Friday, January 29, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
There are many scriptures that we tend to funnel through our own societal norms. This is dangerous and defies all the rules of hermeneutics. It leads us into an idolatrous religious experience, just as the people in Jeremiahs day. When scripture says something it is a fact and should be weighed as just that: Truth.
Mat 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
As we go about our lives Jesus
is either at the center or He isn't. He is either the "filter" that every thought, every word and every action is brought through (as He lives in us Col 1:27) or He isn't. He is
either the closest friend, confidant and lover that we have or He isn't. He is either the One we live for or he is at arms length.
One of the things we have been able today to do is to separate out belief and the act of trusting. For many an intellectual belief in Christ as the man who lived or even as
the Savior of the world is not the same as receiving Him nor trusting Him. For instance if I said you won the lottery and you believed me...would you just believe me and go on with your day or would you trust me and act on it appropriating the winnings into your life? With Christ we have much more than any lottery could ever give us...we have God Himself.
These two statements of Jesus are fact: where your treasure is there your heart will be. The heart is the deepest part of a person and what we tend to hold most preciously. And it can be many things: cars, houses, the way you look, the way people think about you, your husband or wife, your kids, whatever it may be it cannot share the space with Jesus. To many people Jesus is just a part of their life instead of the one that gives life and if this is the case you cannot (not a matter of desire but a matter of ability) share that space between Jesus Christ and things.
A.W. Tozer puts it very succinctly in his book "The Pursuit of God"
Before the Lord God made man upon the earth He first prepared for him by creating a world of useful and pleasant things for his sustenance and delight. In the Genesis account of the creation these are called simply "things." They were made for man's uses, but they were meant always to be external to the man and subservient to him. In the deep heart of the man was a shrine where none but God was worthy to come. Within him was God; without, a thousand gifts which God had showered upon him.
But sin has introduced complications and has made those very gifts of God a potential source of ruin to the soul. Our woes began when God was forced out of His central shrine and "things" were allowed to enter. Within the human heart "things" have taken over. Men have now by nature no peace within their hearts, for God is crowned there no longer, but there in the moral dusk stubborn and aggressive usurpers fight among themselves for first place on the throne.
This is not a mere metaphor, but an accurate analysis of our real spiritual trouble.
I pray that all that read this will come to the bread of life and be satisfied…to the living water that they will never thirst again. It is not about doctrine or religious ritual but about Christ Jesus and a living vibrant relationship with Him. Jesus summed up eternal life in those specific terms.
John 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
For years I ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:17) instead of the tree of Life (Gen 2:9). I was constantly gauging whether or not my behavior was good or bad and would meet with the requirements that God wanted for me. I tried and tried to walk in line with what I thought God commanded me to do…live my life by the Ten Commandments.
I thought that I should monitor my every behavior and for the most part I found that I was not committing sin, whether by repression or suppression my behavior on the outside looked good. Yet I struggled with the words of Jesus to the Pharisees (Mat 23:27) because I knew that my heart was still dirty and the more I compared my thoughts, intentions, words, and actions (both or omission and commission) to the law and to right and wrong, the more I knew that something was drastically wrong.
I had been told a half-truth of the gospel…yes, I knew my sins were forgiven but I did not know “The Rest of the Gospel”. In fact, the more I tried to live the Christian life the more I seemed to fall into more desperate acts of sin and even had a greater desire for it. I would read verses that said I was no longer a slave to sin (Rom 6:18) yet I still felt like a slave to sin because I continued in it (John 8:34). I wanted to be set free and to know what that freedom was like to live in but my entire belief system was set up to keep enslaved to sin. I tried and tried to do all I could do to gain victory over sin but continued to fail.
I was living in unbelief and I didn’t even know it. The victory was already won and given to me as a free gift…not just our salvation but our sanctification too. The more I tried to win the victory by living by right and wrong, the more I was telling God that I don’t believe that you want to give me Your victory and I can do it on my own by my own will and works. I didn’t know the Gospel in it’s entirety…it had been subjected to just being a “get out of hell free” card. I think the world sees Christians as hypocrites because that is all it really is to them…because they don’t know the complete Gospel or realize who they are in the New Covenant.
You died (2Cor 5:14) with Christ on the Cross and He bore all your sins (1Pet 2:24) in His body…past, present and future, He alone suffered and paid your penalty for sin. But that is not even the good news…if it were He would leave you free from the penalty yet still locked in the dungeon of your own carnal nature. In fact when you receive Christ (Joh 1:12) you receive His very Life (2Pet 1:4) in you. You were once spiritually dead (Eph 2:1) and hostile (Rom 8:7) with God but He reconciled (Rom 5:10) you to Himself by His very life, the blood (Luk 22:20) of the new covenant. And when He was raised from the dead you were in Him and you too were raised to newness of life (2Cor 5:17). He has come to give you His life (Joh 10:10) and to give it abundantly…it is finished, it is yours, now simply receive and believe this Good News.
As I understood this Gospel, the true Gospel, the Bible made complete sense. Look at every verb tense that is taught about what happened to us on the cross…here are a few to consider.
Gal 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
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 6:4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Col 3:3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Rom 7:4 Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.
Rom 7:5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. Rom 7:6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
2Co 5:14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved--Eph 2:6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
2Ti 2:11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
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.
Col 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. Col 2:13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses
Now I would ask that you look at the scripture…all of this is pointing back to a place and time in which a cosmic miracle in Christ took place. You were in Christ, all of your perverted personality and junk was laid upon Him and He bore you in His actual body. He did this so that we could have eternal life, His life, which starts at the moment of being born again.
Now our adversary walks about wanting to steal His very life (John 10:10) from us and put us back into bondage. He does so by deception and lies (John 8:44) wherein we give him authority in our lives when he actually has none. Hudson Taylor called this “The Exchanged Life” and what an exchange it is…the saddest part is that many will not believe the truth (John 14:6) because it is too good to be true.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
As we take the time in prayer this week, ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and reveal to you how you are relying on the world for security, significance and happiness. To prime the pump here are a few thoughts on it.
- If I have a good enough job or enough money in the bank then I will be secure during this recession
- If I lose some weight then I will feel better about myself
- If I get a compliment today on something I did or the way I look I will feel a sense of importance
- If others recognize the spiritual gifts that I have then I know that I am doing the right things for God
- If I can just get a new car/clothes/house etc. then I will be happy
We have been sucking off the worlds system for so long many of the things that we do become so subtle that it is not even noticeable. Sociologist call it the "plausibility structure", the puritans would call it "the vestiges of sin" or Paul in his letter to the Ephesians called it "the old man" - it is a conditioned way of living based on our past beliefs. It is crucial that we get with God, in prayer and allow Him to guide our conscience into the reality of our true condition, for years we have been deceived by the subtle lies of Satan that has stolen the very life of God (John 10:10). The "Christian" that does not get alone with God and allow the Life of God to live through them is only bluffing or playing at Christianity (ironically we get the word hypocrite from the theater).
2Co 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Cleave to Christ knowing that satan, the god of this world, is out to destroy you and your faith. The deception and lies that satan wants you to believe are endless and usually fit right into your selfish way of life and many times come as good things (2Cor 11:14). Can you like Paul say:
Gal 6:14 But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (look at the tense...past tense)
Is the world crucified to you? The answer is an absolute YES but even though it is you may not believe it and thus live in the prison of your false beliefs. Are you still dependent on others for significance, security and happiness.
- There is a move of God in America today but not amongst the unsaved...It's amongst the redeemed who are determined by the grace of God to be part of the Bride and to be part of the Bride you have to be divorced from everything in the world. (Leonard Ravenhill)