Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Who's Afraid of the Holy Ghost? (the Baptism in the Holy Spirit)

 
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:4 NKJV

 

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 NKJV


 Today, I'd like to begin a new study on the Holy Spirit by asking a question. Who's afraid of the Holy Spirit? Often the mere mention of the Holy Ghost conjures up much controversy. Why? 


 For one, there isn't much taught about the Spirit. Most ministries simply ignore much of the Spirit's power and supernatural working. Therefore because of ignorance or lack of knowledge on the Person of the Holy Spirit fear can arise. That is when one encounters the Spirit it can make some people uncomfortable. 


 Lastly, religious tradition tries to give a response to the lack of information and actually reinforces the fears many have about the Spirit and His work. Before I go further I would like to dispel myths and answer the objections concerning the Spirit's power, His gifts, and His fullness. You can find objections to the Baptism in the Spirit here, and the objections to tongues or prayer language here


 The enemy has a subtle scheme. Sowing seeds of distrust and discomfort his insidious scheme is to make the Comforter, seemingly uncomfortable to God's people. Some people hear people praying in another tongue and it can make them have reservations about the things of the Spirit.


 Why? Because they don't understand the work of the Spirit or they have fears that are sown by the enemy in their thinking or the traditions of men have become a stronghold in their mind. God has never given anything bad to His Church. God gave these gifts to empower us and strengthen and refresh us.


 Let's hear the words of God through Paul to begin.

 he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Acts 19:2a NKJV


 Why did Paul ask this question to these believers in Ephesus if we get it all at salvation? Why did Paul ask this question? Didn't he know we get all there is at the point of conversion? 


 All one has to do is look through their Bible in the Epistles and see that Paul affirmed that when we are first saved we have the Spirit within. The Spirit baptizes us into the Body of Christ. He seals us for eternity, we are God's, no longer our own, eternally secure. When we first believed we got all there is to be complete in Christ. That is complete in our identity.

 

 What Paul is referencing is not the Spirit within. Paul wasn't suggesting that these men weren't complete in Christ. Paul was referencing the Spirit upon. Paul was referencing the empowerment of the Spirit we receive after being born again. Look closely at the entire event in Scripture here.


 Paul made sure these men were believers. He baptized them in water upon their belief, their profession of Faith in Christ. At this point, these men were born again, they were saved. This point is essential. Because next, we see Paul lay hands on them. 


 Paul's act of laying hands on them wasn't something needed for them to be saved. This wasn't Paul completing their salvation. We don't need an Apostle to lay hands upon us to be saved. That's not what is occurring here. Paul is laying hands upon them to receive the empowerment of the Spirit after they've been saved. 


 What happens immediately as they receive? They begin to speak with tongues and move in the Gifts of the Spirit. When we receive the Spirit there is always a manifestation of the Spirit. 


This will be the third time I am coming to you. “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.” 2 Corinthians 13:1 NKJV


 We have three witnesses stating specifically that when people are filled with the Spirit they will speak in tongues. They will experience a manifestation of the Spirit. You can see Acts 2 here, Acts 10 here and of course, Acts 19 which we just mentioned. 


 The Spirit within speaks of our identity in Christ. He shows us we are Christ's, and no longer our own. He shows us we are Righteous, born again, a brand new creation, totally forgiven once for all time and complete in Christ. He is our seal, the earnest of our inheritance, the proof we are eternally redeemed, saved, and secure. 


 The Spirit upon reveals to us our empowerment in Christ. We are filled to the overflow with the power of the Spirit. We have the Spirit working through us ministering life to others. Whereas the Spirit within is to strengthen ourselves the Spirit upon not only builds us up and empowers us, it also allows us to be a greater blessing to the world around us. He bestows a heavenly language with which we can pray out the will of God and receive strength, wisdom, refreshing and rest as we do so. 


 The Baptism in the Spirit is not about maturity. It isn't about being better than someone else. It doesn't mean one is spiritually superior to another. It's about the empowering of the Spirit. It's the Spirit upon for works of service.

 In summation, don't be afraid of the Holy Ghost. God would never give us something offensive, or scary or bad. If you want to receive the Baptism in the Spirit, simply ask. If you've placed your trust in Christ all you need do is ask and receive. 
 You can simply pray a simple prayer "Father, I have put my trust in you. I know I am a child of God and forever forgiven and eternally loved. As your own, I ask for the empowering of the Spirit. Jesus, I ask you to baptize me into the Holy Ghost, and I believe I receive it right now. I praise you and thank you for this empowerment. I now praise you in my native tongue and I praise you in the Spirit, my personal prayer language, in Jesus' name."

 Just speak out those words the Spirit is speaking. Don't try to understand it intellectually. Just receive it and speak, let that Holy Ghost melody flow out of your belly as you lift up the name of Jesus. God is with you and for you, rejoice. 



Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Eternal Security: Truth or falsehood?

39 And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. 40 For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.” 
John 6:39-40 NLT

 One of the most controversial theological views is the question of eternal security. Just how secure is one's salvation? After you've placed your trust in Christ to save and redeem you can you in fact lose that salvation? Is eternal life really eternal? 

 Many hold to the view that salvation can in fact be lost. Or they believe the notion that one can return the free gift of salvation to the Father. They believe that one can, if they become too entangled in sinful deeds and habits, lose their salvation. Others say because of deception and a hardened heart that one can forsake God and leave their salvation, that is returning the free gift back to God.

 In essence, they don't believe salvation is eternal. They would deny holding to that view. They would say salvation is eternal but can be lost or forfeited. If that was actually possible, then it is abundantly clear that salvation would not be eternal upon reception but temporal based on the actions and heart of the one who received it. In other words, God declared it eternal but we can, by our doings and beliefs make it "uneternal" or temporal. 

 “I say emphatically that anyone who listens to my message and believes in God who sent me has eternal life, and will never be damned for his sins, but has already passed out of death into life. John 5:24 TLB

29 For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 MEV
 
 Look at the words of Jesus and Paul. They seem to affirm our salvation is eternal in duration and something that is never withdrawn. Nothing in these passages seem to indicate loss of salvation is possible.

 Some would say those passages are only for the faithful brethren. They're only for those who abstain from sinful living. Those passages are only for the faithful, those who endure to the end. These passages are only for those who do the will of God.

 What is the will of God? What is the work of God? 
Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” John 6:29 MEV

 It seems God wants us to believe. It's that simple. There is nothing more we can do to be found loved and favored and to receive eternal life. Believe. The Gospel is simple. Believe that Jesus is who He said He is. Believe, trust in, cling to His perfect work of redemption.

 Our salvation is eternal. Salvation is not temporal. Our salvation isn't awaiting our doings and works to complete it. Our salvation isn't begun by God and finished by us. Salvation isn't given and then taken away because of our actions. Salvation is eternal and irrevocable. 

 Think, apart from traditional teachings, think about salvation. What actions or deeds or good works caused you to receive salvation? What did you do to achieve salvation? What amount of goodness on your part procured your eternal salvation? What level of personal holiness, abstinence from sin caused God to favor you above others and eternally redeem you? 

 Nothing we did ever amounted to the equivalence of the price required for eternal salvation. We were lost, sinful, we pursued our own pleasures, and were rebellious to God's ways. We were selfish and not at all deserving of anything from God. 

 So here is the good news. God looked beyond our actions, our sins, our wrong thinking, and chose us. He perfectly purchased our eternal redemption because of His Goodness, not ours. If it was His great Goodness alone that offered us salvation, then once received, what possible action or thinking or unbelief on our part could cause this salvation to be removed from us? If we didn't merit it in the first place, how could our actions, our sins, our disbelief cause our salvation to be nullified? In Christ, we are eternally secure!

 In summation, our salvation is eternal and completely secure. Don't accept the notion from men that we can lose it or forfeit it. God saved us because He loved us and chose us and paid the full price on our behalf. We did nothing to obtain it so there is nothing we can do to lose it. Grace, it is that amazing.



Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Strong in Grace: No more condemnation

  You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:1 NKJV






In our last study, we began examining the great gift of no condemnation Christ and His Finished Work procured for us. The Good News Gospel of Grace reveals there is no more condemnation in Christ. Man and religious tradition still minister condemnation but Grace speaks better things.

 God knew we all owed a debt we could never pay. We all were worthy of death because of sin and rebellion. We were all spiritually separated from God because of Adam's sin and transgression. What God did is send Himself to pay the debt in full so we who receive the free gift of Grace would never face the judgment for sin. 

 Christ paid the price in full. Yet religious tradition still believes we need to continue making payments. They feel we still owe on the sin debt. That Father God merely made a down payment and expects us to complete the payment for redemption by our performance and perfect works. 

 In fact, Paul called the ministry of Law the ministry of condemnation and death. Paul shows us the ministry of Grace is more glorious. The reality is the price is paid in full. Ministry of Law, which is a ministry focused on personal performance and the ability to get it right all the time, takes the focus off of Christ and the Finished Work and places it upon us, our doing.

 Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, Romans 8:1 Voice

Now, because of this, those who belong to Christ will not suffer the punishment of sin. Romans 8:1 NLV

 In Christ Jesus, under the New Covenant, there is no more condemnation for the believer. No condemnation, no matter what! Christ Jesus in the Finished Work, paid the price in full. Jesus took all our punishment and judgment. So why would God expect us to bear any punishment for sin when Jesus already perfectly paid for it all? 

 In John 8 we see this beautiful example of the gift of no condemnation ministering life in the midst of sin and brokenness. In this event we see Jesus ministering the Word. Then the religious leaders bring Him a woman caught in transgression. Jesus masterfully exposes each and every one of them. No one has the right to cast stones at anyone. 

 10 When Jesus had stood up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.” John 8:10-11 MEV

 Jesus approached her. He said where are your accusers? Note that Jesus distanced Himself from the accusers. Jesus will never accuse you before the Father. Jesus then gave her the gift of no condemnation. Then He said go and sin no more.

 What's interesting to note, though He never condemned her or accuse her He never said what she did wasn't wrong. That was never in question. She knew she had sinned. She was in shame. Yet Jesus ministered life and mercy to her. Ministering no condemnation doesn't mean we say all behavior is right and good. It's just that Jesus paid the price for the punishment for all sin and transgression and wrongdoing.

 Condemnation is defined in the Greek as an adverse sentence. It's a judgment of damnation. It basically says you've messed up too much. You're too far gone. It's hopeless for you.

 Jesus silences those accusations. He says I don't condemn you. I don't accuse you. In Christ Jesus, there is no more condemnation. This is the Good News of Grace.

 In summation, rejoice we have been fully redeemed. The price has been paid completely. The Finished Work perfectly paid the price in full. We just rest and receive all Jesus did by Faith. Peace and joy be to you, there is no more condemnation in Christ!


Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay 

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Strong in Grace: The gift of no condemnation

 
You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:1 NKJV





  Not long ago we were in a study concerning becoming strong in Grace. We saw we could be strong in many things. The traditions of men, our own feelings, or we could be strong in the Grace of God. 

 It seemed good to me to return to this study. I sensed it strong in my spirit, that we need the message of God's Grace now more than ever. Today, we want to look at an important area we all need to address to become stronger and stronger in Grace. The area of condemnation.

 Condemnation is not always apparent in its working. It can be administered slowly and subtly over time. It can sometimes portray itself as something to help you better yourself. Or to bring awareness of a situation or thought process in your life.

 Don't be mislead or deceived into buying into condemnation's lies. No matter how subtle or how straightforward its message is the same. There is something wrong with you. You, yourself are the problem. You don't measure up. 

 A doctor telling a diabetic, eating those candy bars is detrimental to your health, isn't condemnation. He is separating an action from the person's identity, but someone telling you that you are your own problem, your own worst enemy, you always mess up is condemnation. Condemnation carries accusations with it.

The Gift of no condemnation

  God has bestowed upon us the greatest gift after the New Birth, the Baptism with the Spirit, the gift of no condemnation.
 
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus Romans 8:1 NLT

 In Christ Jesus, there is no condemnation. No shame. No accusation. No guilt. No looking down from Heaven in disappointment. No arms folded in disgust. No distancing by our Father when we fail. No turning away by our Father, no matter what we've done. Only open arms and outstretched hands and rushing toward us with restoration and reception. 

 God is for us never against us. God is on our side. He believes the best of us. He isn't angry with us. In Christ Jesus, there is now no condemnation.

 Throughout this week, I encourage you to pause, ponder, and meditate on this passage. To think often, that God has indeed given you the gift of no condemnation. It will free your mind of fear and worry and anger and resentment towards others.

 In summation, trust in God. Rest in His Finished Work. Rejoice in this grand truth, that God has given us the gift of no condemnation. Be strong in His Grace. There is no more condemnation in Christ! 

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay 

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Prevailing Word: What are you hearing?


 20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed Acts 19:20 KJV

....For I will hasten My word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:12b MEV











   In our last study, we revisited the prevailing Word study. We asked the simple question what are you looking at? Are we looking at the circumstances, the trial, the storm, or how long it's been? Or are we looking at the Finished Work? 

 Today, it seemed good to ask another simple question. What are you hearing? What are you listening to? 

 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.  Romans 10:17 MEV

 It's important to ask what are we hearing. Why? Because what we are hearing is what we are feeding on. What the Word shows us is an eternal truth. Faith comes by hearing God's Word. Faith is being divinely persuaded. It's trusting in who God is and what He said. 

 If we gain trust, become divinely persuaded by hearing God, what happens when we hear other voices? When we give attention, by our hearing, to what the enemy says then we will become persuaded by what he says. 

 For instance, many studies have been conducted concerning the words we speak. That is when children in one group were told they were failures and unsuccessful they began to fail at the tasks assigned. The other group of children was told they were successful and they became successful in their assignments. What I am saying is what we feed on causes us to be persuaded, be it positively or negatively. 

 So what are we feeding on? What are we hearing? Are we listening to God, and thus growing in our trust and persuadableness of His Word and Finished Work? Or are we listening too much to the other voices which cause us to have negative expectations?

 What are you hearing?

 Are you listening to the lies of the enemy? God says we are victorious and triumphant in Him. The enemy likes to put a question mark where God puts a period. The enemy's words try to convince you that you are a failure. That you are unloved. That you are a mistake. Even that you love sin and wrongdoing. 

 The Word of God says differently. The Word says greater is He that's in you than he that's in the world.  That you are loved and the apple of God's eye. 

 Are you listening to the world system? The world has divisions, opinions, and produces much anger, strife, fear, and anxiety. They try to meet their own needs apart from God. The world has it's own standards of right and wrong. 

 The Word says otherwise. The Word says we love one another. We do good to each other. We bless and expect nothing in return. We live by the leading of the Spirit and the new desires of the New Creation. We don't satisfy the flesh, that is living contrary to God's will and ways, no we do things God's way and are joyful because of it.

 Are you listening to religious tradition? Tradition says God is the source of our suffering. That God wants us broke and poverty-stricken. That God is not interested in our life here on Earth. That He only ordains suffering and a powerless life. 

 The Word says otherwise. He declared He desires we prosper in all things and be in health. The Word reveals God is the source of life not death. He is the One bringing life in abundance and it's the enemy that steals and kills and destroys. 

 Are you listening to Law and legalism? Legalism says you are unworthy. That you're just a sinner. That you must earn and achieve God's love and blessing and favor. 

 God's Word says otherwise. The Word says we are under Grace, not Law. God's Word reveals He made us worthy by the Blood. His Word shows us we are already blessed in Him. That we are favored and made righteous by Faith. We are accepted and approved of God by Faith not our performance. 

 What are you hearing? What are you feeding on? The words of the enemy that produces fear? The words of the world system that produces division, lust, and a trust in man's ways and not God? The words of religious tradition and Law that produce a mistrust of God's Grace and trust in your own works? Or are you hearing God and what He says about you? That He is for you not against you. That He loves you eternally. That you are accepted and approved because of Jesus. 

  In summation, hear God and Him alone. Don't listen to the lies of the enemy. Feed on God's Word for victory and success.



Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

Thursday, June 4, 2020

The Prevailing Word: What are you looking at?


 20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed Acts 19:20 KJV

....For I will hasten My word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:12b MEV


 We've studied in the recent past, the prevailing Word. How God's Word prevails over any and all circumstances and is eternal. Today it seemed good in my heart to share another post on this important topic.

 In previous studies, we saw how our words have power. How our Faith is the victory that overcomes. Today, I'd like to highlight an area where the Word prevails for us. This is the area of our attention, our concentration, our focus. 

What are you looking at?

 When we were younger, I'm certain we can all recall at one time or another teasing our friends and family by asking them what are you looking at. Sometimes it was spoken in a derogatory manner. Sometimes it was in simple jest. So today I feel strongly to ask you this same question again. Not as a joke or as to belittle you.

 What are we looking at? Are we looking at the circumstances that seem unchanging? Are we looking at those symptoms that don't seem to dissipate? Are we looking at the paths our loved ones are going down that's leading them away from Christ and His ways?

 God wants to know what has your concentration? What has your attention? What are you focusing on? If what we are looking at is negative or contrary to what God says, the Word can and will prevail for you regardless of your situation. 

 Some may be saying you don't know my situation. You don't know how long it's been this way. I may not know your situation but I do know Paul's words of encouragement to us. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4 to look at the unseen not the seen

 Paul also shared this reminder;
For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV

here is this same verse in another translation;
The path we walk is charted by faith, not by what we see with our eyes. 2 Corinthians 5:7 Voice

 What we focus on, what has our attention, what we concentrate on determines how we think. It determines how we speak. It determines even how we act. That's why it's imperative to focus on His Finished Work. It's vital to give our attention to His Word. We must concentrate on His promises, His power, His Love, His Grace and Goodness, not on contradictory circumstances and the fears that accompany them.

 The Finished Work is complete. We don't add to it. Yet tradition seems to think our actions and our deeds are what seals the deal, so to speak. So when one says they are the Righteousness of God in Christ they find it difficult to accept.

 Why? Because they want to see something in people's life or words that proves this. They are walking by sight. This seeking signals or signs that one is Righteous also determines how they judge if someone is saved or not.


 Yet traditional religion has adopted a reactionary theology. They see one who proclaimed Christ carried off in a terrible sin. They conclude how could that one still be saved? They are walking by sight. What they can see. 

Changing the seen, shaping the unseen. 

 We want to walk by Faith and not sight. We want the Word to prevail in all areas of our life. We do that by believing what God has said and receiving what Jesus accomplished in the Finished Work. 

  We can change the seen by shaping what is unseen. By believing and trusting in what Christ said and did for us we can walk in victory. Agreeing with what God said and accomplished through Christ changes things.

 When the believer says they are the Righteousness of God in Christ, they are shaping the unseen. They are agreeing with the Finished Work and God's Word. This eventually changes the seen, as the believer begins to manifest righteous words and thoughts and deeds. 

 When a believer becomes deceived or gives in to temptation, and seemingly falls away, instead of looking at the seen, we can shape the unseen. We don't deny their eternally secure salvation. We shape the unseen by speaking the truth over them in prayer and if we have the opportunity, speak the truth in love to them when we see them, we can cause the unseen realm to affect the change in the seen realm. When we agree with God we will see the outward manifestation of what He already accomplished in their heart.

 When stubborn symptoms don't seem to be removed we don't cease believing in God's healing power. We don't throw Faith aside. We also don't throw wisdom aside. We accept all means God has provided to receive wholeness. Be it through a combination of Faith, nutrition, medicine, and even rest, we receive all God has.  We must agree with God, and not let the seen change our minds about God. 

 In summation, let's ask again what are you looking at? Are you looking at that wayward child? Are you looking at that angry spouse? Are you looking at the symptoms? Are you looking at the sins in others? Let the Word prevail in these situations. Agree with God. Change the seen by shaping the unseen.


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The New and Living Way


19 Therefore, brothers, we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way that He has opened for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh,                           Hebrews 10:19-20 MEV



  Have you ever been working on a project or an assignment and not getting much success? Were you slightly frustrated with the lack of progression? Later on, when you found out there was a better way and you employed its use and found success, surely frustration gave way to relief and celebration as the project was completed.

 When God cut the New Covenant, all of Heaven celebrated. This Covenant is a better Covenant. It is founded on better promises. Do we really understand what that means?

 The Old Covenant promises were made by God to man predicated on man's ability. In essence, it was a promise made by both God and man. The Old was a pact between God and man. The problem wasn't God but mankind. We could never uphold our promise to do and do more and do it perfectly. Of course, understanding Grace we know that was the point of the Old, to show mankind their need for a Savior.

 The New Covenant is a Covenant and a promise between God and Jesus. Within the Godhead, this New Covenant was cut and ratified by the precious Blood of God the Son. This is the better promise. 

 This New Covenant then introduced a new and living way to live. Under the Old, we had a way to live that only brought condemnation. The yearly sacrifices could never cleanse sin but merely cover it. The consciousness of sin was ever-present. 

The New, a Better Covenant

 The New is a better Covenant. Under the Old, we had to earn our righteousness. We had to keep the Mosaic Law. Paul tells us the words written on stone are the ministry of condemnation and death. Under the New, we have the ministry of Righteousness. Grace made a way. Jesus took the sin problem and nailed it to the Cross. Now we have a New and Living way to live under this New Covenant.

Faith, the New and Living Way

  The Old Covenant was a covenant that was rooted in performance. It was a covenant that forced the people to walk by sight and not Faith. One's righteousness was seen by men. That is one knew you were righteous because they observe you going to the Temple. They saw you honor the Sabbath. They could see you abstain from forbidden food and keep the holy days. 

 Faith is the New and Living Way He established in the New. Our receiving the blessing and favor of God is no longer tied to our performance or behavior. It is received by Faith. Our Righteousness is a Righteousness of Faith and not of Law or works or our ability.

 Paul clearly shows us why Faith is the way of the New in Romans 4. He speaks such a powerful truth. It is by Faith so it may be by Grace.
16 Therefore the promise comes through faith, so that it might be by grace, that the promise would be certain to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all Romans 4:16 MEV

Faith is the New and Living Way. We walk by Faith and not by sight. When we don't feel Righteous or look Righteous and God forbid sometimes don't even act Righteous, Faith still reminds us of who we really are. We are the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus by Faith. By Faith, not works, not performance, not being perfect. 

 Faith is one of the most vital truths a Christian should know, understand, grow in, and walk-in. In fact, three times in the New Covenant God reminds us that the Righteous live by Faith. We don't live by Law and Faith. It's not our performance and then a little Faith. It's not a little doubt and a little Faith. We live by Faith.
11 Now it is evident that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, for “The just shall live by faith.” Galatians 3:11 MEV

 Faith is the means by which we receive all God has for us. Grace makes and Faith takes. The beautiful part of this is the fact that God also gives us His Faith in order to live this New and Living Way. 
...but the just shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4b MEV
 We live by His Faith, not something we drum up or strive to achieve. His Faith not our own.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8 MEV
 This Faith is not of yourself but the gift of God. God has dealt to all the same measure of Faith. God is a Good God.

 Faith is alive. Faith speaks, it agrees with God. Faith knows, it knows God's will and ways because it comes from the Word and promises of God and the Finished Work of Christ. Faith grows, the more we feed on God's Word the stronger our Faith. 

 In summation, we have a better way in this New Covenant. Grace made a new way, cut a New Covenant. Faith is now the New and Living Way we live under the New. Our Righteousness is received by Faith not works. Our fellowship with God is based on His Love, His Grace, and our Faith agreeing with and freely receiving from Him. We can have confident Faith, that God honors our Faith, but it's not faith in our Faith but rather Faith in His Faith and Finished Work. 


Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Monday, May 18, 2020

Still Another Mistaken Idea: The Remnant Church

  13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.” Mark 7:12 NKJV









    In our last study, we debunked yet another mistaken idea perpetuated onto the Body of Christ, that Luke 6:38 is referencing finances. It seemed good this week to continue addressing these mistaken ideas. Mistaken ideas about God, what His Word says, and how He sees us, brings much error and wrong thinking in the minds of believers the whole world wide. 

 Today, I want to address the mistaken idea of the remnant church. In Spirit-filled, Charismatic, Pentecostal, "prophetic", spiritual warfare centered, end time focused, churches, and ministries the phrase remnant church is spoken of often. I heard it often when I was in Bible College. 

 The idea expressed is that there are a select group of Christians, who in the last days as Jesus returns, are found to be the most faithful. The truest of believers. The most sincere, the most obedient, the most spiritual. Those who've "kept all the commandments" and honor God most by their living. 

 The preacher would shout it from the stage. God has always had a people within a nation. A family within a family. A Church within the Church! These were the most committed of believers. Those proclaiming this idea generally were certain they were part of this "remnant church." As for the rest of us, they weren't so sure. 

 This begs the question, so what must one do to be more accepted and favorable to God? What must one do to find God more approving? What must one do to find God treat them differently, or look upon them more fondly? What must one do to be a part of these more special believers?

 This teaching also begs the question, is accepting and believing in Christ no longer enough? After we believed, it's still not enough? We need to do more to be found in the more accepted group?

Heaven has no VIP Lounge

 In our human experience, that is, as long as mankind has been on Earth, there have always been sects and cliques and VIPs. It's in our thinking. Night clubs, fraternities, sororities, parties all have some type of measuring line they use of who gets in or doesn't. The Good News of Jesus has a different measuring line.

 The Good News Gospel of Jesus Christ measuring line is whosoever will may come. The "cool", the popular, the rich, the affluent, the poor, the downtrodden, the hopeless, the "loser", the "dork", the "nerd", the "geek", the unpopular, the tall, the fat, the thin, the pretty, the ugly, no matter what list you create, all are welcome with open arms to the Father's house! Whosoever may come. You are a whosoever.

 Heaven has no VIP Lounge. God doesn't have any popular kids and unpopular. He will always pick you for His team. Even better, He picks you first! He saw you and chose you. He gave His own Son for you. All who believe and receive the free gift of Grace, are VIPs to God.

 This idea that there is a more special class of believers has already been debunked by Jesus Himself. The mother of James and John petitioned Jesus for the privilege of sitting on His right and left when He came to His kingdom. This was a status position in the eyes of men. Jesus said the one who serves is the most honorable. 

 They asked who is the greatest in the kingdom? Jesus answered saying, become like this child. A child cannot fend for themselves. They are dependant on their parents for sustenance, shelter and provision and protection. Interesting, that Jesus showed them that becoming dependant on God apart from their own doing is what made them great. Jesus is showing us that Grace is great, not ourselves or our performance.

 There are a couple places where the word remnant is found in the New Testament. All the word remnant means is a part of the whole. It doesn't mean special ones. In Romans 9, Paul is speaking of the physical deliverance of Israel

 In Romans 11, Paul addresses the part of the whole of Israel who has accepted their Messiah. What is amazing, is in the context of this mention of a remnant, is the Bible definition of Grace. 
 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. Romans 11:6 NKJV

 God looks upon us with Love and goodness. His Goodness. He beams with pride when He sees us, His Church. He has made us accepted into the Beloved. We need to embrace this light. The light of how God truly sees us and rejoices over us. He has made us Righteous, accepted, and approved with the Father once for all time. 

 Our belief in Christ is enough. We need not seek to attain to some special level in Christ. We need not strive to be more pleasing, more favored, more accepted, more loved, more righteous, and more saved. 

 When we received Jesus, we were completely recreated in Him. We were made perfectly Righteous in Christ. We were forgiven once for all time for all of our sins, past present, and future. We were made eternally secure, never ever to lose or forfeit our salvation no matter what.

 Having received all of God's fullness within our spirit, made holy once for all time, certainly, we encourage growth and maturity in Christ. Of course, we desire to grow up in Christ. We desire to mature, learn to discern right and wrong, learn to avoid sins, and overcome temptation. This is all right and good, but these don't make us better or more "special" to God our Father. 

 God, our Good Father, knew us from the time we drew our first breath and knows when we will draw our last. He has seen beforehand all the times we would fail, foul-up, fall down, blow it, plain sin. Yet He still chose us. He still wants us. Jesus is the full expression of God's Grace and everlasting mercy. 

 In summation, we are not trying to attain to some special level in God. We need not try to become some sort of Christian VIP group. When we received Jesus, that was enough. We're eternally His. Rest in the Grace and goodness of God. 

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