

I hope you find this an easy and convenient alternative and I hope you enjoy these lessons as much as I enjoyed researching and writing them.

INTRODUCTION

Holiness

God cleanses our hearts by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). We cannot and could not save ourselves, thus the need for a savior to come and that Savior is Jesus Christ. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were not unlike many religions and religious leaders of today. They believed that “right actions and performance would produce a right relationship with God” but the ONLY way to have a right relationship with God is to humble ourselves and accept His sacrifice and receive His gift of righteousness through faith.

  1. LOVE 
  2. JOY
  3. PEACE 
  4. PATIENCE 
  5. GENTLENESS
  6. GOODNESS
  7. THE FRUIT OF FAITH
  8. MEEKNESS
  9. TEMPERANCE

 

 

 

 

Don’t Be An Angry Porcupine

Some people change as easily as the seasons and yet there are many who embrace change as if they were hugging an angry porcupine! It’s a fight all the way with lots of kicking and screaming!

Growth means change and when we are opposed to change we are not open to growing. Therefore many Christians are still in the baby stage of their walk with God when they should be teachers of His word (Heb. 5:12). Have you ever seen a plant or a tree (or an organization) that’s growing and not in a constant state of change? For the plant or tree it’s easy. It just grows and the change is evident to everyone. Our life should be just like that—growing, changing, and evident to the world. The Word of God in us is the same. When planted in a fertile heart, it just produces, easily.

 

No Substitutions Please

If you’re like a lot of Christians, you have probably tried to change many times but find it hard and frustrating. Why? Because you aren’t going about it God’s way. Many substitute prayer, fasting, and self-effort for the seed of God’s Word. Don’t get me wrong, prayer and fasting are important! They are like water and fertilizer to a seed. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that not depending on self-effort means NO EFFORT! The only effort on your part is to put God’s Word in your heart and protect and nurture it. Then God’s Word will produce the change. You cannot disregard faith, but don’t turn your faith (or fasting or prayer) into a work of the flesh.  A seed needs water and fertilizer. But it is the seed that has the design and the miracle that produces life in it. The Word is the seed but it needs to be watered and fertilized.

Eph. 4:15 says, ‘But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:’

How do we grow?

Well, we must eat and exercise and live a long time and experience things and learn from them along the way.

We Will Never Grow Unless We Want to Grow

We must WANT to grow.

1 Peter 2:2 says, ‘Desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.’

Many like being babies. They don’t want to grow. It’s easy to be a baby – no responsibility, others feed you, clothe you, and change your diaper. But we should never be content to being a baby throughout our life. That should not the goal you have before you. We are born babies so we can grow up and be productive and useful.

I guarantee that something in your life is about to change, so just get ready and grow with it. When Jesus came there was a change and the religious people did not want the change. People who are hard to change are normally religious in their thinking and ways of doing things, because they do or don’t do those things religiously.

The Covenant Changed

In Exodus 19: 4- 8 we can see something about change. Here there was an exchange of covenants and in verses 9-20 we see that everything changed. The children of Israel elected to come under a different covenant based on their performance, and it was not pretty. But thanks be unto God that all changed again under Jesus and God does not deal with us today like He dealt with the Old Testament people. Why? Because He is operating under a different agreement with us, His Sons and Daughters. We are under the agreement of grace and not law. It is no longer do good – get good and do bad – get bad.

Titus 2: 11& 12 says, ‘For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;’

If you think because you are under grace you can just go out and sin, then you really don’t even know what grace is. You do not understand grace. You are not under grace because you don’t know grace. Jesus is grace and truth. John 1:17, ‘For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. Grace and Truth are a singular unit and a singular verb in the Greek language, they are synonymous terms. You cannot separate grace and truth, this unmerited favor is truth and this truth is unmerited favor. And they came by Jesus.

Look at Joseph, he did not have a law, so how did he know what to do? The answer is he had a personal relationship with God. To know Him is to love Him and to know Him is to understand just how much He loves you. When we have a real revelation of His love for us it will stop being all about how much we say we love Him and all about how much we tell of His great love for us.

 

Remember…look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone

 

I’m Posting My Login & Password

Do you ever forget your password? Sure you have, so have I and when we do we have to either go to a vault where we keep all of them or we have to send an email to the sight we are trying to get into and have a new password sent to us. Would it not be nice if we could have one secure password that will get us everything we need and never have to change it? Well I do and I am going to give my password right here so everybody can see what it is and have the same access I do.

I constantly teach one thing about computers and programs if you put in the correct information then it will work correctly because a computer don’t care if you are rich or poor tall or short old or young if you enter the right data in your password fields it will work. So when people tell me “I did exactly what you said and it did not work, there must be something wrong with the program. I will always say “check your data, because it’s probably you and not what you are trying to access”.

 

So, if you are not seeing the results you are looking for from God, then where do you think the problem might be? Because there is one thing for sure about God, He does not change, He is always faithful to do just what He said He will do.

Maybe your password is wrong and you need to get the right one,

tell you what you can have the one I use because it works every time.

Before I just hand you this password I need to give you the information on how to Login. First you need to understand that God is faithful and is always true to His word and He is NOT depending on your faithfulness for this to work. I know that is a radical statement but just hear me out before you label me and go try to do it your way.

 

You see many are still living with an old operating system of thinking, they are still in the mindset of “I need to do my part so God will do His part” But the truth is He made a covenant with man that was dependent on man being faithful in order to receive the benefits. Let me say it like this, God’s faithfulness to man was based on man’s faithfulness to God, the problem was that God was always faithful to man but man was not to God and that stopped God’s faithfulness. You see the first covenant had a faithfulness problem.

 

Look at Hebrews 8:8-9 (KJV)
8  For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:
9  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

 

Now look at it in the Amplified Hebrews 8:8-9 (AMP)
8  However, He finds fault with them [showing its inadequacy] when He says, Behold, the days will come, says the Lord, when I will make and ratify a new covenant or agreement with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.
9  It will not be like the covenant that I made with their forefathers on the day when I grasped them by the hand to help and relieve them and to lead them out from the land of Egypt, for they did not abide in My agreement with them, and so I withdrew My favor and disregarded them, says the Lord. (Bold added by me)

 

But what we must understand is that now the New Covenant is not dependent on a man being faithful so God can continue with is favor because it is not made between Man and God it is made between God and God. The New Covenant cannot be broken, because the covenant is between God the Father and Jesus. We simply get in on the benefits of Jesus’ covenant with His Father.

We are the beneficiary of His faithfulness, even when we are not faithful. The truth is and this is strong, the truth is your sin will not stop the power of salvation from working in your life but your own good works will.

Under this New Covenant the laws of God are not written in stone but on our heart, we are led by His Spirit and we appropriate what has been made available to us with the faith He has given to me. We are not dependent on our obedience but on the obedience of Christ.

 

Hebrews 8:10-13 (KJV)
10  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
11  And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
12  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
13  In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away. (Boldness added)

 

The strongest faith we can have is “resting faith” we rest in what has already been done for us. We labor alright but not as you may think, we labor in accordance with Hebrews 4:11 (KJV)
11  Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

 

Go To The Past

Faith doesn’t try to get God to do something that you need, faith reaches back in the past 2000 years and grabs ahold of what Jesus has already done. Faith responds to what is already finished, the problem is you have more faith in what you have done for Jesus, instead of having faith in what Jesus has done for you. We need to stop teaching people to “use your faith to get God to do” this or that and start teaching that God has already done it…… Change Your Tense” He has done, it is complete, finished. You are healed, you are delivered you are rich, you are righteous you are blessed with all things that pertain to life and Godliness. For us to ask Jesus to do what He has already done is a display of doubt and doubt is the badge of unbelief.

So, you question, how can something be finished when it has yet to be manifested, or made available to my physical hands or my physical sight? That’s where faith comes in at, that I trust God enough that if He said it is finished then it is.

 

Login and Password Reveled

 

Under the Old Agreement we had to respond through our obedience, my part, His part. But under the New Agreement, we understand that Jesus was obedient even unto death on the cross and has satisfied the requirements took back the keys of death, hell and the grave and has become our champion.

 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (KJV)
16  Rejoice evermore.
17  Pray without ceasing.
18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

 

Rejoicing is part of the faith acquisition of what grace has made available to us the believer. Remember the bumper sticker “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” well really it should be this way “God said it, I believe it, that settles it” If God said it that the end of it, it is forever settled. Our believing it settles it for us but it is so because He said it.

Rejoice evermore, you may say how can I when all this stuff is going on. Because joy comes from what you KNOW and happiness is based on your comfort. When you are facing something you can have joy when you know what the Word of God has to say about it. You can have joy because you know the outcome through His Word.

The joy of the Lord is our strength, all the expression of joy I show and have is tied to my Thanksgiving as we can see in verse 18 of 1 Thessalonians: In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

 

Thank God ahead of time because you know what the results are going to be according to His Word. Thank God for the truth, if you fall into a pit of despair or sickness or poverty then you know you can rejoice because He has said in Psalm 40:2 (KJV)
2  He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

Thank God for the truth, you see He knows and He has already walked it out and has made provision for us for you at the end. Even if you have made a bad decision or decisions he has your back and He has made a way for you.

 

So my password and login information is right here and it was given to me from the master, it really is the Master Password …..

 

LOGIN: I Believe It Lord

Password: Thank You

 

 

Remember…look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone

If You’re Waiting For God To Heal You, You’re Wasting Your Time!

I image there have been some double takes from those who have read the title of this message and hopefully you are reading this because I have peeked your interest on some level. Let me just tell it like it is right from the start, ‘God is not going to heal you! He’s not going to bless you and He’s not going to save you! Now before you get too overwrought and upset and write me a letter or comment you may regret later, read the entire article!

Why do I say God is not going to do these things? Because He has (past tense) already healed us (1 Peter 2:24) and saved us (Ephesians 28 & John 3:16) and blessed us (Ephesians 1:3) over 2000 years ago. Yet, I still hear believers today praying and asking God to heal them or to heal a loved one. I hear ministers proclaim with a loud voice as they lay hands on the sick say, “we just ask you, Father, in Jesus’ name to please send your healing power now.” It makes me sad and angry all at the same time. Why? Because it sends a confused message to the body of Christ and a confused message to the world. When believers are continually waiting on God to heal or to bless in some way or other, continually waiting on a deeper revelation or greater understanding so that they might obtain their healing they completely miss the simple truth of the gospel of Christ, and try to get Jesus to do something that has he has already done and said was finished.

What does that mean? It is finished! That means God has completed His part or done His part.  When Jesus cried out in (John 19:30), “It is finished’, He really meant what he said. His work on earth was done. The Atonement for sin, sickness and disease was complete. He provided everything we could ever need. We aren’t waiting on Him to give, He is waiting on us to receive. People are always trying to find out what their part is. Well your part is to R-E-C-E-I-V-E. Receive what? To receive the healing that belongs to you, to receive the blessings that belong to you, and to receive the salvation that is yours.

Let’s look at some scripture starting with the Ephesians 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” do you know what the word “spiritual” here means? In the original Greek text, it is pneumatikos, which in this context means having properties and characteristics belonging to the Spirit of God.(emphasis mine). Paul in writing the book of Ephesians he wrote it by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit from the perspective that all things are ours in Christ. Any blessing you or I have or need is not something we must strive and fight to get. It is something we already have! Listen, God provided for us before we had the need. It is just a matter of receiving what has already been provided or what has already been done.

Nothing Yet To Be Done

This is so important! I cannot emphasize it enough! The understanding that any blessing you could ever need or desire from the Lord is done, and when this is understood it brings an assurance that is enormous. It completely destroys legalism and the performance mentality, and takes all the pressure off. Why? Because how are you going to doubt that God our Father will do something for you if He’s already done it!

Let me illustrate it this way:  When I was going to Bible school, before I started I found out I had to pay $1100 on the day of orientation, and I did not have any of the money. So I did the only thing I could do, I went to the Lord about it. On the night before school was to start I still did not have the money needed. I had ask already and had it settled in my heart that God wanted me to go to this Bible school and I figured if He wanted me to go then He would have to supply what was needed.

Now, if you think I did not have any opposition from the devil, oh boy, it was intense or if you think I had no doubts about it, you would be wrong. The devil fought me saying ,“you’re never going to get the money” and  “what kind of a man are you, you brought your whole family out here to go to Bible school and you will not even get to go”… on and on Satan harassed me. That night I was at a friend’s house and his roommate, who I had never met, came home. He had been visiting family. He was also a student and was to start his second year. As we talked and got to know each other he happened to ask, “so are you all ready to start in the morning?” I said, Yes, I was ready. Then he asked, “Do you have all your money for orientation?” I said not all. Well, how much do you lack yet? He asked. I said, “Well, all of it.” At that point he kind of laughed and said, “I have enough to cover it, and will give it to you if you can pay me back in a few weeks” and he did and I did.

So the next morning I paid the $1100 to the school for my tuition and the moment I did every doubt, every harassing thought, and every negative thing disappeared from me. You’re probably saying, “Well, of course they did! You had it, no need to wonder if you are going to get it now! That would be dumb” and you would be 100% right and that is my point. Have you ever prayed to be healed and then in your next thought wondered if you would really get healed? If you said yes, I can tell you why. Because you don’t view healing as something that has already been done but as something that has yet to be done or accomplished in you or for you.

If You Were, Then You Are

Now quickly let’s look at 1 Peter 2:24 and see how it applies to our life today.

1 Peter 2:24 (KJV): Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. First, we must understand that when Jesus died for our sin, it was not a token gesture. He did not take a sample of sin and use it as an example. No, when He died the Bible teaches us that Jesus became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). He took every sin for every person (the entire human race) for all time into His own body on the cross. You know the scripture teaches us that His face was so disfigured, more than any man and He didn’t even look human. You would scarcely recognize Him as a man. (Isaiah 52:14). Sin and all the toll it takes on mankind (sickness, disease, age, and pain) came into the sinless body of Jesus, who had never ever sinned or had His body ever know the effects of sin and corrupted it. Jesus knew this was going to happen and that’s why He ask His Father to, ‘let this cup of suffering pass from Him’. It was not only what was to happen to Him physically but He did not want to become sin. But Jesus, our Pure Holy Savior, knew this was what He came to do. Truly the religious leaders who fought to have Jesus crucified said when they were taunting Him “He saved others; himself he cannot save….” (Matthew 27:42). If he would have saved himself, we would be forever lost.

This is a very interesting verse and so packed with truth we could teach on this one verse for weeks, about righteousness and what it means to be “dead to sin” and much more. But that is for another time. But this verse does put the healing that Jesus obtained for us in a very special place. It puts it in the past tense. What does that mean to you and me? It means it’s a done deal, a completed fact of the agreement, it’s in the will and it belongs to me! It means if we were healed then we are healed and we are not waiting for it to happen or for God to heal us. That’s why it is really incorrect to pray for healing. Instead, we are supposed to just receive the healing that the Lord has already provided. We are not waiting on God to heal us. He’s already done His part. He is simply waiting on us take what He has provided for us and command His healing power to manifest in our bodies. I am here to witness I have done this so many times and it works. You and I must understand there is a fight but there is a difference between fighting to get our healing and fighting because we have already been healed. And that is the difference between success and failure.

How are we saved? Did it just fall on us like ripe cherries off a tree? No, Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves.” We are saved by grace, but not by grace alone, we are saved by faith but not faith alone, it is the combination of both. Faith is not true biblical faith unless it’s used in receiving what God has already fully provided for us by grace. Grace is the unearned, unmerited favor of God that He has provided to us, independent of any worth or work or value on our part. If it is in any way attached to some goodness of ours, then it is not true grace. God, on His own or by grace, has already provided all the things we will ever need.

Because the word saved or salvation has been called the great inclusive word of the Gospel (see my article “The Ultimate Word) (The Hebrew, and Greek, “sōtēria”, meaning “safety”, “preservation”, “healing”, and “soundness”), it gathers to itself all the redemptive acts, such as justification, redemption, grace, propitiation, imputation, forgiveness, sanctification, and glorification. We could say:

 

  • For by grace are ye healed through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye justified through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye redeemed through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye sanctified through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye glorified through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye safe through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye sound of mind through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • For by grace are ye preserved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, Not of works, lest any man should boast.

So you see my point here! God has a master plan and it is all of His doing for us whom He loves with an eternal love. What I am saying is this, if God has not already moved or supplied by His grace, then we can’t make Him or force Him by our faith. (After all, where do we get the faith from in the first place?) No, faith simply appropriates what God has already provided for us by His grace. So if He’s already provided all these things for your needs and my needs by His grace, then as one man has so aptly said, “faith is just our positive response to what He has already done and not something we do to get God to respond to us.

These things have become more and more real to me of late, and I am seeing more of the manifold blessings of God not because of something I have done to deserve or earn them. These come by revelation from the Holy Spirit.  He makes these truths come to life on the inside of us. One thing that has helped me tremendously, though, is the study of Spirit, Soul and Body. As I understand more that I am a spirit, that one third of me is full of the Holy Spirit of God, wall to wall and tree top tall,  the more I understand and meditate on these truths of who I really am in Christ ,the more the Holy Spirit, our teacher, brings revelation.  My prayer is that you will bathe yourself in His word and let the washing of the water of His word (John 15:3) overtake you and be thoroughly furnished unto every good work (II Timothy 3:16-17).

 

Remember…look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone

 

Reference works include

Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary

Strong’s Concordance

Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of New Testament Words

King James Bible

Alexander Photos

What Sin Are You Talking About

Hebrews 8:10 (KJV) 
10  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:
12  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

What an awesome statement! God said He would be merciful to our unrighteousness and would not remember our sins and iniquities anymore. The difference between the Old and the New Covenants is in this scripture right here. If only Christians could believe this! And the reason why many Christians haven’t accepted this is because the Old Covenant wasn’t merciful to our unrighteousness, and our sins and iniquities were held against us. They have been living in the Old Covenant (in their thinking) and have not entered into the New Covenant. We can know that if the Lord doesn’t remember our sins, then He certainly can’t and won’t bring them up to us. He has removed them as far as the east is from the west (Psalms 103:12). If God doesn’t remember them, neither should we (Hebrews 10:2).

When the Lord made a new covenant with us through Jesus, then the other covenant became old and should be retired, likewise with the commandments The Greek word “APHANISMOS,” which was translated “to vanish away” in this verse, means “disappearance, i.e. (figuratively) abrogation” (Strong’s Concordance). The word “abrogate” means “to abolish, do away with, or annul, especially by authority” (American Heritage Dictionary). The Old Testament Law should disappear and be abolished. – Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary.

 

There is an old song by an old gospel group, The Spear Family, titled “What Sins Are You Talking About” (see the link). I was reminded of it as I sat down to write this. We are living in the most exciting times in history and God is pouring out His love and gifts all throughout this world and we are right in the middle of it. And because of this the enemy is also stepping up his efforts. But let me encourage you in something…”we always win”!! One of the areas I see the devil operating in that is keeping the children of God held back is in the area of self-condemnation and guilt. These are not from God! (Romans 8:1) (Out of the sixteen translations that I checked, eleven left out the phrase, “who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”) So what’s my point? It is this…’that there is NO condemnation from the Lord to those who are in Him, PERIOD.’ But if believers walk “after” the flesh, there can be condemnation against them from other sources. It is impossible for me to go into every aspect of this truth in this short article, but do some study on your own and use the resources that are available. Greek concordances and translations and commentaries are all available on-line and most are free.

IN & AFTER

The use of the words “in” and “after” in this chapter are very important. “In” signifies a fixed place or position. “After” signifies a lifestyle. Christians (and this is so very important to constantly keep in the forefront of our thinking) are “in” Christ and should walk “after” Christ. Now it is possible for a believer who is “in” Christ to walk “after” the flesh. But a true Christian cannot be “in” the flesh (Romans 8:9). We do not have TWO natures living on the inside of us. When you accept Christ as your Savior your spirit is totally made new and there is no old sin nature left inside of you. This probably comes as a complete shock to a lot of you reading this who have been taught to believe in the-old-nature-versus-the-new-nature theology. Many Christians have been taught to believe that after salvation they are still the same at their core. I heard one minister say this (as a matter of fact years ago I said it myself), “it’s like having two wild dogs on the inside of you and to whichever one you say sickum to the most wins” and they live the rest of their lives trying to restrain this old nature. They believe they have two natures. Dear friends, that’s schizophrenic, and it produces Christians who are nothing like Christ. So, why then…..you may be thinking, do Christians still struggle to live the ‘Christian life? Well, in Romans 6:6 it says this “That the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” The sin nature is dead and gone, but like us when we die we will leave behind a body, and the body left behind in this case is the carnal mind. It’s like a computer that has bad programming in it and until it is reprogrammed it will function under the old program. It needs to be programmed. But GOOD NEWS is that the Bible says in Rom. 12:2 that your mind can be renewed or programmed, transformed. (see also I Cor. 2:16) If you have not studied the subject of Spirit, Soul and Body, let me encourage you to do so as it will open up the Word of God for you. It is a powerful study!

Paul makes it very clear, distinguishing between “in” and “after”,  that born again people cannot be “in” the flesh but they can walk “after” the flesh. I know this upsets some of our thinking and theology but it needs to be. The word that was translated “in” here is the Greek word “EN,” and it denotes a “(fixed) position (in place, time or state)” (Strong’s Concordance # G1722). In contrast, the word that was translated “after” in Romans 8:1, 4-5, and 12-13 denotes “according to anything as a standard, agreeably to” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon G2596). Therefore, when Paul spoke of being “in” the flesh or Spirit, he was referring to a fixed position or state. When he spoke of being “after” the flesh or Spirit, he was referring to whatever we might be using as a standard of conduct or whatever we are agreeing to at some point in time. Christians can agree to or conduct their actions according to some standard other than God’s and still keep their position in Christ (Romans 6:20) (chew slowly as this is a big piece of meat). So Christians can walk “after” the flesh, but they are never considered “in” the flesh. So now we know this truth, that we are now new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and have a new identity, we are a new species that never existed before (as one translation puts it) which is our spiritual man, not the flesh. An unbeliever might try to walk “after” Christ, but the truth is they will always be “in” the flesh until they put their faith in Christ alone. ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God.’ (Heb. 11:6)

Romans 6:22 makes an amazing point. Paul is saying that in the same way that our good acts could not change our sinful nature before we were born again, likewise, our sinful acts cannot change our righteous nature now that we have become new creatures in Christ Jesus. Servants of sin is a description of people before they were born again, and likewise when he says free from righteousness he is not saying that a lost person cannot do anything that is right but what he is saying is all, every good act they do is not enough to change their NATURE. Why? Because they must be born again. (John 3:3,16)

RECEIVE HIS GIFT OF NO CONDEMNATION

So why am I saying all this? It is to bring you, the Christian, out of the place where the devil defeats so many and keeps God’s children dwelling on sin and keeps healing from being manifested and victory maintained. When the Christian continues in condemnation and guilt he or she lives a sick and defeated life. The Greek word translated “condemnation” in Romans 8:1 is “KATAKRIMA,” and it means “an adverse sentence (the verdict)” (Strong’s Concordance # 2631). Paul was stating that God has no adverse sentence against us once we receive Him and confess Him as Lord. All our punishment has been placed on Jesus, and we don’t need to bear it because if we were to bear it then that would be double jeopardy (Legal Definition: No one shall be liable to be tried or punished again for an offence for which he has already been finally convicted or acquitted in accordance with the law and penal procedure). Those of us who still walk in condemnation are being condemned by the devil or are condemning ourselves. It is not God who condemns us! That would be a miscarriage of justice and God is faithful and just. (Romans 8:34).

We, as born again believers, are free from the law of sin and death. We are free to receive God’s free gift of Righteousness and no condemnation. We are free to walk in health and victory and joy and peace. It is time for the child of God to do as the Father of Jesus has done and accept the judgment that was placed on Jesus as sufficient and as full payment for the debt of sin that was owed.

 

 

References

Strong’s Concordance

Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of New Testament Words

King James Bible

Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary.

 

 Remember…look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone

 

What Does His Blood Deserve

Often people judge their ability to receive from God based on their worthiness or their behavior of the preceding days. Another way of saying it is, they expect from God based on how spiritual or good they have been. And in that frame of mind they tend to think they either deserve or don’t deserve a thing. Perhaps a couple on the way to church on a Sunday morning engages in a dispute and by the time they reach the church they are quite angry with one another and entering into the service one or both of them are thinking, “Well, I am not going to get anything from God today!” Their reasoning for this is because they are or were in an argument and may still be upset so therefore how could God bless them this morning because they don’t DESERVE it based on their performance.

People sometimes get sick and often think they are in that condition because of something they have or have not done and God is disappointed with them. They somehow feel that they deserve what they are having to deal with, sort of an ‘I made my bed hard so I will just have to lie in it” mindset, judging themselves to be unfit or unworthy or undeserving of the blessings of the promises of God. They apply this way of thinking to every area of their life.

Questions will start to arise: How do I receive healing? …..How do I receive prosperity? …..How do I receive the things I need so badly? …..What am I not understanding? …..What am I doing or not doing that is causing me to not be on the blessing side of things? And what is really being said here is, “I judge myself as unworthy.” This is a mentality called Sin Consciousness and is prevalent in Christianity today throughout the body of Christ, I am sad to say. This kind of thinking leads to depression, steals ambition and causes sickness and will even break apart good families and friends…. Sin Consciousness is a killer.

With this type of thinking what we are really doing is judging Jesus as unworthy. Now I know this is a bit of a shocker but none the less it is true.  Look at Acts 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. You see, they (the Jews) judged themselves as unworthy to receive God’s grace and blessing and mercy and benefit. Because they judged Him and His sacrifice as unworthy or unacceptable for them on their behalf they judged his sacrifice as unable to redeem them. This type of thinking is keeping many, many believers in the body of Christ today away from the goodness of God and His great love and the benefits he has already provided for them. I firmly believe many stop going to church, not because they don’t love God, but because they feel they cannot live up to the rules and standards placed before them that say, “This is what a good Christian looks like and acts like, and if you don’t look like this and act this way you aren’t a good Christian…and on and on and on” and they leave because they judge themselves as unworthy and refuse to be a part of something they feel they cannot attain to.

This verse makes it clear that these people passed sentence on themselves. It wasn’t God’s will for them to perish (2 Peter 3:9), but God only provided one way of salvation (John 14:6). No one will ever be able to stand before God and point the finger at Him and accuse Him of being unfair. Those who reject God’s Word send themselves to hell. (Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary)

We can also add that those who reject Christ and what He has done are keeping the blessings of God from being active in their lives. Why? Because, by not recognizing that Jesus is our supreme sacrifice and substitute, we negate in our lives all that was finished on the cross. You see we are not worthy in and of ourselves! Our OWN righteousness is as a filthy rag. But we are not receiving and operating based on our own righteousness. We are receiving and operating based on HIS righteousness and His obedience and His worthiness.

What Does Jesus’ Blood Deserve?

When we begin to look at every aspect of our life in the light of what Jesus’ blood has done for us and what His blood has secured for us we begin to understand that it is not a matter of what the standards and rules we impose on ourselves and others can do for us based on our performance of those rules. When we finally look at the great salvation in the light of what He has done and what His blood deserves, we can then begin to be truly free and live an abundant life in Christ. That’s when we understand that Jesus’ Blood Deserves:

Miracles

Healings (1 Peter 2:24)

Captives set free

Family members brought into the body

Devils defeated

Blind eyes opened

Dead raised

Financial breakthroughs

Abundant life lived

Promotions

Freedom from condemnation

Released from guilt

Judgment satisfied

Because all of God’s judgment was poured out on Jesus (John 12:31 – Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 – And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.) Notice that the word men is italicized. This means it was added by the translators. The context of the verse is talking about judgment. What Jesus was saying here is, if He is lifted up then He will draw all judgment to Himself, not necessarily drawing all men. Although this is a scriptural truth, it may not be what is meant here. Jesus was saying that when He is crucified, He would draw all of God’s judgment upon sin unto Himself. And yes, He did bear our judgment so we would never have to be judged. Jesus was judged and punished for us. So by accepting Him we are accepting that we are not the recipients of God’s punishment for sin but Jesus was.

His Blood Deserves…… It is not what we deserve but it is all about JESUS …….

We Receive From His Hands

I heard a great illustration from Pastor Franklin:

A little boy came into a candy shop and walked over to a big jar of candies and stood looking at it. The boy’s clothes were worn and he was a bit unkempt and it seemed obvious he could not buy what he desired. So the shop owner said to him, “Go ahead and reach your hand into the jar and get what you want and I will not charge you for it.” But the little boy just stood there looking at the jar of candy. So again the shop owner said, “Go ahead, son, put your hand in and get as much as you can grab and you can have it for “free!” But again the boy just stood staring at the candy jar. Finally, a little frustrated, the shop owner reached in with his own hand and pulled out a big handful of the candy. When he did the little boy smiled and held out both hands, then looking up at the shop owner and said, “Thanks, your hands are much bigger than mine are!”

You see, Jesus’s hands are much bigger than ours. His reach is much greater than our reach and His ability is beyond what we can do. When we receive from His hand, of what He has obtained for us, then we will have more than what we could have asked or thought (Eph. 3:20) The only problem is we can limit what God can do, because of our unbelief or by counting ourselves unworthy to receive what Jesus has procured for us.

We Must Get Out Of This Performance Based Religious Thinking

So what is the answer to the question, “What does His blood deserve?” His blood deserves every good and perfect gift, every benefit, every victory. Why? In Revelation 5:12 it says, ‘Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.’  You are worthy to receive because Jesus Christ was and is worthy. Not by works of righteous which we have done, but by grace through faith we are saved. Trust not in your performance and your standards and your abilities but solely in Christ Alone. Understanding redemption, the complete forgiveness of your sins, is foundational to understanding the New Covenant and how God deals with us today. He deals with us in light of what Jesus has done, and the work completed on the cross, all the debt has been paid.

 

Maybe you could have raised your kids better. Maybe you did mess up with adultery and went through a bad divorce or had a child when you were unmarried and still in high school. Perhaps you see where your children are just like you and this keeps you from praying and believing that God’s favor is on your life. But all these things combined and more are not enough to negate what Jesus has done for you and all who will accept Him as Lord and Savior! You see, I once belonged to a group that was sensitive to sin, had high “standards” to attain to and placed a lot of emphasis on how we dressed, where we went and many other things. We feared God. Not in a wrong way, but with a reverential respect of God and who He is. But what happens many times is those who are sensitive to sin to stay away from it (and that’s a good thing), find themselves being manipulated by the devil because the very standards and sensitivity that can and should be an attribute and asset can also be used as a liability working against you. Because you did not keep that standard one day or you sin, you count yourself as unworthy because your performance was not up to par. We begin to look at others with our standards and because they are not living according to our expectation we disqualify them and look down our sanctified noses as if we walk on a higher plane. Then one day we find ourselves unable to live up to our own standards and our performance is not what it should be and we think we can no longer go to God boldly because we have judged ourselves “unworthy” and we then negate what has been done for us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Every false religion—even religious Christianity—puts the burden of salvation back upon the individual. “Salvation” is then based upon your performance. If you live holy enough, do enough good things, observe all of these rituals and rules, your own standards of what makes a “good” Christian then you might be able to be saved. The problem is—and the book of Romans makes this very clear—that none of us can live up to those standards. We can’t save ourselves!

Only Jesus is worthy and because He is we are…………

 

Reff:

Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary.

Jentzen Franklin Ministries

KJV Bible

Message Bible

 

Since When Did Grace Become Not So ‘Sweet The Sound’

When did the word grace become a battle cry for Christians to choose which side to be on? When did grace become a dividing mark, in the place of a point, to bring the hurting comfort and cause the blind to see? When did the mere mention of the word grace cause believers to begin to size up one another as an opponent. Why is it wrong for me or any other brother or sister to say I am a preacher of grace or a preacher of righteousness standing firmly on the foundation of Christ, the Solid Rock, and placing all other ground that is not built on Christ and His righteousness as sinking sand? Where would we be without the grace of God and His great love? It seems to me that we have allowed the enemy to take something so amazing and awesome and make it into a battlefield of contention and a detraction from what it really is.

Without the grace of God there is no hope and the world would be lost. It has become ‘I am of Paul and I am of Apollos (1 Cor. 3:4). It has gotten to the point that we are even apprehensive of writing anything with the word grace in it or to say the “G” word from most pulpits without an elaborated explanation of what we really mean. As long as things like this prevail, it shows that the body of Christ is still carnal, and all the while the devil laughs and the lost remain so.

A Word About Covenants (Agreements)

Today we live under a New Covenant, a better covenant or, we might say, a new dispensation. The Jewish people had a covenant with God before the Law of Moses and He was totally faithful to His agreement with them as He is with us. That agreement was a foreshadowing of the New Covenant (or dispensation of grace) that we live under today.  Before the Law was given by God the children of God depended on God and His faithfulness. His grace was sufficient for them. (Psalm 105:37) (2 Cor. 12:9)

Let’s look at two key words and their definitions to see just what they mean to us as believers today. (Words are very important and if you have been a follower of this ministry very long, you know that I have written and spoken about the words that come out of your mouth framing your world.)

Covenant: The term “covenant” is of Latin origin (con venire), meaning ‘a coming together’. It presupposes two or more parties who come together to make a contract agreeing on promises, stipulations, privileges, and responsibilities. (Smith’s Bible Dictionary)

Dispensation: A Dispensation is a period of time.  Dispensationalism is an approach to biblical interpretation which states that God uses different means of working with people (Israel and the Church) during different periods of history, usually seven chronologically successive periods.  Views vary from three periods to four, seven, and eight dispensations.  But seven is the most common perspective. The Scriptures divide time (by which is meant the entire period from the creation of Adam to the “new heaven and a new earth” of Rev. 21: 1) into seven unequal periods, usually called dispensations (Eph. 3:2), although these periods are also called ages (Eph. 2:7) and days, as in “day of the Lord.” Five of these dispensations, or periods of time, have been fulfilled; we are living in the sixth, and the seventh and last is before us.

The dispensations are as follows. (I will give only some scripture reference about these as it is not the point of this message and we will be focusing on where we are now and what this dispensation means to us and how we are to be living in it.)

  1. Innocence (Gen. 1:26; Gen. 2:16, 17; Gen. 3:6; Gen. 3:22-24.)
  2. Conscience (Gen. 3:7, 22; Gen. 6:5, 11-12; Gen. 7:11-12, 23.)
  3. Human government (Gen. 9: 1, 2; Gen. 11: 1-4; Gen. 11:5-8.)
  4. Promise (Gen. 12:1-3; Gen. 13:14-17; Gen. 15:5; Gen. 26:3; Gen. 28:12-13; Exod. 1: 13-14.)
  5. Law (Exod. 19:1-8; 2 Kings 17:1-18; 2 Kings 25: 1 -11; Acts 2:22-23; Acts 7:5152; Rom. 3:19-20; Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3: 10.)
  6. Grace – The age in which we live now (Hebrews 8:6 -13, John 6:29, 47, John 10:27-28, Eph. 2:8-9) The entire New Testament letters
  7. Millennium (Isa. 2:1-4; Isa. 11; Acts 15:14-17; Rev. 19:11-21; Rev. 20:1-6)

The thing we must be careful of is not to apply the truth of one agreement (dispensation) and the truth of another agreement (or dispensation) and try to mix them. (That would be like trying to apply the rules of football and the rules of soccer together. If you mix them it does not work and just causes confusion.) There was over 2500 years of mercy but we must be careful not to do what others did and still do and mistake God’s mercy and lack of judgment as approval. Also note that there are different housekeeping rules during the different dispensations (we will look at these in the next lesson).

Under the Old Testament the people were working for God but under the New Testament God is working for us. We could say it this way, ‘the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus Christ brought in the dispensation of grace (undeserved favor) and now God is giving righteousness, instead of God requiring righteousness, as under law’. Salvation, perfect and eternal, is now freely offered to Jew and Gentile alike by faith through grace in Christ.” We can see in Hebrews 8:9 that God is saying, “I am not going to make another agreement where I have to do what I don’t want to do.”

Hebrews 8:6-13 (KJV)

6  But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

7  For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

8  For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

9  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord.

10  For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

11  And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

12  For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

13  In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

 

You see, Jesus did not come to give more law (Gal 4:2-7) (Gal.3:22-24) Why? Because you do not need the law when you are being led by the Spirit of God (Titus 2). As long as you are under a law you are looking for a rule to tell you what you should do. Many Christians today still want the 10 commandments to be used as there moral guide and that is because they do not understand that the Holy Spirit is much more capable of guiding than a written code of do’s and don’ts.

Our New Covenant is better than the Old Covenant in every way. If not, then we should go back under the Old Covenant and adhere to the killing of animals to atone for sin because at least under that agreement the sins of the people were cleared for an entire year before the blood had to be reapplied. But under this NEW AGREEMENT Jesus’ blood was applied once and for all. The greatest difference in the New Covenant is that it is based on Jesus’ holiness, while the Old Covenant was based on the individual’s holiness. The Old Covenant would be broken, because no man was (or is) capable of keeping it completely. But the New Covenant cannot be broken! Why? Because this covenant is between God the Father and God the Son (Jesus) and we get all the benefits of Jesus’ covenant with His Father.

 

In our next teaching we will look at what changed and how those changes affect us, the New Testament believer, today and for all eternity. (I have placed some scripture so that if you are interested in this topic you can do some studying on your own.

 

Remember…look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone

When Did God Start Using The Devil As His Messenger Boy?

James 1:2–4 says:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

When did God start using the devil as His messenger boy to do His dirty work? Seems like an odd question I know just looking at like this, but the sad truth of the matter is many people, Christian’s included and preachers think this! They think this way when trouble, hardships or sickness comes. As a matter of fact there are whole denominations that believe God sends sickness or calamity to teach us something.

Ever heard this quote, “Well, if you don’t pay your tithes, God will get what belongs to Him one way or another”? This is a normal conversation between two believers about the need to tithe. Sort of reminds me of another quote I have heard, “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” This statement was made by Don Corleone to Johnny Fontane about Woltz in the movie “The Godfather”. Now don’t get me wrong I believe in tithing but God is not a gangster.

If you do not understand what God is doing and what the devil is doing, then you won’t know how to resist the things you need to resist or how to yield to the things you need to yield to. I see it and read it from people who are believers and many that are ministers. If you don’t understand the truth of God’s word about this then you will most likely not see the power of God brought forth in your life or in the life of others through you.

If you are thinking that God is the one that has allowed or even caused tragedies in your life, and if you are teaching people that the things they are going through like sickness, disease, death of a loved one or some other hardship is for the purpose of God teaching them or correcting them, then you are teaching people and believing that we should embrace our enemy. There is a problem with that! When you think bad things in life are coming from God then instead of resisting them you will embrace them, because if you resist then you would be resisting the will of God.

The above verse has been twisted and misapplied and misinterpreted so much that even someone that does not attend church thinks they know this verse and will quote it. People use this verse to try and teach that God is in control of everything in your life, and that is simply not the case. If someone hadn’t already been prejudiced with the thought that this is what this scripture was teaching, I am convinced they wouldn’t see this verse in that light. James 1:2–4 does not say that God puts troubles in your life to give you patience, or to teach you some kind of a lesson. Yet much of the Church world spreads this from pulpits across the world, “if you don’t want trouble or tribulation then don’t ask God for patience because tribulation works patience… hahaha.” That is about as funny as a train wreck.

Some will ask, “Ok, so how do we get patience then”? And “I have learned some things out of these hardships. I mean doesn’t the good book say that God will chasten his children?”

The scripture says, For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? (Heb 12:6-7)

And how does He correct and discipline? With His word! Just like everything else He does, He does it by His Word. What does the scripture teach us about where patience comes from? Look with me at this word in the book of Romans:

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4

It is plain to me that patience comes from the word of God. One man said it like this “Patience is simply faith applied over a prolonged period of time. Instead of a momentary faith, patience is prolonged, enduring faith. Patience is when you just believe and keep believing.” We as believers freely quote Romans 10:17 which says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” So then if faith comes by the word of God than patience according to Romans 15:4 also comes by the word of God, and both of them are the Fruit of the Spirit. But the fruit of the Spirit is…long-suffering [patience], …faith. Galatians 5:22

Intellectual Knowledge vs. Experiential knowledge

Problems are not given by God to make a person better or to make them more holy or more patient. If we think they are then we will welcome those things as being from God and we will embrace things like cancer or poverty and other hardships as being from the Lord and won’t resist them. Then Satan will use them to kill you and others who have confidence in you.

I have family members in the military and they have been trained for conflict. They know there is an enemy that wants to kill them. They have had training to fight and resist the enemy. They have intellectual knowledge about how to shoot and fight and use the weapons they were given. They learned this in basic training but they had no experience with actually being in combat. But they know enough to not go and find the enemy and embrace them or get into a battle so they could gain experiential knowledge. If they embraced the enemy it would not make them a better soldier.  Doing that would get them killed!

When the enemy did come they used the training and knowledge they have to resist and fight, not embrace, the enemy. True, they then gained experiential knowledge, which helps them, but no soldier goes looking for the enemy to gain experiential knowledge. You become a better soldier when you are attacked and have to put your training into practice. Likewise you became a better soldier in the army of the Lord when you resist the devil and put into practice what you have learned from God’s word. But if you don’t recognize that the problem is from the enemy and you think it is being sent from God to teach you, then you will embrace it and when you do it will destroy you.

So when the enemy is attacking you say, ‘I am going to fight this’, and when you win and overcome it does make you stronger because you put what you knew into practice and that is the whole point of what James is saying. Problems don’t come from God to make you a better Christian, they come from the enemy to destroy and kill you. That is how you know they are not from God because John 10:10 teaches us that God came to give us life, and the devil, Satan, comes to kill and destroy.

God Does Not Send The Devil To Do His Dirty Work For Him.

 

Years ago one of my favorite artists wrote and performed a song called, “The Package.” I have added the words below. Not really any comment needed as it speaks for itself. If you would like the link to hear this song, I have added it here.

THE PACKAGE – by Don Francisco

I was wakened in the morning’ by a knockin’ on the door
So I got up and went to see what all the knockin’ was for
There stood the Devil with a box addressed to me
He said “Boy, I’ve got something here I think you oughta see

I said, I know that I don’t want it if it’s anything from you
‘Cause I hate everything you say and don’t like anything you do
But then he pointed with his finger and he smiled kinda sly
‘Cause the package said “from God” there in the corner, way up high

So I said, “if it’s from God, then why’d He send it here by you”
He said, “He always sends me when there’s dirty work to do”
And this box is full of misery, poverty and shame
To perfect you thru your suffering ’till you’re worthy of His name

Well, I’d been pretty patient, but that last line took the cake
I just couldn’t take no more, I’d taken all that I could take
So I told him what I thought of him and all his filthy lies
Then I fired a shot that got him right between the eyes

I told him “Jesus took my sickness and my poverty away
You nailed Him to the cross yourself when you murdered Him that day
The suf’ring that I do will be for love and not for shame
I’m already worthy by His blood, to wear His name

And I know my Father loves me and has only good in store
So you just take that jive and get away from my front door
You can write my name on packages until I’m ninety two
But every single one I’m sending back to Hell with you”
Go on get out of here

If we being a natural father would not abuse our children or sicken them them to teach them a lesson, then why would we believe that our loving Father our “Abba” would? The term “Abba” is an affectionate term that a young child calls his father, we would say “daddy.” It is a word used to express intimacy and shows the kind, gentle and loving nature of our God, a word that express affection and fondness. It removes the idea of God as a strict hard law and order judge and carries the image of Him as a loving Father who cares, understands, and is our best friend.

So much more I would like to write, about this topic and actually did but deleted it. Many today would be shocked to find out that they have become as religious as those they talked about being religious years ago.

Remember…look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much, forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone

 

Works Cited

AV, K. J. (1611). King James Version .

Francisco, D. (n.d.). The Package [Recorded by D. Francisco]. On The Package.

Strong, J. ((1996, 1997)). The New Strong’s Dictionary of Hebrew and Greek Words. Nashville: Thomas Nelson. Retrieved from www.geverett.org

Wommack, A. (1997-2012). The Living Commentary. Andrew Wommack Ministries. Retrieved from www.awmi.net

 

 

It’s Just A Joke, You Know Satire

While reading different publications and magazine articles both, online and off, I saw one that had been written and reposted by someone I knew. It was an article about a very well-known minister, a pastor for that matter, of a large church.

This pastor made some statements about small churches and selfish parents and I’m sure you know who it was, and his comments were rough and they went viral. Later he apologized for what he had said, and made the statement, “after I read them (sic my words) they even offended me, and I’m sorry for saying them.”

In the article, it shows a photo of this pastor going through the city and crushing ‘every small church less than 200 people in his path.’  It describes the pastor with words like ‘menacing’, ‘fury’, ‘an appetite for destruction’, ‘having fire breath able to destroy a church leaving nothing but ashes’. Other acts included letting out a mighty roar, having eyes that radiate with a glowing red color and having the ability to ‘unleash searing blasts of heat’. This brother/pastor/minister of God was depicted as cackling manically as he brought destruction upon these small churches. Quite the ugly picture for a Shepard of the flock of God to say the least.

So, when I read this article, after I researched it and found where he had apologized for those words I wrote a short note to my friend and said, “….and the comments made where he apologized for those statements, do they count or should we just continue to only focus on the negative?” To which my friend replied, “It’s a joke. It’s satire.” Now I know this, and I get it but it caused me to start thinking about myself and how I have been guilty of reposting things like this and, to be honest, I think the Lord pricked my heart and let me know this was not, well, not something He found funny.

Because of this article I started thinking, Is this a result of the poisonous thinking of society that has affected the church in these last days? Sarcasm in place of sincerity? Is to be sardonic the best way to behave toward a brother or sister?  Sadly, the world looks at the church and Christians and Christianity as a joke, something to make satire out of, and unfortunately, we, the body of Christ, often help promote it. I mean if you watch a TV show with a Christian in it more often than not the Christian, especially if he or she is a minister will be the crook, or the deranged serial killer or the comic relief, the joke. And sadly, we the body of Christ have done little to offset this because we offer plenty of fodder for the world to use to make the church a joke.

 

There was a recent poll taken asking what were the least trusted professions.  Of those asked the response was lawyers, politicians, car salesmen and ministers. Ministers were a bit higher, depending on the poll, but needless to say, that is a sad, sad indictment.

 

My thoughts then are, why? Why are we, brothers and sisters in Christ, helping to degrade our family? With all the world making a joke about the body of Christ, why are we, the people of God helping them? Jesus said to us, “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” If this pastor were my pastor or my family or a friend would I still think it a joke or just satire? Should we, as the church, keep placing a mistake made, especially after the person repented and said I’m sorry I said that, should we keep putting that forward so all can laugh? Is this what love does? Peter said, ‘Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.’

I know I have said things in private and in public that I wish I could take back just about the moment they flooded out of my mouth, and have repented for saying them, and I know I would not want them to be constantly displayed for all to see.

I guess what I am trying to say is this: As Christians, we should start being known for our love, for being kind one to another, tender hearted and forgiving. We have enough opposition to the message of Christ and His ways in the world today! We should be the peace makers!

When one of our own family falls let us run to them and help them up, dust them off and come the rescue to help restore them. We often see large ministries and well-known pastors as targets to pick off but we should understand that when we do this we are hurting our own. Paul said, “After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church” — but it appears we think it’s okay, and the reason we do could be because we don’t see it/them as our own body, because if we did we would be much more forgiving.

I know preachers and Christians and you reading this and me writing it have said and done things we are not proud of, but would you want to see them made into a joke or satire and posted or reposted for all to judge?

So, the next time someone starts to share a joke or a really bad mess-up about a family member or shares an article that does nothing to build up the body of Christ, maybe we should give a gentle reminder and say, ‘well I know it’s ugly, but it’s family and family comes first, so let’s take care of our family’ and in so doing give those watching a lesson in love.

This was something on my heart as a message to me. Maybe it will help some of us the next time we have the opportunity to be a part of something that is less than uplifting. Maybe we can take that occasion to act in love and put ourselves in the place of the person we are about to speak of and ask the Head of the Family, ‘So, do you think this is funny?’

 

Until next time remember look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone.

Forgiving the Right Way

When I was younger I saw a TV commercial about forgiveness. It was animated and had a story of two ranchers one rich and one poor. As the story unfolded the poor rancher stole one of the rich ranchers cows and was caught by the cow hands and when they brought him to the owner they all said “string him up it will teach him a lesson” but the owner said “Forgive him it will teach him a lesson” We must learn to forgive and to forgive and forgive the right way.

One of if not the most destructive things a person can have is condemnation. When in condemnation one will suffer from all kinds of things like depression, sickness, fear, strife the effects of condemnation are very damaging. And if a person uses condemnation to try to correct or punish then they are operating in witchcraft (manipulation for intimidation to bring domination) it is really the ministry of the devil. Because the devil will try to condemn you about EVERYTHING and ANYTHING he can, it is his greatest tool.

If you work hard and get some overtime on the job then he will say you don’t spend enough  time with your family, if you stay home then he will condemn you for being lazy. No matter what you do it will never satisfy the devil, I know people who are the same way.

But when you are free from condemnation then it is a victorious life to live indeed, not a life of sin or licentiousness as some would want you to believe. Many Christians stay in condemnation all the time because they don’t understand what Jesus has done for them through his death, burial and resurrection. When you are covered by the blood of Jesus you are free from condemnation (Romans 8:1). How? Because you are dead to sin, and live no longer in it.

Romans 6:1-2
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?

The question is this “How shall we, who are dead to sin, live in it any longer in it” many  misinterpret this as saying that they are dead to the power and influence of sin or in other words some believe that when they are born again that sin no longer has any influence on them. But the divine reasoning of Jesus and the Apostles is this, that when a person is free from condemnation then sin loses its power. The problem is condemnation.

Remember John 8: 1-2 the story of the woman caught in adultery, they (legal, religious folk) you can always pick them out they have no joy, always judging somebody else and pointing at the person who they feel is wrong in some way and will try to get as many other people involved with them as they can so they can feel justified in themselves.

Jesus dealt with the sin and did not side step the sin issue he did not say “don’t stone her show some mercy, no he said “if you are without sin throw the first stone” no one there could do that, except for Jesus and he would not do it, so one by one they all left.

Jesus ask this woman a question “where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” It seems here that Jesus was more concerned with her condemnation than the sin. He is wanting to know about her accusers, he is wanting to know if she is still feeling shame, and feeling condemnation. You can see Jesus is wanting her to say something, he wants to hear certain words come out of her mouth. So what does she say “No one Lord”. And Jesus said to her “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” What are we seeing here? When you are free from condemnation you are empowered to go and sin no more. Why? Because you are able to use your faith without a sense of guilt and shame, you are enabled to have confidence and be bold.

I like a definition by E.W. Kenyon

“Righteousness is the ability to stand in the presence of a Holy God without any sense of guilt, inferiority, condemnation or shame of any kind.”

You see the work of Jesus is to remove darkness of every kind from your life, because his light that shines on you shows and points to his perfect work in you and not your own works. His light shows how clean you are by his blood, how perfect his righteousness is in you, how clean your conscience is by removing all your sins. Many of the problems Christians are having today are because of condemnation, they are in bondage and are often helped to stay that way by other people who try to bring condemnation all the time.

Back to Romans.

Rom 6:9-11 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus died for our sins, and the Bible teaches not only did he die for our sins but he died to sin at the cross, “once for all”. How did Jesus die to sin? You see we must understand verses 9 & 10 if we are to understand how “we who are dead to sin should live any longer therein”  Verse 11 starts with a key word “Likewise” (in the same manner) you also, reckon (take into account, calculate, count over, meditate) yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. So this being dead to sin question must be answered, if we are to reckon ourselves or take into account what is in our spiritual bank then we must answer a questions about Jesus.

Did the Lord Jesus die to….

  1. a) The power and influence of sin. No, Jesus came in flesh and blood but he had no sin nature, no lusts to be tempted by, (Hebrews 4:15)  For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. In us we have the flesh a sin nature but Jesus had no such thing in him. Jesus had nothing for sin to attach itself to but we have. So was Jesus ever under the power and influence of sin….. No! So how did he die to sin on the cross, well for one thing for us as our substitute?
  2. b) The imputation (ascribed, or attributed.) guilt (condemnation) and penalty of sin? God took our sins and put them on Jesus. Is this how he died to sin? YES for us as our substitute!! Glory to God forever! So LIKEWISE you RECKON yourself dead to the imputation the guilt or condemnation and penalty of sin because you are in Christ.

Sin is still sin and the power of sin comes in when we forget to reckon the truth. The truth is you have been redeemed and condemnation is not imputed to you because of the blood of Jesus. Now the next verse, verse 12 becomes something you can do if you understand verse 11 and verse 10 of Romans.

Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. Many Christians try to practice verse 12 without understanding the power of the previous verses and what Jesus has done for us by his death, burial and resurrection. Sins power is no more over you, you are no longer under condemnation but are now under justification.

If Jesus Christ was who He claimed to be, and He did die on a cross at a point of time in history, then, for all history past and all history future it is relevant because that is the very focal point for forgiveness and redemption. – Josh McDowell

So then what does all this have to do with forgiveness and forgiving the right way? I will tell you. One man I know handled his children like this when they did something wrong and got into trouble. They would come to him and would say “dad I’m sorry forgive me” and he would always forgive them and afterword it would never be brought up again because that was the end of it. Where did he learn how to do that? He learned it from Jesus, because our Father is that way. His children then did not have to walk around in condemnation and guilt afterword wondering if it were over or if he was going to start fussing at them again. No they knew it was finished.

Likewise Jesus has forgiven you the same way, he is not holding your sin against you he is not accusing you or remembering the sin any longer. Well then when someone, perhaps your wife or husband or mother, your children or friends come to you and say “forgive me” don’t say ah don’t worry about it or forget it I am your husband……no when they say forgive me, they need to hear you say “I forgive you, completely” look your child in the face and say “daddy forgives you, completely” and what does that mean? That means do your best to never, ever bring it up again.

Why that is so important because when we understand that is the way God is with us then we can rest in his forgiveness and not have condemnation. That puts you in a position to be well to be free to know that God wants you to be dead to condemnation and sin means you are alive to the joy and strength of the Lord.

 

(1 Corinthians 15:34)  Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

It means we can go to God in confidence and in faith knowing we are clean we are righteous in Him and he is not mad with us. When we have this understanding then we can receive our healing and all the other benefits that come to us through Jesus Christ.

Until next time remember look to your future and not to the past, learn to live in the grace of God and love much forgive always and hold no bitterness toward anyone.