Friday, August 28, 2009

The Holy Spirit part 4

Joh 16:8 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;
Joh 16:9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;
Joh 16:10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;

The difference between verses 9 and 10 that most people miss is the “they” and the “you”. So we know that the “they” are those that do not nor will not believe in Jesus thus rejecting the gospel. The word “believe” that is used comes from the Greek word “pisteuō”, which means “to have faith” or to “entrust”. Believe is not talking about intellectual assent to just some sort of idea, James stomps on that in Jas 2:19. Now who is the “you” in verse 10? The disciples. They had already made a declaration of trust (Mat 16:16) in Christ and now Jesus is teaching them how the Holy Spirit will deal with them because Jesus would no longer be physically with them.

Joh 16:10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;

When I first became a Christian I lived much of my life as one that believed that I needed to act righteous and that this verse was proof that when I didn’t the Holy Spirit would convict me of my sin so that I would start acting right. Oh how far from the Truth that is and yet how often that is taught in many well-meaning churches. And as I was living my Christian life it was one of duality, I was trying to always do the right thing so that I would be righteous and in doing so put myself back under the law. But how can I be under the law if I have been delivered and set free from it? I would cry out like Paul did in Rom 7:15, I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. And as such my Christian life was full of joy at times but also full of condemnation and shame at how I acted.

The word in verse 10 is not about “my righteousness” but Christ’s righteousness. The word speaks specifically of justification. Justification is NOT “just as if I haven’t sinned” but now I have the righteousness of Christ in me. The Holy Spirit convicts you of who you are…you are righteous!

Rom 5:17 If, because of one man's trespass (Adam’s), death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.
Rom 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.
Rom 5:19 For as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous.

Our righteousness is a gift from God through Jesus Christ (Php 3:9) and we saved not by anything we have done but by Him alone (Tit 3:5). Many of our problems come through ignorance of the truth and the deceitful lies of the devil. Many are still on a “religious” treadmill trying to do for God what has already been done. YOU ARE RIGHTEOUS, stop trying to establish your own and thus putting yourself back into bondage to the law. The Holy Spirit directs us to now live out our identity.

Rom 10:3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.
Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Is Lot a righteous man? Lot lived in Sodom, he was a judge in Sodom, at one point he offered his two virgin daughters to the perverts of Sodom to have their way with them and in the final end He had children by these daughters that started great pagan generations that continually made war against God’s people the Israelites. But what does God have to say about Lot?

2Pe 2:7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked
2Pe 2:8 (for as that righteous man lived among them day after day, he was tormenting his righteous soul over their lawless deeds that he saw and heard);

He calls him righteous 3 times in these 2 verses. Why? Because righteousness does not come by what you do but by who you are. Just as Abraham believed and it was accounted to him as righteousness (Gal 3:6) so did Lot. Now they lived their lives much differently and here we even have a little insight into how Lot lived daily (tormenting his righteous soul) but it always goes back to salvation…we are saved and thus made righteous by faith (Eph 2:8-9)

The next step is to live out who you are and in doing so living in a manner succinct with your nature. I will go right into this next time, until then think or reckon on your identity in Christ.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A video showing the correct use of the Law

This should help bring light to the post below on the Holy Spirit. It is why Wesley said to preach 90% law and 10% grace...Also, pray that this man will see, understand and come to Christ before it's too late. I hope this is helpful.

The Holy Spirit part 3

Joh 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:

The whole race and racism by color is a lie perpetrated by the father of all lies, satan, to take our eyes off of the truth that we all came from Adam and Eve. There are two and only two races of people those in Adam and those in Christ, those that the wrath of God abides upon and those that have eternal life (John 3:36). All other attempts at dividing mankind are self-imposed, world directed attempts at taking our eyes of the one who gives us life. Now the Holy Spirit deals very differently with those that are in Christ and those that are in Adam. In the next post we will look at how the Holy Spirit deals with those that are saved by the shed blood of Christ, that have been justified in God’s sight and have eternal life but for today let’s look at how the Holy Spirit deals with those that are not in Christ.

Joh 16:9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;

Now who is Jesus speaking of here…those that do not believe. Is that the one’s that are in Christ, that have repented and believed the gospel (Mark 1:15)? Absolutely Not! The “they” are those that either will not or have not believed on the one that God has appointed to bring life and salvation (1Thes 5:9). Now God deals with them in a much different way then He does His own children. God’s desires them to come to the knowledge and repent, which is to turn from sin, self and satan and turn to God, and believe on the one whom He has sent.

Rom 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Now the Holy Spirit is that internal witness convicting the world of sin so that they might come to God. Sin is the transgression of God’s law. The knowledge of sin is brought through the law, which God has written on the heart of each of His creation (Rom 2:15). This law has a purpose that of course is centered around God incarnate, Jesus Christ.

Gal 3:24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

The laws purpose is to show us that we cannot and will not live up to God’s Holy Standard and it is the measure that Paul speaks of when He says:

Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Now the Holy Spirit works through the law written upon our hearts (the internal witness) and the external preaching and teaching of the law (the external witness) to convict the world of sin. And this is why that great evangelist and preacher John Wesley would say:

“Preach 90% law and 10% grace”

Never get in the way of the Holy Spirit convicting someone of their sin and need of a Savior, that is heavenly business and loved ones need to deal with God directly about the state of their salvation. The Holy Spirit is so good to show us the need for us to come to Christ to have life, forgiveness and to be born again of the Spirit, without which we cannot even see the kingdom of heaven (John 3:3). Understanding the work of the Holy Spirit is essential and next time we will look at how He deals with the believer.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Truth that Satan Does Not Want You to Believe

Rom 6:2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?
Rom 6:3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Rom 6:6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.
Rom 6:7 For one who has died has been set free from sin.
Rom 6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

This is a fact, no matter what you believe, what you experience or what you feel, that you have been (past tense) baptized into his death and that your old self was crucified (past tense) with Him, if you are in Christ Jesus. It always amazes me that so many of us understand that we are saved by faith and that is where it stops...but it is faith in the finished work of Christ that has sanctified us. Now it is up to us to walk in that fact that Truth that has set us free. I love what the great bible commentator Martin Lloyd Jones had to say of these passages

"This is, to me, one of the most comforting and assuring and glorious aspects of our faith. We are never called to crucify our old man. Why? Because it has already happened - the old man was crucified with Christ on the cross. Nowhere does the Scripture call upon you to crucify your old man; nowhere does the Scripture tell you to get rid of your old man, for the obvious reason that he has already gone. Not to realize this is to allow the devil to fool you and to delude you.

What you and I are called upon to do is to cease to live as if we were still in Adam. Understand that the "old man" is not there. The only way to stop living as if we were still there is to realize that he is not there. That is the New Testament method of teaching sanctification. The whole trouble with us, says the New Testament, is that we do not realixe what we are, that we still go on thinking we are the old man, and go on trying to do things to the old man. That has been done; the old man was crucified with Christ. He is non-existent, he is no longer there. If you are a Christian, the man that you were in Adam has gone out of existence; he has no reality at all; you are in Christ."

Now if that news does not make you want to jump up out of your seat and thank Jesus Christ for the victory that we already have I don't know what will! Your identity is sealed in the are no longer bound and chained to that old sin nature. Your sentence has been nullified and your chains have been stop today living like a bound man or woman and live in the victory that Christ has already paid for in full.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Holy Spirit part 2

Before we look at how the Holy Spirit applies these truths to our lives let’s first look at two statements of truth that satan wants to hide from you. We have seen that satan uses deception and lies in order to keep you from Jesus who is life, abundant life. The first of the two truths almost everyone has heard yet only a few apprehend it for themselves. It is summed up in one beautiful passage in the book of John

As Jesus is speaking to His disciples, specifically Thomas, he sums up this beautiful reality

Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Joh 14:7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him."

The truth is not something we can sit on a mantle nor is it something that we figure out by education…the Truth is a person, the Truth is God incarnate. He alone can give life for He alone is life. He will not show you the way because He is the way. This beautiful fact comes into fullness in the only begotten Son Jesus Christ. I love how Peter sums it up as he speaks to a group of religious people.

Act 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

Salvation isn’t a way or a system or even a belief…salvation is a person. One of the many misleading things being taught today is salvation by works. Many a person has come to an alter and been asked a myriad of different questions pertaining to the doctrines of Christianty and as long as the man or woman says “Yes, I believe those things” we pronounce them saved. Saved by what? Saved by a magical prayer or a saying you believe a few fundamental things about Jesus. It is backward…salvation is not only of the Lord but it is the Lord.

1Jn 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

The next truth that many well meaning Christian men and women have never come to know is essential to understanding who we are in Christ. Christ came to set us free yet many have had a sort of religious bondage when they come to Christ by the grace of God. They are saved by grace yet run right back into the “you need to’s”. Now that you are saved by grace you must read your bible, you must pray, you must give, you must evangelize and you must come to church. Yet it almost seems as if it is a bait and switch. I am not saying that the five things listed above aren’t profitable for those in Christ, no they are very profitable but we get the mindset that we have now come to Christ and must work to please Him.

The truth that satan wants to hide from you is that God is well pleased with you. When one comes to Christ and is born again the old has passed away and they are new creations in Him. Their sins are not only forgiven but they now have the righteousness of Christ. Justification is not “just as if I haven’t sinned”…it is so much more! Justification is that not only are all my sins taken away but the Lord Jesus is my righteousness because I am in Him.

1Co 1:30 But from Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption;

I love how Steve McVey put it in his book Grace Walk, pg 42

For many years I didn’t really know who I was. I knew that I had trusted Christ when I was eight years old and that I was going to heaven. But I lived my life under an assumed identity. It was a false identity that I accepted because of the power of suggestion that came to me from the world, the flesh and the devil. I knew that I was a Christian, but I really didn’t understand just how much my identity had changed when I was saved.

Understanding our identity is absolutely essential to our success in living the Christian life. No person can consistently behave in a way that is inconsistent with the way he perceives himself. Next to a knowledge of God, a knowledge of who we are is by far the most important truth we can possess.

So there you have it two truths that satan does not want us to get our hearts around. The truth of Jesus and who He is and how much His love for you right now can save you, transform you and give you abundant life. And who you are in Christ…you are fully loved, fully accepted. Your identity doesn’t rest in what you do but who you are. When at once we realize who we are in Christ we will work from the point of “grace and peace”.

Stop believing the lies of who you are that satan bombards you with and start believing the gospel of who you are in Christ…and in believing and understanding you identity that will propel you to love Him and serve Him all the more.

Col 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.
Col 3:2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Col 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Col 3:4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Knowing the Holy Spirit part 1

Joh 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.
Joh 16:8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:
Joh 16:9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;
Joh 16:10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer;
Joh 16:11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Here again we see Jesus leading us into the truth. In these passages He is helping us to understand why He had to go and the truth of what will actually come to pass because of His victory. The devil’s goal it to have us follow him and give him authority thus giving him power in our lives. The devil is the father of lies and is a master of deception but he only has authority when you believe the lies that he has perpetrated on the human race and in believing the lies follow what you believe to be truth.

Most people would never follow the “Hollywood” devil, you know the one, with the pitchfork, horns and pointy tail. We would see him coming a mile away and run to Christ. But just as the devil is described in the garden of eden as more subtle, more cunning and more crafty the Bible alerts us to how he will manifest himself from time to time.

2Co 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

You see it is the Truth that satan hates and it is the truth that he desires you not to know. He leads us by things that fit right into our nature…things that seem may even seem good as the 1950’s French novelist Albert Camus said

“The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.”

And since that day in the garden when we desired to know good and evil and be like God we have fallen into satan’s trap many times. And just like Simon Peter we too are at war with satan when we come to know the truth and that truth sets us free but we have an advocate…

Luk 22:31 "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,
Luk 22:32 but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."

So the first step in knowing the Holy Spirit is to know that He bears witness of the Truth. And in that most famous passage Jesus tells us that He is Truth (John 14:6) and now our job our purpose is to allow the truth of Jesus to save us, to sanctify us, and to satisfy us in every facet of our life and to tell that same story of the power and love of God, just as Paul did in the book of Acts

Act 26:18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the authority of Satan to God, in order for them to receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.'

Next time we will start to look at how the Holy Spirit reveals and applies these truths to our lives and how He deals with three different groups of people; unbelievers, believers and the spiritual forces of darkness.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Where are your eyes?

This just hit me like a brick wall...our eyes are too often on our own experiences, even looking at our own Spirituality. It is time we took our eyes off of self, sin and the world and put them on the One that is worthy.