Part 6: The Actions & Attitude of Love

imageToday I am going to pick up the Mountaintop Motivations series based on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The overall theme in today’s three sections will be love.

Let’s begin with Matthew 5:33-37 NKJV “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”

The issue here is not that Jesus didn’t want people making promises, the problem was the Pharisees had so mangled what promises did and did not have to be kept solely based on how things were worded that Jesus is basically telling people just do what you say.

The religious leaders tried to make things way too religious, if you say something, you should mean it and do it without having to attach God to it. Jesus was encouraging honesty out of love for your neighbor. This takes us to the greatest commandments, love The Lord your God and your neighbor.

This coincides with the next saying of Jesus as well in verses thirty-eight through forty-two. “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”

We need to notice the absence of love of how commands were carried out. The eye for an eye regarded servants, yet we know another passage states at the time of release a servant can choose to stay thus becoming a member of the household. That is love. Everything Jesus is talking about is love. Now this doesn’t mean we allow people to walk all over us. But let’s think about that for a moment, if our first thought is, I’m not going to let people walk all over me, do we really have a heart of love? If we have the attitude of servant, would we make a different statement?

I believe Jesus answers that in this last section of chapter five.

Matthew 5:43-47 NKJV “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?”

Doesn’t that just hit us right between the eyes?! Jesus said our behavior is no different from an unbeliever if we don’t walk in love. I think we need to sit and ponder this for a minute, if we don’t walk in love we are no different than an unbeliever.

Why don’t we take the time right now and repent of the areas we have not walked in love and ask The Lord to help us walk in love.

Some of you may be reading this thinking, Casey, this is impossible. How can I walk in love like that, how can I have a heart of love like that?

The answer is in verse forty-eight, Therefore you shall be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Wait a minute Casey, I can’t be perfect. Not perfect in every action, not mistake free, but perfect in love, a holy heart, a sanctified life.

People tend to look at Matthew 5:48 as something we should strive for but cannot obtain in this life. Let’s look at other Scriptures that assure us that heart purity not only can be obtained but that it’s God’s will for us.

Psalm 51:7-10 NKJV “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Ezekiel 36:24-29 NKJV “For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses. I will call for the grain and multiply it, and bring no famine upon you.”

Jesus prayed in John 17:17 that we would be sanctified.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 NKJV “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 NKJV “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”

Lastly, 1 Peter 1:15-16 NKJV “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because as it is written “Be holy for I am holy.”

It is clear that the perfection mentioned at the end of Matthew chapter five is not some high and lofty unattainable goal. Why would we believe Jesus would set forth a goal that would be unattainable? On the contrary that is the work of the Holy Spirit known as the baptism or infilling.

Acts 15:8-9 NKJV “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”

The purpose of the infilling of the Spirit is to purify our hearts (to sanctify us) and help us live a holy life.

John Wesley said this concerning Matthew 5:48′ “therefore ye shall be perfect; as your Father who is in heaven is perfect” “- So the original runs, referring to all the holiness which is described in the foregoing verses, which our Lord in the beginning of the chapter recommends as happiness, and in the close of it as perfection.”

Notice here, that Wesley says holiness is happiness. I believe this is very key in our culture today. When many teachers are saying our happiness can be found in the fact that God delights in giving us stuff, there are plenty of people that have stuff without happiness. Stuff can never bring happiness. A sanctified heart and life that is independent of the need for stuff can be happy with or without that “stuff”. To focus only on the wealth or healing or relationship that God will give you can actually lead you away from God himself.

If we are honest with ourselves and what we in the American Church have become accustom to it is a “gospel” of comfort with no real trial or hardship. We will have hardship and we won’t always be delivered of it.

Don’t get me wrong I do believe God takes care of his people but when our focus is centered on the wealth and the stuff and the miracle that God can give us we will become miserable.
The focus of the Word of God is never the stuff we can get but a life of love and servant heart.

Much of American Christianity has become a message of how to accumulate stuff to make God attractive to others. Let me make this clear, God is attractive on His own and if a nice car and a nice house and a big bank account is attracting someone to Jesus, it is not the suffering servant Jesus but a false Jesus who exists only to meet our needs.

The American Church needs to return to a servant gospel. We need to return to love and humility and I will say this we need to raise up holy pastors not hoarding pastors.

How I pray that American Churches become holy churches, not churches that see how close to the line they can get.

I pray each of us will heed the words of the last verse of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew and be perfect as our Father is perfect.

Heavenly Father, fill us with your love, speak to our hearts and change our lives. May we walk in holiness and become more like Jesus everyday. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

—-

Some things to think about:

What are some ways you can live a servant lifestyle in your community?

Even though it was a brief assessment of the American Church, what parts do you agree or disagree with?

Does the focus and or messaging or parts of your local church need to change?

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The Sound of Holiness is Coming!

image            The Sound of Holiness is Coming….

In this hour the LORD says the sound of holiness is coming to the earth!

It is time for the Church to wake up and see what is around her. Now is not the time to be caught in the trap of the enemy, now is the time for the Church to arise without spot or wrinkle, it is time for us to be holy as He is holy.

As we see war advancing, we must be on the side of the God of Israel!

As we see the homosexual agenda advancing we must love the homosexual but not back down from a Holy God and a Holy Bible and a holy stance.

With major denominations moving away from biblical positions I am using my blog to call the Church back to holiness!

Methodists, who have left the call to holiness, come back to your holiness roots from John Wesley and the Scriptures. Other Wesleyan’s preach and continue to preach holiness.

Baptists, you’re great at preaching salvation, encourage people to grow in holiness.

Charismatics, Pentecostals, you do great at emphasizing the gifts, remember the fruit as well. Pentecost was also about purity not just power.

Church we must return to living and preaching holiness!

We must engage in spiritual warfare. Yes, Jesus said the gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church, but He also said in Matthew 11:12, from the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence and the violent take it by force.

The only way the gates of Hell will not prevail is if we, The Church, rise up and advance the Kingdom. We must not sit back and let culture be taken over by the enemy.

The sound of holiness is coming, the sound we end up hearing is up to us. It will either be the sound of reform and restoration or it will be the sound of judgement.

This is not a doom and glum post, it is a clarion call to rise up and press toward the mark of the high calling of Christ Jesus! It. Is a call to sanctification and to progress in sanctification.

Church we need to do the words of Zechariah 14:20 “On that day HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the LORD’S house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar.”

Church it is time to be holy! It is time to come out from among them and be ye separate says the LORD of hosts! It’s time to take a stand and war in the spirit and take dominion over the enemy.

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Sanctification Made Simple

image1 Thessalonians 4:3 tells us that it is God’s will that we be sanctified. But what is sanctification? And not a long theological definition but a simple one.

If I were to give a simple definition of sanctification it would be two words, “ALL-IN”.

If you’ve ever seen a Texas Hold’em tournament on ESPN you know that ALL-IN means a guy has pushed all his chips in to bet on the hand. This is a picture of what it looks like to be sanctified, we are going ALL-IN.

When we are saved, we have repented of sin and have given our lives to Jesus. When we are sanctified however, we are giving our whole selves to Him, everything we are and everything we have.

Sanctification is both a moment and a progression. You are sanctified the moment you give your all but you grow in that sanctification every time you yield to the Holy Spirit, thus being “ALL-IN”.

Another way to put sanctification I guess would be to compare it to marriage and engagement. Being saved is the engagement and sanctification is taking the “full plunge” into marriage if you will.

Someone may have better illustrations and that is fine, but these are the two that have come to me as I have looked at the Scriptures.

Let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NIV “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;”

Simply put sanctification is living in a way that shows love and honor to God.

Sanctification and holiness both mean to be set apart.

Yes there are deeper things we could get into on sanctification but that is not the purpose of this post.

I want to take the difficulty and perceived hinderances out of the way and just say sanctification is living an ALL-IN life for Jesus Christ.

That doesn’t mean that mistakes wont be made but that our heart is fully turned to Jesus and away from sin and we want to live a life completely pleasing to Him.

Completely devoted and ALL-IN, that is sanctification made simple.

What does a prayer for sanctification look like?

Read the words of David in Psalm 51:7-10 NIV “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

The words you use are not the main thing, it’s the cry of your heart to be pure in heart and live a life lead by the Spirit and submitted to Jesus.

If you want to go deeper in your understanding, I have some other posts on the blog and you can check out the books shelf.

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Part 5: Two Enemies of Love

imageToday I will be picking up the Mountaintop Motivation Series which is based from the Sermon on the Mount.

We will be discussing matters of the heart once again today, we will look at a topic most people like to avoid, lust. Lust is something everyone deals with and it should not be as taboo in the church as it is.

Let’s look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:27-28 NASB “You have heard that it was said, YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY; (28) But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Most people think it is impossible to go through this life without having lust on a regular basis, I disagree with this. Anyone can be tempted but that is not the same thing as walking around with lust in your heart.

One of the privileges we have as born again people is having a new heart within us, we do not have to be bound to lustful thoughts, glances, and feelings.

Job 31:1, 12 AMP “I DICTATED a covenant (an agreement) to my eyes, how then could I look [lustfully] upon a girl? (12) For [uncontrolled passion] is a fire which consumes to Abaddon (to destruction, ruin, and the place of final torment); [that fire once lighted would rage until all is consumed] and would burn the root of all my [life’s] increase.”

When we truly understand that, not with our heads, but with our hearts and spirits, it will change the grip lust can have on our minds and lives. Philippians 2:5 says let the mind of Christ be in you. Thessalonians says renew your mind by the washing of the water of the Word and Philippians 4:8 tells us what to think about.

I am convinced by the reality of the Word and my own experience in this area that the reason why people don’t get victory over lust (or anything else) is because we simply choose to yield to it and not resist.

James 4:7-8 tells us to submit to God first, then resist the devil and he will flee. Too many people try to resist the devil without first submitting to God. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you, cleanse your hands and purify your hearts you double minded.

Notice, we first have to submit to God before we can ever resist the devil. We must draw near to God before He draws near to us. Notice that we are told cleanse our hands and purify our own hearts, it is not something God does, we must take the initive to do it.

Now this is not an issue of salvation, Christ cleanses us at salvation but as we walk after that we must cleanse ourselves.

We must take away the excuse we have given ourselves of well we just lust it is a normal thing. Allowing lust to continue is not the normal of the Christian. To defeat it we must first submit to God, we do that through prayer and the Word. Then we must resist the devil, we do that by recognizing how he moves.

James 1:14-15 NKJV “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. (15) Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

Scripture constantly talks about how the flesh wars against the Spirit, this is why Paul said he daily crucified his members. We must watch, look, and listen – NOT for the enemy but Jesus.

Hebrews 12:2, Fix your eyes, your gaze on Jesus. Many Christians are so focused on the enemy that’s how they are overcome by him. what we watch becomes big to us, this is why, even though no one would say this, the devil is bigger than God in the minds of many Christians. We need to get in the Word, we need to rehearse past victories, we need to get a big picture of God on the inside of us! For greater is He that is on the inside of me than he that is in the world! No weapon formed against me shall prosper and every tongue that rises against me in judgement I will condemn!

It did not say a weapon wouldn’t be formed it just says it wont prosper! This is why we need to become familiar with the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God and take up our shield of faith.

If we will cast down the thought of sin it wont have time to conceive, 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 and you know that if there is no conception there can be no birth!

Let’s turn back to Matthew 5:29-30 NASB “If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. (30) If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts, than for your whole body to go into hell.”

This is not talking about literally cutting off body parts put getting rid of the things that cause you to stumble.

Put safe guards around you. If you are addicted to doing things on the computer set a time limit for how long you can be on. If you watch to much TV set the timer. Choose this day whom you will serve. God will not and cannot choose for us we must make the quality decision to cleanse our hearts and after we have cleansed our hearts some may need to literally cleanse their homes of the things that cause them to stumble.

Don’t allow yourself to buy into the lie of the enemy that we must always struggle with sin, what do we think Christ came to do? Just punch our tickets for Heaven?! NO!, He came to give us life and life more abundantly! This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith!

Denounce the lie, get in the Word and get the Word in you and walk this life of victory over sin, shame, sickness, and shambles.

Now, let’s switch gears a little, Matthew 5:31-32 NASB “It was said, WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE; (32) but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Another passage says, that in the beginning divorce was not so but Moses allowed a divorce certificate because of the hardness of heart.

I’m not going to say to much on this subject, except to say; yes, there is healing after divorce, but in todays society it has become to easy and done for too many loose of reasons, instead of healing after divorce, why not try healing before you get to the divorce discussion.

Many churches advertise divorce care groups, and I am not against that but in many of these same churches I do not see martial counseling advertised as much. If we will allow God to work on our hearts we can defeat both lust and divorce.

God has a great plan for each one of us and it includes victory over sin and marriages full of love. There is no condemnation for the divorced persons but love. However, for those who feel close to that point, healing can be had and divorced stopped.

Today let each one of us repent of things we need to repent of and commit ourselves and our hearts a fresh and anew to God and ask for a fresh filling of the Spirit.

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Realization, Repentance, & Restoration

pen and paperRealization:

It has been a while since my last post and during that time the Lord has done many things in my life and spoken much to my Spirit. During that time the Lord sat an appointment for He and I during a Passover conference. Many things transpired during the conference and in the following weeks.

The first thing that began to take place is a revelatory understanding began to take place in my spirit concerning the Hebrew or Jewish roots of the faith. When I say revelatory understanding I mean something that has changed me and not just head and book knowledge that is acquired. I have spoken some about this and more will come in the future.

I also began to see how I had lost my passion for prayer, don’t misunderstand, I still prayed and still emphasized the importance of prayer in my life, it’s just that I allowed that passion and the commitment to pursuing the presence of God through prayer slip.
Many things began to be revealed to me, much of which lead to times of repentance.

 

Repentance:

During this time I realized how I had allowed religion to take hold during my high school years. I had some very wrong staunch positions and said very hurtful things to people I knew. At times I focused too much on the Judgment of God than His love, for that I am deeply sorry.

As I began to repent for things Holy Spirit brought to my attention I began to see how a restoration of God’s order and purpose needed to take place, not only in my own life but in the body of Christ as a whole.

 

Restoration:

The first thing that I knew needed to be restored was the Hebrew Roots of the faith. I am not saying we go back under law, I am saying there are things God put in place that He did not change between the Old and New Testaments, these include, Sabbath, Feast Days, and the BLESSING that comes in walking in obedience. We need to be restored to God’s order and His timing and this happens when we return to our roots.

I also believe the Lord wants to restore the reality of the fruit and gifts of the Spirit to believers through the leadership of the Five Fold Ministry of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, and Teacher. It is the first two that truly need to be restored to the Church.

We must return to prayer, praise, and the presence of God. I know many denominations see how they disagree with each other but it is those who will realize that they agree doctrinally and put aside secondary issues that will see a move of God.

We must restore true praise and worship to the Church and not a fifteen to twenty five minute song service that is broken up with greet your neighbor, bowing for prayer, and worship leaders who talk more than they lead us in worship. Scripture tells us to enter with thanksgiving and praise. We will not experience God in the way He has for us until we return to both corporate and personal worship.

 

Concluding Thoughts:

It’s time for us to be willing to put aside our traditions, programs, and orders of service and invite God in to awaken us. We must be a people of personal and corporate prayer, praise and worship, and people of the Word.

We have destroyed ourselves by trying to systematically learn and describe everything about God. Theology is important but when it is more important than experiencing the God of the theology the devil has won.

We must return to the Church of Acts and the Mystics of times past they knew God and demonstrated God and the Church grew. We wonder why the Church is in decline, we have left relationship and experience for a systematic theology that puts us at odds with each other.

Church, let us turn back to a relational experience with a God who loves us. I’m not saying throw out doctrine or morality. A true experience and an awakening only comes with those things, but with those things alone we are Pharisees, having a form of Godliness but denying its power.

Church lets realize where we are, repent for the things we need to, restore the age old foundations and experience a revival that leads to awakening.

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Part 4: Anger Apprehends Advancemet

imageToday we begin a five part mini series within our mountaintop series. Today Jesus flips the switch on how the law was viewed, He takes it from outward action to inward motivation.

Matthew 5:21-22 NKJV “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ (22) But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”

Jesus takes the act of murder and boils it down to what it is really about, anger.

How many times, in anger, have we said “I’ll kill you” or “I’d like to slap the fire out of that person”. Now all of us will say we would never actually kill anyone, that Jesus’ point.

You see the religious leaders and I’m sure others felt they were righteous because the kept the law. Do you remember the story of the rich ruler who came to Jesus and said I want to be saved. Jesus responded, keep the commandments. The guy followed that with a hardy I have kept them since I was little. Jesus then asked him to surrender what he trusted in, in this case he trusted in money, for you it may be something else. The point is the man went away with a heavy heart because he wouldn’t surrender his heart to Jesus.

In Jesus going from murder to anger, He took away everyones (including ours) self-righteous security blanket. In another place Jesus called religious people white-washed tombs. You look good on the outside but you inside, you heart is black, filthy, vile, and disgusting, not worthy of the presence of God.

Right actions or abstinence from “the big sins” doesn’t mean much if our hearts are far from God.

Yet, Jesus doesn’t end here, verses twenty-three through twenty-six, “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, (24) leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (25) Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. (26) Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.”

Scripture says God loves and accepts the gifts of a cheerful prompt to do giver.

Remember the Cain and Able story, anger arose because he didn’t give with a right heart, he waited till the end. He then became upset at his brothers blessing and murdered him.

Malachi 3:10-11 NKJV “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, That there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this,” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing That there will not be room enough to receive it. (11) “And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, So that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, Nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” Says the Lord of hosts;”

Do you see the correlation of giving and BLESSING. Remember the context of Matthew five, it is about the spirit in which the gift is given. If we give in anger, the devourer(the enemy) won’t be stopped. Anger has the ability and does apprehend our advancement.

I’m not giving a financial message here, the entire purpose of Jesus’ illustration is on reconciliation and forgiveness.

Jesus said we are to love one another. I have a question for each of us, is there any anger in your heart, any unforgiveness? If so go to the Lord today, if possible, go to that person and make things right. Ask for and give forgiveness today.

When we walk in anger we close ourselves off from fellowship with God, none of us want that. Choose to walk in freedom today by giving forgiveness and walking in love.

Father I ask that you would speak to our hearts and show us of any anger in our hearts so that we may make things right and begin walking again on the path of love you have called us to. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Part 3: An Introduction to the Law of Love

image There is a very dangerous teaching in the Church currently, a teaching deemed “hyper-grace”. I do believe those under grace are not under Old Covenant law, however, I do believe grace comes with it’s own law, love.

Jesus said this, “A new command [law] I give you that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and strength and that you love your neighbor as yourself.”

Another command that carried over was the command of holiness, the difference of that holiness is only in how it is now accomplished. In the Old Covenant you were called holy by keeping the law (which had over 600 articles). In the New Covenant holiness is the law of love.

We will get more into this even in the coming weeks, for right now, let’s go to Matthew 5:17-18 NKJV “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

It is important to understand that Jesus was not coming to do away with the law but to fulfill it.

The purpose for Old Covenant sacrifices was to be in right standing with God. Because of Christ’s death on the cross we no longer bring animal sacrifices because Christ’s death was sufficient.

Yet, even with no more animal sacrifices, the moral law (the Ten Commandments) still serve as a roadmap to believers. Don’t make the mistake that I am saying we are justified by law keeping, we aren’t, and no saint of the Old Covenant was justified through law either, but by faith in the coming of the Messiah.

Matthew 5:19 NKJV “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

We also need to remember that Jesus ministered under the Old Covenant and not the New. He was establishing the grounds of the New Covenant in His teaching. The New Covenant is a better covenant with better promises, Hebrews says.

The only thing the New Covenant replaces from the Old is the ritual law. Under grace it is no longer about performance but our love walk. Yet even though it is about love, Jesus said, if you love me you will obey me.

Just because Old Covenant law is no longer over us does not mean the principle is gone. Jesus kept the principle [Spirit] of the law and did away with the letter [legalism] of the law.

We will get into this in detail in the coming weeks.

Matthew 5:20 NKJV “For I say unto you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

How does our righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the Pharisees? By having a righteousness that flows out of love and not law.

Jesus said of the Pharisees, these draw near with lip service but their hearts are far from me.

It is the Pharisees that got mad at Jesus for healing people. How stupid is this?! How can you get mad for Jesus making people well?

I’ll go a step further and say it is the Pharisees [religious] of our day that say God uses sickness instead of heals from it. It amazes me how many Christians get mad when somebody teaches on healing.

They’ll say things like, we don’t always know what God’s will is… go to Matthew chapter eight, we can settle this right now.

Matthew 8:2-3 NKJV “And behold, a leper came and worshipped Him saying, “Lord IF YOU ARE WILLING, You can make me clean.” (3) Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him saying, “I AM WILLING; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.””

Religion would rather look at the God of judgement than the God of joy. Hebrews 1:9 says Jesus had more joy than all of his companions. Sickness doesn’t bring joy, debt doesn’t bring joy, divorce doesn’t bring joy to families.

And don’t say, well all things work together for good! SICKNESS IS NOT GOOD, IT’S UNDER THE CURSE! Don’t say God uses everything, listen, God can use anything, but that doesn’t mean He wants to or He is supposed to.

I believe the reason God “uses” sickness is because believers have been sold a line of garbage and don’t claim healing, even when they pray for it, faith isn’t there, belief that healing will happen is not present in the life of the believer.

The reason I titled this the Law of Grace is because people believe grace doesn’t come with law, it does.

Matthew 5:48 NKJV “Therefore, you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect”.

 

John 5:14 NKJV “See you have been made well. Sin no more, lest something worse come upon you.”
Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV “Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

1 Peter 1:15-16 NKJV “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, (16) because it is written, “Be holy for I am holy.”

Grace is not religion, it is not being bound by law, it is being freed to live under God, apart from bondage to sin and being joined to a life of holiness in Christ.

John 8:34-36 NKJV “Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.””

The entire purpose of grace is holiness, not the ability to live like we want. Grace is not freedom to live on the edge of the world. Grace is running into the Kingdom of God.

Lots wife became salt because her feet were leaving, but her heart was still in the city of sin.

saints, it’s time for us to leave the world, it’s time for us to be a holy people. A Word was given shortly after the year began by Cindy Jacobs, in this word she declared in 2014 the message of holiness would rise again in the Church, that those who had not preached it would learn it, receive it, and teach it.

My friend I believe in the supernatural and I want to see it happen on a regular basis, but if we have the supernatural without holiness we will fall.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus said many will come in that day saying Lord, did we not do miracles, prophecy, and cast out demons. Jesus response is I don’t know you, depart from me.

Jesus didn’t say this because He was against miracles, He said this because He is against miracles without the lifestyle of holiness. The gifts of the Spirit mean nothing without the fruit of the Spirit.

It is time to have a return to holiness, only then will we see the corresponding flow of the gifts in the proper manner. It is when we have holiness that we don’t compete over and with the gifts.

I wan’t to see the move of the Spirit but that move only comes with holiness of heart and life.

Make no mistake though, holiness is pointless without miraculous manifestation.

Why do I say that? Because that was the Pharisees, they got mad at Jesus for the signs He did.
The devil doesn’t care if you live holy and go to church once a week, he cares if you take holiness with demonstration to the world.

Don’t be whitewashed tombs like the Pharisees, walk in purity and power.

Let’s not be Pharisees and let’s not be hyper grace either, let us be biblical believers that walk in holiness and have signs follow us because of that.

To those who emphasize holiness without the supernatural, pray and ask God to deliver you of the fear of the moving of the Holy Spirit. Tear up the order of service and say Holy Spirit have your way. Don’t speak against gifts you don’t understand ask the Holy Spirit to teach you of what you don’t understand. Most importantly don’t believe the lie that the supernatural takes away from holiness.

To those who emphasize the supernatural without holiness, return to the message that Jesus preached, a message of Spirit flowing from holiness. Emphasize the importance of right living and don’t compromise the Church through allowing people to minister in sin. You believe in transferable anointing, so don’t allow an alcoholic or an adulterer, or a pornographer to transfer the spirits that are on him. Call your people, call yourself, call your friends to holiness.
The next five messages in this series will go deeper into the subject of the law of love and how it is a law based from the heart and not duty alone.

 

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Part 2: We are Salt & Light

imageMatthew 5:13 NKJV “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

Matthew 5:13-16 is a portion of scripture that deals with the character of a believer. In the matter of being the salt of the earth, we need to remember the salt covenant of God with Israel.

Salt in the natural is a preservative, in the spiritual our “salt” so to speak is found in Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (23) gentleness, self-control, against such there is no law.”

The proof and preservative of our Christlike character is the fruit of the Spirit.

Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all those who are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

Most believe that Jesus is the light of the world, that is true, yet Jesus said just as I have been sent I send you.

It says that are good works would be seen, there is much false humility in the Church, much false pride that says we have nothing to do with the move of the Holy Spirit. Food would have not multiplied if the disciples had not passed it out. We are called of God to minister the Kingdom, we need to quit minimizing that.

I mentioned earlier the fruit of the Spirit, there is also the gifts of the Spirit. If we are walking in the fruit the signs will follow.

Mark 16:17-18 “And these signs will follow them that believe: In my name they shall cast out devils; they will speak with new tongues; (18) they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall by no means hurt them; they SHALL lay hands on the sick and THEY SHALL RECOVER.”

Matthew 10:7-8 ” Go preaching the message of THE KINGDOM and as you go, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out devils.”

Jesus, being light, every time He healed someone it angered the religious people. People constantly said of Jesus, He speaks with authority, not like the Pharisees.

We must understand light in the context of the Scripture, Jesus read of Himself, “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, the proclaim liberty to those who are bound up and recovery of sight to the blind. To set at liberty those whom the devil has bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.

Church we cannot be light unless we receive and DO the WHOLE WORD! This is not a buffet, to pick the things we like and are comfortable with, He sent the comforter because we would be uncomfortable at times.

Do you think spitting and sticking mud in someones eye sockets is comfortable? Do you think saying eat my flesh and drink my blood is comfortable?

Church its time to take Holy Spirit out of the back room and bring Him up on the platform.

Church we need a revival! A lasting, non-ending revival!

Church, since I heard of Pastor Steve Hill’s passing, I have been watching old Brownsville Revival services. I want that passion for souls, I want that passion for holiness!!

Dutch Sheets said a few weeks ago that we need to claim the anointings of the past and finish the work they started. Let us do Isaiah 58:12, Let us raise the foundations from the past, let us pull on those anointings! We need to walk in the anointings of Hill, Wigglesworth, Lake, Boswell, Kuhlman, Wesley, Edwards, and others!

Church we need a revival and that only comes through the fruit with an outflow of gifts.

Church quit choosing purity or power, we need both!

Purity without power leads to Phariseeism and power without purity leads to pollution.

If you were filled back in the Brownsville Revival when was the last time you had a fresh touch?

The disciples were filled in Acts two and re-filled in Acts four.

Get filled and leak!

Let your light shine and your salt be tasted! People need to taste and see the Lord is good!

Good is not just saved but sanctified, healed, free, and BLESSED!

Receive, ask for, cry out for a fresh touch today!

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Part 1: We Are BLESSED

imageToday we are beginning a new series titled Mountaintop Motivations. This series comes from Jesus’ classic discourse from Matthew chapters five through seven.

Before we begin with todays teaching I want to make some clarifying statements on some things we will see throughout Jesus’ teaching. We need to remember that Jesus ministered under the Old Covenant, He ministered under the law, yet He had grace in mind.

When we read particular points in His teaching let us not fall into law but into grace. Grace is not freedom for our nature, its freedom from our nature. Jesus is not talking about rules, He’s talking relationship. When you are in relationship with someone you want to make them happy, not because you want to but because you get to.

As we read let’s keep in mind we are sons of God and joint heirs with Jesus and co-laborers with the Holy Spirit. The parts of the Scripture that deal with what flesh sees as “rules” our spirit sees as the BLESSING of relationship.

Today we are going to focus on THE BLESSING of the Lord in our life that is found in the first twelve verses.

We will read the verses then discuss each BLESSING individually.

Matthew 5:1-12 NKJV “And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. (2) Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: (3) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (4) Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted. (5) Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth. (6) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. (7) Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy. (8) Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God. (9) Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called sons of God. (10) Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11) “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. (12) Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

The word BLESSED in this portion means supremely happy, specially fortunate, and well off.

BLESSED are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

What is the Kingdom of heaven? It is not dying and going to heaven. Later in this teaching Jesus says “Your Kingdom COME, Your will BE DONE on earth AS IT IS in heaven.”

We need to look at these BLESSINGS from the place of victory. Jesus is not saying he wants us to be poor or be in lack when it concerns money, health, relationships, or anything pertaining to life. He is talking about being humble in spirit.

James 4:10 says if we humble ourself God will lift us up, thats how we receive the Kingdom.

James 4:7-10 in the Message reads, “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.”

We see the need for sanctification all throughout this teaching. I’m going to get a little ahead of the teaching here but in Matthew 5:20 it says unless our righteousness exceeds the religious leaders we will not see the Kingdom. Hebrews 12:14 says without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Jesus goes on and explains the difference between rule holiness and heart holiness. Sanctification gives us heart holiness, which is true New Covenant holiness, this is what we are to be.

The Pharisees got mad when Jesus healed on the Sabbath because they were more concerned about a day, then what God wants to do on that day, that is rule, not relationship.

We will get more into this as we go through these three chapters but it is imperative to establish that the entire ministry of Jesus is based on a holiness that flows from the heart and not a holiness that flows from rules. Holiness is to be a freeing lifestyle. We are not to exchange the bondage of sin for the bondage of legalism.

being poor in spirit means recognizing our need for God.

BLESSED are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.

We should experience the joy of our salvation, we may see sadness but joy always comes in the morning.

BLESSED are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Meek means patient and long suffering. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says love endures long and is patient and kind.

The love filled person will inherit the earth. The love filled person is a candidate for THE BLESSING of God to overtake them.

Proverbs 10:22 AMP “THE BLESSING of the Lord – it makes [truly] rich, and He adds no sorrow with it [neither does toiling increase it].

As Brother Copleand has said, “I’m not BLESSED because I’m rich, I’m rich because I’m BLESSED”.

Matthew 11:30 NKJV “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

When we live in THE BLESSING we remain at rest, it doesn’t mean things aren’t happening. Jesus was able to sleep through a storm that had the disciples fearing for their very lives, that is easy and that is light, and that should be are realm of living, Amen!?

BLESSED are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.

As believers we should be constantly hungry for the things of God. In the natural, being hungry leaves you empty but in the Kingdom being hungry is what satisfies you, it is what makes you full. Hunger is the key to being satisfied yet still seeking.

BLESSED are the merciful for they shall obtain mercy. It is those who forgive who receive forgiveness from Father, when we are merciful, we too will receive mercy in our time of need.

BLESSED are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Here again we see sanctification and also what sanctification is and what it receives. Sanctification is purity of heart, holiness, and holiness is what enables us to see God, Hebrews 12:14.

BLESSED are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.

Later read Romans 12:9-21 it explains what it means to be a peacemaker, for right now I will simply say that to be a peacemaker means to walk in love.

the last three verses go hand in hand.

BLESSED are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

BLESSED are you when people revile and persecute you…

Rejoice for your reward is great.

Persecution is not just being tortured or dying for your faith, I am not minimizing that, and that truly is the greatest sacrifices one can make for the Lord Jesus. I do believe however, in focusing on that one type of persecution we forget that many believers don’t walk in faith because they don’t want to be ridiculed by those inside the Church, being called radical, name it claim it, or anything else.

Many in the world sought Jesus, it was the Church that persecuted Him. Again while I’m not minimizing those who suffer physically, I believe we have forgotten and dismissed this kin of persecution.

In closing this first portion of the message, say out loud, I am THE BLESSED of the Lord, I am THE BLESSED of the Lord. I have THE BLESSING of Abraham though Christ Jesus and I live on the victory side! Amen Church. We nee to get this down on the inside of us, we are THE BLESSED of the Lord.

Father we love you, Holy Spirit I ask that we realize and walk in THE BLESSING that has been declared to us through the Word in Jesus name, amen.

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Part 14: The Armor of God

imageToday is the last post in the In Christ Series as you can see by the title we are talking about the Armor of God. If you have read this passage before and/or heard messages on the armor before I humbly ask that you not pass over this post, not because I have some great new things to share with you, but because I may look at some aspects of it in a different light.

Holy Spirit, I ask that as people read this post they would have fresh eyes to see and hearts to receive the truth you have for each individual person in this post today.

I want to begin by looking at Ephesians 6:10-13 in the New Living Translation and I want us to specifically notice the language of victory. “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”

Too many times people look at it like its a fair fight, its really not, the devil is already defeated, Jesus defeated him when He rose from the dead.

Don’t allow language like “evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in heavenly places”. Don’t allow the enemy to use the language of Scripture to scare you.

When Jesus was tempted the devil misused Scripture to get Jesus to jump, I believe the devil was really hoping Jesus would fall to His death, but the enemy said to Jesus, God will give His angels charge over you so you wont get hurt. Jesus responded with Scripture, don’t test God.

We too, can respond with Scripture because directly after those words we read, “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.”

Have you ever seen a football game that all week people are talking about how one team will dominate the other in an easy win and when game time comes, they still have to play the game, the underdog may get a few scores, but in the end it was a blowout just like everybody had been saying.

That’s kind of what I’m talking about, we are the favored team, the enemy may get a few scores in some temptations but we will ultimately have the victory. For those saying, what about when it goes the other way, don’t mess up my good illustration 🙂

When we look at the armor we must come from a place of victory not a place of uncertainty or defeat.

We will notice the lack of back covering, I believe that is because we are never to run from the enemy but face him, defeat him, and take ground from The Kingdom.

Look at verse fourteen, now reading from the NIV, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,” Truth is the Word of God, in John seventeen, Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified (set apart) by the truth.

The Word is what keeps us from sin, Psalm 119:9, 11 AMP “How shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed and keeping watch [on himself] according to Your word [conforming his life to it]. (11) Your word have I laid up in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”

We stop the lies of the enemy by believing truth, the only truth is the Word of God and there are times when the enemy presents facts that aren’t truth.

One of the most useful things to the enemy has been to get Christians to call themselves sinners and to say things like I’m a sinner saved by grace. That is not true, I am not A sinner, I WAS a sinner, Christians may at times sin but we are not living or should not be living in perpetual sin.

This leads us to the second greatest lie of the enemy which is, even though we are saved Christians will sin daily. We cannot find any validation for that in the Scriptures.

Go with me to Romans chapter six, if you do not have your Bible out right now I ask you to get it so you can mark this in your own Bible.

Romans 6:1-7 NIV “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? (2) By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? (3) Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (4) We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (5) For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. (6) For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— (7) because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”

The new life mentioned in verse four is the life of holiness. The body ruled by sin, or the old man “represent[s]…the whole pattern of sinful living before conversion, as well as the spring/root from which it comes…the scope goes beyond the past life of sinful activity. Putting off the old man and putting on the new points to the ultimate plan of God for the Christian: a divine cure for the acts of sin.” (The Wesley Study Bible).

Romans 6:11-14 NIV “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (12) Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. (13) Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. (14) For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”

We do not have to sin, we do not have to live in bondage, this is the fulness of THE BLESSING, this is the privilege of the sanctified life (or the Spirit-filled life).

The point of the Armor of God is to equip us to live the life of victory, that is the Christian life, the victorious life, not the life of defeat, not the life of debt, sickness, fear, unforgiveness. The victory life, the more than enough life, the holy life, the sanctified life, the healthy life, fulfilled life, this is the life we have been called to live!

Verse fourteen continues and mentions the breastplate of righteousness. The breastplate protects the heart, and a breastplate of righteousness enables us to have a right heart. We are to guard our heart from all unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, and hatred.

Proverbs 4:23 NIV “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Psalm 51:10 NIV “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Ezekiel 36:25-29 NIV “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. (26) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. (27) And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. (28) Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God. (29) I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and make it plentiful and will not bring famine upon you.”

This what happens when we are sanctified or filled with the Holy Spirit, our heart becomes purified. To be sanctified simply means giving all of yourself to The Lord. Many people know Jesus as Savior, but there are places of the heart they have yet to give to Jesus, sanctification is simply letting Him in “that last room” it is a full devotion to God.

To be sanctified is to simply surrender all of yourself to the work and direction of the Holy Spirit. After the moment we make that decision we grow in that sanctification daily, this is also known as the life of holiness.

Isaiah 35:8 tells us that believers are to walk on the highway of holiness.

We know that Malachi 3:6 tells us God does not change and Hebrews 13:8 tells us Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever. Having this established in The Word we no that God’s intention for His people has never changed and His intention for us has always been to be holy as He is holy, we see this in both Covenants in Leviticus 20:7 and 1 Peter 1:16.

Going back to Ephesians, the next piece of armor mentioned is the shoes of the Gospel of peace. This speaks of the importance of ministering the Gospel which is the love of God, the Gospel of peace is to walk in love.

Verse seventeen using the shield of faith. What is faith? Hebrews 11:1 AMP “NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].”

Faith stops the fiery darts of the enemy, what are the fiery darts of the enemy? Lies, lies of fear, doubt, and unbelief.

Faith believes, faith receives, faith talks, it declares those things that are not as though they are.

Mark 11:22-24 NIV “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. (23) “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. (24) Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Faith is words, what we have faith in we speak, our words either agree with the enemy or they stop the enemy. Declare victory over sin, don’t come into agreement with it by saying how hard something is to overcome. Don’t say you can’t meet your bills, declare God meets all your needs according to His riches and glory. Don’t speak the doctors report, declare His report of healing.

We receive when we pray, we must believe that and speak that, we can’t pray then talk like we don’t have an answer, that statement of doubt cancels out the prayer of faith.

Ephesians verse seventeen tells us to take the helmet of salvation, having right thoughts. Salvation makes us new creations and at that moment we need to begin renewing our minds in the Word of God and thinking according to Philippians 4:8, whatever ever things are good, righteous, praiseworthy, and of good report think on these things.

Lastly, taking the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. As said a moment ago the Word in our mouth stops the enemy. The Word in the mind stops the worry of the mind, the declaration of the Word stops the doubt flowing from the world.

The Word in our minds, ears, and mouth, and lived out in our life stops the enemy. Mental ascent does not stop the enemy, a heart and mouth full of faith does.

Many say they have faith but what they choose to think about, listen to, and speak of many times shows a life of fear, doubt, and unbelief, and not the life of faith.

We will finish with this, verse eighteen, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”

Mark eleven told us faith and prayer must be connected and the Word and prayer must be connected. While prayer is not a “piece” of armor it is part of the armor.

Use your armor, use every piece of it! Line up with the Word, have a right heart, walk in love, live by faith, stop the lies of the enemy and think on the Word, and declare the Word out of your mouth.

In wrapping up the message on the armor and the In Christ Series we will close with a final Scripture.

James 4:7-10 in The Message Paraphrase, “So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.”

That is the in Christ life of victory!

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Part 13: Family Life

imageEphesians 5:21-6:4 NIV “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (22) Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. (23) For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. (24) Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. (25) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her (26) to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, (27) and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. (28) In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (29) After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— (30) for we are members of his body. (31) “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (32) This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. (33) However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (6:1) Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. (2) “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— (3) “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (4) Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

LOVE – It all comes down to love. I know there are many things I could bring out in these verses but I’m not going to do that today. Let’s just boil family life down to one word. Love.

Love doesn’t mean there will never be a fight between a brother and sister, it does not mean a husband and wife wont have a discussion when they disagree, love simply means in spite of all that we are still a family and we are to love.

I know some come from bad family backgrounds and for that I am truly sorry. I believe that for those who come from a not so “Leave it to Beaver” family that the Church is supposed to be that for you, that is why the parallel between Christ and us and ourselves and family is there.

Let’s look again at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 AMP “Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].”

This is what family life is. I know the last few posts have been a little longer than normal, well today is going to be much shorter than normal because this is all I feel lead to post and I don’t feel I am to wait for more.

Family Life is love if we will focus on love instead of a formula to have a good family life or a list of things to do to have a good family life, I think if we focus on love and what First Corinthians thirteen says love is I believe we will all have better family lives.

If you do need more to help your family become the family you want I am sure your Pastor has resources he can offer you such as messages, a book, or another tool that will fit your families needs.

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Part 12: Practical Holiness

imageWe have twenty-four verses to cover today so I am going to give some introductory statements and we are going to jump right into the Scripture.

The section of Scripture we are dealing with today talks about holiness. When most believers talk about holiness they think of God as holy which is true. Not only is God holy we also see in various scriptures that we are to be holy. I believe God would never tell us to do something that the Holy Spirit would not empower us to do.

The issue of holiness, however, down through the years has become a list of a whole lot of stuff we don’t do and a list of things we do (and the don’t list is always longer than the do).

Do’s and Don’ts are not holiness, they never have been and they never will be, do’s and don’ts are legalism, that’s what the Pharisees were wrapped up in.

Now are there things we should and should not do? Of course, but we can’t base holiness on that. There are many non believers who could adhere to a list it does not make them holy because they don’t know the Holy One.

The truth is, as hard as we think keeping rules is a “holiness” based on rules is much easier to do than a holiness based on relationship.

As an example if the rule says don’t drink, it’s easy, You’re sold out to the rules and you don’t drink. However, since the Bible says nothing about not drinking (just getting drunk), you can drink, however, it’s possible that in relationship the Holy Spirit could ask you to abstain and at that point you have a choice to give up something you can do for a deeper relationship with the Holy Spirit.

Here is the difference, if you give it up in relationship that does not make you better than anybody else because others are following in other areas and we realize we are all at different places, on different levels, with different relation requests. There is nothing condemning (or shouldn’t be anyway between the one who drinks and the one who doesn’t).

If you give it up because of the rule anyone who does drink is automatically condemned and that is not the heart of Jesus. In this rule and relationship scenario we are not talking about sin issues but choice issues on things Scripture doesn’t give us “command”. For those who wan’t to talk about Elders and drinking, we are not talking about that, just everyday believers.

We must understand and live out a relationship based holiness and not a rules based holiness. We need to become known for what we are for instead of what we are against.

Let’s look at our next section of Ephesians to see what Paul said about holiness.
Ephesians 4:25-28 NIV “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. (26) “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, (27) and do not give the devil a foothold. (28) Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.”

The Amplified Bible says give no opportunity to him (the devil).

True holiness is loving others, that is the plain and simple truth – that’s what Paul is saying when he says don’t let day end with you being angry, don’t lie to your neighbor, work and help those in need. It’s not about a list its about loving others.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 AMP “Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. (5) It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. (6) It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. (7) Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].”

Ephesians 4:29-32 NIV “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (30) And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (31) Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (32) Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”

The Amplified Bible of verse twenty-nine says “Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth, but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s favor) to those who hear it.”

There is so much I could say here but all I will say is this, we know that life in death is in the tongue, Proverbs four tells us words bring healing to the body. We need to have right words for Scripture says how forceful are right words.

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit, how do we do that? By being bitter, angry, fighting, slandering, and all forms of malice. Conversely, how do we please the Spirit? Being kind and compassionate and forgiving.

Ephesians 5:1-2 AMP “THEREFORE BE imitators of God [copy Him and follow His example], as well-beloved children [imitate their father]. (2) And walk in love, [esteeming and delighting in one another] as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a slain offering and sacrifice to God [for you, so that it became] a sweet fragrance.”

Holiness is imitating God, following His example and walking in love. To imitate God is obviously to be like Him. Some are bothered when people say we can be like God because they see God so far above us, He is not far above us. Now, I am not saying we are God, but Jesus did say we are seated with Him and Jesus is next to the Father, we are not God but we are like Him (Genesis 1:26-27).

The Holy Spirit was given so that we could be like God (Father, Son, and Spirit).

Again, we see not a list of rules but a relationship. The Holy Spirit is interested in our relationship with Him not a list of rules we have out of a legalistic spirit which is Opposite of the Holy Spirit.

This next part of Scripture does list some things we should not be a part of, but even here we can’t see rules we must view all of Scripture through a relational lens and not rules.

Ephesians 5:3-7 NIV “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. (4) Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. (5) For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (6) Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. (7) Therefore do not be partners with them.”

Because we love Jesus we should want to keep commandments (John 14:21) we get out of love when we demand people to behave a certain way and have no love in us when we talk to others. Should we encourage our brother to not engage in these things, absolutely, but we must do it from a place of love and not condemnation.

In saying that I am not saying we don’t hold believers accountable, we must hold people accountable but the only people anyone of us can legally hold accountable are those we are in relationship with and those who have given us permission to speak into their lives.

I just see so many times and have been guilty myself of beating with the Scriptures instead of loving with them, this does not mean we excuse sin, it means we love and help our brother sister out of it in a way that is loving and up building to their growth in the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:8-14 NIV “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (9) (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) (10) and find out what pleases the Lord. (11) Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. (12) It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. (13) But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. (14) This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

When we were saved we were translated from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of light. We don’t have light we ARE light. The fruit of light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth.

Galatians 5:22-25 AMP “But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, (23) Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge]. (24) And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. (25) If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]”

Ephesians 5:15-20 NIV “Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, (16) making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. (17) Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. (18) Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, (19) speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, (20) always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Many believe they can’t know the will of God, but here it says understand the will of God. The will of God is that we be holy and that His Kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven.

When talking about how to live holy it really is simple, holiness is to walk in love and imitate God as little children imitate their fathers following them and doing what they do. That is holiness. Following the example given and the ministry of Jesus is the example given for how we live spiritually, how we relate to others and how we give the world what we have.

Holiness is simply RE-PRESENTING Jesus to our world by living, talking, walking, loving, and doing what Jesus did. As Bill Johnson says, If Jesus did everything as God, I’m impressed but I’m not compelled to follow, but Jesus laid down His Godhood and came as fully man and worked through the Spirit so that we would do what He did. That is holiness, being Jesus in our world.

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Part 11: The Renewed Mind

imageOne of the most important and often neglected topics in our lives is the renewed mind. In order to see heaven on earth we must be renewed in our mind. That’s what repentance is, changing the way we think.

Today we begin a two part mini series if you will on Paul’s instructions for Christian living. It is not just important to understand our need for salvation but how we should live as Christians, and in a word we should live holy.

Now before we get into this, I want to make clear that holiness is not a list of law (rule) keeping, that is legalism. The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were legalists not holy men. In saying that holiness is not law keeping, that does not mean that there is now law, or commandment. Jesus said a new command I give to you that you love God and love your neighbor.

The law came with commands that could not be kept, grace comes with commands that have the ability to fulfill themselves, the Holy Spirit within us.

Ephesians 4:17-18 NIV “So I tell you this, and insist on it in The Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. (18) They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”

The Message says it this way, “And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They’ve refused for so long to deal with God that they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself. They can’t think straight anymore.”

Notice that Paul insists that we no longer live in the futility of our thinking or go along with the crowd. This is very important for us as Christians to understand.

2 Corinthians 5:17 in the Amplified tells us that anyone who is in Christ is a new creation all together and that our old previous moral and spiritual condition is no more. We are fresh and new.

When Paul says don’t be like the Gentiles he is not telling us to become Jewish, he deals with that in other letters, he’s saying don’t be like the world in your way of thinking.

The Message brings out an interesting point, “they’ve lost touch not only with God but with reality itself.” It is crucial for us to understand that the earth realm we are living in is not our reality, the KINGDOM is our reality, we live from heaven to earth.

In the natural people function based on hearing, seeing, touching, tasting, and smell. In the Kingdom we function based on the Word of God through faith.

We walk by faith and not by sight and faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. We must understand that faith does not store up, once we use it in a situation it must be replenished. We must also understand that when it says faith comes by hearing it means hearing and not the hearing of a preacher but the hearing of the Holy Spirit.

John 14:26 AMP “But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in my name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.”

This is what the renewed mind is, having the mind of Christ, thinking from heavens side, and basing the entirety of our thought life and confession from the Word of God.

Scripture says they did not do this because of the hardness of their hearts. How do our hearts get hard? In this instance, when it comes to our thinking, I believe, it comes from having a faith based in the negative experience of another and not faith fully persuaded in and on the Word of God.

As a quick example someone prays for something and they don’t receive so from that point on the base every prayer on the fact that God didn’t answer that one. This is where a twisted understanding of sovereignty comes from, this is where we get the though of sometimes God does and sometimes He does not. This is why when ministers talk on prayer people always want to talk about why God will not answer or why He does not answer instead of why He does.

We cannot allow our hearts to get hard based on negative experience. The truth is we need to let our experience catch up with the truth and promises of God’s Word. Also, there is never lack on God’s end, it’s always on ours. If we don’t get an answer it is not because in God’s infinite wisdom He knew we didn’t need it, that sounds good but no Scripture on prayer will substantiate that. There can only be two main reasons why prayer doesn’t get answered, we ask for motives that are not pure or we don’t ask in faith, none of that has to do with God.

Now I know that is not the most popular thing to say but it is the most truthful. Don’t blame someone not getting healed on God, it wasn’t God’s fault, something in the life of the person wasn’t what it needed to be. Now before you get upset consider this, Is it God’s will that none should perish but all inherit eternal life? Yes. Are people perishing? Yes. Now we establish that’s not God’s will yet it happens, it is the same with healing, prosperity, walking in holiness, and every other aspect of life, we have a part to play and we must take responsibility for our own faith or lack thereof.

Now before you think I am beating on you, I say all that to bring you to a high level of faith, to encourage you to increase. As believers we don’t have to sin, all over Scripture the command to be holy is given, we wouldn’t have been given the command if the Holy Spirit wasn’t going to enable us to keep that command.

Let’s get back to Ephesians 4:19-24 NIV “Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. (20) That, however, is not the way of life you learned (21) when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. (22) You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; (23) to be made new in the attitude of your minds; (24) and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

They lost sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, they quit hearing His voice because they became more in tune with the knowledge of the world instead of the knowledge of the Word.

If you want to stop a sin issue in your life you have got to consume the Word. On the issue of sin, you need to do what David did in Psalm fifty-one and asked to be cleansed and renewed in heart. Jesus called that being sanctified in John 17:17.

What does it mean to be sanctified? Instead of giving you a definition, I’ll give you a Scripture. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 NIV “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; (4) that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, (5) not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; (6) and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. (7) For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.”

Sanctification is simply the discarding of the old nature and an embracement of holy living.

Sanctification is a work in the heart but our mind must still be renewed in the Word of God.

The New Living Translation says this in verses twenty-two through twenty-four. “throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. (23) Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. (24) Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.”

We no longer have to live according to the old nature. Notice it says let the Spirit, The Spirit won’t renew our minds unless we allow it. We allow it by getting in the Word. We must put our affections on things of the Kingdom not the earth. When we renew our minds we become truly holy.

The renewed mind is a holy mind and the renewed mind leads to a holy life which leads to the Kingdom being realized on earth as it is in heaven.

If you have thought patterns that aren’t renewed today, then today is the day to ask the Holy Spirit by the Word of God to renew your mind. Repent of your current thought processes and opinions that don’t line up with the Word and begin renewing your mind with the Word of God.

Renewing the mind is more than just being able to quote scripture it is truly thinking from heaven towards earth.

If you need to renew your mind in a certain area get on YouVersion, if you don’t have YouVersion download the APP and create and account then search for a plan that relates to the area you need to be renewed in.

To further your understanding on the renewed mind I recommend the following books:

The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind by Bill Johnson

Re Think Your Life by Stan Toler

New Creation Realities by E. W. Kenyon

Part of the renewed mind also deals with being renewed in your confession so I also recommend The Power of Your Words by Don Gossett and E. W. Kenyon as well as Dr. Bill Winston’s The Law of Confession. 

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Part 10: Having A KINGDOM Mindset

imageIn the Church today many have a Kingdom mindset but many still don’t. What do I mean by that? Beginning in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s many denominations began to form around a core set of agreed upon doctrine.

Doctrine became the focus and not the message of the Kingdom. Now before I go any further with this I want to make two things clear, doctrine is important and there is nothing wrong with denominations.

The problem with doctrine is this, as Bill Johnson puts it, “doctrine without an experience only serves to make us more religious”. He also says this, “many people stop short of an experience from the Holy Spirit, simply because they are satisfied with good doctrine”.

The message of the Kingdom is more than doctrine, it is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and an experience, a life of experience in the power of the Spirit.

We must understand that the umbrella we stand under so to speak, is the Kingdom, the problem is some of the denominations have pulled certain doctrines out from under the Kingdom and made doctrines the umbrella.

I’m not saying we need to get rid of denominations or put aside doctrine, I am saying that the Church needs to become unified under the message of the Kingdom and begin to spread the message together.

Ephesians 4:1-10 NIV “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (2) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (3) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (4) There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; (5) one Lord, one faith, one baptism; (6) one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (7) But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. (8) This is why it says: “When he ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people.” (9) (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ? (10) He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)”

This is what Paul begins with, we need to live a holy life. It is interesting in today’s church it seems you can divide all denominations into two categories, ones that embrace the moving and gifts of the Spirit, and those who don’t. The denominations who tend to shy away from most of the gifts focus on holiness. To be fair there are denominations that focus on both.

I say however, the message the Church should be preaching is both holiness and the move of the Spirit.

John Wesley wrote the following in his journal on August 15, 1750 “I was fully convinced of what I had once suspected: 1) That the Montanists (those who believed in healing, prophecy, and other gifts of the Spirit.), in the second and third centuries, were real Scriptural Christians; and 2) That the grand reason why the miraculous gifts were so soon withdrawn was not only that faith and holiness were well nigh lost, but that dry, formal, orthodox men began even then to ridicule whatever gifts they had not themselves, and to decry them all as either madness or imposture”.

Does that sound familiar to anything we hear today? Those who see manifestations they declare odd say those people are crazy and that cant be the Holy Spirit. Was it the Holy Spirit when Jesus spit on mud and stuck it in the guys eye?

Instead of us being so afraid of excess and getting “out of balance”, I would say, for most, it is their “balance” that keeps the Holy Spirit out of Church. Yes there is order, yes there is a purpose in planning and in order. But to many times the cry for order is actually men wanting to control how the Spirit moves.

Back to the Scriptures, we need to live holy lives and be humble, gentle, patient, loving, and making every effort to be in unity.

Part of being a unified Church is actually practicing what most all denominations say, unity in essentials and liberty in non-essentials. The denominations problems are they have made things essential that are not. Not only for themselves but if a denomination agrees with another all except in one point the vast majority of the time they can never seem to be able to unify and do something together.

The one thing I absolutely love about my local Church is we come together with other churches (that are not in our denomination, and probably don’t share all our doctrines and have ones we don’t) we come together and we do outreaches and minister to our community. That my friends is THE KINGDOM! Who cares if they don’t have all your points, do they believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died and rose again for our salvation? Yes, then minister with them. But they don’t…. who cares, minister with them! But they…. who cares, minister with them!

Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, (12) to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up (13) until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”

Notice it says, Christ himself gave. The “ministry gifts” are from Christ, the “administrative gifts” found in Romans twelve are called the gifts of God, and the “gifts of the Spirit” in First Corinthians twelve are from the Holy Spirit. The Church needs all three areas of gifts to function properly, we cannot afford to pick and choose the gifts we like, or only those we are comfortable with.
To understand these offices and how they relate to the body we need to define them (from the Greek).

Apostles: A delegate, an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ with miraculous powers. Messenger, he that is sent.

Prophets: A foreteller, an inspired speaker.

Evangelists: Preacher of the Gospel, to announce the good news.

Pastors: A Shepherd.

Teachers: An instructor – doctor, master, teacher.

We must have all of these gifts present in the local and general Church so that the body can function at its highest ability.

We are given each of these so that we are equipped for works of service and so that we may be built up and come into…

1. The unity of faith.
2. Knowledge of the Son of God.
3. Become mature.
4. Attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

Let’s examine these four things by looking at the Amplified bible.

1. That it might develop until we all attain oneness of faith.

How did the disciples attain oneness of faith? Acts 1:14 AMP “All of these with their minds in full agreement devoted themselves steadfastly through prayer, [waiting together] with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

How did they maintain oneness of faith after they had been baptized with the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1-4? Acts 2:42 NIV “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and prayer.”

The missing ingredient to most of our churches is unity in prayer. We must be a praying church!

2. In the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the son of God.

What is the full and accurate picture of the Son of God? The message that He carried.

Matthew 6:10 NIV “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.”

Matthew 10:7-8 NKJV “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

This is THE message of the KINGDOM and until we get on board with it we will not and cannot walk in full and accurate knowledge of the Son of God.

3. That we might arrive at real mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection).

This deals with holiness, which is the subject of the next two posts in this series, so we will deal with this then.

4. The measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.

Jesus healed the whole man on the Sabbath, he forgave his sin and healed his blindness. It was only the religious that got mad at miracles. It is only people that don’t have an accurate picture of who Jesus is that would drive Jesus out of town after delivering the demon possessed man.

Think about this, it scared them seeing the man in his right mind, yet they though it normal for him to be naked, cutting himself, and living among the tombs. COME ON NOW, HOW BACKWARDS CAN YOU GET?!

The modern day Church is fine with doctors, fine with filing for bankruptcy, and says sometimes divorce happens, but say you’re standing in faith for healing, that’s crazy. Stand in faith to be out of debt, bankruptcy makes more sense, its easier. While none of us are fans of divorce, I mean, come on, they have stuck it out long enough, let them divorce and be happy.

The Church for the most part is so backwards today! Let;s get an accurate picture of Jesus and quit allowing for things Jesus didn’t allow.

Why is there divorce? Because of the hardness of people’s hearts, Matthew 5:31-32.

Why do so many Christians live on medication and doctor visits? Because we have more faith in those things than we do the WORD.

The world we are most aware of is the world we have faith in. Our we more aware of Kingdom or are we more aware of natural?

Now before somebody get’s mad and says I am against medecine and doctors, I am not, but we should be looking to Jesus more than we do.

In wrapping up, to get an accurate picture of Jesus we cannot allow this world to trump the KINGDOM we truly live in. We are ambassadors to this planet and we are supposed to bring the KINGDOM here, on earth AS IT IS in heaven.

When we get that issue squared away in our thinking, speaking, and preaching, then the rest of todays portion takes affect.

Ephesians 4:14-16 NIV “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. (15) Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (16) From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work”.

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Part 9: Strengthening The Inner Man

imageToday we are going to be discussing how to strengthen our inner man (our spirit). There are several ways to do this, we strengthen our inner man through worship, prayer, Bible study, hearing the Word, and hearing testimonies of what God has done.

In the middle of Ephesians, Paul prays for us, you will remember at the beginning of this series I mentioned that the text in our Bible adds in Ephesus, meaning that originally this letter was written to the general church and not dealing with any specific issues in a particular church.

Paul Begins his prayer by saying, in Ephesians 3:14-16 NIV “For this reason I kneel before the Father, (15) from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name. (16) I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”

Paul says that our inner man (our spirit) needs to be strengthened through the power of the Spirit, this happens when we are baptized with the Holy Spirit, Acts 1:8 “But you shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses….”

The cornerstone of how to live this Christian life is being filled with the Spirit. This involves talking to the Holy Spirit. 1 John 2:27 says the Holy Spirit is our teacher, how do we learn without talking with our teacher. In Acts the disciples have multiple conversations with the Spirit. This really is a teaching all on its own but to just be on point we need to embrace a Spirit-led life and in order do do that we must engage the Holy Spirit more than what the Church is known for.

Paul goes on to explain how we strengthen our inner man. Verse seventeen, “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith”. The first step to strengthening our inner man is to surrender to Jesus as Savior and Lord so that we can become new creations, according to Second Corinthians 5:17.

The second thing is being rooted and established in love. Jesus said to his disciples, they will know you are my disciples because you love one another. He also said a new commandment I give to you that you love one another.

A picture of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 AMP “Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].”

That is what love is and that is a sign as well as how to strengthen our inner man.

Ephesians 3:18-19 NIV “may have the power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,”

I want to go to the Amplified for verse nineteen, “[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!”

That is quite a verse! Bill Johnson says this, “many people stop short of an experience with the Spirit because they are satisfied to have good theology”. I believe this verse speaks to how wrong Christians are to have the “education” of the scripture without the experience of the scripture.

(I’m not yelling, I just want you to see this), “That you may REALLY COME TO KNOW, PRACTICALLY, THROUGH EXPERIENCE FOR YOURSELVES”.

Mental ascent or the ability to quote is not knowing His love and His love is not just saving us from Hell.

In order to be truly strengthened in our inner man we must realize the cross was more than for our souls salvation. Look at Psalm 103 with the Hebrew definitions added with the words.

Psalm 103:2-5 NIV “Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits (dealing bountifully with) – who forgives (pardons) all your sins (your depravity, guilt, and punishment) and heals (makes healthy) all your diseases (suffering and sickness), who redeems (avenges and ransoms) your life (to have life, to live prosperously, to be restored to health, to be made alive and cause to grow) from [destruction] (the sinking down into depression of the mind, ultimate death) and crowns (surrounds) you [you surround them with favor as a shield (Psalm 5:12), you with love (goodness, kindness, faithfulness [Fruit of the Spirit/Gal. 5:22-23]) and compassion (tender mercies), who satisfies (fulfills) your desires with good things (pleasant, rich, valuable in estimation, to ave in excess, the good, better, happy, prosperous, and the higher nature) so that your youth (your early life) is renewed (repaired and made a new) like the eagles).

I know that seems like a long run on sentence, but we need to understand that as fact.

Christ’s death on the cross was not just for our souls but for our whole person. Remember when the Pharisees got mad at Jesus for healing on the Sabbath? Jesus said how can you get made about the whole man being healed on the Sabbath?

We have bought into the lie of the enemy that says our soul is more important than anything else. Now that sounds correct, however, most of the Church takes that and says we need to focus on salvation, healing isn’t important, as long as you have enough to get by that’s good, that is contrary to scripture.

Let’s go back and look at Ephesians 3:20 right quick, in the Amplified, “Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]–”

This one verse alone and there are many others we can go to that point out much of the bad theology that has taken hold of the Church.

If we are going to strengthen our inner man we must realize what is available to us, salvation, the ability to walk holy without sinning, healing, good relationships, prosperity, and all that is in THE WORD belongs to us! We are a BLESSED people, it’s past time we take our BLESSING! THE BLESSING is the privilege of the sons of God, why we choose to believe the lies and think we are humble in lack and being taught in sickness, I don’t know, but we can’t find it in THE WORD.

We looked at Psalm one hundred and three, now let’s go to Isaiah.

Isaiah 53:4-5 NIV with Hebrew definitions, “Surely he took our pains (sickness) and bore our suffering (pain and sorrow), YET WE (notice it was mans perception and not Gods) considered him punished by God, stricken by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions (rebellion), he was crushed for our iniquities (depravity); the punishment that brought us peace (completeness, safety, soundness, health, prosperity, and contentment) was on him, and by his wounds we are healed (made healthful).”

These two Old Covenant passages that tell us why Jesus is coming tell us that salvation is for everything that our life encompasses.

I am going to make a very strong statement, many churches messages are illegal in the Kingdom. What do I mean by that? We have taken one part of salvation and left all the others. Jesus came and preached the message of the KINGDOM.

If we preach power without purity it will ultimately lead to the pollution of the heart.

If we preach purity without power it will ultimately lead to Phariseeism, and Jesus said the Pharisees produce converts twice the sons of hell they themselves are.

Most agree that when ministers fall it hurts the Kingdom, but on the flip side if people are loving and holy yet have no power we don’t see a problem with it.

Jesus said do the works, the works are both the fruit and the gifts of the spirit. The fruit is the work in us and the gifts are the work outside of us. It is not an or ministry it is an and ministry.

As we strengthen our inner man, if you have lacked purity, strengthen the purity, if you have lacked power strengthen the power.

What areas of your inner man to be strengthened?

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Part 8: Understanding The Mystery of Christ

jesus_thumbs_up2Today we are looking at the mystery of Christ revealed. We will read and then pull out two portions of scripture to be discussed.

Ephesians 3:1-13 NIV “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— (2) Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, (3) that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. (4) In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, (5) which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. (6) This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. (7) I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. (8) Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, (9) and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. (10) His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, (11) according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (12) In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (13) I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.”

When we look at the Old Covenant we see that God had one people with promises, but we, through Jesus Christ have a new and better covenant with better promises (Hebrews 8:6).

Ephesians 3:6 NIV “This mystery is that through the gospel the gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and shares together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

We are no longer Jews and Gentiles, we are all grafted in, we have THE BLESSING of Abraham and are one Church.

Galatians 3:9, 13-14 NKJV “So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham. (13) Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), (14) that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

“….Jews, Greeks, or the church of God -” (1 Corinthians 10:32).

Romans 4:24 tells us that what was written for Abraham was also for us, that is the mystery revealed. We must understand that God’s plan never changes, Jesus’ goal was to get THE BLESSING back to us, it was not just a Heaven issue for us but an earth issue as well.

Matthew 6:10 “Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.”

His will has not changed since the first words He spoke to man, BLESSING words.

The will of God is also revealed in the WORD of God, we don’t pray “if it be your will”, we search the WORD, know the WORD, pray the WORD, and declare the WORD.

This is the mystery revealed, we are IN CHRIST, we are NEW CREATIONS, and we live in THE BLESSING of Abraham.

The second portion I want to look at is Ephesians 3:10-12 NIV “His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, (11) according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (12) In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

The second thing that is revealed is that we do not need a priest to approach God we in faith through Christ and with boldness we can approach the throne of Grace.

The mystery behind the vail is revealed, the glory of God – we can now walk in the glory and the glory can flow out of us as we are yielded to Him. The glory outflowed from us is salvation of others, sanctification of others, the manifestation of the Kingdom in healing, miracles, deliverance, signs and wonders.

Matthew 10:7-8 NKJV “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

Mark 16:15-18 NKJV “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (16) He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. (17) And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; (18) they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

The mystery has been revealed in us, it is Christ in us and the Spirit flowing out of us producing the Kingdom here as it is on earth.

Let’s walk in the revealed mystery and RE-PRESENT Christ and RE-PRODUCE THE BLESSING of the Kingdom on earth.

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Part 7: Heart Holiness

imageToday we will be discussing heart holiness, but before we get into the Word I want to make some statements.

Rules are good for guidelines but rules don’t produce relationship. Many times we can look at holiness as a list of rules, that is religion, obedience without relationship is Phariseeism.

Jesus looked at the Pharisees and said you are white washed tombs, meaning, they had rules without relationship, He said, you have a form of godliness but deny its power.

The truth is for many people it would be easier to keep a list of rules than to have relationship because the truth is the relationship is more involved. The rules say, known as the law, sacrifice a spotless lamb, but Jesus said be perfect as your Father is perfect. The problem with that is this, the rule leaves you feeling guilty and brings more work, whereas the relationship leaves you feeling grace and at rest.

The command of Jesus is actually easier to fulfill because when we are yielded to Him the command has within itself the ability to be fulfilled. Jesus said He would write his law on our hearts, Psalm 119:11 says with the Word in us we won’t commit sin. Philippians 2:5 says we have the mind of Christ, the reason the majority of us don’t walk in that truth is two fold, we don’t believe it and even if we do say we believe it we don’t apply it.

Let’s go to the Word,

Ephesians 2:11-17 NIV “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— (12) remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. (13) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (14) For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, (15) by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, (16) and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. (17) He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.”

As we look quickly at the text we see that Christ has put together both Jew and Gentile by the Spirit. We are now one, which is why 1 Corinthians 10:32 says, “Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.” We are now the Church, one body.

The Pharisees wanted to hold on to the law (not only the law of moses) but all the laws they made up.

Jesus didn’t have a problem with the law of Moses, in fact he expounded it and made it about the heart and not the duty. We will remember though a discussion about hand washing, that was man made it didn’t matter.

We remember the Pharisees always took issue with Jesus healing on the Sabbath, why? Because they were more worried about the rule instead of relationship, at one point Jesus actually turned to them and said the Sabbath is for man, not man for the Sabbath. In other words Jesus is basically saying, quit being stupid and rejoice that the day of rest has brought true rest to these peoples lives.

Hebrews 4 tells us that there is a rest that remains for the children of God, we have to choose to enter into that rest though.

Holiness is about relationship not rules, that’s why Jesus healed people out of love and relationship.

Ephesians 4:18-22 NIV “For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. (19) Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, (20) built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. (21) In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.(22) And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”

WE HAVE ACCESS! We don’t have to go through a priest, we have access. We can come boldly into the throne room! We are citizens of the Kingdom!

Let’s talk about the Kingdom for a minute. Jesus said that the will of God is that the Kingdom would come on earth as it is in heaven. Part of the Kingdom is holiness.

Let’s look at some phraseology in John seventeen from The Message.

“And my life is on display in them” and “Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life”

What life is He speaking of? Kingdom LIFE!

The Kingdom is HIS LIFE ON DISPLAY!

His life on display is love, holiness, healing, and abundance.

We see in Ephesians, verse twenty-two that we are a holy temple.

John 13:10 in The Message says, my concern you understand is holiness. Jesus goes on to say, (15) “I’ve laid down a pattern for you, What I’ve done you do.”

The pattern Jesus laid was a holiness pattern and the outflow of the holiness in our lives is the help of Jesus manifested through us to others.

Matthew 10:7-8 NKJV “And as you go, preach, saying; The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (8) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”

The outflow of a holiness lifestyle is the miraculous, that is not just physical healing, but spiritual, emotional, and relational as well.

In wrapping this up, Ephesians 4:22 NIV “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling place in which God lives by his spirit.”

The dwelling place of God is a holy place, Psalm 15, and the outflow of that living river is healing and wholeness for the believer.

Believer, holiness is not keeping the rules, holiness is relationship.

John 15:7-8 MSG “But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is – when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

We need to be at home in Jesus and THE WORD needs to be at home in us, putting the WORD in us and having the WORD flow out of us. When we ask, the Greek word here is demand, when we demand according to the WORD it will be done! There is no if or buts, no if it be thy will, no but what if God in His wisdom… none of that doubt and unbelief junk only faith and faith only.

Grapes is a representation of the new wine of the Spirit, when we produce the Spirit we mature and become disciples.

(11) “I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature.” Hebrews 1:9 says Jesus had more joy that his companions, we should have joy that is full of glory and full of grace.

The Kingdom life is a holy life and a holiness based from relationship not rules.

Today I invite you to embrace a holiness that comes in relationship and discard any holiness that is based in rule keeping.

Jesus longs for relationship, he wants to know us and wants us to know Him. If we have relationship we will walk in holiness without having to think about it.

Jesus said come away with me and rest awhile, true holiness is rest, not working to keep rules.

Today an invitation is extended to leave the work of rules and enter into the rest of relationship which is true holiness.

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Part 6: Alive in Christ

imageToday we are going to speak on this subject, ALIVE IN CHRIST. We are looking at what it is to be saved, now before you move away from this post I wan to make this statement, the enemy is fine with you coming to Jesus, what he doesn’t want is you to appropriate what is yours in salvation. Salvation is more than your ticket punched for Heaven and that is what we are going to talk about today.

Before we get into the Word and the Word gets into us I ask that you pray this prayer. Holy Spirit I ask that as I read today that I would approach this subject in a new way, that I would allow truth to come alive in me and that I would not gloss over familiar things, speak to me all that you have for me and teach me all truth that I may walk in and act upon it.

Before we go back into Ephesians I invite you to take your Bible so that you may mark this passage in your thinking and underscore it in your Bible.

2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

The Amplified Bible says, we are a new creature all together.

This is the reality of what it is to be saved, this is the reality of the IN CHRIST life. We are not, I repeat, are not sinners saved by grace, we were a sinner that was saved by grace.

Romans 8:14-15 NIV “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.””

The best lie the enemy can give a believer is that he is a sinner saved by grace, we must understand the truth of 2 Corinthians 5:17, we are a new creature all together, are sins have been forgiven and we have the nature of Christ NOW!

In order to walk in the reality of the new creation we must take it, we must rid ourselves of the lie of being a sinner saved by grace and we must take the truth of being sons of God.

Ephesians 2:1-3 NIV “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, (2) in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. (3) All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.”

This is what we did before we came to know Christ, this was the existence we had, it was not life.
But because, verse four, “But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy, (5) made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”

The Bible says God is love, so we could read the verse like this, because of his great love for us, love who is rich in mercy made us alive in Christ.

We will get more into this next week but before we continue I want to make mention that scripture says we are to be filled with all the fullness of Christ, that fullness is love and the experience in full love is known as the baptism of the Holy Spirit or sanctification. That comes next week though.

Let’s finish up with verses six through ten. ” And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

At the moment of salvation we are seated with Christ. If we look back at Ephesians 1:3 we see that we are in BLESSED in the heavenly realms with every spiritual BLESSING in Christ. This is not a future thing this is a now thing.

Christ wants us to receive THE BLESSING now in this life, we don’t need what THE BLESSING can produce in Heaven we need it here.

Jesus said The KINGDOM should come here as it is in heaven. As God is holy we should be holy, as there is no lack in heaven we should have no lack here.

As children of God we carry the KINGDOM with us and it should flow out of us, that is what it means to be alive in Christ. We are to do greater things, we can only do greater things if we are alive in Christ. We come alive by being in The Word, being alive causes us to be more Christ like, or as the Bible calls it, holy.

Some may wonder how can we be holy like God, we are holy because He enables us to be.

1 Peter 1:15 NIV “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.”

Grace enables us to fulfill all commands given to us. In the Old Testament commands were not enabled, but New Testament commands come with the ability to be fulfilled because we are alive in Christ.

There are so many more things we could get into here but to close I am going to bring us back to this, Ephesians 2:10 AMP “For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].”

We are God’s workmanship, this should cause our minds to go back to Genesis 1:26 NIV “Then God said, let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness….”

The word image is resemblance and representative.

Thew word likeness is resemblance, model, to be fashioned like and in the same manner as.

We are exactly like God the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. We are holy, we have the same mind and we should act and respond the same way.

We should take the path of holiness (Isaiah 35:8) God has for us, we should walk by faith (Hebrews 11:6), we should receive and spread the KINGDOM over the earth.

In order to do that we really must know who we are and that is what this series is about. I could go on and touch on many other scriptures on what it is to be alive in Christ and we will in other parts of this series, but for this post I want to recommend E. W. Kenyon’s book, New Creation Realities to you so that you can learn in a deeper way what it is to be a new creation, alive in Christ.

Next week we will look at heart holiness, we have come alive in Christ and the next thing following that is being fully renewed in love which comes in receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

I pray that as you mediate on this word you truly come into and begin walk in who you are. I highly encourage you to order Kenyon’s book, pray over it before you read it, have your Bible with you and mark the verses. Allow the truths in the book to root deep in your spirit and transform your life.

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Part 5: Victory Over Temptation

brnEphesians 18b-23 NIV “His holy people (19) and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength (20) he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, (21) far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. (22) And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, (23) which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

As Christians it is important to understand that God calls us HIS HOLY PEOPLE. Anywhere we go in scripture it will all go back to holiness. There is no lack of teaching on the holiness of God in the Church as a whole but a severe lack of teaching when it comes to us being and walking holy.

1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; (16) for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy””.

2 Timothy 1:9a “He has saved us and called us to a holy life – …”

We need to have a mindset change, holiness is not a burden but a relief. We look at the Ten Commandments and think of don’t, don’t, don’t, let’s take a fresh look,

Have no other Gods – You don’t need the gods of Egypt, you don’t need multiple gods one for crops, family, money, health, I am he only God you need I will take care of everything.

Don’t make a graven image – Keep your eyes on me (pillar of fire and a cloud), I know where you need to go keep your eyes on me and you will reach your destiny, if you get your eyes on other things you will be lead to destruction instead of destiny.

Don’t misuse my name – This was not an ego trip, but a protection for them, when we misuse God’s name (which is more than cursing), it is to use in a way that does not bring BLESSING or ENCOURAGEMENT, but anger and condemnation.

Honor the Sabbath – Jesus said the Sabbath Day is for man, not man for the Sabbath, this means God wants us to rest, Hebrews four says a rest remains for the children of God but we must choose to enter in.

Honor your father and mother so that you will have a long life and all will go well with you.

Don’t kill – I will vindicate you, don’t vindicate yourself. I will protect you.

Don’t commit adultery – be satisfied with the spouse I chose for you, no one is better.
Don’t steal – I provide all your needs according to my riches in glory, what do you need to steal?

Don’t give false testimony or covet – Be truthful for everything in the end will be as it needs to be. Don’t covet because I give you everything you need and if you walk obediently before me I’ll give you the desire of your heart.

That’s a little bit of a different way of looking at it isn’t it, it puts God in a whole new perspective.

Part of changing the way we see ourselves and seeing ourselves as holy is noticing what Ephesians 1:21 says FAR ABOVE – ALL – rule, and authority, power, and dominion, and every name…

Scripture says we are seated with Christ (now) in the heavenly realms. Jesus gave us authority over all power of the enemy in His name.

When it says far above all the enemy that mans us, not just Jesus. We are far above sin, we are far above temptation, we are far above everything the enemy can throw at us, WE ARE HOLY and the devil, sin, demons, and temptation are DEFEATED.

We need to see it that way, the devil, who is defeated has nothing on us, the only way we sin is if we choose to.

Monday we talked about how sanctification is the act of the Holy Spirit that eradicates the sin nature and fills us fully with the Holy Spirit and the life of love. We need to see ourselves in that place when we receive the fullness of the Spirit.

We need to see ourselves far above sin and temptation.

1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

With every temptation there is a way out so the temptation does not become the act of sin. What is that way out?

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 NKJV “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, (5) casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”

The reason why most don’t defeat temptation is because the enemy has convinced us that temptation (thought) is the same thing as sin (acting on the thought). Temptation is not sin.

James 1:14-15 NIV “but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. (15) Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” – Temptation is not sin, but following through with temptation leads to sin and sin brings forth death.

We will get to death in a moment, but one last thought on escaping temptation, we always cry out to God after sin, “oh God I’m sorry, I repent, forgive me, help me to never do that again”. We need to make a conscience choice to cry out to God during the temptation and not after.

The devil has so many convinced that temptation is sin that we feel we cant cry out to God in temptation, that is a lie and we must recognize it as such.

On sin bringing forth death, lets go back to Genesis.

God speaking in Genesis 2:17 NIV “but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” In Genesis three they ate the fruit, but Adam lived another 930 years. The death God was speaking of is spiritual death, that is the same death James was speaking of.

I want to bring up something here, I believe God can and will heal physical sickness and disease here on the earth, while some die of sickness, I don’t believe you must be sick to die. With that being said, I want to say this, I believe the greatest scheme of the enemy has been to get us focused on our physical bodies.

Some in the church have so focused on the message of physical healing and neglected to teach the importance of the spiritual healing that comes at sanctification.

The truth is anything physical or outwardly we receive is based on our holy walk before God.

Deuteronomy 28:1-2 NIV “IF you FULLY OBEY the LORD your God and carefully follow ALL his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you on high above all the nations of the earth. (2) All these BLESSINGS will come on you and accompany you IF YOU OBEY the LORD your God:”

Matthew 6:33 AMP “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.”

3 John 2 NKJV “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

Notice Blessing comes only after full obedience.

All the things of life overtake us after seeking His Kingdom and being and doing like Him.

Our prosperity and health is dependent upon how much our soul prospers.

To get our minds on receiving THE BLESSING of God without walking in holy obedience is not going to happen. No one can “name it and claim it” without being in right standing with God.

I believe in BLESSING but I also believe that is the thing the enemy has got the eyes of many in the church on, they know BLESSING scriptures but they don’t know the holiness scriptures and holiness always precedes BLESSING.

God said to Abraham walk before me and be blameless, He says the same things to us.

Let’s get our focus back on holiness, lets live, walk, act, and talk rightly before God and others and THE BLESSING will manifest.

The truth is THE BLESSING is first a spiritual BLESSING and secondly a physical one.

We started this study with …”BLESSED in the heavenly realms with every SPIRITUAL BLESSING in Christ…”

The moment we get our eyes off the spiritual and on the physical is the moment we lose THE BLESSING.

Don’t lose it, stay focused on God, stay focused on holiness, that is how we overcome temptation.

We must understand it is not a fight against sin, Jesus won that, our fight is against temptation, and we can win it just as Jesus defeated sin.

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Part 4: Six Marks of In Christ Living

brnContinuing with our In Christ Series, today we will be talking about the six marks of In Christ living; living by faith, walking in love, holiness, the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, and the sanctified life.

Ephesians 1:15-18 NIV “For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people,”

The first thing we notice is that Paul heard bout two things concerning them, their faith in the Lord Jesus and their love for all God’s people.

Let’s look at each of these things separately, their faith, we must understand that faith for salvation is not the ending place but the beginning place. Scripture says four times that the just or the righteous ones will live by faith. We not only receive salvation through faith, we are sanctified (give ourselves fully to God) through faith, and receive everything by faith.

The best definition of faith, I believe, is Hebrews 11:1 in the Amplified Bible. “NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].”

Faith is proof and reality of things not seen or understood in the sense realm, that is why Scripture says we walk by faith not by sight. Notice here that faith is seen as the reality and not what can actually be seen, touched, tasted, heard, or felt. The key to walking in faith is found in verse six, “But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”

Notice here we must believe God is God, this involves taking God at His Word, believing that every promise written in it is available to us who walk obediently before Him and believe that He rewards those who seek Him.

Matthew 6:33 AMP “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.” If we seek God, his way of doing and being right, this is the life of holiness, God will take care of us, our every need.

The second thing Paul noticed was their love walk. Many people look to Romans as the book for Christians but John Wesley Stated that First John is the book for Christians. He was not elevating the book or saying others are not necessary but that the teaching on the life of love found in First John helps us to fulfill the command Jesus gave us.

Jesus told us to love The Lord our God with all our mind, heart, soul, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

I’m not going to expound on the following verses but I want us to look at some of the things John said concerning the life of love that we as disciples of Christ are to live.

1 John 2:15-17 NIV “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” – We are not to love the world but we are to love God.

1 John 3:16 NIV “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

1 John 4:9-18 NIV “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

As we can see from these few verses we have read from First John that love and the “how to” of love is packed into this book and I encourage us to take time later and read through the book. I also have a feeling that at some point this year we will do a series in First John.

This section of Ephesians we are looking at today and the section we will look at Thursday are what I call the spiritual illumination part of Ephesians. We have seen briefly the importance of faith and love, we cannot please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6) and faith works by love (Galatians 5:6) and we will see in a few moments the importance of holiness, foe we will not see God apart from it (Hebrews 12:14).

The next thing Paul says is that he prays that they receive the Spirit of wisdom and revelation.

The wisdom spoken here is a spiritual wisdom and revelation here is a disclosure and a manifestation of light. We will remember that Jesus took us out of the Kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of light and that Jesus appeared as light to Paul, and Jesus is Light (Genesis 1).

Why is a Spirit of wisdom and revelation given? Verse 17b “so that you may know Him better”.

He then goes on to say that our heart may be enlightened and that we know the hope we are called to, His holy people.

In looking at all of this we see in these four verses we are to be a people of faith, we are to be a people of love, we are to know God better, and we are to be holy. Our entire person has just been summed up, who we are in Christ is all here in these four verses.

I’m not going to dive into holiness to much right now because parts seven, eleven, and twelve are dedicated completely to looking at holiness. We must understand this before we get to Thursday, that as children of God we can by the power of the Holy Spirit walk rightly before God and we do not have to yield to the enemy and we do not have to sin.

We all love to quote the verse that says if anyone sins he has an advocate with the Father. We love to talk of confessing sin, this is necessary, however, the same verse that says if anyone sins begins like this, 1 John 2:1 NIV “My dear children, I write this to you so that you WILL NOT SIN. BUT (AND) IF anybody does sin…”

We see a but and if not a when and that is key for us to understand.

to wrap up the message today I would like you to turn in your bible to Romans chapter six and read the entire chapter, when you are finished, read the rest of the blog.

With Romans six having been read we see we have the power to live holy before God, even if you have not yet received sanctification, you as a child of God can have victory.

Sanctification is a Bible word that simply means yielding and giving yourself fully to God and having the nature of sin destroyed in your life, we should all earnestly seek for the experience of a clean heart and allow the Lord to lead us in that direction.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 NIV “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;”

Psalm 51:7-10 NIV “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
If you are setting here today having read this post saying I want to be cleansed of all sin I want to receive a pure heart you can today, all you have to do is ask the Lord to cleanse your heart and life of sin and to fill you with the Holy Spirit and give you a pure heart.

I pray this post has been a blessing to you, there was much I could say on each point but for the sake of length I tried to condense the points. At other points during the series we will be able to deal with things more in depth. Hope you will be back on Thursday, if you have questions on sanctification you can leave a comment and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.You can also check the sanctification tag and the recommended reading page for further study.

 

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